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BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival Presents

The Actors' Guide to the Emotions

Booking Information

To guarantee your ticket, book in advance. There will be some tickets available on the day on a first come, first served basis.

Venue: St Mary's Heritage Centre, Gateshead

Tickets: Free, ticketed (Max 4 per person)


Shahidha Bari hosts an evening of live drama and conversation tracing the changing portrayal of emotions onstage. When “the first modern actor” David Garrick stepped onstage in 1741, people were stunned by his realistic emotions. But you might have guessed that from the first Greek tragedies onwards, simulating strong feelings has been the essence of theatre. So what’s changed? The actor Sandy Grierson is joined by an ensemble from Northern Stage, theatre director Lorne Campbell and Professor Jen Harvie to perform and discuss the long history of emotion on stage, the public’s changing tastes and the ways that actors prepare themselves to perform “emotionally.”

Sandy Grierson is an actor and writer whose theatre credits include playing both the roles of Doctor Faustus and Mephistopheles in Doctor Faustus for the Royal Shakespeare Company; Home, Dunsinane and The Beautiful Cosmos of Ivor Cutler, which he wrote and performed, for the National Theatre of Scotland; Comedy of Errors, Twelfth Night and The Tempest, for the RSC. Sandy’s TV and film credits include Outlander, The Ones Below and Night People. Sandy won Best Male Performance, for his performance in Lanark: A Life in Three Acts.

Jen Harvie is Professor of Contemporary Theatre and Performance at Queen Mary University of London. Her research focuses on how theatre and performance artists make their work, and on the cultural politics of performance. Her podcast Stage Left features interviews with performance makers. She has recently published Scottee: I Made It, The Only Way Home Is Through the Show: Performance Work of Lois Weaver, and Fair Play – Art, Performance and Neoliberalism. She co-edits the book series Theatre &.

Lorne Campbell is Northern Stage’s Artistic Director. Before this he was Co-Artistic Director at theatre company Greyscale and a freelance director and theatre-maker. He led the BA Directing programme at Drama Centre, Central St Martins. He is a graduate of the Channel 4 Young Theatre Director’s Scheme and a former Associate Director at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. During his time at the Traverse his directing work including Distracted (Winner of the Meyer Whitworth Award) and Carthage Must Be Destroyed – named Best New Play Critics’ Awards Theatre Scotland in 2007. For Northern Stage Lorne directed The Bloody Great Border Ballad Project (winner of the 2013 Sprit of the Edinburgh Fringe Award) and has also directed two Christmas productions for children aged 7+.

Shahidha Bari is Senior Lecturer at Queen Mary University of London and Fellow of the Forum for European Philosophy at the LSE. She was one of the first BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinkers in 2011. She writes for the TLS, Times Higher, The Guardian and Financial Times and appears as a critic on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row and Saturday Review. A presenter of radio documentaries and BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking – her book about the philosophy of dress is out later this year.

For your information…

  • Phase one tickets will be available from 12noon on Friday 15 February, with phase two tickets available from 12noon on Friday 1 March.
  • Tickets are strictly limited to four per person.
  • To guarantee your ticket book in advance. There will be some tickets available on the day on a first come, first served basis.
  • Please take your seats 10 minutes prior to the event start time otherwise you may lose your place.

Part of BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival