Thursday, July 18, 2024
Local News from North & South Tyneside

Creative ideas brought to life by North Shields Cultural Quarter Projects and Events Fund

A range of exciting events have been taking place thanks to North Shields Cultural Quarter Projects and Events Fund and more will follow soon.

The Projects and Events Fund helped bring one of the UK’s biggest songwriters, Fraser T Smith, to attend an In Conversation: Reflections on the role of a producer in 2024 event with Bramwell Bronte (aka Thom Lewis) who is Sam Fender’s double-platinum achieving producer. The discussion was organised and chaired by international DJ, artist and producer Geoff Kirkwood AKA Man Power. It was a free event hosted at Three Tanners Bank on Wednesday 24 January.

Geoff said: “Fraser T Smith is arguably the most successful songwriter working in the UK today, creating huge hits for Adele, Stormzy, Britney Spears, Kano and more.

“He has received Grammys, MOBO Awards, Ivor Novello awards, written numerous number one songs and albums, and has been nominated for Mercury and Brit awards. 

“We got him talking to, and helping, lots of young people from local schools during the day, and then at night he spoke to a large gathering of people from the local creative scene, as well as people who just love music in general.

“Fraser and Thom discussed their careers and talked to the audience about the unique challenges music makers face at pretty much at every level all around the world, as well as focussing on what it means to be a music maker from the North East.

“It felt like a very special evening of people from the region getting insights and a connection with some of the most high-profile figures available.”

The Projects and Events Fund helped Hooley Theatre bring its 2024 production of Haddaway & Write to the Exchange 1856 theatre on 29 February. It featured six new short plays that champion North East talent.

Micky McGregor from Hooley Theatre said: “As our early talent development project, this is about nurturing new writers, supporting local acting talent and giving early-career directors a chance to shine.

“Everyone involved in the production was paid professional rates, helping new talent overcome financial barriers to get started and keep working.”

Harriet Ghost from Hooley Theatre said: “We bring authentic theatre to communities who wouldn’t usually access the arts. Tickets for this performance were priced at just £10 which meant we were able to fill the Exchange with an audience from a diverse range of backgrounds.

“We love the strong sense of culture, heritage and community in North Shields, along with the wealth of talent it has to offer. It’s brilliant that the Cultural Quarter is funding events that help to showcase that.”

Helen Aitchison is an author whose novels include The Dinner Club. She is founder of Write on the Tyne, an award-winning non-profit that makes creative writing inclusive and accessible.

Through North Shields Cultural Quarter Projects and Events Fund, Helen is teaching a range of free creative writing sessions in North Shields including Introduction to Creative Writing, Writing for Wellbeing and Routes to Publishing.  

Helen said: “It’s amazing to see the town develop and to feel the energetic and empowering excitement from local creatives, and the community, wanting to be part of developments and opportunities.

“I am delighted to be running these free courses in North Shields Library to nurture local talent and connect people in an inclusive space. “

Cllr Carl Johnson, Deputy Mayor for North Tyneside and cabinet member responsible for Regeneration, Economic Development and Culture said: “This is just the start of an exciting programme of events and projects in North Shields Cultural Quarter.

“They are all born from ideas that creative people in North Tyneside have approached us with. This funding has allowed us to help make those ideas into reality.

“It all helps to build a buzz in the town and raise the profile of the incredible creative scene we have here, across the region and beyond.

“Our overall aim with the Cultural Quarter is to boost and nurture creative businesses, to bring economic benefits to the whole of North Shields. Projects and events are a great way of investing in local people and kickstarting the town’s creative future.”

More information on what can be funded by the North Shields Cultural Quarter Projects and Events Fund and how to apply is available on the new website, along with news, case studies and background information about the scheme.

Projects and events could be a physical piece of art, a digital projection, a poetry, play, dance or music project, a performance for stage, TV or radio, an outdoor arts activity or community event.  

Funding is up to £10,000 (the average grant in 2023-24 was £5,600) for the full cost or a contribution to overall costs. It is desirable that this unlocks funding from other sources such as Arts Council England. 

This project is part funded by the by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and the North of Tyne Combined Authority Investment Fund with the North of Tyne Combined Authority as the lead authority.

North Shields Cultural Quarter is part of the North of Tyne Culture and Creative Zone programme.