Ross Noble on the Newcastle arts scene, funding cuts, his favourite venue
"Newcastle has every size venue you could possibly want. We should be proud and grateful for what the city can offer."
On the Newcastle arts scene:
“Newcastle has every size venue you could possibly want. The fact there is the Live Theatre, the Tyne Theatre, Theatre Royal, then the City Hall and the Metro Radio Arena, it’s got everything. I’m in Cambridge at the moment and it has the arts theatre and corn exchange, and that is just a big brick building, not a purpose built theatre. We should be proud and grateful for what Newcastle can offer.
“The Theatre Royal is an absolutely amazing venue, I would put it in the top five theatres, the design of it. Anything Matcham designed was great. I’ve got my name on the back of one of the seats there and every once in a while someone tweets me a picture of it, saying they are sitting in my seat. I tell them to turn their phone off, they’re at the theatre!”
On playing to his home crowd in Newcastle:
“It’s always a good vibe, plus the City Hall has that feel to it. You go to other places and it’s just a hall, but the City Hall has something magical about it. Because it is the place I would go to as a kid it is always a bit special. The crowd is always great. Win-win and I get to see my relatives as well. My mum and grandma are still up there. My gran is still going strong. She hasn’t been to the shows for a while, but has been in the past.”
On threats to close down Newcastle City Hall because of funding cuts:
“It would have been terrible. They keep trotting out the same thing – we are all in this together, we have to make tough decisions – but ultimately it is the sort of thing that once it’s gone, it’s gone. You cant turn around and say we are just going to cut this now and when everything is back on track we will re-open it.”
On series two of Ross Noble’s Freewheeling on Dave:
“I’m editing it at the moment. It will be on in the new year. The first episode is mainly in the North East. There’s a guy in Sunderland who tweets and says I’m in court, you can come and join me. It’s nothing serious, like murder. So I go up and get involved with him and start this campaign, Justice for Brian. In fact I ended up filming a bit at the City Hall, as Billy Ocean was doing a gig there so I went and got him to record a message of hope and support for this guy.
“Another guy Tweeted and said he was meeting his wife off a plane at Newcastle Airport and did I want to come and surprise her. I got musicians, magicians and every time the doors opened at Newcastle Airport, we would start up until eventually she came through the doors herself. The guys invented a song for her. So most of the first episode is in Newcastle and Sunderland –a good way to start.”