The Journal Culture Awards 2013 were held in Sage Gateshead’s Hall One for the first time.
Presented for the second consecutive year by actor and presenter, Chris Connel (Pitmen Painters, Wet House, George Gently) the audience were treated to a bill of performances from The Lake Poets, Kate Fox, The Mighty Doonans, Frankie and the Heartstrings and Mercury Music Prize nominee Kathryn Williams.
The trophies were designed and made by Durham-based glass artist, Janet Rogers.
Visual Artist of the Year: Cecilia Stenbom
Gateshead-based artist and filmmaker Cecilia is originally from Sweden and has been based in Iceland, Finland and Scotland before moving to England in 2005. Her work is concerned with notions of identity in a consumer driven and information rich culture and she works across media including video/film, installation, drawing and painting.
Cecilia was Berwick Visual Arts and Berwick Film & Media Art Festival’s first artist-in-residence from January to July 2013. During this time she took inspiration from British crime dramas and the Nordic Noir genre while responding to the festival’s North by Northeast theme to make the acclaimed film, The Case, which was shot entirely in Berwick.
The piece has since been screened at film festival internationally, in Cairo, Germany, Holland, Norway, Glasgow and London throughout 2014 and 2015. She has also had System, which was filmed in shopping centres in Newcastle and Gateshead, screened several times, as well as new exhibitions The List, Figure Two, shown at the Baltic in 2015 and Nobody Gets out of Here Alive, held in Finland.
Performing Artist of the Year: Joe Caffrey
A duo of performances at Newcastle’s Live Theatre, as well as a successful run of Pitmen Painters in the West End give actor Joe Caffrey his inaugural Culture Awards nomination and win.
His portrayal of Dinger in Paddy Campbell’s Wet House combined heartbreak, humour and hope to unforgettable effect, meanwhile the return of Lee Hall’s Cooking With Elvis offered Joe the chance to reprise the royal role he made his own back in 1999.
Speaking at the time of the nomination, Joe said: “There have been so many great performances from countless fabulous artists in our region this year, that it’s humbling to realise the company I’ll be in on the night. It’s a hugely exciting prospect for me to be attending this year’s ceremony (my first) and will be joined by some of the other actors, writers and directors I’ve worked with this year, who have been so supportive, generous and nurturing, and who have enabled me to enjoy some of the most challenging and fulfilling work I have produced in my 26 years as a professional actor.
“2013 was a fabulous year for me professionally and personally and I feel privileged to be doing what I enjoy most.
“Following a successful run of The Pitmen Painters in the West End, 2013 saw a national tour.
“Following this, I returned to do two plays at Live Theatre. I began my career there 26 years ago and it always feels the most comfortable place on earth for me to work. The two shows were, the remarkable Wet House by Paddy Campbell and the return of Lee Hall’s shocking and funny Cooking With Elvis. I will be privileged if I get another year like that again soon.”
Since his win, Joe appeared in BBC Radio 4 drama A Good Thing for a Good Reason alongside Alun Armstrong, returned to the Live Theatre with Denise Welch in new play by Janet Plater piece and is currently finishing a run of Light Shining in Buckinghamshire at the National Theatre.
Performance of the Year: Wet House
Paddy Campbell’s full-length debut set in a hostel for homeless alcoholics was a feast for all emotions. Funny, heartbreaking, shocking, thought-provoking and unnerving, the play provided a vehicle for top drawer performances across the board, as well as offering Live Theatre a shining jewel in its 40th year anniversary celebrations.
The production sold out during two runs in Newcastle and went on to be performed at the Soho Theatre in London.
Joe Caffrey, David Nellist and Eva Quinn played the residents who are allowed to indulge their addiction, while Chris Connel, Jackie Lye and Riley Jones portrayed those in charge of keeping things on an even keel. Or at least making sure they don’t bother anyone outside the confines of the wet house.
Speaking at the time of the nomination, artistic director Live Theatre, Max Roberts, said: “Everyone at Live Theatre feels a real sense of pride regarding Paddy Campbell’s startling first play Wet House, and we’re all thrilled it has been nominated for this award.
“The production contained uniformly superb performances but I’d like to think that this nomination recognises the superb creative input of everyone at Live Theatre who made the production such a success.
“It was Live Theatre’s 40th birthday in 2013 and we are particularly pleased that a debut play by an emerging writer shone so brightly in our anniversary season.
“That Paddy Campbell’s Wet House played and sold out alongside productions by some of our most established writers, including Michael Chaplin (Tyne) and Lee Hall (Cooking With Elvis), gives us a great sense of achievement, and demonstrates that our commitment to finding new talent to delight our audiences is as steadfast as ever.”
Writer of the Year: Paddy Campbell
In 2013 Live Theatre presented the World Premiere of Paddy Campbell’s first full length play, Wet House which received rave reviews. Thirty-three-year-old Paddy, originally from Northern Ireland, drew on first-hand experience working in a wet house (a hostel for homeless people that caters for alcoholics) to create this acclaimed dark comedy.
In 2007 Paddy completed Live Theatre’s Introduction to Playwriting course went on to work extensively with the company ever since, writing short pieces for Live Lab events, mentoring young writers on projects such as First Draft as well as creating special commissions for Live’s acclaimed Youth Theatre.
His latest work, Day of the Flymo was written using his experiences of working in a children’s home and representing the way the British care system works. It premiered at the Live Theatre in April this year. The success of the play has ensured its return in November 2015.
Meanwhile Paddy is currently part of Channel 4’s Screenwriting Course and has recently been selected for Creative England’s iWrite programme.
Newcomer of the Year: Pop Recs Ltd
Sunderland band Frankie and the Heartstrings set up independent record store Pop Recs Ltd in the heart of their city to inspire and nurture local talent, as well as provide a new performance venue for music which offers free (or at least crazily cheap) performances from touring artists... and somewhere cool to buy records of course.
Known as some of the hardest working music makers around, members of the band - who put in a sterling turn on stage at Sage Gateshead on the night of the awards - work in the shop (as well as tirelessly behind the scenes) in addition to creating their own music.
Having recently been forced to shut up shop and move out of their Fawcett Street venue after the City Council sold the building to a developer who will be turning it into student flats, The Pop Recs team are on the hunt for new premises, but will be opening a ‘pop up’ shop between July 11 and July 25 above Scout Vintage on Olive Street.
North East Museum Award: Bridie Jackson and the Arbour at Woodhorn (and others)
Music in Museums was a series of bespoke events and concerts, curated by North East band, Bridie and The Arbour and held within museums across the North East, including Bede’s World, Shipley Art Gallery and Preston Park and Woodhorn, where Bridie ran the songwriting project based on their archives, and where the band performed with Emily Portman and Ditte Elly as part of the Miner’s Picnic.
During the project the band explored each museum and their collections, stories and spaces to identify something inspiring and meaningful to local and regional communities. In sharing their own discoveries through music, the band was able to shine a new light on the North East regions’ rich heritage for others to enjoy.
Supported by the Arts Council, overall the project reached an audience of over 10,000 people though both live and broadcast performances.
Although band member Rachel Cross has left to start a family with her partner, the band are still enjoying success playing festivals including the 2015 Spitalfields Music Summer Festival and are currently writing their third album. In 2013 they played Glastonbury and won Glastonbury Emerging Talent contest out of 8,000 contenders.
Arts Council Award: Foghorn Requiem
More than 50 ships and 65 musicians gathered at Souter Lighthouse to perform the Foghorn Requiem together with the Lighthouse’s foghorn itself.
The event was a celebration of the sound of the foghorn, and a gathering of people and ships coming together to listen to its majestic honk, one last time.
Foghorn Requiem was performed by three brass bands: Felling Band, the Westoe Band and the NASUWT Riverside Band, ships at sea and the Souter Lighthouse Foghorn.
Artists Lise Autogena and Joshua Portway collaborated with composer Orlando Gough to create an event that incorporated this sense landscape, memory and space into the musical composition. New technology allowed ships horns several miles off shore to play together in time with the fine musicians on shore.
Best Arts and Business Partnership: SCA and Wideyed
Early in 2013, two artists from the Darlington- based photography collective Wideyed spent three weeks at SCA’s tissue manufacturing site in Prudhoe taking pictures of the 400-plus workforce.
Lucy Carolan and Richard Glynn’s artwork, titled Therblig, was awarded a solo exhibition at the New Art Exchange in Nottingham as part of the Midlands-based international photography festival FORMAT13. The exhibition was an EXPOSURE Award winner, received wide critical acclaim and attracted national media coverage.
Therblig was later displayed in this region at the Fuse Media Centre in Prudhoe.
Wideyed recently published an artist book, Shoot!, containing photographs shown at the Durham Art Gallery in 2013-2014.
Best Event Sunderland: The Vanity of Small Differences
In The Vanity of Small Differences Grayson Perry explored his fascination with taste and the visual story it tells of our interior lives in a series of six tapestries and three TV programmes on Channel 4.
The colourful Turner Prizewinning artist put residents of Sunderland firmly in the picture in his large tapestries, with scenes including local girls dressed for a big night out.
In a coup for the town, Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens was picked to be the first host of an international tour of the exhibition.
In the two years since this, Perry has been awarded a CBE for services to contemporary art and has made shows Who You Are and Grayson Perry’s Dream House for Channel 4.
Best Event Teesside: Festival of Thrift
2013 was the very first year for Darlington’s Festival of Thrift, which won Best Event Teesside at the Culture awards that year. The weekend long event aims to celebrate, encourage and educate people on recycling, reusing, upcycling and reinventing things, from clothing to food, furniture to electronics, and anything else that could be useful around the house. This helps to save money and protect the environment. The first festival attracted 27,000 people, vastly increasing to 40,000 in 2014. This year the festival is being held in late September and is celebrating the 190th anniversary of the first passenger train between Stockton and Darlington. (http://www.festivalofthrift.co.uk/ ,
Best Event Northumberland: Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival
The Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival transforms different locations across the town into giant cinema screenings of local artists’ works. In 2013 the festival explored the areas Nordic roots and the historical and cultural links with Europe, exploring how they affect the regions culture today.
The festival was awarded Culture’s Best Event Northumberland as they approached their 10th anniversary the following year for the installations, events and premiers it produced. This year’s 11th edition takes place this September and is currently open for submissions for anyone who wishes to get creative and enter their own film or media artwork to be considered.
Best Event Durham: Lindisfarne Gospels
In the summer of 2013, one of the world’s greatest books, the Lindisfarne Gospels was on show in a unique exhibition on Durham’s UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Lindisfarne Gospels were the centrepiece of a contemporary exhibition which told the tale of our famous Saint Cuthbert, and this beautiful manuscript – its creation, its journey and its special symbolism for the people of the North. The exhibition offered a fantastic opportunity to view a selection of St Cuthbert’s treasures including his jewelled cross, sapphire ring and travelling altar, alongside the book that was written in his honour.
Lindisfarne Gospels Durham was the focus of a region-wide celebration of the North’s creative, artistic and spiritual heritage. The iconic manuscript drew in 100,000 people, highlighting the great interest in the historic and iconic pieces Durham has to offer.
Best Event Tyneside: Iron Age Festival
Small North East publishers Iron Press celebrated their 40th anniversary in 2013 in style, with a unique literary event, the Iron Age Festival, which went on to win Culture’s Best Event Tyneside. The quirky week-long festival helped to launch regional author David Almond’s book of stories, Nesting, and hosted a range on one of a kind events, including a snooker tournaments and a haiku competition in a nearby fish and chip show.
The coastal festival saw events taking place in fishing boats for an extra dose of individuality, as well as talks from musicians and writer Melvyn Bragg.
Iron Press continues to publish North East works, and recently produced Lisa Rodgers’ book The She Chronicles.
The Eclectic Iron Festival returned in 2015, once again offering a heady mix of the famous, the grass-roots, the curious and the downright bizarre.
Best Overall Event: Lindisfarne Gospels
In the same year that the Royal Northern Sinfonia won was awarded Culture’s Special Contribution accolade the Queen bestowed them with the title Royal, officially making them the Royal Northern Sinfonia Orchestra.
This institution has been playing for 46 years and is a resident of the Sage, Gateshead. They have many events lined up at the Sage and are extremely popular with a number of present and ongoing productions, including Rejoice, Proms Classics and the AV Festival. In 2014 they appointed Lars Vogt as their new music director.