Articles & Reviews


29/04/15: Sarah Gonnet Interview: feminism, mental health and Sarah’s upcoming plays by Jenny Danes

Sarah has been writing a lot of arts-orientated journalism for The Guardian, The Journal, Luna Luna, Sabotage Reviews, Screenjabber, PANK, and essays on female artists for The Bubble. Her poetry has been published in PUSH, Jotter’s United and The Cadaverine. She is also working with Survivors Poetry towards a pamphlet and one of her poems was chosen as their ‘Poem of the Month’ in July.  IRONPress working with Red Squirrel Press have published one of Sarah’s short stories- Impulse- in their collection Short not Sweet. Sarah also writes plays: “Compulsion”, a play about outsider artists, is to be professionally produced by Alphabetti Theatre in August. Sarah is currently curating a collection of feminist poems, essays and art which aims to reclaim and re-define the word “cunt”. The project will take the form of handmade book, from which all profits will go to a local women’s shelter.

08/04/15: Lydia Hounat Interview: taboo poetry, inspirations and Dutch courage by Jenny Danes

Lydia Hounat is a British-Algerian poet from Manchester, England. She has been published with Cuckoo Quarterly, The Missing Slate, The Cadaverine, the poetry journal Brain of Forgetting, as well as other publications. An avid performance poet, she has worked with the Manchester Literature Festival with her Writing Squad showcasing slam pieces with authors and poets, and regularly performs in bars and cafés. Alliterati spoke to her about a few of her upcoming gigs, as well as, very excitingly, the debut poetry pamphlet she’s working on.

15/03/13: Write Up North Short Play Season by Aimee Vickers, Sarah Bell, and Maria Abbot

Join Arts In Touch and Write Up North for an exhilarating season of new writing from the fiercest and funniest writers in the Toon. The Bridge Hotel in Newcastle will again host eight evenings of dynamic script-in-hand performances, followed by Q&A.

23/03/13: An Afternoon with the Qurayshis by Aimee Vickers, Sarah Bell, Maria Abbott and Saschk Drakos

As you my be aware, Alliterati recently had the opportunity to sit down with the playwrights of Write Up North to discuss the series of short plays they’ll be putting on at the Bridge Hotel from March through May. Shireen Khattak is the first up with her play, Meet the Qurayshis, a funny and insightful look into both the cultural and universal languages of family dynamics.

30/03/13: The First Thing I Don’t Want You to Know… by Aimee Vickers, Sarah Bell, Maria Abbott and Saschk Drakos

Continuing our series on Write Up North’s script-in-hand showcase, we grabbed a few moments with playwright, Jimmy Ryland. TTT is a tense drama that explores the concepts of guilt and sin, and questions whether the mistakes of our past are ever truly in our past.

06/04/13: Unraveling the Knot by Aimee Vickers, Sarah Bell, Maria Abbott and Saschk Drakos

We’re into week three of Write Up North’s script-in-hand performances with a compelling triptych from Nic Owen. The Knot of Eve explores the spectrum of subtle manipulation and overt violence which society inflicts on women through their sexuality.

14/04/13: Putting the Cat on the Bricks by Aimee Vickers, Sarah Bell, Maria Abbott and Saschk Drakos

The fourth installment of Write Up North’s short play series takes us to Afghanistan. In the barricaded prayer room of a military base, the cultural, religious and ethnic biases we all form are exposed and confronted as four very different men are forced to overcome these attributes in themselves.

21/04/13: Some Assembly Required by Aimee Vickers, Sarah Bell, Maria Abbott and Saschk Drakos

Victoria Levay’s Self Assembly is laced with comic elements that will have you laughing pretty much all the way through. Beneath the humour, though, is a deeper contemplation of the tricky balance required to negotiate relationships, the expectations of those we love, and the choices we must make solely for ourselves.

06/05/13: Inglorious or not… by Aimee Vickers, Sarah Bell, Maria Abbott and Saschk Drakos

In Bob Jeffrey’s one-act, 16 year old Wayne must decide whether or not he wants to inherit the bigotry of previous generation, or follow his sister’s guidance to pursue his own ambitions. Bastards touches on the intricacies of family dynamics, prejudice, and how damaging our misconceptions can be.

13/05/13: Take A Number by Aimee Vickers, Sarah Bell, Maria Abbott and Saschk Drakos

In the final script-in-hand performance from Write Up North, Melanie Hunter takes us into the surreal experience of The Waiting Room, where old memories can be the most damaging injuries. Bastards touches on the intricacies of family dynamics, prejudice, and how damaging our misconceptions can be.

19/05/13: Who I Am With You / Who I Am Without You by Aimee Vickers, Sarah Bell, Maria Abbott and Saschk Drakos

For the last event in their series of short plays, Write Up North challenged their predecessors, Write On Tap (formed by Live Theatre’s 2011 scriptwriting graduates), to each produce a short play based on the prompt: who I am with you, and who I am without you. Each of the eight plays utilises the prompt in a unique and different way, showing exactly how many variations can come from one phrase in the hands of eight different authors.

Interview: Lee Mattinson by Aimee Vickers and Saschk Drakos

Interview: Rob Battersby by James Ricketts

Preview: Your Aunt Fanny by James Ricketts


16/05/16: ‘The Frights Triple Bill’ by Aysha Aslan

Written by Louise Taylor and directed by Alphabetti Theatre founder Ali Pritchard The Frights begins with a few seconds of chilling silence that foreshadows the intensity that myself and the rest of the audience are to be subjected to.

20/02/16: ‘The Nether’ by Megan Thompson

The Nether is a play about virtual realities which forces the audience to consider dark themes in an original way, one in which the answers are never as straightforward or as comfortable as one might hope. From the moment I entered the cosy venue at Northern Stage to the moment the small cast took their bows I was mesmerised and completely seduced by what was on offer here.

10/12/15: ‘Carols and Cocktails’ by Adam Thompson

John Dalziel and Lawrence Neale play two friends who have wound up in low-level office jobs and don’t quite know how to get out. They don’t ask for much, little more than to get drunk and steal glances at the semi-mythical Carol at the office party this Christmas. However, with the yuletide songs flowing and with Santa on his way, maybe, just maybe, there’s a chance of some romance this year.

18/11/15: ‘Jess Green Review’ by Adam Thompson

Some theatres are hard to miss, but the venue for Jess Green’s latest spoken word gig is wrapped around the back of New Bridge Street West, and is therefore hard to find. To obtain entry into Alphabetti Theatre one must navigate alleyways, staircases and an ale-dispensing bar with a plywood counter. The event takes place in an L-shaped basement with a capacity of roughly 50. There are perhaps 60 crammed in tonight. The clock strokes 7.30pm and as the band takes to the stage and patrons take their seats, staff pass out blankets to add a homely feel to proceedings. The first three rows are soon quilted up and we’re ready to start.

30/10/14: ‘The Shipwrecked House’ by Jenny Danes

As an introverted poet, the prospect of going along to performance nights holds something of the magical to me. To be up on stage reading or acting out lines that you’ve breathed out, crafted, re-worked – that’s quite a soul-baring thing, and something that I’ve always struggled to brave. I was excited to take my safe place in the audience, particularly with the added prospect of writing a review for the first time. I settled, notebook in lap, to learn from some of the best.

10/04/12: Radikal Words by Aimee Vickers

The event was opened by Bridie Jackson and the Arbour, a quartet of lovely ladies who recently won a battle of the bands to perform at Glastonbury. Their opening piece was beautifully harmonised and acapella. It was raw and real: a description that suitably sums up the evening as a whole. Their set was mesmerizing, ghostly and melancholy. The folk genre told stories of the performers’ personal lives which I couldn’t help but admire for its humour, delicacy and intimacy.

21/10/12: Scratch Tyne by Felicity Powell

Essentially there are two ways to get a bit of poetry into your system; the first of course is to get a book and read it yourself. This works well enough, I for one certainly enjoy it, especially when analyzing it for my degree. But for a real kick, you need to leave the comfort of your four bedroom walls and hear it straight from the horse’s mouth (or in this case, the poet’s).

24/10/12: Radikal Words by Saschk Drakos

Nestled downstairs in Stage 3 at Northern Stage, there was a cosy anticipation as we all gathered around bistro-esque tables. The night kicked off with Bridie Jackson and the Arbour. The female quartet had a casual, unassuming stage presence, but were nonetheless captivating with a haunting bluesy style (which completely won over this punk rock fan enough to purchase one of their very affordable CDs afterwards).

30/10/12: Fiction Burn: The Night Before Halloween by James Ricketts

On the 30th October a crowd gathered on the upstairs floor of Bar Loco, ready for a night of ‘twisted tales and dark poetry’.

24/05/13: First in 3 by Saschk Drakos

First in 3 offers the wide range of theatre-folk the opportunity to test out new work on a bunch of willing subjects and gain feedback. Audience members get a chance to see what sorts of things are in development, and chat with the performers, writers and directors behind the pieces – not to mention bump into a number of active members of Newcastle’s creative community.

07/06/13: Any Good Thing by Saschk Drakos

Backscratch Theatre is a new company out of County Durham that blends music, puppetry and physical performance to create truly engaging theatre. I was lucky enough to catch their recent performance in Newcastle of Any Good Thing, which explores the folksongs of the Northlands.

23/06/13: MythSummer Sundae by Lora Hughes

Trashed Organ and Live Lab? Now there’s a combination worth committing venial sins over. Just walking into the Midsummer Sundae venue promised magic and mischief.

Party Poppers: Live Youth Theatre Festival 2013 by Saschk Drakos

Live’s 14th Annual Youth Theatre Festival kicked off with Past Forward, a selection of four short pieces. Tying in with Live’s 40th birthday, each group of kids devised their piece in response to plays featured at Live over the past forty years.

Following Tommy by Saschk Drakos

Bob Hartley’s debut novel, Following Tommy, tells the story of young Jack O’Day living in a 1960s Chicago working class neighbourhood. The arc carries elements of a coming of age tale, while also centring on the racial tensions of the era.

Preview: Mixtape by Aimee Vickers

The music-inspired Mixtape has strict rules: the plays must only consist of the lyrics used in the song the production is based on, and must not run over the length of the original track. The results proved to be creative, eclectic and quite funny.

28/10/13: Mixtape by Asa J. Maddison

Part of Alphabetti Spaghetti’s Brolly Season, Mixtape is a monthly live performance conceived by theatre director Melanie Rashbrooke, combined with some of the most exciting emerging and recognized writers around. Mixtape offers bite-size chunks of performance theatre mixed with the competitive edge of a local pub’s pop quiz for the delight of an interactive audience.


Light My Fire: The E-Reader Debate by Bethany Rogers

Yes, I know that’s a heinous crime for an English Literature graduate. I’ve been told many times already that we discerning book lovers should stoically stick together and hate the e-book in the same way that we should all appreciate poems that don’t rhyme and drink too much cheap merlot.

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