Journeys into the past,
into the future,
Into the light, into the dark
from Christianity's cradle
to St James Park,
from the Scottish border
to Marden Rocks.
The nominations start
with Paul Alexander Knox
showing how societies change
when industries disappear,
Sunderland’s Bangladeshi people revealed
in We Are All Brothers Here.
Paranoia-purveyor Swedish Cecilia Stenbom’s
lived in Iceland, Finland and Scotland
got on The Case in Berwick with Nordic Noir.
watercolour-experimenter William Tillyer,
the most famous British artist
people have never heard of,
a philosopher-painter's perspective
in a 75th birthday MIMA retrospective
asking hard questions of paint,
making representational art tartars
Dancer-director Vivien Wood’s “Exile”
powered from Dance City to Holy Island
via Durham Cathedral
in passionate, collaborative style
asked where can you go when you lose home?
The November Club’s answer was Wallington Hall,
for the emotional evacuees
revoiced in Operation Pied Piper,
Lady Mary Trevelyan answering their call.
Homeless alcoholics found a home at the Live Theatre-
not funding-cut artists upset at losing their money-
but Paddy Campbell’s Wet House-
with a moving, true and funny
from debut-performer nominee,
actor Joe Caffrey,
Travelling troubadour, honest song man
Martin Longstaff of The Lake Poets
has gigged all over the country from Sunderland,
and if you want another fragile, honest voice
in the North East we’re spoilt for choice.
See also Kathryn Williams who threw a Heart Shaped Stone
from instant classic album Crown Electric
to land on Radio 2 (and the Rovers Return jukebox).
If you caught her Sylvia Plath-inspired poems
at Durham Book Festival
you wouldn’t have been sorry
and did I mention?
she heard her song on Corrie.
are quirky playwriter Allison Davies
Weather to Fly
looked at people wondering who they were and why.
Northern Stage graduates The Letter Room
took that indie, collaborative theatre attitude
to Edinburgh,Bestival and Latitude.
in “The Man who Thought the Moon
Would Fall Out of the Sky”
and- if you were just thinking that mentioning
meteorological phenomenon in your title
would get you a newcomer nomination
I’ll have a try-
the third nominee is Pop Recs
where Frankie and the Heartstrings
stuck their necks out.
Finding no record shops
to sell their record in
they knuckled down
to open their own
in their home town.
another nod, the second today
for Paddy Campbell’s The Wet Room- his debut play.
A Geordie Adrian Mole
is created in Young Adult hit “In Bloom”
a flying flowering for dynamic young adult Matthew Crow
and a gritty conspiracy thriller “Gladio”
the first novel after Steve Chambers
twenty five years world-creating
for everything from Casualty to Byker Grove.
and he’s done more for writers education than Michael Gove.
Angelically singing curators
Bridie Jackson and the Arbour
strapped their mandolin and their moog on,
to make a night at the museum
more melodically magical
than an average film starring Steve Coogan
The Discovery Museum’s new gallery
channels local pride,
animates the lives
of people who moved here,
making sure their struggles
and stories don't disappear.
For those who now call
the North East home,
much to recognise in the
History of the North East
in a Hundred Objects
from the first windscreen wiper, to a friction match
and Catherine Cookson’s dictaphone.
Arts and Business
when culture and commerce meet-
Pop Recs Limited
from the hardworking band,
who’ve made a stand
on Fawcett Street.
Live Theatre and Port of Tyne-
making waves with sell out shows
aboard for Michael Chaplin’s Tyne.
and Wideeyed Collective and SCA-
photographers of social issues
teaming up with manufacturers of tissues.
The Arts Council Award nominees
Bad Taste Company’s devilish dancers
selling their Speakeasy souls in Faust,
had national audiences in and out of doors
begging for more
Souter Lighthouse’s Foghorn Requiem
saw musicians and boats
create a melancholy withdrawing roar
echoing from ship to shore
and Second Moon’s a lunatic work
showing the longest journey in real time as it’s unfurled
-moon rock shot from the Science Festival in Newcastle
all the way around the world.
Track it via a free app,
give all these innovative works a clap...
Because our journey is now in the home straight.
The best of each regional event.
Wish you’d been there if you missed them,
reminisce if you went.
like a thousand at the Ouseburn
Evolution’s little sister
where you might spot a future Culture Awards headlining turn.
Forty years of publishing, poetry and purple from
local lit legend Pete Mortimer
celebrated in a festival by the sea-
featuring Melvyn Bragg, Ian Mcmillan- oh, and me!
Then from the Iron Age-
head for One Night in Gateshead- where else but
here at Sage.
Accordion, fiddle, cloggers, street dance
breathed into life
by bag-squeezing diva Kathryn Tickell
Berwick Media Arts Festival
used Nordic roots to make itself the place
to be seen-
border town become cinema screen.
Rewind five hundred years to border disputes
and Flodden 1513
or the vote might go
to Morpeth's campaigning
daughter Emily Wilding Davis
with Emily Inspires,
would she think enough
has altered yet?
The National Glass Centre’s
redevelopment relaunch and reopening
after six months
and a space to reflect.
As did Glittering Potter Grayson Perry
whose Vanity of Small Differences
came to Sunderland and Channel Four,
asked- relevantly for a culture awards ceremony-
what taste is- and who it is for.
While The Social saw documentary photographers,
lens- livers, international image givers
turned their clear eyed gaze
on their work in the region
for a month of days.
Hetton Silver Band Hall
travelled brick by brick
they took it all!
Welcomed with a collier’s carnival.
Also coming home-
the gem-studded pages
of the Lindisfarne Gospel
Durham laid on
operas, dance, a Lindisfarne cake off,
over a thousand events
and a hundred thousand people saw it
before the British Museum had to make off
with it again
and Vogue photographer,
surrealist storyteller’s Tim Walker’s
blended feathers and ticking
as often as the Bowes Museum’s mechanical swan.
world-maker Daniel Bye cast his eye
and ear over Stockton’s unheard stories,
forgotten ordinaries and sudden strange.
Said you’re part of history
so it’s something you can change.
In Darlington they didn’t skimp on art,
heart or taking part.
Twenty seven thousand people
at the first, free national
Festival of Thrift
giving short thrift to those who said
it couldn’t be done,
was only for the likes
of Boden-botherers in London.
Last but not least-
after all that journeying,
a Middlesbrough project
asked a lot and had much to give-
celebrating everything from Temenos to the Transporter
Middlesbrough's treasures from the serious
to the silly
Roseberry Topping to
the Mayor to Amelia Lily
ten thousand entries showed
Love Where You Live.