Actor Chris Connel announced as host of this year's Journal Culture Awards

Pitmen Painters actor Chris Connel will reprise his role as the host of The Journal Culture Awards

Actor Chris Connel will host this year's Culture Awards
Actor Chris Connel will host this year's Culture Awards

Chris Connel will reprise his role as host of The Journal Culture Awards when the curtain comes up on the ceremony next month.

The acclaimed Pitmen Painters actor, who took the reigns of the event at Durham Cathedral last year, will once again take charge on the evening of Wednesday, April 16, when the awards are given out to the cream of the region’s cultural crop in the Sage Gateshead’s Hall One.

And he has promised to remain impartial, despite the fact that he starred in one of the evening’s big nominees.

Wet House, which debuted at Live Theatre last year, has clocked up a hat trick of nominations: Performance of the Year, Writer of the Year for Paddy Campbell and Performing Artist of the Year for Joe Caffrey.

Chris played morally corrupted care worker Mike in the acclaimed production, which will return later this year.

He said: “I’m genuinely thrilled to be asked to host The Journal Culture Awards again, and in another fantastic venue as well. I really enjoyed myself last time out in the magnificent Durham Cathedral and was crossing my fingers that I might be asked back.

“Hall One at The Sage Gateshead is one of my favourite spaces in the North East. I’m lucky enough to have performed there a few times already and I can’t think of a more perfect venue to host the awards this year.

“I’m really excited by the line-up too. It’s going to be another cracking night and I feel very lucky to be a part of it.”

Chris will doubtless be delighted to hear that we’re still adding to the already pretty special line-up. Celebrated North East folk outfit The Mighty Doonans – currently performing at Spain’s first folk festival, Costa Del Folk, alongside Fairport Convention – have confirmed their on-stage attendance, joining Mercury Music Prize nominee Kathryn Williams; a pair of Sunderland’s finest exports in The Lake Poets and Frankie and the Heartstrings; and performance poet (and Journal columnist) Kate Fox on the bill.

Mighty Doonans singer and guitarist, Stu Luckley, said: “We are honoured to be asked to be a part of this event, as folk music is such a large part of the North East’s cultural scene.

“Our family have been performing together for over 40 years, and bringing our own (very talented) kids into the band has made a new sound and modern twist.

“Last year was a huge year for us, with our new album out, and gigging all over Europe, but you can’t beat being back on your home ground and performing along side other amazing talent from the North East.”

The Journal Culture Awards 2013 take place on April 16 in Hall One, Sage Gateshead from 7.30pm. Tickets are £10 (£8 concs) available from the box office on 0191 443 4661 or online at


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer