The QT

Saturday 15 June 2024

Culture digest

A round up of stories from the North East’s cultural scene which have been on our radar this week… and which we think should be on yours

Sting trumpets cinema release for Message in a Bottle film

A film of an ‘extraordinary dance show’ which is based on the music of Sting and The Police will be shown in 500 cinemas across the UK this week (May 30-June 6).

Kate Prince’s acclaimed dance theatre production, Message in a Bottle premiered at Sadler’s Well’s West End venue, The Peacock Theatre in February 2020 and has since embarked on an international tour.

Featuring songs including Every Breath You Take, Roxanne, Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, Fields of Gold and presumably its title track, new arrangements were recorded by Sting and guest artists including Olivier winner, Beverley Knight.

Last year it was announced that Sadler’s Wells and the Royal Opera House had joined forces to make a film of the production, which has the international refugee crisis at its core – for a cinematic release.

BAFTA-winning director, Marcus Viner worked with Kate Prince to capture the show.

Kate said: “Having the opportunity to film on a sound stage gave us the ability to capture each element of the show from the best possible angle, allowing the audience to truly appreciate the agility and athleticism of the dancers and draw them fully into the story.”

Set in the peaceful and but joyous village of Bebko, the story follows the fortunes of three siblings who are forced to embark on a perilous journey to survive after their beloved village comes under attack and is changed forever.

Cinemas all over the North East will be screening the film from May 30 to June 2. For details and to book tickets, visit the website.

Co-production with National Theatre to celebrate the people of Sunderland

Sunderland Culture and the Sunderland Empire are working with National Theatre to create a new Public Arts production for the city.

The project, which will celebrate the people and the music of Sunderland,  is part of the National Theatre’s Public Acts nationwide programme, which aims to create ‘extraordinary acts of theatre and community’.

Ross Millard of The Futureheads

Community members and professional artists  from the city will come together to help create and perform Public Record – a new production currently being developed by The Futureheads’ Ross Millard with director of Public Acts Emily Lim and co-director and choreographer Dan Canham.

Set in a live recording studio, audiences will see the community congregating to record a new album – a record of who they are.

Performances will take place at The Fire Station, Sunderland from April 25-27, 2025 and will feature more than 50 people from community groups.

Between now and then, weekly creative workshops will be taking place.

Ever had an idea for a feature film?

A film development programme is looking for three screenwriters from the North of England.

New Writing North have teamed up with Film4 to find a trio of people to take part in Genre Feature Lab.

Successful writers will take part in a two-day residential as well as receiving a £3k development bursary, being matched with a regional production company and receiving ongoing support from an experienced script writer.

The idea is that an early stage idea for a feature film will end up as a compelling treatment and ‘pitching deck’ ready to be presented to Film4.

Funded by the North East Combined Authority, all genres will be considered. For more information and criteria, visit the New Writing North website.

Bruce loves Sunderland

Following last week’s triumphant gig at the Stadium of Light, The Boss, Bruce Springsteen paid tribute to the people of Sunderland who turned out to see him in their tens of thousands and braved the driving rain.

Accepting a Fellowship from The Ivors Academy the day after the gig, he said: “We came out of playing Sunderland last night… hellacious weather however. 

“But standing in front of me, in the rain, I realised, these are my people.

“Now some of them are young, some of them were children and some of them weren’t. Many wore the lines on their faces of lives hard weathered and well lived. Those are my people here in the UK and I love to come and visit.”

Bruce in Sunderland

Since playing the Sunderland gig, Bruce has had to cancel some European dates due to ‘vocal issues’ after being advised to rest his voice for 10 days.

Tyneside Cinema in the market for artists 

North East artists looking to showcase and sell their work are being sought by the events team at Tyneside Cinema for an indoor market this summer.

If you’d like to be involved, email [email protected] to find out more.

Dead Girls Rising at Northern Stage this week

An ‘explosive exploration’ of what it takes to survive within the confines of a violent patriarchy is coming to Newcastle for two nights this week.

Dead Girls Rising from Hull-based theatre company, Silent Uproar bills itself as an ‘angry, joyous punk protest that doesn’t pull any punches’.

Dead Girls Rising. Credit: Grant Archer

Written by Maureen Lennon, the play, which features music and lyrics from Anya Pearson, follows the lives of murder-obsessed Katie and Hannah – catching up with them at three key moments in their life.

Exploring all the reasons women and girls learn to fear men, the production digs into themes including true crime, Greek mythology, the patriarchy and women’s safety via a furious soundtrack.

The tour comes to Northern Stage on May 31 and June 1. Visit the website for tickets.

Yarns from Hyem coming to a stage near you

A touring production which brings together four short plays from North East writers  will be hitting stages all over the region this week.

Presented by Hooley Theatre, Yarns from Hyem promises to explore love, loss and hope via a quartet of stories.

Yarns from Hyem will be told on North East stages

Supported by Arts Council England and The Cultural Spring, the four plays are:

Boxing by Charlie Prothero; Hope That A Flat Door Shuts by Claire Marie Perry; Ryan by Sarah Tarbit; and The Edge by Barbara Williams

The tour kicked off on May 29 in Jarrow, and runs until June 6. Visit the website for all dates and tickets.

Big date for Bear Park

North East up-and-comers, Bear Park have announced the long-awaited date for their debut album.

Bear Park

The band, who were signed onto Libertines’ drummer, Gary Powell’s label last year, will release their eponymous long-player on June 14.

They have a headline gig booked at The Grove in Newcastle on June 22 – sounds like it’ll be all the more memorable now!

Read Sam Wonfor’s interview with the band from earlier in the year.

Tickets for the gig are on sale here.

Don’t forget to send us your news and updates for our weekly round up from the North East culture grapevine. Email [email protected]

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