This award, sponsored by Ward Hadaway, recognises an individual performer, or group who has stood out during 2014. We welcomed nominations for actors, dancers, musicians, singers, spoken word artists and comedians. Nominations could be for one stand out performance or for a collection of performances throughout the year.
HYDE AND BEAST
Sunderland outfit Hyde and Beast’s bluesy, glam-infused tunes soundtracked the summer of many a North-Eastern music fan.
Having released their second album, Keep Moving in August and played a batch of related sets at local music festivals, the band - David Hyde and Neil Bassett of Futureheads and Golden Virgins back catalogue fame respectively, also played a UK tour in the autumn.
Live performances saw the duo become a six piece, including Hyde’s fellow Futurehead (and brother), Barry.
The band donated the recent release of the album’s title track to Prostate Cancer UK’s 2015 television ad and opened the Men United’s Tyneside Takeover for the charity, giving a free performance in Newcastle.
Listen to their new single, Hard Times Good Times here or get the full experience and watch them play live at one of the many festivals they’re performing at, including Sunniside and Summer Streets in Sunderland, Corbridge Festival in Northumberland and Kendal Calling in Cumbria.
In a two-handed production, you might expect to see only two characters on stage. During 2014’s Flying into Daylight - written by Emmy-winning screenwriter Ron Hutchinson and directed by Live Theatre’s artistic director Max Roberts - there were 18 roles to see.
Seventeen of these were performed by Jos Vantyler, an award-winning Irish actor who was cast opposite Summer Strallen in the piece, which premiered at Live in November 2014.
During a “remarkable display of talent”, Jos played every male character encountered by Strallen’s Virginia on her quest to discover the Argentinian Tango, switching effortlessly from a sultry Argentinian dance instructor to a London salesman and so on as the carefully choreographed action was played out.
“He is one to watch in every sense of the word, morphing smoothly from Marco, the Tango-teaching martinet, to anxious Phil. He also, with great aplomb, takes on all the other male cameos,” said Culture Editor David Whetstone in his review.
Currently performing in Sir Jonathan Miller’s production of King Lear for Northern Broadsides, Jos says: “It’s great to be nominated for this award. The Journal Culture awards cover wide and exiting spectrum of work in such a thriving cultural area of the country and it’s wonderful to be included in that mix.
“Flying Into Daylight is an exciting and life affirming journey of how art changes our lives. Based on a true story, Ron Hutchinson’s play has live music, dance and a brilliant script that tells how the discovery of Tango leads to the discovery of self and how life can change in an instant.
“It was my first time working with Max Roberts as director (which was a dream; I have been a fan for some time) and my second time with writer/director Ron Hutchinson (another firm favourite!). With brilliant choreography by Amir Giles and a musical score by Julian Rowlands myself and the beautiful and talented Miss Summer Strallen had a dream team to work with on this new exciting two hander.”
Since the critically acclaimed release of her debut album Love Your Dum and Mad in 2013, Nadine Shah’s dark and jazz-dipped chamber pop has been required listening for many a music lover.
Her sound has been compared to that of musical greats PJ Harvey and Nick Cave, but, with the release of her second album Fast Food, Whitburn-born Nadine has come into her own.
2014 saw her complete a European tour, perform at festivals aplenty (including the inaugural BBC6 Music Festival in Manchester, which of course served as a precursor to it coming to Tyneside in 2015) and release Stealing Cars - the first single off the new album, which got its official release in Spring 2015, just as an audience at Gateshead Old Town Hall were treated to a live rendition.
Nadine’s powerful and soulful voice lends itself well to the sound of her new album which The Guardian called “passion-drenched yet poised”; Shah confessed this release is a reflection on complicated relationships and she hopes fans will feel “empowered” by the new sound, as well as inclined to dance.