Category: Culture

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North East People

Inspirational student shares her motivational story on International Women’s Day

Carol Westall

An inspiring woman, young mum and student from the North East who has experienced the trauma of abuse, addiction, and the death of a loved one will be motivating young women as she recounts her journey to success as part of International Women’s Day (IWD). With the theme ‘Choose To Challenge’ Monique Wild is a fitting speaker. Monique Wild, […]

“Fair is foul and foul is fair”: lessons from the Bard Part 2

Nicola Tipton

Dunsinane becomes darker than hell itself. The porter declares, “But this place is too cold for hell. / I’ll devil-porter it no further.” Scotland is also increasingly described metaphorically as sick and diseased – just as the UK is, once again, being dubbed ‘the sick man of Europe’. The nation hosts a nightmare Covid-19 scenario, the economy is in a grievous state, and our national debt is eye-wateringly high.

Opinion

Digital friendships: taking back control?

Peter Benson

The pandemic has had a fundamental impact on millions of people all around the UK and globally. Demand for mental health service is rocketing in every corner of the world and just easing off on your mobile phone is not the sole solution but it’s a great start.

“Dammit man, what are we fighting for?”: a paltry £400m ascribed to Arts regeneration in The Budget

Suzanne Fairless-Aitken

In real terms £400m is a proverbial drop in the ocean and so our cultural capital as a society is in real danger of ultimately being lost to those who can afford it, be allowed to contribute to it and therefore own it. Without arts or culture our worldview narrows – because they give us the vital experience of knowing thoughts beyond those in our own heads and famously enable us to ‘walk around in someone else’s shoes’ (To Kill a Mockingbird).

Poetry Corner

Chance encounter

Nicola Tipton

I met a man today
on my puddled walk
past new-made lakes –
meadows inundated –
at Hunsden Lock …
litter picking.

Some yuletide memories

Jim Walker

When the war started, I was only four years old, so I don’t really remember much about Christmastime until about 1942…

Music

Sophia’s new single brings her sound to a new level

Yvonne Wancke

Filled with confusion, unanswered questions and mixed emotions, Stay explores the journey to revealing how you really feel. Sophia explains: “the track describes a certain feeling, when you’re in a situation you never want to leave, you just want to forget everything else, lay all your feelings on the table and stay in that place forever.”

Changing the system

Julie Ward

What we can do as citizens is to ensure there is a viable planet for our grandchildren to inherit. “Eat less meat… educate yourself… hold your parents to account… follow the money… Your money is either buying a hotter or a cooler climate,” said Eno.

A potted history of youth culture

Stephen Lambert

Since the late 1990s we’ve seen a multiplicity of conflicting groups and styles ranging from young people involved in acid house parties with its repetitive beat and new drugs such as blues and ecstasy to Goths dressed in black and white makeup and into art drawn predominantly from middle-class backgrounds. Recently ‘Rap’, ‘Emos’ ‘Skaters and the much maligned ‘Chavs’ as noted by Owen Jones have appeared on the social scene.

North East People

My teenage years

Jim Walker

From 1945 until 1957 we spent our summer holidays in Wales. At first, my parents hired a cottage called Gaerwen a few miles south of Cardigan and later another cottage, called Gwtws, just south of Fishguard.

Inspiring young women to challenge and call out inequality

Yvonne Wancke

International Women’s Day on 8 March is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The theme for this year is ‘Choose to Challenge’ with the aim of calling out gender bias and inequality and creating an inclusive world by challenging what we see and celebrating the achievements of women.

Poetry Corner

Kite

Nicola Tipton

From the side hatch,
across the river,
I saw four walkers
on the tow path opposite –
Two couples and a dog-
Standing still in distanced line
their backs toward me,
heads upturned…

Poetry Corner

Haphephobia

Suzanne Fairless-Aitken

Aching, longing, yearning
for a brush past, a touch
of surfaces – much more
than a waterproof
or soft container.

Review

It’s a sin

Suzanne Fairless-Aitken

Once or twice in a generation an era-defining TV series comes along, and Channel 4’s It’s a Sin is a contender for just that. The five-part drama. set in London between 1981 and 1991 to an iconic -pumping soundtrack of Lennox, Blondie, Queen, Erasure, Almond and of course the title track – moves us along with a group of gay friends through their wild parties and ultimate journey of self-discovery while they explore their sexuality and emerging careers.

Theatre

A “complete curveball” and a “safe haven” in Live Theatre, Newcastle

Robin Tudge

Feedback from all involved has been fabulous. Live Youth Theatre member Connor reflected that the film was “a complete curve ball to what we knew as theatre. It allowed us to explore our emotions, opinions and current experiences about lockdown while living in the moment, displaying an incredibly intuitive mixture of theatre.

Poetry Corner

Snowdrops

Nicola Tipton

Hush!
Listen to the earth
awakening from winter’s sleep,

North East People

My first 10 years

Jim Walker

I was put in Rose dormitory, which slept about 12 of the youngest pupils; we were allowed to take a cuddly toy to bed with us, so I had my woolly elephant. I had to give him up when I graduated to Thistle dormitory 18 months later.

Singing to breathe : help at hand for Long Covid

Carol Westall

People with Long Covid will be taught the breathing techniques of top tenors to help them overcome symptoms in a new NHS England therapy. Imperial College and English National Opera (ENO) teamed together for this programme in partnership with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. The programme uses the techniques used for singers to improve quality of breath and help manage the anxiety that breathlessness often produces. Singing is shown to help retrain breathing, so ENO Breathe is using lullabies and singing exercises to help improve those with shortness of breath.

Dance teacher in lockdown

Helen Wilson

“I’m just going to put you on mute because I can hear your tumble dryer”
I continue to dream of the day I can stand in a studio in front of my students and not worry about social distancing, appropriate ventilation and a virus that has brought my profession to its knees.

Poetry Corner

This is what hope looks like

Harry Gallagher

This is what hope looks like,
two wee cinnamon dots
clutching mom’s hand tight,
peering out at the wide, wide world
through childish curtseys and wonder,
not stopping to think about
white hooded badmen
now drowning in shame.

‘This is Us’ with Natalie Ibu at Northern Stage

Carol Westall

“As a 17-year-old Black Scottish working class girl, I decided I wanted to be an artistic director because I longed to work in community – with a team, with artists, with a place and with audiences. Northern Stage is exemplary at this with its commitment to its local and regional community…”