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You will have noticed that our front cover looks a bit different this month.
Our brilliant designer, Sean Collins, clearly enjoyed paying homage to Mondrian but it’s living artists and performers, and mostly those living in the North East, that we are putting on the pedestal in April.
That collage of photographs depicts some of the shortlisted contenders for our annual Culture Awards.
They’re a fine bunch, representing a blend of youth and experience but all exemplifying the creativity that characterises the region’s arts and culture landscape.
This year’s ceremony, looking back at the triumphs of 2013, takes place for the first time at Sage Gateshead (on April 16, to be exact) and we are all looking forward to it.
Last year’s ceremony took place at Durham Cathedral and it was wonderful. But it did make us wonder: how do we top that?
Well, if any North East building can match it for splendour, albeit in a contemporary fashion, then surely it has to be the Sage in its 10th anniversary year?
To join us there, and to cast your eye over the artistic runners and riders, turn to page 22. The winners will be revealed on the night. All I can say for certain is that one of them will not be a Dutch pioneer of abstract art who liked black lines and blocks of colour.
Inside this month’s magazine you will be invited to get inside the head of Alistair McGowan as he prepares to take to the Theatre Royal stage as Henry Higgins in Pygmalion.
We’ve also got an interview with an up-and-coming playwright of the modern era, Paddy Campbell, whose memorable Wet House features prominently on the Culture Awards shortlists.
And we introduce Juliette Bausor, the principal flautist with the Royal Northern Sinfonia, whose mum grew up in Felling, along the road from the Sage.
Juliette is touring some of Europe’s most famous concert halls and can’t quite believe it.
I leave you wondering where Sean will find his inspiration next month. Goya? Picasso? Beryl Cook? Time alone will tell.