The QT

Friday 14 June 2024

Culture digest

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

New investment secured for Sunderland music project

Sunderland Music Arts and Culture (MAC) Trust, the organisation behind The Fire Station, has secured £337,500 of funding for new project Sunderland Music City. 

The project, which will be delivered alongside a number of local partners, aims to raise the profile of the city’s culture offering, with a focus on ensuring that people from diverse backgrounds have full access to educational and cultural events.

The funding is made up of £300,000 of investment from Northstar Ventures and £37,500 from the County Durham Community Foundation.

Paul Callaghan, chair of MAC Trust, said: “We are extremely grateful for this support from Northstar Ventures and the County Durham Community Foundation which will allow us to deliver our exciting Music City project.”

Funding secured for Sycamore Gap artwork

The North of Tyne Combined Authority has donated £12,000 to the National Trust to support the first commission for artwork to commemorate the Sycamore Gap tree, which was brutally felled last year.

Sycamore Gap pictured in September 2023 days before it was felled. Credit: Wil Cheung

The initiative, led by the National Trust, was conceived in cooperation with Northumberland National Park Authority, Hadrian’s Wall Partnership and Historic England, after the National Trust received numerous messages following the loss of the tree.

Mayor Jamie Driscoll said “Sycamore Gap is an icon of the North East. It’s where I’ve picnicked with my wife and kids, it’s where people have scattered ashes. This commission will do what art does best – connect people and cause them to reflect.”

Tynemouth maritime museum opens to the public

The Watch House in Tynemouth houses artefacts and rescue equipment from across the region’s rich maritime history inside a beautifully-built wooden structure which has two towers and a main hall. 

Until now the distinctive building at the Spanish Battery and its nautical treasures had been available to view by appointment only, but is now open at weekends and bank holidays from 10am to 3pm.

Visitors to the Watch Tower will be able to learn about its history using an audio commentary while the volunteers will be on hand to help guide people around. As well as seeing the exhibits they can also enjoy the spectacular views of the mouth of the Tyne from the towers.

More information from the website.

Striking cast named for Live Theatre’s football tale

The cast are bound for Live Theatre

A cast of North East talent has been announced for the eagerly anticipated first play of Live Theatre’s new season, The Bounds by Stewart Pringle, which is set during a village-wide football game in Northumberland in 1553.

Soroosh Lavasani, Ryan Nolan and Lauren Waine will lead the cast of the play, joined by alternating child actors James Green and Nathaniel Campbell-Goodwin.

The production runs at Live Theatre in Newcastle (May 16 to June 8) before transferring to London’s prestigious Royal Court Theatre (June 13-July 13).

New Jazz Festival announced for Northumberland this spring

The inaugural Northumberland Jazz Festival will take place across a number of venues in Hexham on the weekend of May 25 and 26.

Jazz acts from across the UK will be performing, including the Paul Edis Trio with Alan Barnes and Bruce Adams; the Clark Tracey Quintet; singer-songwriter Bryony Jarman-Pinto; and acclaimed jazz singer Alice Grace.

The Tyne Valley Youth Big Band are also set to take to the bandstand in the park, with a set list including Stevie Wonder and Miles Davis. Venues include the Queen’s Hall, Hexham Library and the Bandstand in the Sele – a park in the centre of the market town.

Full details and bookings available from the Queen’s Hall website.

International horror film conference heads for Hartlepool

An exploration of how mental health issues are represented in horror films is being hosted by The Northern School of Art later this month (April).

Staff, postgraduate and final year undergraduate students from the Stage and Screen faculty have put together, Nightmare 24, which takes place at the School’s campus in Hartlepool on April 25.

Subtitled Dreams or nightmares? Madness or sanity? I don’t know which is which, a series of talks and activities will look at how mental health is portrayed in the horror genre from both cinematic and audience perspectives.

International film journalist and author Matt Glasby is the keynote speaker.

Delegates will also see work and contributions by students from across The Northern School of Art’s film, textiles, fine art, photography, costume and animation faculties which will be on display at the venue, including showings of award-winning short films by recent graduates.

Full programme information can be found here.

Crowdfunder launched for new street art celebration

Newcastle’s Ouseburn will be home to an exciting showcase of street art, provided the community get behind the idea!

ELEMENTS Street Art Festival is scheduled to take place this summer, with organisers launching a fundraising campaign via Spacehive, which matches community donations with money from funders in the hope of getting over the line faster.

Scheduled to take place this summer in the heart of the Ouseburn, the project is headed up by local artist Mark One87 with support from Building Culture CIC and Project North East (PNE).

Geordie Shore mural by Mark One87

The festival aims to build upon the area’s rich history of creativity by pulling in figures from the region’s renowned street art and graffiti scenes and providing a platform for local artists, freelancers, and small businesses.

Themed around celebrating local creativity and a sense of place, ELEMENTS will feature a series of community-oriented projects culminating in a large-scale showcase of public street art.

Around 20 mural artists are expected to take part in the festival – already confirmed are Mul, Bobzilla, Mr Zee, Cack Handed Kid, Creative Ginger and Sune. To find out more and pledge support, visit

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