Coracle in partnership with Alphabetti Theatre,
supported by Arts Council England present


A new play by Lizi Patch

directed by Matt Jamie

with response pieces from

Allison Davies & Claire Tustin


Degna Stone

Beccy Owen



and podcast radio plays by

Draycott & Trimm


Wendy Errington

18 - 29 June 2019
at Alphabetti Theatre
Newcastle Upon Tyne


A darkly funny new play by Lizi Patch about two people, struggling to stay afloat as the past threatens to sink their future. 

"In the eyes of evolution I am now a pointless person." 

As Steph hits the menopause, she feels she is becoming a bystander in her own bewildering decline.  Her partner Sam plans a surprise weekend away for her 50th birthday, but their determined idyll is ripped away by the arrival of a surprise visitor...

"I'm slipping away and I don't know what to do..."

 "High-quality and thought-provoking"

Manchester Theatre Awards on Punching the Sky by Lizi Patch

“An excellent, clever production...

sensitive and honest”

Dawn Smallwood Blog on Punching the Sky by Lizi Patch


Tuesday - Friday performances of Down to Zero were followed by the response pieces:

And following on 12 JULY:

we finished with a rehearsed reading of nine new short plays produced during a writing workshop run alongside the production


Production Notes: Women in Theatre

​For this production Coracle chose to produce a selection of work by women over the age of 40 - a group underrepresented in the world of theatre.


"Writing plays is, on the whole, a young person's art, and the young are mostly interested in themselves"

 Lynn Gardener, 2009  (link).  


Work by women playwrights made up only 8% of staged productions in 2014 (research by Tonic Theatre) - and the first play written by a woman to appear on stage at the National Theatre was in 2008.  And the National have come under fire in 2019 for their announcement of a season which has only male writers and directors, despite a 'commitment' to changing the balance (you can follow the twitter thread here)


"It is somehow harder for people to embrace a play written by a woman, whatever its quality. There is something slightly unseemly about filling stages with our voices, whereas men have a sense of filling Chekhov's or Ibsen's shoes. The woman who raises her voice becomes shrill and hectoring; the man becomes authoritative"

(Zinnie Harris) (link)


“I think older women are regarded as not valuable, they’ve always been thought of in that way, as something to laugh at.”

(Marianne Elliott). (link)


As an underrepresented demographic both on & off stage we felt this would be an important challenge to people’s perceptions. Not just in terms of the visibility of 'older' female characters on stage, but also in terms of writers and creatives in this demographic having their work produced.

Some links:

8 Facts about women in theatre

Does the National Theatre have a problem with women?

Women in theatre: why do so few make it to the top?

Women are being excluded from the stage. It’s time for quotas

The Guardian view on women in theatre: a leading role please, not just a bit part

The best stage roles for older women

Arabella Arnott



Brian Lonsdale



Samantha Neale



Directed by

Matt Jamie

Designed by

Molly Barrett

Stage Manager

Chloe Ribbens


Melanie Rashbrooke



by Allison Davies

music by Claire Tustin

Directed by Karen Traynor..

Performed by 

Claire Tustin

Tue 18th,

Wed 19th,

Wed 26th and

Fri 28th June

Life is a circle, and we go spinning and spinning and spinning. 

Jem tells her story, as her hands bleed, her heart aches and she fights to hold on to the fragments of her life. If only she could hear the sky singing above her...


A short play with music. 

THE SKY SINGS performs after DOWN TO ZERO on the dates above.



written and performed by

Degna Stone


Thur 20th,

Fri 21st, 

Tue 25th and

Thurs 27th June


Half-way through life and the answer to most questions always seems to be the same.

Should I stop drinking through the week? Will I feel better if I exercise?

Is the planet really f@*ked?

Maybe I’m asking the wrong questions.

Degna Stone is a poet from Gateshead. She’s been writing poems for more than ten years now and hopes she’s getting good at it.


PROBABLY performs the same nights as FANNY MAGNET in a double bill after DOWN TO ZERO. 


written and performed by

Beccy Owen

(musician, theatre-maker)

Thur 20th,

Fri 21st, 

Tue 25th and

Thurs 27th June


'Fanny Magnet' is an uplifting and wry imagining of what it would be like if women didn’t have to endure the invisibility of a “civilised” menopause. In this fantasy, all menopausal women across the world - hereby known as The Ones Who Are All - are invited to spend time in their local Sanctuary of Chaos and Peace. 


These lovingly built spaces are devoted to providing The Ones Who Are All with various types of support, ritual, refuge and a prevailing sense of deep (ir)reverence as they go through The Fires of Change. ’Get real, snowflake! Where’s the money for that kinda programme gonna come from?’ Fear not, chaos choir member…that’s where you come in…

FANNY MAGNET performs the same nights as PROBABLY in a double bill after DOWN TO ZERO

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