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Culture Awards Newcomer of the Year finalists: Heather Carroll, Magali Pettier and Sunderland Stages

Death at Dawn actress Heather Carroll, film maker Magali Pettier and the Sunderland Stages project made their presence felt in 2014

This award is to recognise any North East based writer, artist, performer or visual artist who has exhibited, performed or been brought to the wider public’s attention for the first time during 2014.


An ever-changing face in the Peter Mortimer production of Death at Dawn - a re-examination of the 100-year-old controversy of British soldiers being executed during the First World War for military offences - Heather Carroll played almost every female role.

During the play, which was performed at the Linskill Centre in North Shields, the actress was responsible for providing much of the emotion behind the soldiers in the trenches, portraying the love and despair of a number of characters.

Heather Carroll in final dress rehearsal for Death at Dawn by Peter Mortimer at the Linkskill centre North Shields
Heather Carroll in final dress rehearsal for Death at Dawn by Peter Mortimer at the Linkskill centre North Shields

The play focused on the story of local soldier William Hunter, who was shot by his own battalion for desertion offences in 1916.

With only time for a quick, superficial costume change between roles, Heather convincingly brought several characters to life, including local girl Bella, Canadian Juliette and Claudette in France.

A young actress rapidly gaining experience, her performance in Death at Dawn was certainly stand out.

Website: www.castingcallpro.com/uk/actor/profile/heather-carroll

Twitter: @HLCarroll7


As a photographer and filmmaker, Magali Pettier’s (perhaps rather lengthy) motto: “Make authentic, observational, emotional and narrative-led films about people, where they come from and what they value” certainly applies to her debut feature, Addicted to Sheep (2014).

Co-produced with Jan Cawood, the film, which was funded by Northern Film and Media as well as a crowdfunding campaign, follows a year in the life of a tenant farmer and his family through rain and shine as they try to breed the perfect sheep in the region.

Magali Pettier Director and Producer of Addicted to Sheep
Magali Pettier Director and Producer of Addicted to Sheep

Growing up on a farm in Brittany as a farmer’s daughter, Magali describes her low budget film as a “passion project” and aimed to make it as authentic as possible in its portrayal of the day to day reality of farm life.

Beautifully observed and laugh-out-loud funny, the resulting film provides an insight into the past, present and future of a way of life far removed from the high-tech hustle and bustle of modern existence.

Culture editor, David Whetstone reckons it might be one of the best films you’ll see in 2015.

Websites: www.magalipettier.com , www.addictedtosheep.com ,

Twitter: @MagaliPettier


The Sunderland Stages project was launched with the aim of beginning a new era of performing arts in the city of Sunderland, reinventing found spaces as areas of arts and cultural presentations.

Theatre, dance and spoken word were performed by a plethora of local artists across a wide range of venues which collectively offered a whole new platform for both artists and audiences alike.

Sunderland Stages, Broke Paper Birds at Arts Centre Washington

During Autumn 2014 Sunderland Stages brought performances to a range of venues in the city including the Royalty Theatre, Arts Centre Washington and the Bonded Warehouse.

There were also a number of special performances in ‘found’ spaces, including Unfolding Theatre’s Lands of Glass in National Glass Centre to a sold out crowd; family theatre in Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens; Kate Tempest’s Hopelessly Devoted by Paines Plough in Arts Centre Washington; and an unforgettable evening of dance as balletLORENT performed their stunning Night Ball in North Shore.

The project, headed up by Helen Green, creative director of the Arts Centre Washington, really has brought the best in performing arts to the people of Sunderland’s doorstep.

Website: www.artscentrewashington.co.uk/sunderland-stages.aspx

Twitter: @sunstages


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
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Business Editor
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Newcastle United Editor
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Sports Writer