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About Us

Canny Craic Theatre Company based in South Tyneside is managed by Ken Reay (previously with Lobster Productions and Bede Productions) and Val McGregor (previously with Bede Productions).
dsc_4213Ken’s credits include writing and producing Dangle in the Dust (Customs House and Edinburgh Fringe, 2001, Touring 34 Rugby Clubs in 2005, 2006), sponsored by Arts Council England.  Master Key (Customs House in 2002), The Butcher’s Bill (Customs House in 2006), To Create a Hevvurn (Carr Ellison Park in 2010), sponsored by Arts Council England, Siemens, Carillion and South Tyneside Council CAF fund.  Bede: Out of the Darkness (Bede’s World Museum in 2011) sponsored by Heritage Lottery Fund, Barbours Foundation and Bede’s World Museum.  Ken has also had two short stories broadcast on BBC Radio 4. His novel Hot and Godless Days is on Amazon Kindle books – but can be downloaded onto any ‘reader device’ a tablet, P.C. or phone.

With Tom Kelly, Ken has written Jarrow Hall Marks 1987 (Bede’s World), Something Like Love 1989 (The Live Theatre), Security for Life 1990 (The Live Theatre) and The Machine Gunners musical, with music by John Miles 1998 (Assembly Rooms Edinburgh) and 2010 (Customs House).  He has also written five full length Murder Mysteries – written and performed for specific venues.
961o0951Val McGregor, co-produced To Create A Hevvurn and Bede Out of The Darkness and, as a writer, has had two short plays performed at The Live Theatre: The Picnic Blanket 2009 and Martin’s Friend 2011.  Her short The Rush was performed at The Little Theatre Cleadon 2016.

Together Ken and Val have produced Freeborn John 2015, a historical piece written by Ken about John Lilburne of Sunderland who believed in equality for all, a democratic government and freedom from oppression.  They have recently written and produced The Wild Lassie 2016 with Emily Wilding Davison as the main character in a struggle for Women’s Suffrage.  By using accurate information, humour and at times true horror stories of their struggle audiences were invited to ask the characters questions about their lives and struggle which encouraged debate.  Both pieces were sponsored by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Barbour Foundation.

Previously, as a full time lecturer, Ken gained a wealth of experience in a range of subjects including 14 years in Teacher Training.  Val has also worked as an adult tutor and trainer in IT, Administration and Management.

The company’s training activities have included working with youth training organisations, apprentices, schools, colleges, work based training providers, older people’s groups, training the trainers, and last but definitely not least Management and Communication Skills.  In all over 75 pieces have been created as bespoke training days for a range of organisations.

Ken Reay

Ken Reay

Tel no: 07951092115

I’ve been a successful professional writer for 30 years and combined this with 34 years as a lecturer at South Tyneside College in English and Teacher Training.  In 2007 I took early retirement from the college to work full time in training and staff development. I particularly like changing people’s attitudes to Equality, Diversity and Safeguarding – and I love good craic!

Val McGregor

Val McGregor

Tel no: 07963493846

I’ve had more than forty year’s experience of Business and Administration.  Fifteen years ago I decided to complete a degree in Education and Training, during and following which I was employed part-time to teach IT, train administration students and teach a pilot reading scheme to SEN pupils.  My love of drama and writing is equal to my love of helping people to understand their needs, gain new knowledge and methods of accomplishing their goals.  I love to hear someone say “Oh now I understand.”  – and the craic makes it all worthwhile.

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Find out what we do

Find out more about what we do at Canny Craic

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What have you learnt from this training session?

“I believe that my knowledge of the topic areas were good so it not only provided some reinforcement but actually brought the topics to life.  The fact that the scenarios were real life cases from this part of the country really helped hammer the message home…”

“I found that it was a great way to learn about topics of importance and that it should be used for other topic areas in the future.”

“Really hit home about the subjects and how it should be handled and the likely issues if not handled correctly.”


Suggestions for future E&D and Safeguarding Training

“Don’t think this could be topped to be honest.”

“Adopt this style of presentation.”

“Same again.”


Additional Comments

“Theatrical elements were hard hitting, powerful and insightful.”

“I thoroughly enjoyed the session and made a change from the usual being talked to and case studies.  We all have different learning styles and following a set format all the time does not meet everyone’s needs.  In order to make subject high on everyone’s agenda more creative sessions like this one would be great.”

“Best training I’ve been to so far, wasn’t boring.”

Blue Triangle