A FESTIVAL to highlight the amazing creativity of North East people and for everyone to enjoy – that was the vision put forward this week by musician Kathryn Tickell and writer Lee Hall.
They, with sculptor Antony Gormley and Paul Smith of Maximo Park, are the guiding lights of the region-wide Festival of the North East, due to take place next June with the support of Arts Council England and all 12 local authorities.
It will herald the arrival of the Lindisfarne Gospels at Durham Cathedral in July, arguably the best example of North East creativity which is being loaned back to the region by the British Library.
Kathryn, Lee and festival director Jonathan Best said the festival would include 150-200 events, big and small, embracing the region’s art and heritage.
“It’ll be a festival for the whole region and will include a lot of fantastic venues where you wouldn’t normally expect to see art,” said Kathryn.
Lee said: “A lot of people who are separate in my creative life I’ll be pulling together. The festival will be an excuse to mix things up and that’s very exciting.”
Among ideas taking shape is a collaboration between Tanfield Railway, near Stanley, and a Gateshead animation firm, Arcus Studios, A History of the North East in 100 Objects, masterminded by Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, and a Teesside celebration of engineering.
Lee is planning a highly unusual theatrical homage to the late poet Barry MacSweeney, “because he’s brilliant”, and Kathryn is working on “a big extravaganza with traditional music and the Northern Sinfonia” and a series of intimate and impromptu performances in pubs across the region.
Details will start to appear next week on a new website, www.festivalNE.com.