Section: Region

Theatre after Covid

Peter Lathan

After the longest theatre closures in English history (1642 – 1660 by Cromwell), theatre was revitalised.

Rafal’s Blue Wings

Kim Sanderson

I had my small independent record label named Blue Wings Records where I promoted and released tracks from small independent electronic artists. But when my wife got seriously sick I decided to stopped working on the record label and care for her.

Opinion

The North East is NOT (red) wall to wall Tory

Louise Brown

As for the red wall Tories who did get in, their seats could be fragile. We are yet to see any evidence of their promises to ‘level up’ the North East. This, along with a fall in popularity of the Conservatives due to the government’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis could mean blue could turn red again (or maybe yellow or green of course) in the next election.

Planting the seeds of revolt!

Jon Johnson

Food and animal welfare standards are lower in many other countries, meaning cheaper imports but based on the widespread use of hormones and antibiotics, chemical treatments and cruel factory-farming practices. “By scrapping our safeguards, we face the triple whammy of tariffs to export, the need to maintain the EU standards we currently operate in and cheap imports as well. It will mean ruin for huge numbers who are just getting by right now” said Mr Clarke, who farms crops and livestock near Bedale.

Is Sunak leaving you out?

Peter Lathan

When, before the Chancellor’s statement, the Bylines editor suggested I wrote a commentary piece on government policy (i.e. change your mind every few minutes) as it related to theatre I said, “I wouldn’t dare write a political article – I suspect only every tenth word would be publishable!”

Transforming our communities: transforming what and why?

Penny Grennan

This is where our hope lies, in our communities. Seven months ago there were many examples of unity and action. A time when we clapped for carers, walked round our gardens to raise money, helped people who were shielding, organised, cooked, shopped, and supported our front-line workers. These many hundreds of examples of community action demonstrate that there is an alternative. What’s more, groups and individuals are still supporting each other and those in need.

The North East’s last slave owners

Julia Mazza

The scale of slavery was matched only by the owners’ double standards. Like the anti-slavery campaigner James Mather of South Shields who, in a feat of moral contortionism, lodged a claim on behalf of his slave-owning wife, Grace Ainsley. He received £2,469 for 121 slaves at their plantations in Jamaica.

Who’s backing Ben Houchen, Tees Valley Mayor: part 3

A S Hunter

Is this a case of cash for contracts? That’s what it looks like. It may be that Houchen’s enthusiasm for hiring local firms may be based on something other than local pride. If there is an alternative explanation for the award of these contracts, then Houchen needs to provide it.

Speaking truth to power : why solidarity between generations matters

Julie Ward

Every major crisis has profound consequences for the next generation. The financial crisis resulted in mass youth unemployment, Tory austerity devastated the youth service, Sure Start centres and child and adolescent mental health services, whilst hiking up university fees and creating mass unsustainable student debt.

Opinion

Boris’s border breakout?

Keith Macdonald

Scotland and the North East have so much in common that we should be able to find an acceptable legal basis to enable us to work together. The idea of recreating a barrier between us last seen 300 years ago fills me with horror but that is now in prospect.

UPDATED

Don’t miss the Highlights

Christopher Wancke

Highlights Rural Touring Company puts on a programme of music, theatre and dance in Northumberland, County Durham and Cumbria. How will this change and develop as a result of Covid-19?

Alternative ways to protest during ‘lockdown’

Louise Brown

In a similar vein displaying political art, music or poetry can grab people’s attention in real life and on social media. Likewise, a lockdown does not prevent us from wearing political messages on our clothes or masks to get the message out. If you are sharing such images or lyrics on social media be sure to tag in your local politicians.

Double Halloween horror show for the North East!

Louise Brown

The region is famous for its 1936 Jarrow to London march against unemployment and poverty. Although initially perceived as a failure, in subsequent years, this march was acknowledged by historians as a defining event of that decade.

Opinion

No good news ever goes unpunished

Peter Lathan

Billingham Forum plans to go ahead with its panto this year…Cause, you may think, for celebration. A little bit of good news amid the theatrical gloom. ..

Opinion

I don’t know what I am

Peter Lathan

Now, perhaps, there are just two classes – the public school, wealthy, grouse shooting, hunting, power-hungry class and their wannabes – and the rest of us, the shopkeepers and civil servants, barristers and baristas, blue-collar workers and teachers, doctors and lawyers et al.

Ghost Light: an interview with Jen Stevens, singer songwriter

Yvonne Wancke

“I come from quite a musical family, I started learning piano aged four and have sung for as long as I can remember. My parents were into a mixed bag of music, so I grew up listening to everything from the Beatles to Grieg. I started off studying classical music, both for piano and voice and then moved towards folk and jazz. I was gigging from the age of 15 and have worked as a professional musician since then. Music has always been an integral part of my life.”

BREAKING

Further Covid restrictions in the North East

Yvonne Wancke

The leader of Newcastle City Council, Nick Forbes said: “The evidence we’ve found from local testing is that it’s spreading in three main areas: in pubs, in people’s homes and in grassroots sports…[council leaders] have put together a series of requests to government for additional restrictions around these areas for a fixed period of time to try to prevent a damaging full lockdown.”

Letter to a northern conservative MP

Kim Cowie

Does Johnson actually speak for ordinary Tories? Does Johnson represent your views? Johnson was elected on the basis of having personally negotiated a ‘fantastic’, ‘oven-ready’ deal with Europe, what happened to it? Is the government so incompetent and negligent it doesn’t read the small print of the international agreements it negotiates? How will you vote tomorrow?

Opinion

Happy days!

Peter Lathan

Those were the days when the only heating in the house was the fire – and someone had to clean out the previous day’s ashes before laying and lighting it. And if the only hot water in the house came from the boiler behind the fire, then some poor soul – usually the mother – had to get up before everyone else to get that fire started.

Stop scapegoating students

Carlos Conde Solares

Over the past few years, the average British millennial has been stripped of their European citizenship, and all the exciting life opportunities it entails, largely against their will. Young people remain well and truly locked out of an inhuman housing market. They are forced to work long hours on top of full-time studies yet will still graduate dozens of thousands of pounds in debt and into yet another catastrophic recession that is not of their own making.

Save British Farming and No to No Deal protest in Newcastle

Yvonne Wancke

This is the Haymarket, Newcastle. Nowadays it is a metro station at the end of a busy shopping street. As the name suggests this area was for many years the scene of a market selling hay and straw, a reminder of our agricultural past. Long ago but still remembered and timely to do so in […]

Help! Where do I go?

Peter Howarth

If you live in America, to turn the lights on you flick the light-switch up; if you live in England, you push it down. One of the first principles of ergonomics is that is you design things so that they work in the way you expect them to. This is a basic psychological, or cognitive, principle but to achieve it you first have to know what is expected. Detractors say that ergonomics is just applied common sense, and while that is a good description, it also belittles a practice that aims to provide people with what they want, need, and expect.