As the Grade I listed Theatre Royal Newcastle celebrates its 175th birthday this year, the destination’s venues join forces to host the World Shakespeare Festival, part of a packed summer of celebratory events.
Innovative new writing and a longstanding relationship with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has cemented NewcastleGateshead’s reputation as a leading theatrical destination. The northern home to the RSC since 1977, Theatre Royal Newcastle welcomes the company back for a performance of Shakespeare’s great political thriller, Julius Caesar (19 – 28 July).
Northern Stage, one of the UK’s top ten producing theatres has a growing reputation for reimagining classic texts and bringing the stories to life for modern audiences of all ages. The theatre has taken Shakespeare’s plays and his use of language to deliver vibrant reinterpretations, including a meditation on Hamlet, The Rest is Silence, (26 – 30 June) and Macbeth: Leïla and Ben – A Bloody History (12 -14 July). For younger audiences, In a Pickle (27 – 30 June), produced by Oily Cart and the RSC, explores Shakespeare in a multi-sensory and highly interactive way.
Finally, The Sage Gateshead presents a new production of West Side Story (04-07 July); the first time the international music centre has attempted a production of this nature.
The World Shakespeare Festival forms part of London 2012 Festival, which is in itself the culmination of and part of the Cultural Olympiad, which has been running since 2008. This series of events celebrates the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Other cultural events taking place in NewcastleGateshead throughout May and June include Gateshead’s International Festival of Theatre (GIFT), which returns from 04 – 06 May.
Children of the night come out after-dark with The Late Shows (18 – 19 May), a series of after-hours events and exhibitions across NewcastleGateshead’s cultural venues before the twin-cities most stylish hit the catwalk for Newcastle Fashion Week. Celebrating the edgiest designers and rising fashion stars (26 May – 3 June).
And for revellers looking for an alternative way to celebrate (or not!) the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, NewcastleGateshead’s premier music festival, Evolution, returns to Newcastle Quayside with an enviable line-up of acts, including Dizzee Rascal, Noah & the Whale and Deadmau5, seeing-in the summer festival season.
As well as this packed program of cultural events making NewcastleGateshead THE city-break destination of choice in 2012, visitors can enjoy quality hotels from a range of brand new accommodation providers. The latest addition set to open on 01 June is Hotel Indigo, complete with a Marco Pierre White restaurant.
Event Highlights include:
Various locations across Gateshead
04 – 06 May 2012
GIFT 2011 (Gateshead International Festival of Theatre) operated as a pilot event bringing together new theatre makers from around the world for a weekend of performances, workshops and discussions bringing together innovative theatre makers from across the north east and beyond. www.giftfestival.co.uk.
BBC Young Musician Final 2012
The Sage Gateshead
13 May 2012
After a 12 month search and four rounds of auditions, three outstanding young musicians remain.
Each will perform a concerto of their choice in a bid to become BBC Young Musician 2012.
The Late Shows
Various locations across NewcastleGateshead
18 – 19 May 2012
The Late Shows is an inspiring, after dark programme of events and exhibitions centring on the cultural venues in NewcastleGateshead that are usually closed in the evening. Museums, galleries and visitor attractions stay up late to encourage people to do something cultural with their evening – in celebration of the international event ‘Museums at Night’.www.thelateshows.org.uk.
Newcastle Fashion Week
Various locations across Newcastle
26 May – 3 June
Newcastle Fashion Week puts fashion on the map, celebrating Newcastle as the Fashion Capital of the North. The event comprises of premier catwalks, high street VIP shopping events, industry talks featuring fashion’s finest, exclusive after show parties and much, much more. www.get-into-newcastle.co.uk.
Various locations across NewcastleGateshead, 03 – 04 June 2012
Having hosted the likes of Tinie Tempah and Plan B, Evolution is now firmly established as one of the key events in the national calendar, opening the annual summer music festival season. Taking place on the north bank of the Quayside, Evolution was described by Clash Magazine as ‘the UKs model City Festival www.evolutionfestival.co.uk.
150th Anniversary since The Blaydon Races was composed
09 June 2012
2012 marks 150 years since world-famous Geordie anthem the Blaydon Races was written. Celebrations include the annual road race taking in the route described in the song. www.blaydonraces150.co.uk.
¡VAMOS! Festival of Latin and Lusophone Culture
01 June – 15 July 2012
VAMOS! Festival brings Latin spirit to the North East with events celebrating the culture and vibrancy of Spanish and Portuguese speaking cultures. www.vamosfestival.com.
World Shakespeare Festival 2012
Northern Stage, The Sage Gateshead and Theatre Royal Newcastle, June – July 2012
Thousands of artists from around the world will take part in almost 70 productions as part of the World Shakespeare Festival. In NewcastleGateshead Northern Stage hosts two stunning new pieces, The Rest Is Silence and Macbeth: Leïla and Ben – A Bloody History. Theatre Royal Newcastle hosts The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Julius Caesar and The Sage Gateshead will stage Westside Story and host an education conference, Re-Making Shakespeare. www.worldshakespearefestival.
London 2012 Cultural Olympiad: ~Flow
River Tyne/NewcastleGateshead Quayside
25 March – September 2012
The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad is the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements: there are many Cultural Olympiad events happening in NewcastleGateshead, which is known for the vibrancy of its cultural life. One outstanding project is ~Flow, which is part of Artists taking the lead, twelve extraordinary public art commissions funded by the UK Arts Councils for the Cultural Olympiad to help celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Produced by Ed Carter and the Owl Project, ~Flow is a floating self powered structure. A waterwheel will harness the energy of the River Tyne to power a number of electro-acoustic musical instruments that combine mechanical automation and digital technology to produce sounds that respond to the river. ~Flow has wide appeal, combining sculpture, cutting edge technology, hand crafted wooden instruments, architecture, engineering and electronic music to create an astonishing audio-visual public artwork.www.flowmill.org
Where to stay
Hotel Indigo Newcastle feat restaurant by Marco Pierre White
The four star boutique inspired hotel offers 48 luxurious, upscale rooms and is situated in the heart of the city centre. Opening on 01 June 2012, the property also brings with it a Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill, the celebrity chef’s first outing in North East England. www.sanguinehospitality.com.
Or, try the new Ramada Encore hotel which opened its doors in March 2012. Located in the Baltic Business Quarter opposite The Sage Gateshead and close to Gateshead Quays – home to BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and the Quayside, the 202 bedroom 3-star Ramada Encore hotel is ideally located for a short break in NewcastleGateshead.
How to get here
Direct rail services run from many UK cities to Newcastle Central Station. East Coast operate the East Coast mainline from London King’s Cross to Scotland via Newcastle and the CrossCountry route links the region with Scotland, the Midlands and the South West. Northern Rail operate from Carlisle, Teesside and beyond, while TransPennine Express services run from Manchester, Liverpool and stations across Yorkshire.
The range of events and activities demonstrates how Newcastle is a key cultural gem in the UK and an important city break destination. Newcastle city breaks and Newcastle shopping breaks are amongst the key reasons people come to the North East.