Category: Culture

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Christmas with the Hobs

Kim Sanderson

“We know that freelance performers, technicians and artists have really struggled while venues have been closed, and many people have been unable to access government financial support – so it’s vital that we do our bit to help. Christmas with the Hobs gave us an opportunity to bring together North East arts professionals to create a magical Christmas gift from Northumberland. We hope you enjoy it!”

Going out with a zoom

Bryan Vernon

As always at a retirement event, the people whom you have upset don’t come and you are offered an inflated sense of your own worth but basking in this illusion is pleasant. The more formal atmosphere enabled a much larger number of people to remind me in brief unscripted speeches of some episodes I had forgotten. I missed the opportunity for conversations with individuals. Asking people about their parent’s dementia, their child’s troubles, their bereavement, cancer, depression or divorce in front of an audience starved of entertainment by Covid-19 would probably be inappropriate, although I did not test this hypothesis.

Poetry Corner

ctrl-alt-del

Suzanne Fairless-Aitken

After centuries of conflict
weapons are finally downed.
The cruellest disease has silenced guns,
until a vaccine can be found.

International day for disabled people: the need for an inclusive approach

Julie Ward

In 1984 I found myself running an arts and disability agency for the north of England, and encountered the tail-end of the mass segregation programme that had resulted in millions of people with mild to severe physical and mental disabilities being locked away in large institutions, forced to do menial work for pocket money and with little say about any aspect of their lives. The arts activities that my organisation ran often opened up deep emotional scars from years of abandonment, disregard and abuse. Paintings, poems and performances were littered with powerful symbols of imprisonment and freedom.

For your entertainment!

Peter Lathan

The company – five actors and me – met up at 8am, shared themselves between the van and the one car (the producers would only pay expenses for one car) and off we went. By 9am we’re getting the set, costumes, sound system and everything else necessary into the venue, then we fit it all up and at 10am the show goes up. It comes down at 12 noon, when we take down, get out and drive to the next venue, which was Darlington. We get in, fit up, the show goes up at 2pm, comes down at 4pm, when we take down, get out and drive to the third venue, which just happened to be in Prudhoe.

Dance ballerina dance!

Dr Jayne Hamilton

Miss Trew organized performances in community centres, and many were done to raise money for charity. To date, Miss Trew’s school has raised thousands upon thousands of pounds for charities.

How to put on a family nativity show: tea towels to the ready!

Caroline Hoile

Sad though it is that children, teachers, parents, grandparents, family and friends may well miss out on the inimitable traditional nativity, celebrated in the school hall, local church or community centre, all is not lost! The household tea towel drawer can rise to the occasion, and allow all those family members, who’ve ever wanted to don the occupants of its drawer, to do so – with a home-grown family production of a traditional school musical!

Poetry Corner

Longview

Harry Gallagher

The North, chipped and scavenged in these standing stone days, does not fall asunder nor domino down in sight of barber surgeons with their slingshots, chippings. Long abraded by high seas, we stack lean as limestone, holding our breath like we have held our noses, impassive in the face of this flitting ephemera. We Danelaw […]

I miss panto

Peter Lathan

It was out of the Harlequinade that pantomime developed, with all the character types we know today – but no Dame! She came into panto from the English tradition of women not being allowed to appear on stage. Her first appearance was not in panto at all but in the Mystery Plays of the 15th and 16th centuries. I always think that the first panto Dame was Mrs Noah from the Noah and the Flood story of The Mysteries.

Keeping the magic of Christmas alive at the Customs House, South Shields

Yvonne Wancke

“I’m very excited for people to see this show. I’ve never written a musical before but with the amazing work Jen Stevens has done, we have put together something truly special. Now more than ever we need to make sure the magic of Christmas stays alive and with this fantastic cast, I think we may have done just that.”

Soap and streaming by Jarrow entrepreneur: supporting the LGBTQ+ community in the North East

Jane Neville

“We have become more driven towards raising money for the LGBTQ+ community and trying to increase their presence in the North East gaming and streaming environment. In going forward, we are hoping to set up SFST as a charity aimed at helping members and organisations of the LGBTQ+ family, with an interest in streaming and gaming, by offering them support and technical help. We also are looking to assist with micro grants to help get people set up and ultimately build a Northern Gaming LGBTQ+ Network”.

‘Good Trouble’ for the international day of the child

Julie Ward

Children growing up in post-pandemic, recession-hit Brexit Britain will have many challenges as they face a shrinking job market, mounting debts and a future cut off from their European peers, denied the right to travel, work, live and fall in love across a union of what was 28 different countries.

Poetry Corner

Underworld

Judi Sutherland

At night, when the last train rumbles to the depot and the piston-draught dies down, the night shift keeps its silent hours; cleaning, repairing, watching CCTV screens of empty platforms, shutting down electrics with a key; trackwalking near Stockwell, where an engineer holds a Tilly lamp – he died in 1950 – and cowled monks […]

Review

‘Whites: On Race and Other Falsehoods’: a reflection

Anne Yvonne Gilbert

If you haven’t read it, Uwagba’s purpose in writing was to “sum up the tithes of co-existing with whiteness”. Fair enough, if I was black I’d be shouting too, but then she goes on “I just wanted to communicate the burden of whiteness, the mental and emotional trauma. This burden is placed on black people by the “progressive, liberal people that I interact with.” Wait a minute! The progressive liberals fighting racism and injustice in all its forms? Those liberals?

Poetry Corner

Littlehampton

Alex Corrin-Tachibana

We called you Auntie Anne in Worthing, 2 hours away, by the sea. I owe you a letter. I have one of yours from 2014, you’d been to The Nutcracker with the ladies from choir, had a Chinese, and were keeping busy because you have to keep going don’t you Alexandra? You’d say. Letters, about […]

A writer in Covid times

Peter Lathan

There’s very little happening in theatre – but just wait five minutes for that could change at any time as the government keeps changing its mind, knee-jerking to everything that catches our masters’ attention – so news and reviews are very thin on the ground, and as for writing new plays…

Poetry Corner

From Peterloo to Tolpuddle

Harry Gallagher

From Peterloo to Tolpuddle, Jarrow to Orgreave, there’ll be no further uprisings today sir, we read the press, know what to believe. The daily tales spin an almighty weave about who’s to blame, wouldn’t you say sir from Peterloo to Tolpuddle, Jarrow to Orgreave. We’ve learned when to smile, when to grieve and follow our […]

Tynedale Transformed: the second Sunday throughout winter

Yvonne Wancke

Following its festival launch, Tynedale Transformed is now holding a series of events throughout the winter called The Second Sunday, where they will hold events around a particular issue. The topic on Sunday 8th November is,” From the High Street to the Villages; Keeping our Communities alive”:

Music

Sunderland indie rock band releases new single

Daisy Windsor

Plastic Glass is no stranger to the local live scene, having played sold out headline shows at venues such as Think Tank (Newcastle) and Independent (Sunderland) as well as supporting indie outfits The Snuts, The K’s and The Pale White. Now working with nationally acclaimed promoters Scruff of the Neck and This Feeling, the Sunderland four piece are travelling further afield, having already played shows in Leeds, Glasgow, Carlisle and Manchester this year before being cut short.

You write the songs

Robina Jacobson

Each of the songs in the album contains a truth and a mood of our times. In their different ways they narrate the course of our lives since the referendum in 2016, and what is most remarkable, through their combined wealth of intelligence the artists offer us hope. Listen to ‘Tea with the Devil’ by Rosemary Schonfeld and you will smile at the clever portrayal of an urbane Devil who has pocketed the consciences of Prime Ministers and Presidents, or throw your arms in the air with delight as Mitch Benn sings all the things you ever wanted to say but didn’t dare.

Poetry Corner

The Trumpywump

Suzanne Fairless-Aitken

Beware, beware the Trumpywump His skin is orange, he likes to pump, His teeny hands rub rounded tum And words come out of mouth and bum. The little white house in a deep, dark wood, Was where the Trumpywump lived, and he was not good. He was a mischievous redcap of goblin breed and on […]