Culture

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Local boy made good

Local boy made good

Newcastle’s own Neil Tennant comes home in September as his band Pet Shop Boys play two special shows at Sage Gateshead as part of their spectacular 2014 Electric tour. The shows on 2 and 3 September are the first in a run of concerts and special announcements that will celebrate Sage Gateshead’s tenth anniversary year. Neil said: “It always feels special to come home and perform a show, and the Sage has established itself in the last ten years as one of Europe’s very best venue

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My North East

My North East

Best-selling coffee-table book My North East by its Famous Sons and Daughters - which features the late Brendan Healy - is back on the shelves after selling out in our region's shops over a year ago. A softback version of the 200-page book featuring stunning landscape pictures and full interviews with 65 of the region’s top celebrities talking about their favourite places, views and memories of the North East is back on sale now, price £17.99.  You can order it online at www.my-northeast.co.uk.

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The gospel truth

The gospel truth

The Lindisfarne Gospels weigh the same as two adult female domestic cats, have three kilometres worth of words and took up to ten years to produce. But when it comes to their value, measurement is almost impossible. As one of the most important books in the history of Christianity, the gospels are virtually priceless and are usually housed at the British Library in London under strict security. But as anyone who has recently spent any time in the North East k

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Dancing to his own tune

Dancing to his own tune

Andy Fraser – founding member and bass player of 1970s seminal blues-rock band, Free – wrote the band’s mega-hit All Right Now and Robert Palmer’s Every Kinda People as well as songs recorded by Joe Cocker, Chaka Khan, Rod Stewart, Three Dog Night, Frankie Miller, Etta James and Bob Seger among others.  Now he has his own Andy Fraser Band and is at the helm of McTrax Records, which releases his own work and also spots and nurtures new talent, such as British singer songwriter Tobi

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TV detective drama George Gently filmed in the North East

TV detective drama George Gently filmed in the North East

Gently does it in Geordieland By Michael Hamilton Pictures by Dave Foster TV detective drama Inspector George Gently was filmed for the first time where it is actually set – in the North East – for the new two-part show on BBC1 screened on Sunday September 26 and October 3. We led the call to film the series here at home, last year. In exclusive interviews both Geordie actress Jill Halfpenny who starred in last year’s series and Tyneside writer Peter Flannery – who also penn

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Newcastle writer Lee Hall, who penned Billy Elliot, on the phenomenal success of his stage play Pitmen Painters

Newcastle writer Lee Hall, who penned Billy Elliot, on the phenomenal success of his

Portrait of a playwright Tyneside writer Lee Hall shot to fame with the 1999 hit movie Billy Elliot and adapted it for the stage in 2005, winning an award for best new musical. Now his latest award-winning play The Pitmen Painters is back touring in the North East.  Exclusive interview by Michael Hamilton MH: Tell me how The Pitmen Painters came about. Lee: It came about by accident in a way. I saw a copy of William Feaver’s book in a bookshop and thought that’s a

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Our Friends in the North writer Peter Flannery talks about BBC TV's George Gently

Our Friends in the North writer Peter Flannery talks about BBC TV's George Gently

Our friend in the North Hit BBC detective series Inspector George Gently is set in Northumberland in the Sixties - and was actually born in the North East Exclusive interview by Michael Hamilton * Following this interview the good news is that the next series of George Gently is to be filmed in the North East Award-winning Geordie screenwriter Peter Flannery – who wrote the epic BBC drama Our Friends in the North in 1996 – was browsing in books

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A Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire A National Theatre Live Young Vic production, broadcast live Empire Cinema, Sunderland 17 September     Loads of people love the cinema. I’m not one of them. No, I haven’t seen Star Wars, The Shawshank Redemption, The Godfather or any number of movies people tell me I should see. I’m with Holden Caulfield – to me the pictures are phoney. Okay, I like The Jungle Book and Toy Story, but film is simply not my medium. On the other hand I adore the theat

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Martin Barre at the Cluny

Martin Barre at the Cluny

Hot on the heels of frontman Ian Anderson’s tour earlier this year, Jethro Tull’s legendary guitarist Martin Barre has also hit the road, playing the Cluny In Newcastle on 6 December. The tour comes off the back of Martin’s new album Order of Play which includes some Tull classics including Locomotive Breath from Aqualung. Martin said: “We wanted a live CD to be a summary of the last two years of our work and this was the idea opportunity. “Fans had kept asking for a CD

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Review of 2014

Review of 2014

Theatre event of the year (TOTY) The Pillowman – unquestionably the best thing I’ve seen at the theatre for many a year. I knew nothing about the play when I went to see Newcastle University Theatre Society perform Martin McDonagh’s black comedy of power and freedom at Northern Stage. Over the years I’ve seen so much theatre that it takes something really outstanding to blow my mind. This did made it explode, not least through stunning performances from Dan Lockett and Ruaidrhi Johnston. An in

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Lofgren plays Gateshead

Lofgren plays Gateshead

Photo: Jo Lopez Legendary American songwriter, virtuoso guitarist and pianist Nils Lofgren returns to the UK this month for the first time since 2011. You can catch him at the Sage Gateshead on 23 January. After touring with Bruce Springsteen as a long-time member of the E Street Band on both the 2012-13 Wrecking Ball tour and the 2014 High Hopes tour, Nils is back to perform his own live show. Known for his world-class guita

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First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit

Newcastle City Hall 20 January Nominated this month for a Brit Award in the International Group category, First Aid Kit are a Swedish duo who play folk-rock based around sweet harmonies that Simon & Garfunkel would be proud of. Indeed they sing a version of Simon’s ‘America’ here, having explained how nervous they’d been singing it in front of him when he was honoured with The Polar Music Prize in 2012 – the same year First Aid Kit’s song ‘Emmylou’ was named in the top 10 songs of the year b

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Ian Anderson tour

Ian Anderson tour

Ian Anderson rocks his band’s namesake   Progressive rock pioneer Ian Anderson is bringing ‘Jethro Tull – The Rock Opera’ to the Sage Gateshead on 13 September. The show honours the 18th century English agriculturalist after which the band was named back in 1968. It tells the story of the original Jethro Tull's life, reimagined as if in the near future and illustrated with Anderson's best-known material from the band’s repertoire. The set-list will include many songs that Anderson

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Tom Paxton back on the road

Tom Paxton back on the road

Picture: Michael G. Stewart Fifty years on from his first UK tour in 1965, US folk music legend Tom Paxton is back on tour, and you can catch him at the Sage Gateshead on 13 May. This tour will also mark the release of his studio album Redemption Road released on 13 April. The past five decades have seen Tom record many enduring songs, and play thousands of live performances around the world, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in 2009. Celebrated amongst his peers

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Gretchen Peters

Gretchen Peters

Sage Gateshead 22 March Gretchen Peters’ first UK gig was in the North East 19 years ago. It’s been a slow rise and the 57-year-old New Yorker still plays Hall Two when she comes to The Sage, but this time it was standing room only at the back.  The mainstream aren’t likely to warm to an artist whose last album – the brilliant ‘Hello Cruel World’ – was by her own description her ‘existential crisis album’ while her new record, the magnificent ‘Blackbirds’ is according to Peters, her ‘de

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Eddi plays the Playhouse

Eddi plays the Playhouse

Scots singer Eddi Reader brings her blend of traditional and contemporary vocals to the Playhouse in Whitley Bay on 13 May.  From intimate gigs at local folk clubs in her home town of Glasgow in the early 1980s, to harmonising with Annie Lennox and making her debut on the silver screen alongside Zac Efron, Claire Danes and the Jools Holland Orchestra in the 2008 Hollywood film ‘Me And Orson Welles’, Eddi has enjoyed a remarkable career, becoming a notable figure in contemporary British

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Community-focused opera at North East Cathedrals

Community-focused opera at North East Cathedrals

Young people from across County Durham will join local singers and professional musicians in a celebration through words and song of the 800thanniversary of Magna Carta in Middlesbrough cathedral. The Great Charter opera took place in Durham Cathedral on Saturday 13 June and will be at at Middlesbrough Cathedral on Saturday 20 June at 7.30 pm. You can buy tickets through the Gala Theatre, Durham Box Office on 03000 266 600, or www.galadurham.co.ukThe main themes of equality before the law, democracy,

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Fabulous fifty for historic theatre

Fabulous fifty for historic theatre

Two great Scots – in the shape of Brian Cox and Bill Paterson – are helping the Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh celebrate the 50th anniversary of the theatre’s company with a tremendous staging of ‘Waiting for Godot’. Running until 10 October, Samuel Beckett’s best-known work is widely acknowledged as one of the 20th century’s best plays - and it couldn't be in safer hands than with these fine actors. Good friends in real life, their natural mutual empathy spills onto the stage and takes this produc

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The Unthanks

The Unthanks

Folk royalty The Unthanks are headlining this year’s Holy Island Festival on Sunday 26 June - hot on the heels of their triumph for best album at the Radio 2 Folk Awards. The highly-acclaimed Northumbrian act featuring sisters Rachel and Becky Unthank will bring their unique sound to St Mary’s Church on the island. For tickets go to www.holyislandfestival.org No strangers to the world of awards, they were nominated for the Mercury Music Prize in 2008, and their album The Bairns was nominat

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Calling all budding singers and dancers

Calling all budding singers and dancers

TeenStar, the UK’s only competition exclusively for pre-teens and teenagers, is auditioning  in Newcastle on 26 February. The venue is the SA Performing Arts Centre, (formerly SAGE), Potts Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 1ED. This year TeenStar introduces a new category - dancers and dance groups. Dance categories include 12 years old & under, 13-15 years old, and 16-19 years old and various age dance groups. The competition ends in a spectacular National Grand Final, which in previous years h

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Steve Hackett

Steve Hackett

Steve Hackett Sage Gateshead 17 May 7.30pm Image: Michael Aarons TICKETS:  £31.71 & £29.56 Tel. 0191 443 4661 Sagegatehead.com Genesis fans still divide into the pre- and post-Peter Gabriel era devotees.  Lead guitarist Steve Hackett was evidently amongst those who preferred the band with its original front man, as he remained with them for just two more albums before his own departure.  With Phil Collins as vocalist, Genesis’s remaining seven albums all

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Steve Hackett

Steve Hackett

Sage Gateshead 17 May If you didn’t see your local balding but long-haired, ageing prog-rocker on Wednesday night it was because he was at Sage One. Clad in a uniform of black tee-shirts and leather waistcoats an army of early Genesis fans descended on Gateshead to see Steve Hackett.  They weren’t disappointed as the guitarist who played on half a dozen early Genesis studio albums and three live ones turned on the style. As you’d expect from a tour that has already been to a quartet of countrie

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Carleen Anderson

Carleen Anderson

Carleen Anderson Sage Gateshead 29 June Amy Winehouse insisted you should see James Brown’s god-daughter Carleen Anderson at least three times. Either everyone already had done so or they were taking no notice as a gig originally scheduled for Hall One took place instead in Hall Two. Although there was no explanation why, the band were missing someone too. Violinist Samy Bishai was absent and replaced by Emma Smith who had only met Carleen and co two hours before the start of the gig!  A member o

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Thea Gilmore

Thea Gilmore...

Image by Idil Sukan 30 May Thea Gilmore opened a short tour at Sage Gateshead three days before the launch of her fourteenth studi...

Whats on

Open Mic back in Newcastle

Open Mic back in Newcastle...

The North East again plays host to Open Mic UK, the national music competition seeking the country’s best singers, singer-songwriters, rappe...