Peacock tickets now online

Wed 12 July 2017

The tour is growing from strength to strength.

The whole creative team is now and place, and the backroom staff are working round the clock to get everything in place to make this the biggest and best Cranked Anvil production since we formed five years ago.

The tour will come to its conclusion in Sunderland itself, at the heart of the cultural quarter in the newly refurbished Peacock.  We’ve been to see the venue, and it’s excellent.  And we’re thrilled and very proud that our production will be the first ever full theatrical show to be staged there.

If you want to see the show (PLUS an ‘extra time’ added bonus – to be announced soon!) you can now book tickets online here.  They’re priced at £10, £8 concs.  It promises to be a pretty special night, and tickets will sell fast, so don’t miss out!

See you there.  Ha’way the lads!


Casting Announcement

Mon 26 June 2017

Steve Arnott

After a successful meeting yesterday afternoon, we’re very happy to announce today that the veteran North East actor Steve Arnott is joining Cranked Anvil to play the part of Dave Corner in our September production Cornered.

Steve will perhaps be best known for his roles in pantos for Qdos at the Theatre Royal Newcastle, and has most recently played the part of the Weasel King in Reece Sibald’s touring production of Wind In The Willows.

He says he’s very pleased to be creating the role of Davey Corner in Jeff Brown’s brand new play, and is looking forward to getting his teeth into the project.

The show – in a double bill with Paul Dunn’s Wise Men Say – opens at the Customs House in South Shields on 6th September, before touring to Durham Gala, Washington Arts Centre, The Peacock Sunderland, and two special performances at the Southwark Brewery in London. You can find all information, including where to book tickets, here. (Don’t delay – they’ll sell out fast!)

The Writer, The Journalist, and the ex-Footballer

Thur 22 June 2017

Talk about a meeting of great minds and skill!

Here’s the Dream Team behind Wise Men Say / Cornered, meeting recently to discuss the production and put a few more details in place!

l-r: sports journalist Jeff Brown, ex-SAFC player Dave Corner, writer Paul Dunn, pictured recently

The wheels are now in motion for the tour, which is already on sale at most venues (take a look at our production page, using the link above, to see a list of venues and how you can buy tickets.)

As you can see from the photo, Dave Corner, who is the subject of Jeff Brown’s play Cornered, is firmly behind the whole production, and is planning to attend as many of the performances as possible. (Along with, we hope, many other ex-players and club staff.)

And it was during this recent meeting that Jeff – in true sports journalist style – revealed a jaw-dropping sporting exclusive to both Dave and Paul. There is video evidence of the whole revelation, and it will most certainly feature as part of the show!  Make sure you get your tickets to find out what it is!


Happy Hour live sketch show gets an outing later this month!

Wed 21 June 2017

We may have been a bit quiet of late, but that’s because we’ve been beavering away on our upcoming September production of Wise Men Say / Cornered – which followers of Cranked Anvil will already know is a double-bill of one-act plays based around Sunderland AFC.

The posters and flyers have been printed and delivered, and soon you’ll see them going up around Sunderland, Washington, Durham, and South London.

We’re also planning to confirm some casting news in the very near future, which we’re very pleased about, as well as an exciting event which we’re putting together as an added extra to some of the performances.  Stay tuned to this website – and keep an eye on local press – for details as they emerge.

But if all this wasn’t enough to keep us busy over the next three months, we’re also taking part in a Scratch Night next Thursday 29th June, at The Exchange in North Shields.

A recent Scratch Night at The Exchange

It’s organised by Christopher Strain, a great actor who has worked with us on projects in the past, and will feature a line up of short plays and extracts from longer plays, as well as a good dose of music.  Cranked Anvil will be supplying the comedy!  We’ll be performing a few sketches from our Happy Hour show, and we’re very excited to try them out in a live performance format.

As soon as there are details and information on how to get tickets, we will post them on our productions page. Hope to see you there!

A recent performance

Other performances on the bill that night:

“For Voices” by Louise Taylor
A short play exploring relationships and the stories we tell ourselves.
Louise has previously had work performed at Live Theatre and ARC. She is a member of the ARCADE writers development group.

“Rainbow” by Elisabeth Thompson
An extract from Elisabeth’s new film script about a man who deliberately estranged himself from his

drug-addicted son ten years ago. Due to a Restorative Justice meeting, he has a chance to reconcile with him, but will guilt, grief and mistrust prevent this?

“Deadline Day” by John Hickman
When taxi driver Trevor has to drive Newcastle United’s new superstar striker and his hard headed agent down to London for transfer talks with another club dreams of the beautiful game collide with the big spending reality of the modern football. John has previously won the BAFTA Rocliffe competition and been commissioned by BBC Drama.

New dates added to this Autumn’s SAFC-based touring play

Tue 25 April 2017

We’re delighted to announce that, after discussions with Matt Woolston – chairman of the London and South East supporters branch of SAFC – we’ll be extending our tour of Wise Men Say/Cornered this September.

We’ve confirmed two nights in the Southwark Brewery in London, which is where the London/SE branch meet, where we’ll be presenting two performances of our production, by special demand of the branch.

But this doesn’t mean we’ve dropped the ball on our North East tour, and tickets for the performance at Washington Arts Centre on 14th September have just gone on sale on their website.  Don’t delay in getting your tickets; we expect these shows to sell out fast, and availability is limited.

The ball is rolling on our Autumn production

Wed 12 April 2017

Word has started to get out about our September production – a double-bill of plays about Sunderland AFC!

‘Wise Men Say’ by Paul Dunn, and ‘Cornered’ by Jeff Brown, will tour into venues around the region later this year, and we’re anticipating it to be as popular as our 2014 production of I Left My Heart In Roker Park – so don’t delay if you want to come and see it!

It’s already booked into The Londonderry in Sunderland, The Gala Theatre Durham, Customs House South Shields, and the Arts Centre at Washington.  The show has already gone on sale at some of the venues, and tickets have started to fly out the door!

For info on dates – and links to book tickets – take a look at our show page.

Also, we’re hoping to be able to announce further dates and venues soon, so keep checking back to our website here, or keep an eye on our facebook and twitter pages.


Delighted to support the young writers of the North East

Fri 20 Jan 2017

At the end of a busy week back in the Cranked Anvil production office, we’re delighted to announce an exciting collaboration which we’ve just sorted out today.

As part of our Happy Hour LIVE project over the next three months, we’re delighted to be working with New Writing North and Cuckoo Young Writers, to offer eight 16-23 year old aspiring writers and journalists a residency scheme with Cranked Anvil. 

The young participants will get the opportunity to attend a workshop/rehearsal with the cast of Happy Hour, attend all three live performances which they will review for Cuckoo Review, and even get the chance to attend a masterclass in writing comedy for radio which will lead to their sketches being rehearsed and performed by the cast.  A truly exciting opportunity for any young person interested in writing.

If you’re aged between 16-23 and based in the North of England, you can apply to be a part of this residency scheme.  Take a look at the Cuckoo website here.

Cuckoo Writers



What is Cuckoo Young Writers?
Cuckoo Young Writers is the name of New Writing North‘s young peoples’ programme. It aims to provide year-round provision and opportunities for young writers in the North of England, through writing groups, projects, online support and its publications Cuckoo Chronicle, Cuckoo Review and Cuckoo Press. It ensures young people in the region have access to and support from professional writers.  All of Cuckoo Young Writers’ work is free, accessible and inclusive.
text taken from the Cuckoo Young Writers website

New Year – New projects!

Sun 8 Jan 2017

If you’re a follower of Cranked Anvil – or just a regular visitor to this site – you’ll know that we’re not one to rest on our laurels.  We’ve already got a couple of big projects lined up for 2017 which we’re very excited about.

One of them we’re keeping under our hat for a little while longer – but we’ll be letting you know about it soon, and we’re sure it’ll get you excited if you’re a supporter of Sunderland AFC, or the Sunderland City of Culture bid, or just great theatre. (Or all three!)

But next on our production board is a very exciting project for us.  In February, March, and April, we’ll be performing live versions of our radio comedy show Paul & Nessa’s Happy Hour.  They’ll be recorded in front of a live studio audience, then edited for broadcast on Beach Hut Radio later in the year.  We’ve got three fantastic shows lined up, with brilliant material by our team of writers, performed by a stellar cast of actors and comedians. You can read more here.

But we need your help!

With budgets extremely tight, and funding virtually impossible to achieve, we’re trying to raise some of the capital needed to produce the three shows with the help of our supporters, fans, and friends.  We have a Crowdfunder page set up, where people can donate as much as they can to help bring this exciting new project to life.  Now, we realise Christmas and New Year have just gone by and people are reeling from the excesses of that and have just gone back to work, but we really do appreciate every donation possible.  We’ve already had some in from our supporters, and now we need to build on that. So please have a look at our Crowdfunder page, read more about the project, and go ahead and click that ‘Fund It’ button.

We have huge ambitions for this show.  We’re already planning to produce more radio shows, more studio audience shows, as well as a stage version for the Edinburgh Fringe.  As well as that, we’re currently developing ideas with a brilliant producer who works at Metro Radio and Diagonal View.  So there are big plans ahead for Happy Hour; here’s your chance to help it hit the ground running.  We never forget our grassroots supporters!

Adding to the trophy cabinet!

Sat 31 Dec 2016

What a perfect way to end a very busy year for Cranked Anvil!…

Earlier in the year we produced our very first Shakespeare Season, presenting modern interpretations of Romeo + Juliet, Hamlet, and Henry V, touring them to various venues in the North East. The shows were well attended and very well received, and everyone at Cranked Anvil was immensely proud of them.

So we’re over the moon that the North East Theatre Guide has judged our production of Romeo + Juliet to be the Best in 2016.  (And just as pleased that our production of Henry V took ‘bronze’ in the same category.)

There was a lot of Shakespeare produced in the region this year – especially with it being the 400th anniversary of Shakepeare’s death – so to receive this accolade is particularly gratifying.  Well done to all the casts, crews, techies, and venues, who helped to make it possible and ensure the shows were such a success.  Mention must go to our associate producer, Vanessa Karon, who not only appeared in the productions, but was an absolute rock in the behind-the-scenes production side of the whole tour.  Quite simply, these Shakespeare productions would not have existed without her.

The reviews are in!

Thursday 28 April 2016

The first production in our Shakespeare season, Romeo + Juliet, is growing from strength to strength – and it’s not just us saying that, the reviewers think so too!

We’re getting some wonderful feedback, which is just rewards for all the incredible hard work the cast have put into this production over recent weeks.

Stephen Oliver writes in the North East Theatre Guide:

“A must-see.

This production is a happy marriage of great acting, lively action scenes and a charismatic cast.

The decision to deliver a parochial production has helped liberate Shakespeare’s story and they’ve probably ended up with a show that’s closer to what the Bard intended.”

You can read the full review here.

MITW - paulAnd hot on the heels of this, we talked this morning to Made In Tyne & Wear for their arts & entertainment show The Lowdown.  The lovely Hazel Pude asked director Paul Dunn about his inspiration for the production, how it all came about, and how he put together the cast that have delivered such a great production.

Our Romeo + Juliet, David Jackson and Brogan Gilbert, told the cameras about recently performing with The Globe theatre for the MITW - actorsShakespeare celebrations, and being accepted into not one, not two, but three drama schools – as well as their palpable on-stage chemistry and complete ease and comfort at have to snog each other on a regular basis!

If you haven’t seen it yet, you still have a chance to catch it.  It plays Alphabetti theatre tonight and Friday, then on Saturday night it goes to the Alun Armstrong theatre in Stanley.

If you can’t make it this week, you have a chance to see it at the Customs House on Thursday 19th May, 7.45pm.