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CaroleW Productions, with support from Newcastle Theatre Royal, presents 

Written by Janet Plater

Direction - Christina Berriman Dawson
Composer - Wilf Stone
Design Consultant - Lee Ward

1854. Actresses Emily and Fanny excitedly await the arrival of Julia St George, star of the Victorian stage, as she returns from London to her hometown to tread the boards at Newcastle Theatre Royal. Full of dreams, aspirations and the odd secret, Limelight explores life backstage, set against a dramatic night in the city’s history.

Brimming with humour and humanity, Limelight is based on the career of Julia St George, a real-life star of the stage. This new production, performed with songs from the time, promises to capture hearts and minds and transport audiences to the Victorian era for a night of feel-good entertainment.

Suitability: 12+
Duration: Approx. 2 hours, including interval

Tour Dates & Venues:


  • "Charming, relatable and polished, Janet Plater’s Limelight is a wonderful piece of theatre, engaging a nostalgic tone throughout (yes, Newcastle is definitely better than London). Yet it delivers well beyond that, with a charismatic cast providing the engine to a Newcastle centred chassis." NARC Magazine   

  • "Rebecca Withers is the worldly Julia, Dayna Dixon the pragmatic Emily and Caitlain Fairlamb the infectiously enthusiastic Fanny. Together they sparkle and seem strong; individually their vulnerabilities emerge through their relationships with men. You laugh with them, you root for them, you ache for them." The QT

  • "Limelight was an entertaining show that I can warmly recommend. Three talented actors help make the characters relatable. The mixture of funny moments and harsh reality checks gives the story texture." North East Theatre Guide

  • "This is a fast-paced script, well directed with good movement and great songs. Plater’s knowledge of local history is formidable, and there’s a strong sense of camaraderie and shared dreams. Real people and places fill the script, creating a wonderful backdrop of late 19th century Newcastle and women’s position in it." The British Theatre Guide

  • "The wonderful interplay between the three characters and their harmonious singing is a joy... This is a well directed piece by Christina Berriman Dawson creating an intimate atmosphere with three shining North East stars on stage." The Reviews Hub

  • "These women are people you’d root for, and it’s a pleasure to spend the time in their company." Tracey Sinclair

Previews & Interviews:

  • Dave Whetstone discovered playwright Janet Plater's motivation to create great roles for actresses in Limelight. Find out more at The QT online

  • Listen to producer Carole Wears as she chatted to Radio Tyneside about the play this Easter

  • Find out more about Limelight in this preview from North East Theatre Guide

  • Laura Doyle spoke to Janet Plater about how she came to uncover the inner-workings of Victorian theatrical life for April's edition of NARC Magazine

  • Find out more about Limelight when our producer Carole Wears chatted to Pete Woods from Hexham TV about the play

  • Listen as playwright Janet Plater chatted to Anna Foster at BBC Radio Newcastle about her new play Limelight.

  • Hidden Highgate shines a light on the life of Julia St George, a real-life star of the Victorian stage.

The Creative Team
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Janet Plater, Writer

Janet first came across Julia St George in a book she was reading (about George Stephenson - whom she has also written a play about) and was fascinated to learn that this young woman, who was born on Broad Chare on Newcastle's quayside, had become such a big star. After working at Newcastle Theatre Royal, she left for London, performing at Sadlers Wells and all over the country. She was incredibly famous and would occasionally return to Newcastle for a guest appearance, which she thought was a brilliant starting point for a story.

Janet's writing credits inclue Haddock & Chips (CaroleW Productions / Tour / The Customs House), The Gaul and Hull and High Water (Hull Truck Theatre), Hull's Angel (Karomah / Alphabetti Theatre), Stephenson 200, a community play about George Stephenson (North Tyneside), Shoes, Camden Carter, Natalie and the Eclipse (Alphabetti Theatre), The Dolls House Project (Vault Festival London), One Small Globe (Elysium Theatre) Jesting About (BBC Radio) and Georgiana (Buxton International Opera Festival, which won Outstanding Achievement in Opera at the British Theatre Awards).   

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Christina Berriman Dawson, Director

Christina is delighted to be directing Limelight at Newcastle Theatre Royal, having become a firm favourite cast member of their Pantomime in recent years. Christina's recent directing credits include Grown Up Writing at The Customs House, and she has directed for 18 years at Stage Tynemouth. Her recent writing credits include This is Makina, a Boundless Theatre and The Customs House co-production, and Come to Where I Am, a Paines Plough and Open Clasp co-production.

Acting credits include: Most recently part of the Royal Shakespeare Company's 37 Plays (Northern Stage), Alwen in The Odyssey (National Theatre / Fire Station), Heather in The Wasp and appeared as Louise in The Hunt for Raoul Moat (ITV). Her other credits include Gaze (Northern Stage), Art of Facing Fear (Theatre Os Satyros), Credit (Cap-a-Pie), Sugar (Open Clasp / iPlayer) Goldilocks & The Three Bears, Cinderella and Pinocchio (Crossroads - Newcsatle Theatre Royal), Under Milk Wood (Northern Stage), Rattlesnake (Open Clasp), Beyond The End of The Road (November Club - Tou / SAGE), Key Change (New York Theatre workshop, off Broadway and UK National Tour & live streaming Space / BBC), 5 Dead Nobody's (The Customs House), Clothes Swap Theatre Party (Forward Theatre / Derby Playhouse), Dolly Mixtures (The Customs House), Make Do and Mend performed at European Parliament, From There to You, From Here to Me (Odd Man Out), Turning Pages (Live Theatre), Season Ticket R&D (Northern Stage), Price, Queen & Dandini (Tyne Theatre), The Frights (Alphabetti Theatre / Theatre N16 London), Hull's Angel (Ensemble 52), Gaslight On Grey Street (Newcastle Theatre Royal Studio), Pied Piper Project & Cautionary Tales From The Trenches (November Club), Flock (Zendeh), Dick in Dick Whittington and Aladdin in Aladdin (Barnsley Lamproom Theatre), The Selkie (Sage Gateshead), The Bodies (Live Theatre), Nowt To Look At (BBC Radio Drama), George Gently (BBC) and feature film The Magdalene Sisters.

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Wilf Stone, Composer

Wilf is an actor/musician, performer and multi-instrumentalist. He has performed in and composed for various productions over the last decade. Recent theatre credits include Tree (The Worriers), Fat Chance (Rachel Stockdale), Reiver (Elysium Theatre Company) and Song of the Goblins (Alphabetti Theatre). He has toured China, Europe, and the UK extensively, both with bands and as a solo musician. Recent local gigs include Sage Gateshead (solo), The Cluny (band - WOLFRED) and Northern Kin Festival (band - WOLFRED).


Lee Ward, Design Consultant

Acting as a design consultant and assisted by his level 4 Production Design for Stage & Screen students, Lee has been working alongside director Christina and production/stage manager Gareth to help create an intimate Victorian era set for Limelight.

Lee and the students analysed the script, generated ideas and came up with designs to create a practical set that brings with it atmosphere and dynamic staging, ideal for a touring show like this one. For Lee the Limelight project is an important collaboration between CaroleW Productions and The Northern School of Art. By giving the students the chance to work on an impactful locally produced theatre production they are gaining vital experience, developing their professional skills and building up industry contacts that will give them a head start after graduating.

Lee is a dedicated production designer from Middlesbrough who has proven his skills and creativity across over 20 diverse productions since graduating from university in 2021. Although based in the North East of England, Lee's passion for his craft sees him working on projects across the country. Whether it's a screen, stage or immersive commercial installation/theatre project. Proficient in all stages of the creative process of making beautiful sets, Lee often sees through projects from design to installation. His practical and creative abilities help him adapt to and excel in various design challenges, using his keen eye for detail and understanding of visual communication to bring stories to life. Lee is currently working as a lecturer at The Northern School of Art.

The Cast
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Rebecca Withers as Julia St George

Rebecca is a South Shields lass, and despite moving to the 'big smoke' in 2013, her heart is always in the North East. Relishing any opportunity to perform at home, Rebecca is keen to start work on this brilliant piece and bring a local legend to life - and hopefully do her justice. Rebecca
trained at The London School of Musical Theatre.

Credits include: Lead Vocalist (Viking Ocean Cruises); Ensemble/Swing in Robin Hood's Adventures in Cooksonville (The Customs House); Alto Cover in The Comedy of Errors (Royal Shakespeare Company, Barbican Centre); Kate Monster/Lucy the Slut in Avenue Q (The Old Joint Stock Theatre); Ensemble/Swing in Friendsical (UK Tour and Edinburgh Fringe); Buttons in Cinders the Adult Panto (Guilford Fringe Theatre Company); Ensemble in The Hired Man (Union Theatre); Mia in Little Baby Bum Live (UK Tour); Velma Dinkley in Scooby-Doo Live! Musical Mysteries (London Palladium and UK and Ireland Tour).

TV credits include: Morrisons Valentines Day Advert, 2024.

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Caitlin Fairlamb as Fanny

Caitlin was born in Newcastle and grew up in Northumberland. She graduated during the pandemic from Northumbria University where she studied Drama: Acting and Performance, then graduated a second time during the pandemic (2021) from Project A at Newcastle Theatre Royal.

Caitlin feels very lucky to be performing in the place she trained and helping to tell these amazing woman's stories.

Theatre credits include: Aladdin (The Customs House); The Taxi Driver's Daughter (Live Theatre); Headgirl (Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Live Theatre Scratch Night, Durham Fringe); Knot (The Exchange, North Shields)

Film credits include: Bet on Dwight (Feature Film, Terabithia Pictures), Abduction, The Perfect Date (Short Films, Terabithia Pictures).

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Dayna Dixon as Miss Emily Saunders

Dayna is a talented actress, originally from the North East. She started her career at the age of nine when she moved to London to star in Billy Elliot the Musical. Since then, Dayna has performed in various West End shows, including Matilda and Bugsy Malone.

After graduating from The Urdang Academy, she turned her hand to screen work. Recently having appeared in Virginia Gilbert's Reawakening alongside Jared Harris and Juliet Stevenson. Now, Dayna is returning to her roots, set to play the role of Miss Emily Saunders in Janet Plater's Limelight.

Theatre credits include: Billy Elliot the Musical (Working Title), Matilda the Musical (Royal Shakespeare Society), Bugsy Malone (Lyric Theatre Hammersmith).

TV and film credits: Eastenders Christmas Special 2022 (BBC), Vera, Series 13 (ITV), The Dumping Ground, Series 13 (BBC), Reawakening (Rustle Up Productions).

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