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
culture collage
culture collage

Annual blast of brass to signal festival’s return

Durham Brass Festival begins in traditionally rousing style tomorrow (Friday, July 5) with a gig in the cathedral featuring Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) and the NASUWT Riverside Band.

The former, marking 40 years since the miners’ strike, will perform their hit album, Every Valley.

It’s a sell-out but the music will be free over the weekend as bands from across the UK contribute to Streets of Brass, performing outdoors in the city centre.

Public Service Broadcasting

They will come together in Wharton Park from 5pm on Saturday (July 6) for Party in the Park and again in the Market Place for a finale on Sunday at 4.30pm.

But the festival runs until Saturday, July 13, coinciding with the annual Durham Miners’ Gala.

You’ll find details on the festival website of gigs in the Gala Theatre, Durham Town Hall and at 10 outdoor locations across the county as part of Big and Little Brass Bashes.

Sculpture prize winner announced in Newcastle

There was a good turnout for the opening of the biennial New Light Art Prize Exhibition at The Biscuit Factory, Newcastle, the fourth of its five tour venues, with artists and art lovers mingling.

New Light was established 15 years ago to address a perceived lack of opportunities for artists in the North, especially those using what it calls traditional media.

This year’s exhibition opened in September at the Williamson Art Gallery and Museum in Birkenhead. It runs at The Biscuit Factory until September 22 before moving to its final destination, Harrogate’s Mercer Art Gallery.

Brian Shields’ winning sculpture

The selected artworks, with prize-winners, include paintings, prints and textile works but there’s a departure this year from the original stipulation that all exhibits must be wall-mounted.

The inaugural sculpture prize, sponsored by The Biscuit Factory, was announced in Newcastle with the £1,000 going to Cumbria-based Brian Shields, a devotee of the poet John Clare, for his diminutive yet poignant Fallen (John Clare, poet).

He wasn’t present but Wendy Galloway had travelled up from Scarborough to see her wonderfully eccentric creation, Squirrlus scurrilous Britanicus Nutkin, on display in The Biscuit Factory.

DJ Shadow to get a hip hop Tyneside welcome

The influential American DJ and producer Shadow (aka Josh Davis, though not to his many fans) looks set to pack the big hall at The Glasshouse on July 13, the latest in the venue’s Innovators performance strand.

It’s the biggest gig of this year’s celebration of hip hop on Tyneside which takes place from July 10 to 14 at various venues and goes under the name The Bridge 4 — Lost Arts Hip Hop Festival.

DJ Shadow

DJ Shadow will be supported by Holly (Miguel Oliveira) but before then, on The Glasshouse concourse, fans can enjoy a pre-show featuring DJ Specifik and lyricists Holly Flo Lightly and Dan Swift, a Tynesider making a name for himself further afield.

All will play a big part in the festival which features free workshops for young people — options include graffiti art, clothes customisation and turntablism — exhibitions, talks and events.

Find programme details on the Method Lounge website.

Live Theatre’s Edinburgh Fringe warm-up

Shows can get lost on the Edinburgh Fringe but Live Theatre is offering a taste of what’s heading up there, some of it with a ‘work in progress’ vibe.

Athens of the North (Friday, July 19), written and performed by Mark Hannah, focuses on three Edinburgh characters.

Directed by Fraser Scott, the play is inspired by the idea of a city as the universe in microcosm and is described as a stream of consciousness set during a single day.

Buried Alive (and loving it) on Wednesday, July 24 is billed as ‘an unusual origin story from an unusual stand-up comedian’.

That’s Tom Lawrinson who says his show’s for siblings who shared a rubbish childhood. Oh, and comedy fans.

Larry Dean

Larry Dean (Live at the Apollo, Mock the Week and more) offers two bites of the cherry on Monday, July 29.

At 7pm, in the main theatre, he will be chatting candidly to Alex Redman in an encounter that will be filmed.

Then at 9pm in the studio theatre upstairs he will perform his work-in-progress stand-up show, with tickets on sale separately for each event.

Luca Rutherford’s Edinburgh-bound, too, with You Heard Me. But before then, on Thursday, July 18, you can help to fund her jaunt by accepting an invitation to Luca Rutherford’s Political Party – where ‘it’s OK to be wrong, to not know, where you don’t need to hide the questions you pretend to have the answers to’.

Find details of these and other summer offerings on the Live Theatre website.

Opportunity knocks for David Semark

One person’s misfortune can be another’s opportunity and that’s a tried and tested maxim in the theatre.

The guy in the red sweater is David Semark who steps into the starry shoes of Sir Ian McKellen after the celebrated actor pulled out of the tour of Player Kings following an on-stage tumble.

The producers confirmed this week that the ‘brilliant understudy’ would be playing Sir John Falstaff on the tour which brings the production to the Theatre Royal this month.

They passed on a message from Sir Ian which said: “Two weeks after my accident on stage, my injuries improve day by day.

“It’s with the greatest reluctance that I have accepted the medical advice to protect my full recovery by not working in the meantime.

“I had been so looking forward to bringing Player Kings to theatre-goers in Bristol, Birmingham, Norwich and Newcastle.

“But I can assure them that, with David Semark now playing Falstaff, Robert Icke’s production and his acting company remain as dazzling as ever. Go see for yourself!”

David Semark is a 52-year-old RADA-trained actor who’s no doubt relishing the prospect of being a little busier than he had expected to be in the coming months.

Player Kings is at the Theatre Royal from July 23 to 27.

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