On The Line: Northumbria University’s Theatre and Performance MA Students launch a new bite-sized performance arts festival


Northumbria University’s Theatre and Performance Arts MA Students, announce a new online festival called On The Line; featuring a bite-sized programme of contemporary theatre, performance art, multisensory installations, audio experiences and talks. 


As a result of the Coronavirus, and to safeguard artists and audiences, this year’s MA cohort have taken the opportunity to reimagine their end of year showcase by creating an internationally accessible online festival. 


Ten MA Theatre and Performance students from Northumbria University will premiere their projects and provocations as part of On The Line, which will take place from Wednesday 23 to Friday 25 September with some works being available to view until Sunday 27 September. 


The festival aims to create a welcoming and safe space for artists and audiences to connect and encounter new work and big ideas from the next generation of theatre markers, all from the comfort of their own homes.


On The Line offers a vibrant bite-sized programme exploring identity, what voices are allowed to be heard, the politics of power and fear, human connection, making work in isolation and community. It features an eclectic mix of new work including experimental film/theatre mash ups, drag/cabaret performances, immersive audio guided walking tours, stand-up comedy and a love letter to amateur dramatics. All of this work has been reimagined by the students who are creating and producing the entirety of the festival remotely online.

As the festival team explain: 

“On the Line has allowed us to explore new ways of creating theatre in the face of adversity. From creating shows in our bedrooms to rehearsing in the woods, we have found the opportunity to explore new spaces and utilise the world around us to create exciting and unconventional theatre. Our shows have had to adjust to the current circumstances, and On The Line has given us opportunities to think outside the box in our approach to our pieces, and this will be represented with our diverse line up that can be seen online by a wider audience than we ever anticipated!” 


Throughout the festival there will also be a series of live panels and talks discussing theatre making processes and how the students have reimagined their work online for international audiences.


Program leader Dr. Lazlo Pearlman said:

"The On The Line festival is an example of the ways in which theatre artists can rise to a challenge and innovate. These Northumbria MA Theatre and Performance students have responded to the unprecedented upheaval of a global pandemic with passion, innovation, generosity and grace, representing themselves as artists of the present and the future."

Performance highlights include:


Parked by Ian Smith (film)

That was a pandemic - so what next? By reimagining one of our earliest stories Parked asks whether now is the time to stop, think and do things differently in the future. 


Their Words Not Mine by Rebecca Johnston (spoken word)

TWNM is a collection of Rebecca's recent thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement, it's relation to LBGTQ+ culture and their privilege as a white individual. It is a spoken word piece that uses sampled content from black creators to amplify their voices on the issues.


Centre Stage by Daniel Dryden (film)

A cabaret style performance presented as a love letter to amateur musical theatre, all while exploring lost passions, stereotypes, and family, in its many different forms.


Heed My Words by Holly Readshaw (audio experience)

An immersive audio experience which welcomes audiences on a journey through the streets of Gateshead while they listen to stories from Gateshead's residents and workers.


Towers by John Scott (film)

Towers uses multiple characters, text and images to examine social injustice. From pre to post pandemic has anything changed? Is there hope or are things getting worse? Towers is the first solo theatre work by John Scott. 


The Butlers Perspective by David Connelly (film)

While all the staff have left or quit by now, Bullock must serve his Master and family in the ordinary (farcical) fashion. This one man show explores the chaotic and relatable perspective of the butler.


Untitled by Isabell Dawson (audio experience)

Prison life is hidden from our sight. We think we send people there to do their time and reform, but do we really know what goes on behind those walls? 


The Future Is Female by James (film)

Getting to know myself as a man while being raised by powerful women. What does it mean for a man to say my future is female? A love letter to the women in my life.


Untitled by Kyla Dean (film) 

A short film showcasing a collection of stories exploring the lies we tell, hide and hear. The key is trying to spot them. Do you believe everything that you’re told? 


Tickets and full programme details will be announced on 1 September 2020. All events will be hosted on the festival website:

On The Line  is  created as part of the final projects of Northumbria University MA Theatre and Performance programme cohort 2019-2020. 


Join the conversation @OnTheLineFestival


See more about the Northumbria MA in Theatre and Performance here:


Feel free to contact program leader Dr. Lazlo Pearlman with your questions: