The QT

Friday 14 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

Bringing music and dance to the Fish Quay

Fishermen will be sharing North Shields Fish Quay with a troupe of contemporary dancers and musicians for a couple of weeks this summer.

Anthony Lo-Giudice’s Ghosts of England will offer a taster of a bigger touring project in 2025 that will tour nationally and internationally before returning to North Shields for its finale as part of the town’s 800th anniversary celebrations.

But between July 22 and August 2 this year, professional performers from the North East and London will use the Fish Quay jetty as a rehearsal and performance space. 

Nik Hanlon and Anthony Lo-Giudice on North Shields Fish Quay

Locals will be able to witness the creation of the piece and there will also be wraparound activities which will allow schools and community groups to get involved.

Contemporary dance artist Anthony is based in North Shields but works across the UK and Europe as a dance theatre choreographer, performer and dance tutor. He also runs North Tyneside Youth Dance.

 Ghosts of England is about what it means to be from England, seen through the eyes of people who were born here and those who have come to call it home. 

It also explores what maritime communities in far-flung places have in common, in terms of their folklore, spirit and way of life.

The work is supported by the North Shields Cultural Quarter Projects and Events Fund.

North East photographer to capture General Election 2024

Joanne Coates has been named as Parliament’s official Election Artist for the 2024 General Election. 

The North East artist and photographer will observe the 2024 General Election and produce a unique work of art in response to her experience of the campaign.

Currently exhibiting at BALTIC in Gateshead – and also the subject of last week’s My life through a lens feature at The QT – Joanne is known for her work exploring rurality and stories which question power, identity and locality.

Joanne Coates is Parliament’s official Election Artist for the 2024 General Election.  © Jack Moyse

For this assignment, she will capture the unsung stories of everyday people behind the election in places across the country through photography and video.

 Speaking of her appointment, Joanne said: “The arts are a vital part of telling the stories behind key moments and the lives of local people, so I’m thrilled to be appointed as the Election Artist 2024. 

 “I aim to cover the election over 30 days, travelling across the UK, attending speeches, marches, key fringe campaign events and rural canvassing along the election trail to produce artwork that will focus on portraiture, key details of place and hints of election paraphernalia.”

Since 2001, the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art has commissioned an artist to follow and document each General Election, creating a unique permanent artwork for Parliament.

 Previous artists have included Turner Prize nominee Cornelia Parker and portraitist Jonathan Yeo.

Kynren volunteers celebrated at special picnic

The army of people who make epic outdoor spectacular, Kynren possible came together last week to celebrate their contribution to the County Durham attraction.

Timed to coincide with Volunteers’ Week, Kynren organisers hosted a picnic for the 1,000+ volunteers who make up the vast majority of the cast and crew which put on the popular performances across a seven-and-a-half-acre outdoor stage each summer.

With outdoor games, craft competitions and live music, volunteers of all ages enjoyed a much-needed afternoon off on the set in Bishop Auckland before the live shows begin at the end of July.

Kynren voilunteers get together ahead of a busy summer

 Anna Warnecke, CEO of Kynren, said: “Our production and ability to tell the tale of England’s history on such a large scale wouldn’t be possible without our amazing volunteers devoting their time and passion to Kynren. We’re so grateful to them.”

 Wendy Wilshere, head of volunteer casting and engagement at Kynren, believes the celebration of volunteers will also create the opportunity for a stronger cast and crew during the 2024 season. 

 Wendy said: “We call our volunteers Archers as a nod to the charity 11Arches which hosts Kynren, and the Archers picnic was a wonderful way to introduce teams of volunteers involved in Kynren that may not meet otherwise.” 

From Boudicca’s battles with the Romans to two world wars, via Vikings, Tudors, Stuarts, Queen Victoria and the Industrial Revolution, Kynren is performed in front of 8,000 people every weekend throughout its run.

This year’s performances, which start at sunset and end in starlight and will be taking place every Saturday night from July 27 to September 14.

For further information and to book tickets, visit

Beamish Museum’s big screen gets its first sponsor

The 1950s Cinema at Beamish Museum has won its first business supporter.

Property development and energy company, the Banks Group, has become the first business to sponsor a seat in the 1950s cinema being recreated at Beamish, The Living Museum of the North.

The County Durham open air museum has built a recreation of the Grand, from Ryhope in Sunderland, as part of its 1950s Town and both individuals and businesses are being invited to sponsor a cinema seat as part of the Take a Seat campaign.

The Banks Group has become the first business to sponsor a seat in Beamish Museum’s 1950s cinema

Those who Take a Seat receive a brass plaque on the back of the seat with their name engraved on it, as well as an invitation to a special celebration event.

Banks is a long-term supporter of Beamish, with a £10,000 grant from the Banks Community Fund supporting the museum’s recreation of the celebrated North East

artist Norman Cornish’s Spennymoor home, and a £20,000 grant aiding the construction of a replica of the Coundon and Leeholme Community Centre.

The cinema is being built as part of the Remaking Beamish project, the biggest development in the museum’s history which includes a 1950s Town, 1950s Spain’s Field Farm and expansion of the Georgian landscape, including self-catering accommodation and a Drovers Tavern and pottery.

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