The trip to Barcelona fed into Julia’s concern about rapid changes to Newcastle along with prospective over-development. She was particularly unsettled by the proposed (and finally shelved) Wimpey Tower Block on the quayside, which she discussed in an interview with The Journal’s Culture. Julia had often written of her love for the city, describing Newcastle in her blog as a ‘bouncy young person.’ She advocated viewing it ‘holistically’ and wrote various manifestos for Newcastle, including the poem A Short Manifesto for My City, which closes:
Julia’s manifesto poems were performed at Flying Homages, a cabaret night featuring actors and musicians, including Colin Teevan, which was held at the Newcastle Playhouse. After the event Julia wrote in her blog: ‘I recommend writing ones own manifesto. Like new blood, it quite fires one up, and makes one feel like charging into the streets.’ From these poems Julia developed her love letter to Newcastle, A Manifesto for a New City. In this full-length musical play, Julia imagined what Newcastle would be like if the property developers were overthrown by artists, who “make a city of creativity…(with) soup and apples for tea.” The show was a chance to reflect on a city going through a phase of major development and Julia intended it to be a ‘bit of a stirrer.’ It closes with the song Loving Itself:
A Manifesto for a New City toured in 2005 when the Newcastle Playhouse was closed during its transformation into Northern Stage. Premiering at the Queen’s Hall, Hexham, it was well received and in a review for British Theatre Guide, Peter Lathan wrote: ‘No time is wasted: there’s no padding. It retains its wit and razor-sharp observation of human foibles.’
In 2015, Northern Stage commemorated the tenth anniversary of Julia’s death with a new production titled Manifesto for a New City. Directed by Emma Roxburgh, the show demonstrated the universality of Julia’s themes, displaying her ingenious lyrics to full advantage.