Category: Culture

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Poetry Corner

The fires of London

Suzanne Fairless-Aitken

The baker’s shop, an oven, a single ember, Igniting something from nothing. Heat from hot, from not, Room zero becomes inferno. Freezing-fire from an old Hotpoint A cold spark of faulty friction A random lightning strike In the tinder box of unrest. Two smouldering summers, centuries apart. One city consumed by fiery rage. Pudding Lane […]


“Imagine good things so the bad things don’t win” at Northern Stage

Julie Ward

Review of ‘Free School Meals’ at Northern Stage Newcastle-based ‘Unfolding Theatre’ is one of the region’s most precious cultural assets, making eclectic big-hearted performance work rooted in community participation and co-production. Their latest offering ‘Free School Meals’ is set in a restaurant called ‘The Future’ where children are in charge and grown-ups are the apprentices. […]

Poetry Corner

Letter from the Express to its readers

Harry Gallagher

When will it dawn on you we are anything but friends? Still, 75p says you’ll stick with me until the bitter end. Were you hoping that my gloss would grub off on your sleeve? You’re as foreign to me as the refugee I spit on as they leave. Just because our target’s placed on someone […]


Border anniversaries: a pilgrimage with Brendan McBear

Chris Humble

Brendan McBear is a bear. He would describe himself as a New Monastic Celt when he’s not too busy taking the mickey out of The Big Eejit or BE – his companion and sometime mentor. His association with Chris Humble began when the Northumbria Community asked Chris to take him on pilgrimage. This is their […]

North East Ghost Stories PART 2

John the Jibber

Peter Lathan

If you wake at midnight, and hear a horse’s feet, Don’t go drawing back the blind, or looking in the street, Them that ask no questions isn’t told a lie. Watch the wall my darling while the Gentlemen go by. Five and twenty ponies, Trotting through the dark – Brandy for the Parson, ‘Baccy for […]

It’s tonight! A fun and fabulous neon playground at Independent

North East Bylines

Tonight, Independent, in Holmeside, will host Club Six Twenty, a one-off art club night aimed at people who enjoy festivals, going to gigs and cabaret nights, which have been hit hard by Covid-19 restrictions. Club Six Twenty is being produced and delivered by theatre company The Six Twenty as part of Sunderland Culture’s Unlocking the […]

Sharon Hodgson Visits ‘Wear Here 4 Summer’ Bus

North East Bylines

Sharon Hodgson, Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on School Food, recently visited the ‘Wear Here 4 Summer’ programme at Rickleton Cricket Club. The ‘Wear Here 4 Summer’ programme, which is funded by the Department for Education’s Holiday Activity and Food Programme, has been supporting children […]


Sunderland singer, Sam releases new single: Fade

Yvonne Wancke

Local Indie-Pop artist and producer, Sam French is releasing a second single Fade on 24 September. This is an exciting new step in his solo evolution and career. I asked Sam to tell us a bit about himself and his music. Sam is from Sunderland, although he admits to being a Newcastle United fan! He says that […]

North East HistoryPART 1

Dangerous jobs in the North East coal mines, 1800-1850

Audrey Marshall

Without coal, Britain’s Industrial Revolution would have been impossible, The steam engine could not have operated without it; the iron industry demanded it. Coal was in fact at the very heart of the Industrial Revolution. In this North East History series, Audrey Marshall takes a look at the issues of safety and eventual legislation for […]


Your Voice at Live Theatre, Newcastle

Jane Neville

Live Theatre announces the line-up of plays for Your Voice Live Theatre has announced the seven short plays selected for Your Voice: North East. The writers and artists commissioned have not previously had work performed professionally at Live Theatre so it is a great opportunity for audiences to experience work by new voices and the […]


Sunderland 17 year old releases new single, ‘Mirrors’

Daisy Windsor

Lottie Willis is an immensely talented songwriter ready to explode out of the Sunderland music scene. At just 17 years old she has already gained an anticipative audience across the North East with radio support from BBC Introducing as well as performing shows for the likes of Summer Streets Festival (run by The Futureheads’ Ross […]


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 […]

Poetry Corner

The echo of your energy

Norah Hanson

I unlock the door for your coming but you ring the bell again and again summoning me to the crash of your arrival the unstoppable incoming tide of you You launch yourselves, cling like limpets your limbs fastened on my body Your kisses wet in my face Sound surges, quietening the silence of this house […]

I’m a smoker

Peter Lathan

I started smoking when I was about 14 (1957 or thereabouts) and I smoked, more or less without interruption, until I was 71. I say “more or less” because I did try to give up on a number occasions – once I lasted four days and then my wife threatened that she would sit on […]


Churches, wells and a labyrinth: a pilgrimage with Brendan McBear

Chris Humble

Brendan McBear is a bear. He would describe himself as a New Monastic Celt when he’s not too busy taking the mickey out of The Big Eejit or BE – his companion and sometime mentor. His association with Chris Humble began when the Northumbria Community asked Chris to take him on pilgrimage. This is their […]

Poetry Corner


Nicola Tipton

My heart cries in the wind, “Answer me. Answer me.” Trees whisper back, “We are here. We are here.” Body aches for caress, “Touch me. Touch me.” Wild flowers, rushes sing, “Lie with us. Lie with us.” My mind pleads, “Heal me. Heal me.” Bees fumble the flowers and, butterflies dance. “Watch us. Watch us.” […]


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 […]


Onward: a lovely Disney Pixar experience

Katie Maughan

Disney Pixar’s Onward hit the streaming platform Disney+ in early 2020. The film is centred around brothers Ian and Barley as they attempt to cast a spell to bring back their late father for 24 hours. The spell fails, and they have to set off to find the components they need to try the spell […]

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 […]


Free Guy

Phil Coghill

Guy (Ryan Reynolds) is just an average bank teller going about his life, when he discovers that he’s really a non-playable character in a Grand Theft Auto-esque open world video game called Free World and that the game’s creator Antwone (Taika Waititi) is going to delete the server within a couple of days. While the […]


Daytime TV: rubbish and repeats

Peter Lathan

My first contact with daytime TV was when my mother had to go into a care home. At first we used to visit her in her room but as her mobility became more restricted and she had to use a wheelchair and relied on the staff to push her around (she was well over 90), […]


In search of St Alkmund: a pilgrimage with Brendan McBear

Chris Humble

“We’re in Derby! B.E. And I have teamed up with labyrinth deity Jim Bailey to search for St Alkmund and others, and also look for twirly things on the ground that I don’t understand…” Thanks Brendan; we have also finally met up with the sun, after a depressingly long absence. Introducing St Alkmund St Alkmund […]

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 […]


Julie and the Phantoms: a unique Netflix show

Katie Maughan

Julie and The Phantoms is a unique musical Netflix series, directed by Kenny Ortega who has worked on films such as High School Musical and Dirty Dancing. The series revolves around teenager. Julie, who is grieving the loss of her mother. Julie(Madison Reyes)  had given up on music, until she met Luke (Charlie Gillespie), Reggie […]

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 […]

Poetry Corner


Nicola Tipton

I have been mulling over the topical issue of violence inflicted on women and girls for some time now, and ever since reading Euripides’ Trojan Women many years ago, I have been interested in the fate, often suffered by women, in conflict. Sadly, things don’t seem to change much down the millennia. So many examples […]


Vegan trifle: with gluten-free and low sugar options

Louise Brown

My friends and family have a variety of dietary needs which include vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and low-sugar for diabetes.  I have become used to adapting food for them at various events! This is one of my favourite desserts from childhood – trifle which can be adapted to suit different dietary needs with a quick version […]