A theatre company with links to Hexham has won a national award.

Elysium Theatre Company has been announced as an Olwen Wymark Award-winner by the Writer’s Guild of Great Britain, for its work in supporting new writing during the pandemic.

Since March last year, the company has been forced to swap stage for screen, launching the Covid-19 Monologues last year through its YouTube channel.

One of the newest is a drama based in 17th century Northumberland. Blackmail: A Reiver Tale is written by Hexham born Steve Byron, and stars local actor Micky Cochrane.

The monologue tells the tale of a man living during the time of the Reivers who takes the law into his own hands. The story is set when Northumberland’s border with Scotland was dominated by criminal families who terrorised ordinary folk with extortion, blackmail, and murder.

Steve said: “Hexham is my hometown and the Reivers are an important part of Northumberland’s history. They were the forebearers to cowboys and gangsters.

"Being a fan of westerns and gangster films, I wanted to look at that area, while exploring the history of where I’m from.”

Micky Cochrane, who plays the main character in A Reiver Tale said: “I like the character and that’s really important. He has dignity and tries to do the best he can despite being in the face of adversity.

"I think the story resonated with me and even though it happened a long time ago it could still happen now.”

Steve is in talks with the Queen’s Hall Arts Centre in Hexham about bringing the monologue to the stage when restrictions are lifted.

Steve finished: “Reiver Story definitely isn’t over and we want to write at least four more stories to capture the heart and soul of the area.”

You can watch Blackmail: A Reiver Tale at https://youtu.be/8pKs0st6-IM