This has been an extremely busy and successful year for our Learning department which has seen the number of people engaging with our events programme increase to 6.963. We have appointed a Learning Officer, Chris Foley, who will help develop our provision for those over the age of 55 and for our schools and community work. Phil Hoffmann continues to lead on the delivery of Project A, and, looking ahead this is a key area of focus and expansion.

In 2018/19 we had a total of 41,912 engagements including 6,963 individual engagements.

Bravo 22 Company

Following a successful one of performance at Newcastle Theatre Royal in November 2017, funding was sought and £270,000 secured to deliver a yearlong project and medium scale production tour with members of the Armed Forces Community (AFC). Workshops were delivered in Plymouth, Aylesbury, London, Liverpool, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Dunbar in addition to Newcastle. The production, Unspoken, played Edinburgh Festival for 10 days, before visiting Liverpool Royal Court, Birmingham Hippodrome, Sadler’s Wells and The House of Commons. Sixteen members of the AFC were employed as actors and 15 arts professionals were engaged to ensure the successful delivery of the year of work. The work was directed by Phil Hoffmann, supported by Chris Foley as Production Assistant and Produced by Kim Hoffmann, as full time Learning Department staff.

Project A

The volume of applications for Project A, our actor training programme, amounted to 381 this year, with 18 young people being awarded a place on the full time course. An exchange with a very similar provision in Sweden (Skara Scolsken) is well underway with the Swedish staff having visited in November and our staff visiting Sweden in February 2019. The first exchange of students will commence in 2019.

Project A performed two final major productions at the end of the 17/18 course in the studio theatre which were attended by a total of 599 audience members.

As of March 2019, 90% of Project A graduates have received professional representation and/or employment as an actor, with some working nationally and securing top agents.

Weekly Workshops

We continue to deliver a successful weekly workshop programme with 323 individuals attending 220 workshops (attended on a weekly, 10 week term, basis). There have been 14 show back performances across the classes for young people, with a total of 775 audience members.
Community Engagement

Twisting Ducks Theatre Company began a permanent residency with us in September 2018 with a provision for twice-weekly workshop sessions for young learning-disabled performers. There are currently nine permanent members of the group, with 12 other individuals having attended on a less regular basis.

Associate Schools Programme & Schools Workshops

We continue to work with the RSC delivering the AS programme. Our work with lead school Crook Primary has led to a cluster of 10 other schools joining to participate this year. Following a successful Macbeth performance to an audience of over 300 friends and family, our schools have begun working on Romeo and Juliet, which was performed in Stratford at The Globe. Over 600 audience members attended the First Encounters tour to County Durham in October. We will begin a new cluster in Gateshead during 19/20 and will also work closely with Northern Stage to deliver a Newcastle-Gateshead cluster, which will be of great benefit to all young people who are engaged on the programme.


Over the course of the year, 14 public tours have been delivered, 15 private tours, 10 school tours, two heritage open day tours and four Friends tours resulting in over 600 people having visited the building for this purpose.

Relaxed Performance

This year’s relaxed performance of our pantomime – Goldilocks and the Three Bears – was attened by 771 people, which made for an almost full house owing to the adaptations made within the auditorium to accommodate our access patrons.

Opera North

We continued to work with the Children’s Chorus and have completed two more successful terms, with 73 young people from our Newcastle cohort having enjoyed taking part in a sharing of work in Leeds in December 2018.

Work Experience

We have had two work experience students spend a week with us, each spending time with each department.