Section: Region


Opening tomorrow: Free School Meals: theatre inspired by Marcus Rashford

North East Bylines

Inspired by Marcus Rashford’s campaign to end child food poverty, Unfolding Theatre’s Free School Meals puts kids in charge in a new show about power, inequality and hope for change. Rehearsals are now well underway and the show opens tomorrow. It runs from 25 – 28 August. Inadequate food parcels During the pandemic, kids were given food […]

North East Ghost Stories PART 1

The woman who haunts Sunderland Empire Theatre

Peter Lathan

Molly Moselle (that was her stage name; her real name as Mary Burslem) was a dancer but, like most people in theatre then and now, she couldn’t always find get a performing job and was forced to take on other work, so in January 1949 she was an ASM (Assistant Stage Manager) on a touring […]

Hundreds flock to wool fair in Weardale

Julie Ward

Hundreds of people flocked to a former limestone quarry in Frosterley, Weardale, on 13 August to learn more about traditional woollen arts and crafts. The ‘Summer Wool Event’ was organised by North Pennines Wool, a network of small-holders and craft workers established in 2009 to help promote the local woollen industry and the North Pennines […]

Women’s detention centre: monthly protests

North East Bylines

A coalition of local people and campaign groups from across the country will protest against the proposed detention centre in Consett, County Durham, on Saturday 21 August. This will be the third demonstration organised at the site and the first of regular demonstrations happening on the third Saturday of every month.  Inhumane practice of indefinite […]

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: the Tees Valley responds to the Afghanistan Crisis

Scott Hunter

Middlesbrough mayor, Andy Preston, has been making the headlines, with an unambiguous statement of support for refugees from Afghanistan. Many here will welcome those humanitarian sentiments, published in the Gazette on 19 August. The Gazette article, however, moves swiftly on to discussion of the pantomime of incompetence in Westminster over the issue, and so does […]


Exciting reopening at Queen’s Hall, Hexham

North East Bylines

Queen’s Hall Arts Centre in Hexham has announced it will reopen this month with an exciting programme featuring live music, some of the biggest names on the UK comedy circuit, theatre and family shows. Queen’s Hall Artistic Director Katy Taylor said: “The staff team, trustees and volunteers are pleased to be able to welcome back […]

Trade Unions: Thatcherism to New Labour

Stephen Lambert

With the election of a Conservative government in May 1979  a new style of PM – Margaret Thatcher was committed to restructuring the UK economy by creating more flexible and efficient labour markets. Thatcher was pledged to reform Britain’s trade unions and curb their power. Throughout the eighties conflict between organised labour and the Conservative […]

Teesside enjoys its Palmyra moment, as Redcar Blast Furnace is torn down

Scott Hunter

The destruction of Redcar Blast Furnace has begun in earnest, with the Teesside Heritage Taskforce on hand to record the action on film for posterity. Soon the people of Teesside will be able to survey the roofs of the never-ending warehouses of the freeport, monuments to low pay and tax evasion, as if that is […]

Hebburn residents invited to engage on the proposed new Tri-Station

North East Bylines

The people of Hebburn will have the opportunity to find out more information about our plans for a new Tri-Station being proposed at Campbell Park Road in Hebburn during a series of public engagement events.   The new state-of-the-art multi-functional facility known as Hebburn Tri-Station will house three emergency services: Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service […]


Hartlepool Deputy Mayor resigns in nuclear waste war fall-out

Julia Mazza

Mike Young, the Conservative Deputy Mayor and Deputy Leader of Hartlepool Borough Council has resigned his posts.  He remains a Conservative Party councillor. His resignation comes hot on the heels of a war of words with Ben Houchen, the mayor of Tees Valley. Houchen had first accused the council’s minority Labour Group of holding “secret” […]

Over 160,000 North East children to be hit by £20 Universal Credit cut

North East Bylines

Regional child poverty campaigners have renewed calls for the government to reverse an impending £20 a week cut to Universal Credit after figures published by the Department for Work and Pensions today(17 August 2021) confirm for the first time the number of children and young people across the North East who will be directly affected […]

North East business and the EU deal

Joyce Quin

The government continues to be in denial about the difficulties businesses across the UK have experienced in exporting to the EU since January of this year, when the terms of the Prime Minister’s deal with the EU came into effect. That these difficulties have particularly affected firms in the North East was shown in a […]

Sing out! A tribute to Nanci Griffith

Anya Cook

“Sing Out!” Nanci signed in my book as I caught her leaving a gig at Bristol’s Colston Hall in 2000; gracious, kind and very human. She was simply lovely. I did well that evening, acquiring a poster too as the promoters were switching materials. I saw her again at the Royal Albert Hall with the […]

Lorry driver shortages, empty shelves and Brexit

Yvonne Wancke

Retailers right across the country are struggling to find enough lorry drivers to ensure that they have enough stock in the coming months and in particular for the festive season. The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has estimated that there is a current shortfall of around 100,000 drivers. If anything this is set to become worse. […]

No ‘levelling up’ for the North East: another broken promise

Yvonne Wancke

The North East is set to lose millions of pounds this year because of Brexit. This is despite the Prime Minister’s repeated promises of ‘levelling up’. A number of traditional Labour voting areas in the North East switched their votes to support Boris Johnson in the 2019 election, in part because of a desire to […]

Will the real Ben Houchen please stand up?

Scott Hunter

Who advises Ben Houchen?  You might have supposed that it was the officers of the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA). Until last week, that is. When he announced that he would seek to ensure that a referendum would be required before Teesside Airport could be sold, he crossed a line, and cemented what many had […]


Jolly boating weather and educational opportunities

Robina Jacobson

Ah, Henley again, and jolly boating weather. On Thames or on Tyne, we can at least ‘swing, swing together’ for the river waters find their own level and are widely accessible. If the same could be said of playing fields, grand school facilities and small class sizes we might all fare better. North East exam […]

Congratulations to GCSE students in Newcastle Central from Chi, MP

North East Bylines

Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Central, gave her congratulations to GCSE students getting their results today, after 18 months of disrupted learning and revised assessments. Chi said: “I want to congratulate every student receiving their results today. The last couple of years have been very difficult, and you should each be really proud of your […]

Hartlepool’s storm in a nuclear teacup

Julia Mazza

A war of words has broken out in Hartlepool about early discussions on a possible offshore radioactive waste storage facility. Material in the Geological Disposal Facility (GDF)  would be stored one kilometre below the surface in concrete containers. The opening salvo came from a press release by Conservative Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen: “I have […]

Newcastle students should be proud of their achievements

Stephen Lambert

This summer once again saw a rise in the number of Newcastle students achieving good AS/A-level results, BTEC First and national awards and GCSE results. Given the many months lost in face-to-face learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic city students should be proud of their achievements. Access courses for Newcastle students Furthermore, hundreds more adults […]

Durham Miners’ Gala: Little Big Meetings and the truth about Thatcher

Julie Ward
Durham miners banner

Boris Johnson’s crass comments praising Margaret Thatcher for closing the pits in the 1980s and wrongly attributing her with green credentials have been roundly condemned by leading figures connected to the Durham Miners’ Gala. It is the second year running that Gala organisers have reluctantly taken the decision to cancel the iconic ‘Big Meeting’ due […]


Over a third of Durham children live in poverty

Yvonne Wancke

A new report from Magic Breakfast, children’s food charity, has shown that 36% of children in County Durham are living in poverty. These worrying figures also show that 14% were at risk of hunger in 2020. Magic Breakfast Magic Breakfast supports 37 schools in the region, and helps to feed over 5,000 children with healthy […]

Chi congratulates A-Level students in Newcastle after a difficult year

North East Bylines

Chi congratulates A-Level students in Newcastle after a difficult year Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Central, gave her congratulations to A-level students who are receiving their results today. This comes after 18 months of disrupted learning and revised assessments. Record acceptance onto university courses A record number of students have been accepted on university courses […]

The People’s Theatre, Newcastle, re-opens

North East Bylines

The People’s Theatre had no idea when they closed in March 2020 that they would be gone so long, but the spirit of the People’s  has stayed alive and well. Members have supported each other online with events including Zoom quizzes and play readings, as well as fundraising activities. The People’s Theatre has continued to […]

Inflation: the real cost of rising prices

Peter Benson

I renewed my household insurance on 31 July and it was a shock. The renewal price had jumped from £253.40 to £294.24, an increase of 16%.  My  attempt at negotiation failed: ”Mr Benson this is the final price after all the discounts”. Rising prices I have had so many prices rises in recent months. The car insurance […]

It will not be long now…

Harry Gallagher

It will not be long now until dandelions have strangled the black ground beneath them and no traces remain save for the props and the poison filling up the cavernous belly of the carcass slain by a fortyfaced dragon bent on revenge. It will not be long now until nobody is left who remembers the […]


Daytime TV: Dead comedians’ channel

Peter Lathan

OK. Yes. I do watch a fair amount of daytime TV. I admit it. I never used to, but self-isolation / shielding / lockdown forced it on me. And it’s not all nightmare-inducing; some of it is fun. So what do I watch? Well, mainly Gold (or, as I prefer to call it, the Dead […]

NUFC Fans Foodbank: season preview

Bill Corcoran

They say that the return to normality doesn’t seem real yet. That the 18 months of Covid-19 which has left thousands dead, millions ill, and all of us affected is still too recent and too raw. Yet Newcastle United kick off against West Ham at 2pm on 15 August, with all fans allowed back in. […]

The world in a weekend: parade in Billingham

North East Bylines

Who is up for a ‘mini’ Parade of Nations through Billingham Town Centre on Saturday 14 August? This is part of The World in a Weekend event being staged in the town from 13-15 August. The event is being organised by the Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance and supported Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council. The parade […]

Roundabout comes to Byker

North East Bylines

Throughout the summer Northern Stage has been inviting people to get Out on the Toon, with free outdoor events across the region to reconnect artists and audiences in their local neighbourhoods, and a pop-up outdoor theatre in Leazes Park offering free theatre, comedy, music and family shows.  Roundabout Now from 12-15 August, Paines Plough’s Roundabout comes to Harbottle Park […]