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Wondrous North celebrated on stage.

Byline: with Catherine Jones

WE LIVE here, but what exactly is the North? According to Northern Spirit, there are two norths - the geographical area and the North as an idea.

It's that idea of the region which is being explored in A Wondrous Place at the Unity.

Northern Spirit has taken four Northern voices, including Liverpool's Luke Barnes, channelling their talents into challenging the "it's grim up North" cliche and offering four fresh and vibrant perspectives on Liverpool, Newcastle, Sheffield and Manchester.

"I've only been writing two years so it's great to be asked to be part of a project like that," says the writer, who even goes under the Twitter name of northernluke.

"I'm really excited about it.

This dispels the preconceptions and stereotypes. And it's not about The Beatles or football or cheeky chappy Scousers. For me, it was down to the docks."

The 25-year-old, who trained as an actor and is an Everyman and Playhouse writer on attachment, has had a fertile last two years since he started writing regularly.

His play, Chapel Street, was performed at London's Old Red Lion, while Bottleneck won acclaim at the High Tide Festival and Soho Theatre.

Then there was his work, Eisteddfod, at last year's Latitude Festival, while he's also had pieces in the last two Everyword festivals.

Unity audiences will get to see Dog where, haunted by a terrible event, Jonny seeks redemption and forgiveness within the midnight streets of Liverpool.

A Wondrous Place's quartet of works also features Electricity, by Sarah McDonald Hughes, What Space Between, by Alison Carr, and Matt Hartley's Porters Brook.

Chris Meads, Northern Spirit's artistic director, says: "Overwhelmingly, dramatic stories located in the north of England depict a North of the past, or emphasise social deprivation, or are about a character's need to escape to a more fulfilling life elsewhere.

"We want to present an alternative, more surprising and more inventive idea of the North to the world, led by people who are passionate about this part of the world." ? A Wondrous Place is at the Unity Theatre, Hope Place, Liverpool, from Wednesday to Saturday, at 8pm.
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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion, Column
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 13, 2013
Words:353
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