Durham Art School graduate promotes Northern talent in new theater company

Joseph Caslin

Proposed by Rachel Smith

A Northern School of Art graduate has set up a theater company to promote Northern talent – and they’re set to take the stage at the Durham Fringe Festival.

Joseph Casling, from Durham, who just graduated with a BA (Honours) in Performing for Stage and Screen and won the ARC Award for Best Solo Show, created ‘Trip Up North’ with other graduates in theater.

The company’s first production, ‘Stole the Show’, a wacky ‘play-in-a-room’ comedy, about a thief who stumbles upon an amateur tale of The Legend of King Arthur, premieres at the Durham Fringe Festival July 26-31 .

Joseph said, “All of us at Trip Up North are from the north and we want to showcase the northern region and northern talent.”

“Stole the Show is written by one of the founders of Trip Up North, Connor Dorian, and another of our founders Rhiannon McMahon plays a major role.”

The New College, Durham alumnus added that it was Trip Up North’s fourth member, Dom Martin, who persuaded him to enroll at The Northern School of Art.

Stealing the Show Poster

“He suggested the school to me after he had done his first year. After meeting the course leader and hearing about the course, I knew it was what I needed and I saw myself studying here, which I couldn’t do anywhere else I visited.

Joseph is also awaiting information on funding from the Arts Council so he can further develop “Conked Out”, the play for which he won the ARC award.

One of the judges for the award, Daniel Mitchelson, a programmer at ARC Stockton Arts Centre, said of the piece, “We think they’ve found a really accessible, fun and smart way to talk about serious issues. I also thought they did a great job of performance. It was a really nice and moving piece.

Joseph said: “Winning the award was an incredible feeling. Many thanks to the Northern School of Art and ARC Stockton for supporting me and helping me grow during my three years here.

“My favorite memory at the Northern School of Art was probably attending the Northern Film Festival at ARC Stockton. It was amazing to see the collaboration across all classes come together in one fantastic movie night.”

Joseph is progressing with his drama studies and enrolling in the MA in Directing and Theater Creation at the Northern School of Art in September.

Thinking back to his time as an undergraduate, he has some advice for new undergrads: “‘The shy kids are coming now,’ everyone at the Northern School of Art is lovely and dying of want to help, get involved as much as you can, you won’t regret it.”

To book tickets for Stole the Show at the Durham Fringe Festival from July 26-31, 2022, visit.


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Kayleen C. Rice