Autumn 2018: Janine Birkett, Grace Kirby, Sue McCormick and Stephen Tomlin toured in the Tyne valley and Dumfries giving intimate readings of ghost stories penned by some of the greatest writers of the genre, from Edith Nesbit and Elizabeth Gaskell to Muriel Spark, Chaz Brenchley and Muriel Gray. The Wall by prize winning Scots author Kate Clanchy, a contemporary tale of love & reconciliation set on Hadrian’s Wall, linked all the venues.

Autumn 2019: The company will return this year with three more outstanding ghost stories, drawing on classic, modern and contemporary narratives. Our portfolio of vibrant historic venues include the Literary & Philosophical Society in the heart of Newcastle, the Hearth Arts Centre at Horsley, The Vault in Hexham and Dumfries Theatre Royal Studio. This year, we are proud to announce, they will be joined by three exciting new venues!

Cherryburn is the birthplace of world famous engraver and naturalist Thomas Bewick (1753 – 1828) now in the care of the National Trust. Bewick’s parents were yeoman farmers and colliers. The family loved to gather round the fire in the old farmhouse to hear ghost stories of a winter’s night so we think this the perfect spot to honour that tradition.

The Lord Crewe Arms at Blanchland in Derwentdale is an ancient hostelry and a luxury boutique hotel. It was the 2018 Inn of the Year (Good Pub Guide) while the Sunday Telegraph dubbed it “one of the 50 most romantic hotels in Europe”. We call it just the perfect setting for ‘Haunted’, as it takes place upstairs in the 13th century gatehouse for a maximum of 14 guests to savour, as their post supper entertainment.

The Gallery in the Hills is the most remote venue on this tour, overlooking as it does a wild and stunningly beautiful stretch of high moorland above the Allen valley in the North Pennines AONB. The brainchild of sculptor Dennis Kilgallon and his wife Brenda this light and airy gallery in a part of their beautifully converted farmhouse home hosts top quality exhibitions of artists work every Spring and Summer.

Haunted 2018 Reader Biographies

Janine Birkett was born in Northumberland and raised in Newcastle. She spent her early career touring with Northumberland Theatre Company, going on to perform with Northern Stage Ensemble and at Theatre by the Lake; the New Vic and Stephen Joseph Theatre. In the 1990’s she was Byker Grove parent, Maggie Watson for three series; and played Jenny Elliot, Billy’s Mam, in the film Billy Elliot. Other TV and film appearances include: Poppy Shakespeare, Emmerdale, Hollyoaks, Holby City, The Royal, Inspector George Gently, and, most recently, Coronation Street. BBC Radio drama includes the long-running series My Uncle Freddie, in which she played Aunty Bella; and the Jarrow March play, A Woman’s Walk. In the last four years Janine has also added around 40 audio-books to her CV including several by Vera author, Ann Cleeves. www.janinebirkett.co.uk

Grace Kirby has been an actor, director and teacher for over 30 years, working in film, theatre & television. Stage credits include Communicado’s Fringe First award-winning Carmen: The Play and performing alongside Stanley Baxter in one of his legendary Edinburgh pantos. Grace started her career with Dodgy Clutch community theatre in Newcastle. Most recently she worked with Hexham’s Théâtre Sans Frontières on the research & development phase of a new production based on Sherlock Holmes stories.

Sue McCormick is a long standing D-P associate director and actor now based in Moniaive, Dumfrieshire. Sue has worked in theatres nationwide, including Royal Exchange, Library, Palace and Opera House in Manchester, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Chipping Norton Theatre, Oldham Coliseum, Bristol Old Vic, Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, The New Vic Stoke and The Dukes Lancaster. She has also toured extensively with Northern Broadsides and Hull Truck Theatre. TV includes Hollyoaks, Emmerdale, Coronation Street, Holby City, Casualty and Where the Heart Is. She has recorded several plays and features for BBC Radio 4 and BBC Learning Online. Sue also works as a theatre director and playwright. www.suemccormick.net

Stephen Tomlin For the last 47 years, since qualifying as a teacher from the Central School of Speech & Drama, Stephen has worked extensively as an actor in a wide range of roles for television, theatre and radio as well as being a director, producer and role player. His work for BBC Radio includes roles in The Archers, Homefront and Writing the Century; classic serials like Watership Down, City of Ladies and The Return of the Native as well as many single dramas and readings. His most recent voice overs were recorded for Disability Rights UK and the National Trust (Dunham Massey). www.stephentomlin.co.uk