‘Exciting’ times for arts project as it launches phase two of scheme in South Tyneside

Dancers perform at The Great North Passion, the launch event of the Cultural Spring.
Dancers perform at The Great North Passion, the launch event of the Cultural Spring.
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An award-winning arts project has promised exciting times ahead as it begins the second phase of its project in South Tyneside.

The Cultural Spring was launched in 2013, with the project given £2million to increase participation in the arts across South Tyneside and Wearside.

Scenes from RUSH, performed at the St Hildas Engine Shed, South Shields

Scenes from RUSH, performed at the St Hildas Engine Shed, South Shields

It was given a further £1million funding boost last year from Arts Council England’s (ACE) Creative People and Places (CPP) programme.

That will allow it to continue for three more years, and move into Horsley Hill, Beacon and Bents, Simonside and Rekendyke, Monkton and Bede in South Tyneside.

Project director Emma Horsman is looking forward to another “exciting” three years.

She said: “We were thrilled to get funding for a further three years and since the announcement we’ve been talking to local communities and planning what we will deliver.

It’s going to be an exciting three years ahead

Emma Horsman

“We’ll still be commissioning and delivering large-scale events and regular workshop programmes, but we’ll also be trying some new things out too.

“It’s going to be an exciting three years ahead.

“We’re well established now and because of what we’ve done and produced over the past three years, there is a trust both with communities and artists.

“We’re seen as a successful CPP project and we’re grateful to have won regional, national and international awards for our work to date.”

Hundreds of people watched WordPlay, part of the official launch of the The Word, the National Centre for the Written Word, last November.

Hundreds of people watched WordPlay, part of the official launch of the The Word, the National Centre for the Written Word, last November.

The founding three partners of The Cultural Spring were The Customs House, in South Shields, the University of Sunderland and the Sunderland Music, Arts and Culture Trust.

They have now been joined by women’s health organisation Sangini as a consortium partner.

Part of the plans for the next stage of the project are to focus on people who are isolated, particularly elderly residents.

It will continue to commission two large-scale projects a year, one in South Tyneside and one in Sunderland.

Alexandra Burke sings at The Cultural Springs launch event.

Alexandra Burke sings at The Cultural Springs launch event.

Ray Spencer, executive director of the Customs House, said: “What the Cultural Spring has changed is that members of the community have developed from being consumers of art and culture into active producers.

“So now there’s a sense that cultural activity isn’t done to, but done with and produced by the communities the Cultural Spring has worked with.”

The Cultural Spring project director Emma Horsman.

The Cultural Spring project director Emma Horsman.