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Published 1st Apr 2011

Benjamin Likely’s Palace of Varieties leaflet artwork

Middlesbrough’s homegrown theatre company, Company TSU is set to turn The Empire into a museum of the future for two nights this week.

Benjamin Likely’s Palace of Varieties invites audiences to enter the world of a Middlesbrough resident in the year 2050, who has holed up in the Empire nightclub after an unexplained disaster, with his collection of artefacts and oddments from Middlesbrough’s history. Company TSU will guide visitors on a tour of the exhibition, from Clones and Robot Bees to the most exciting exhibit of all – a portal into iHeaven!

Developed in partnership with Writers’ Block North East, the production takes place at different locations around the Empire and involves film and music as well as live theatrical performance.

Commissioned by Middlesbrough Council, Company TSU has been set up to involve and empower young people and engage the people of Middlesbrough through creative and adventurous theatre practice.

As well as working with professional theatre artists and volunteers in, Company TSU has worked with Fairbridge to recruit company members. Fairbridge are a national charity whose work with young people in very challenging circumstances helps to provide them with the motivation, self-confidence and skills they need to change their lives.

Company TSU Director Mark Lloyd said: ‘The young people involved in Company TSU have been working hard as part of the creative team to develop material for the performance, exploring their own versions of Middlesbrough’s future and have come up with some amazing ideas!

‘We hope that through being a part of Company TSU they will not just develop theatre skills, but also communication and team-working skills as well as confidence in their own abilities.’

Show information

The production of Benjamin Likely’s Palace of Varieties takes place at the Middlesbrough Empire on Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 April with tours at 6.30pm and 8.30pm. Entry to the Palace of Varieties is free, 14+ Only, to book a place on a tour call 0191 241 3986 or email

Useful links

Company TSU group on facebook

Writers Block NE

Middlesbrough Empire

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