Category: Culture

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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. ..

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.”

Opinion

Lions laughing at donkeys

Gareth Kearns

This is how comedy generally, and most particularly political satire, works: the people with no power lampoon, satirise, or rip the proverbial out of those who actually hold the power. It is a ‘punching up’ from below. The powerless show up the foibles, the hypocrisies, the failures of the powerful who have such influence and even control over their lives. The humour is found in the release of tension. The powerful are rarely, if ever, hurt by this – and when they are it’s usually because they are engaged in a practice so egregious that history will never be their friend anyway.

A Creative UK in a Creative Europe

Julie Ward

The UK government has chosen not to renew or continue its relationship with the Creative Europe programme after the end of the calendar year. This is a move that is viewed as a retrograde step on both sides of the channel and doesn’t fit with the government’s own narrative about a close relationship with our nearest neighbours nor its tub-thumping global Britain rhetoric.

Review

Arbuthnot goes back to school

Yvonne Wancke

“You are not alone” How do you feel about going back to school? That’s a question mainly for children but also for parents, teachers, carers. It’s been around five months since many of us were at school. You may feel excited, nervous, anxious and a whole range of emotions. Last week the Customs House set […]

Writers cramp and time travel

Richard Abbott-Brailey

“How do you deal with writer’s block?” This question is often asked of authors, screenwriters and playwrights but what exactly is writer’s block? According to Wikipedia. writer’s block is: “a condition… in which an author loses the ability to produce new work or experiences a creative slowdown.” I am an author of a published novel, […]

Climate Activism via Letters To Power

Julie Ward

Years ago (in the last century) I attended a conference at Lancaster University on arts and the environment where I met ‘artivists’ from Platform, a London-based collective of artists, educators and researchers who were undertaking extraordinary projects such as ‘Unravelling the Carbon Web’, which partly consisted of Platform members walking around all BP establishments including […]

Grim Beauty

Daisy Windsor

A review of Jane Eyre (2011 film) I must confess to being something of a Jane Eyre fan and so I was surprised that I had missed this film adaptation at the time when it came out. I first read the book aged 12 when I was at school. I remember the book: a rather […]

England 2020

Peter Lathan

There is a play – in fact, there are, no doubt, many plays – to be written about England during the pandemic but writing something now would be a bit like ending Romeo and Juliet with the balcony scene. Sadly there is so much more to play out.

North East venues paint the town red

Joanne Oliver

The culture and hospitality sector is in danger. Many theatres have a limited number of months, or weeks before they completely run out of funding. Pubs that employ musicians to draw in punters are struggling badly and some are closing for good. People who work in the arts sector are finding themselves with little or […]

Our friends in the north

Séamus O’Hanlon

If you enjoy The Crown, a show with an impressive scope, spanning decades and revealing insights to recent British history, then this is an alternative for you during lockdown. Our Friends in the North may not have had the same budget and gloss, but it is a powerful creation that focuses on ordinary people. A 1996 miniseries, […]

Pandemic Python

Yvonne Wancke

Pandemic Python have been a great success and in the words of one Jesmond resident: “Niceness breeds niceness”

Hyper local news with Hexham TV

Peter Woods

many local stories were going unreported in traditional media channels. I decided that by using video and social media these stories could be told in a new and engaging way.

Of Mice and Men…And Me

Janine Birkett
Janine Birkett photo

Before Covid, I might have been out of a job, but I was secure in the knowledge that the industry supporting me was carrying on existing, producing wonderful work, contributing almost £13 million to the UK economy every hour. I could expect future work. In short, I had hope.

RecipeUPDATED

A simple sourdough loaf

David Hardman
a sliced sourdough loaf

Sourdough produces the most fantastic bread and once started you’ll love the results so much you won’t want to stop. (Recipe)

UPDATED

Dough for Maggie’s

David Hardman

It started in March. As lockdown started and panic began to take hold, I could not get flour anywhere. Every supermarket had been stripped clean, no wholemeal, no rye, no plain white, nothing. I have always made bread for my family in a bread machine (which, by the way, is awesome and nothing to be ashamed of […]

Experts… Let’s phone a friend!

Kirsty McTear

A nation state and its international relations are in many ways as complicated as the workings of our modern mobile phone, perhaps even more so. The interactions of one policy may have far-reaching consequences for other branches of government not directly related to the original policy.

Absolute ‘socially distanced’ Cabaret in Sunderland

Helen Wilson
Absolute Cabaret perform socially distanced in care homes

If someone had told me four months ago that Absolute Cabaret would be putting a show together without actually seeing each other in person until the day of the show, rehearsing everything online and then not being able to get closer than two metres to each other on the day of the show, I would […]

Acting apart

Davey Hopper
Hopper in Arbuthnot and Pals adventures in Oz.

I’m an actor, writer and director. How has the coronavirus pandemic affected me? I lost two national tours and four productions at a local theatre. I was worried about my financial situation; I think like most self-employed creative people, my whole life has been living from job to job with nothing much in the savings […]

The radio show that chuffin’ could!

Ben Chambers
Sixteen Million Rising advert image

It’s the Friday before the next episode of ‘Sixteen Million Rising’ (the Pro-European radio show I make) goes live and I’m checking my inbox for submissions. Once I have sorted out the emails which inevitably elude my spam filter – one which must have been designed by the same team responsible for the UK’s “world […]