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Newcastle Cultural Events – February

Here’s my round up of cultural offerings next month. Please let me know of anything else going on – can’t wait to throw myself back into things after breaking my ankle at the beginning of December! 

The theme of the festival this year is Meanwhile, What About Socialism? (Taken from George Orwell’s 1936 book on democratic socialism – he toured the depressed areas of Northern England and spend two months travelling in the north). AV Festival 2016 is directly responding to his original commission by inviting several artists to live in Newcastle during the Festival. The programme presents work by 12 artists and archives, 48 film screenings, nine artist talks and four performances in 14 venues.  Expect work by artists who address political struggle, revolution and social movements and anti-capitalism. The Festival Launch and Exhibition Preview takes place on Friday 26 February from 6pm–1am in Newcastle and Gateshead.

Ted 16 Dream – Tuesday 16th February (Tyneside Cinema)

I’m hoping to get a ticket to this sold out event at the Tyneside Cinema. Having been inspired by Ted talks for many years (alongside millions of others) – TED fans are looking for the latest in cutting edge creative thought during an evening of talks beamed live from Vancouver. Speakers include composer A.R Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire), entreprenuer and scientist Astro Teller (founder of BodyMedia) and Tshering Tobgay (Prime Minister of Bhutan). Expect a mind-blowing night. 

The Laing goes from strength to strength with this illustrious exhibition featuring ten drawings by the Renaissance Man from the Royal Collection. Most of those interested in art will be aware of Da Vinci’s ability to turn his hand to almost anything, the works show his amazingly varied range of interests including anatomy, cartography, botany and engineering and his mastery of media such as chalks, watercolours, inks and metalpoint. Let’s all marvel at his technical abilities. 
This week long event includes four brand new productions alongside discussions and workshops. There’s a theatre workshop on 9th February as well as a panel discussion on playwriting in the North, completed productions Red is the New Blue and Heartbeats & Algorithms (10th – 12th Feb), a work-in-progress double-bill (Lists for the End of the World and preggers (11th Feb) and Directors’ Masterclasses on 13th February. Oh, and don’t forget the Launch Party on Saturday 13th Feb. A must for all theatre practitioners. 

Northern Stage

I’m looking forward to Presumption, a play about the daily ins and outs of a relationship (don’t expect hearts and flowers) from theatre company Third Angel (3rd – 5th Feb). There’s also Big Girl’s Blouse, the story of a trans performer coming out in the 70s – expect fearless comedy from Kate O’Donnell. Following David Bowie’s graceful death, Learning How To Die (9th/10th Feb) adds to the topical conversation about how accepting mortality can drive a passion for life. If you fancy a bit of musical theatre check out Company (15th – 17th Feb), which follows an anti-hero bachelor whose womanising escapades make him rethink his view on coupledom. There’s also a new adaptation of Newcastle thriller Get Carter, directed by Lorne Campbell which has a three week run from February 12th. 

Ed Aczel at The Stand (Sunday 7th February)

If you’re looking for alternative comedy then look no further then Ed Aczel and his show The Random Flapping of a Butterfly’s Wings. Expect a hilarious night, with a sprinkling of chaos, dream analysis and surmisings on human conscienceness. 

Alphabetti Theatre

One of my new favourite venues has a large selection of entertainment happening in February. From comedy by The Order of the Silly Billies (described as strange, psychedelic and pure lunacy taking the mick out of the cult of work) – music/spoken word hard-to-pin down folky rhyming duo JaZZ RiOT with their Songs for Minging Lovers and theatre from Handheld Arts – their Gated Community involves eight tales inspired by The Exorcist and The Wicker Man. 

Richard Dawson – New Bridge Project (until Sunday 13th Feb, preview party 29th Jan 7-11pm)

I instantly loved Richard’s collages which are being exhibited in the New Bridge Bookshop (one of my favourite Newcastle haunts). He’s also known for his experimental music and the multi-talented local is DJing at the exhibition launch party. 

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