The QT

Friday 19 July 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

Cultural partnership announced

Northumbria University has unveiled new partnerships with Live Theatre and Tyne and Wear Museums, to ‘cement the region’s reputation for excellence in the cultural and creative industries’.

The partnerships will support new research addressing some of the key challenges of our times; ‘linking culture and creativity to health and wellbeing, and exploring the benefits of participation in the arts by young people from more diverse backgrounds’.

It is hoped that the new relationships will also open up real-world learning opportunities for students in subjects ranging from creative writing and theatre, through to occupational therapy and early years education.

The new partnerships strengthen Northumbria’s already successful  co-working track record, which features New Writing North, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and the British Film Institute (BFI).

L to R: Live Theatre’s Jacqui Kell, Northumbria University’s Neil Percival, and TWAM’s Keith Merrin.

Neil Percival, director of cultural partnerships at Northumbria, said: “These partnerships bring particular opportunities to explore the ways in which culture and heritage play a part in supporting health, wellbeing and social care; and to understand how young people from all backgrounds can be drawn into creative activity, such as theatre and performance, to boost their aspirations and broaden their choices.

“We are also developing plans with all our partners to collaborate on outreach activities – looking for new ways to tell the region’s stories and bring creative opportunities to more young people from all ages and backgrounds.”

Executive director and joint CEO of Live Theatre, Jacqui Kell said: “Live Theatre has had a relationship with Northumbria University for some time, but we are thrilled this has been formally recognised.

“We share a commitment that everyone should have access to the best possible creative opportunities whether as a career, to build skills and confidence or enhance quality of life.

“We look forward to working with the university on research opportunities as well as being involved in teaching and learning and broadening student’s perspectives.”

Keith Merrin, director of TWAM, added: “We welcome the resource and capacity this partnership will bring to help us demonstrate the power of the collections we hold, and the stories they tell, to make a positive difference to people’s lives.”

Dreams come true for Gabrielle fans in Durham

Durham Cathedral will welcome inimitable singer, Garbrielle for a Live at the Cathedral concert this summer.

Gabrielle will play in the North East landmark’s stunning surroundings on July 20.

Gabrielle will be live in Durham Cathedral

Having just released a new album, A Place in Your Heart last month (May), it’s fair to assume there will be many new songs performed alongside classics such as Rise, Going Nowhere and – of course – Dreams, which topped the charts in 1993.

Tickets for the Durham Cathedral show are available from the website. 

There’s nowt as arty as Folk

An exhibition of People’s Art opens at National Glass Centre in Sunderland this weekend (June 29), celebrating art created by unnamed artists for use in everyday life.

Objects referred to as ‘Popular Art’ or ‘Folk Art’ existed outside art galleries: in homes and workplaces, often serving a purpose first and were beautiful in addition to being functional.

For the exhibition, National Glass Centre has commissioned five contemporary artists to respond to selected objects from the Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park in Warwickshire and from a private collection in Wales.

The People’s Art exhibition at National Glass Centre

Ingrid Murphy, Zac Weinberg, Liaqat Rasul, Julia Griffiths and Francisca Onumah are all well-known and respected in their own fields of work, and come from different artistic disciplines.

Seb Trend, exhibitions officer at National Glass Centre, explained: “The objects reflect our economic and social history on an industrial, social and domestic level and they are often remarkably well made which is evidenced by their survival during decades of constant use.

“Despite the historic and aesthetic significance of these objects we rarely ask, ‘Who was the artist?’ or consider their importance within the history of art and design. The name of the exhibition is inspired by Emmanuel Cooper’s book People’s Art: Working Class Art from 1750 to the Present Day (1991).

“The newly commissioned works are shown alongside the loans, encouraging the viewer to think about the principles we apply when considering the value of art.”

This weekend, there will be a People’s Art: Family Weekend, including a variety of family activities, meanwhile the free exhibition will run to December 1. For more information, visit the National Glass Centre website.

Wave of nostalgia set to dance onto Tyneside

The North East is preparing for a taste of the White Isle later this year after Classic Ibiza booked a September date at Gateshead Stadium.

Featuring a 32-piece orchestra accompanied by a string of DJs and vocalists, the concert event promises to re imagine some absolute dance floor bangers from the past 30 years including  Insomnia, Sandstorm, Levels and Born Slippy.

Classic Ibiza is coming to Gateshead

A festival atmosphere with stalls, roaming entertainment, street food and more glitter than you can shake a disco ball at, is also on the menu along with TBC support acts.

Classic Ibiza will take over Gateshead Stadium on September 27. Tickets are available from the website.

Marty and Frankie to play their part for Sunderland

Sunderland’s tuneful quest to achieve Music City status came a step closer this week as two of the city’s well-known musicians signed on as official Music Officers.

Marty Longstaff (The Lake Poets) and Frankie Francis (Frankie and the Heartstrings) will become the main points of contact for the music community and play leading roles in achieving the ambition to become an internationally-recognised Music City.

Marty will focus on talent development across all musical genres, working with citywide educational organisations, and national organisations and programmes to develop latent and emerging talent on Wearside.

Frankie Francis (left) and Marty Longstaff are Music Officers for Sunderland

Frankie will focus more on spreading the word about Sunderland’s ambition to be a Music City. Working with Marty he’ll help develop a series of music gigs, concerts and events, building on what is already a growing musical programme in the city.

Marty, who has been working in music education as a music teacher for ten years, said: “My role is not only to engage and communicate with the university, college and schools in the city, but to create wider national connections too.

“We’re not as well connected as we could be and we want to ensure that all young people across the city are aware of the progression routes available to them to best help develop their careers in Sunderland.”

Frankie added: “Our ambition is for Sunderland to be a place where you can grow your talent as a musician and as a music fan somewhere you can go to a great gig every week. We want to celebrate and promote what we already have, but we also want to grow and build our infrastructure and have a more joined up approach than already exists.

“I know from working in the industry and touring with the band that Sunderland is seen as a city that loves and celebrates music and we need to build on that.” 

Dance ensemble cut into two North East fringe programmes

The Dora Frankel Ensemble has booked dates at Fringe festivals in both Newcastle and Durham next month (July).

Billed as an ‘immersive’ and ‘spine-tingling’ performance, Fragments of Poe is inspired by some of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories such as The Man of the Crowd, The Strange Case of M. Waldemar and The Descent into the Maelstrom.

Giacomo Pini performs in Fragments of Poe. Credit: Luke Waddington

Audiences will find dancers Giacomo Pini and Zara Sands inhabiting a strange world, featuring unsettling choreography from Dora Frankel, costumes by Kate Collins and music by Roma Yagnik. 

The work is also site specific, so will be slightly different in each location.

Fragments of Poe will be performed at the Durham Fringe on July 25 and 26 and at the Newcastle Fringe on July 27. Tickets and venue details on the respective websites.

European masterpieces on display in Bishop Auckland

A summer exhibition at the Bishop Trevor Gallery in Auckland Castle will bring together rarely seen paintings by a string of European masters.

From July 6, paintings by Dutch and Flemish masters such as Rembrandt, David Teniers and Paulus Potter will feature alongside Spanish, French and Italian works in The European Masterpieces – an exhibition that spotlights the connections between artistic communities across the continent in the seventeenth century. 

Andrea Belvedere, Still Life with Flowers, Fruit, Cardoons and a Gecko in the foreground.

“In an age before modern technology and modern transport, it is easy to assume that artists worked in isolation from their counterparts in the rest of Europe,” says Clare Baron, head of curatorial at The Auckland Project. 

“The reality was very different. The most successful artists of the seventeenth century were well travelled, moving between cities and across borders to seek work or fulfil commissions for powerful patrons. And if they could not travel themselves, artists exchanged ideas through prints, books, and letters.” 

The European Masterpieces exhibition runs from July 6 to October 6. For more information, visit The Auckland Project website.

Tickets on sale for The Alnwick Garden’s Christmas Light trail

While some of us still don’t know what we’re doing for our summer holidays, The Alnwick Garden is already unveiling its Christmas plans.

Tickets have gone on sale for the popular Northumberland venue’s Winter Light Trail, which offer visitors a festive chance to sample the Garden as well as the relatively new family attraction, Lilidorei.

Now in its sixth year, the trail will run from November 18 to January 1, with sell out crowds expected as per.

New installations will light up alongside ‘old favourites’ while there will also be many opportunities to indulge in a seasonal tipple and accompanying snacks.

Tickets go on sale today (June 27) from The Alnwick Garden Website.

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