£1million boost for arts project in South Tyneside

People in South Tyneside are set to be given more chances to get arty after a popular project was extended to five more areas.

Cultural Spring's first event was Great North Passion at Bents Park, in South Shields, at Easter 2014.
Cultural Spring's first event was Great North Passion at Bents Park, in South Shields, at Easter 2014.

The Cultural Spring, which aims to increase participation in the arts in South Tyneside, has been extended by a further three years.

Arts Council England have pumped another £1million into the project, which has been working in the borough and Wearside since 2014.

Field Music entertain the crowds in Thompson Park, as they headline the Cultural Spring Summer Street Festival earlier this year.

It had been due to finish in December.

The original programme had £2million of funding, focusing on five South Shields and five Sunderland wards.

Over the next three years, it will work in five new wards in each borough – including Horsley Hill, Beacon and Bents, Simonside and Rekendyke, Monkton and Bede in South Tyneside.

One of its three founding partners is the Customs House, in South Shields.

Fern Britton presents from Bents Park for the BBC in 2014.

Cultural Spring director Emma Horsman said: “We’re obviously delighted to be continuing our work for a further three years – and are already looking forward to working in our new wards.

“Consultation sessions in the 10 wards have already taken place and more are in the pipeline.

“What we’ll also be doing over the next three years is extending our reach through our cultural calendar commissions and our Your Art project.

“Your Art helps grass-root groups to engage new and existing members using arts and culture.”

A previous craft workshop in West Harton.

Ray Spencer, executive director of the Customs House, said: “It’s great news that the Cultural Spring will continue to deliver excellent arts and culture opportunities in South Tyneside and Sunderland.

“If you’ve not seen or enjoyed the quality of what the Cultural Spring has to offer, I urge you to be part of WordPlay, which will be a big part of an official launch event of The Word National Centre for the Written Word in South Shields on Thursday, November 3.

“Cultural Spring is seen as a national exemplar, which means our people and our communities are being talked about and celebrated countrywide.”

The project is currently working in five Sunderland wards and five South Tyneside wards, which are Biddick and All Saints, Boldon Colliery, Cleadon and East Boldon, Whitburn, and Marsden and Whiteleas.

The Cultural Springs Summer Streets Festival parade winds its way through the streets of Southwick before entering Thompson Park.

If you have any ideas about the activities you would like to see the Cultural Spring delivering, email them to [email protected]

The latest Cultural Spring commission is WordPlay, a dance spectacular that will help mark the opening of a stunning new cultural venue in South Shields.

The National Centre for the Written Word, known as The Word, opens this Saturday, but a launch event early next month will feature a free mass participation dance performance that has been jointly commissioned by The Cultural Spring and South Tyneside Council.

The performance, called WordPlay, will be delivered by Southpaw Dance Company and Event International on Thursday, November 3, to an audience of up to 5,000 outside the venue.

Workshops and rehearsals have started in South Shields, Sunderland and Newcastle.

More than a hundred dancers have already signed up for the performance, but there is still room for more.

Field Music entertain the crowds in Thompson Park, as they headline the Cultural Spring Summer Street Festival earlier this year.

Open rehearsal sessions are being held on Tuesdays between 6pm and 8.30pm at the Customs House, in Mill Dam, South Shields, and Fridays, between the same times at Boldon School, on New Road, Boldon Colliery.

Fern Britton presents from Bents Park for the BBC in 2014.
A previous craft workshop in West Harton.
The Cultural Springs Summer Streets Festival parade winds its way through the streets of Southwick before entering Thompson Park.