Demi-paradise was established by actor Stephen Tomlin as the first ever professional theatre company in residence at Lancaster Castle. Between 2000 – 2016 his ensemble of 120 northern based actors and creatives presented critically acclaimed sell out promenade productions of 10 Shakespeare plays alongside other seasonal and historic entertainments. We also pioneered a groundbreaking partnership with professional fine artists, chronicling and interpreting our Shakespeare productions. See Company History and Archive pages for details of our work then.

Collage by Sally Slade Payne, artist-in-residence for Othello (2014)

Following relocation to Northumberland in 2017, Stephen reconstituted Demi-paradise as a small scale regional touring company specialising in live audio. Haunted: Ghost Story Readings for Halloween was launched with great success in 2018, returning for an extended tour in 2019. See the Haunted page for 2020 updates and more information on venues, readers & writers.

An Evening with Susie White – Writing ‘The Guardian’ Country Diary. To mark the opening and ending of a Spring themed exhibition by regional artists on 27th April Susie gave two talks to full houses at the Robinson Gay Gallery Hexham on her career as a garden writer and Northumberland correspondent for The Guardian Country Diary, with Stephen reading a selection of Susie’s contributions as well as poems that have inspired her.

Stephen Tomlin, Sarah Robinson-Gay & Susie White in the R-G Gallery

Summer Hauntings To mark Midsummer we were invited to give readings of seasonally apt ghost stories for the Lit & Phil in Newcastle as part of their Summer Hauntings festival. Stephen Tomlin read A View From a Hill by M R James while Penny McDonald narrated The Violet Car by E Nesbit and The Executor by Muriel Spark.

Penelope McDonald and Stephen Tomlin at the Lit & Phil, Newcastle.