Arts project aims to keep South Tyneside busy during light nights

IN HARMONY ... Alf Scott, seated right, leads his ukulele workshop at Hylton Working Men's Club.
IN HARMONY ... Alf Scott, seated right, leads his ukulele workshop at Hylton Working Men's Club.

AN arts initiative is aiming to keep South Tynesiders busy and get them out of the house as the nights get lighter.

The Cultural Spring is due to launch its latest range of workshops next month.

The scheme is a three-year Arts Council-funded project out to encourage participation in the arts in 10 wards in South Tyneside and Wearside.

The new workshops will allow people to try their hand at ceramics and glazing, digital image design, jewellery-making, singing or learning musical instruments such as the ukulele.

The majority of the workshops are free, though some charge a small fee to cover the cost of materials.

Some of the latest sessions are linked to South Tyneside’s 2015 summer parade, and the event’s artistic designers, Paul Shriek and Matt Fox, are hosting workshops with artists to help create backdrops to this year’s Alice In Wonderland-themed parade.

The workshops also include sessions led by former Futureheads member Ross Millard and drama group Unfolding Theatre to collect stories and make music for a new stage show planned for next year.

Cultural Spring deputy director Fiona Mckeown said: “We’ve listened to people’s feedback and are bringing back many of our most popular sessions, while, at the same time, adding a few new ones that we hope will inspire and delight.

“We always try to respond to the interests of those taking part, and the programme has been developed by listening to those who participated in our first three programmes. Beginners are always very welcome, and we encourage people to bring a friend, family member or a neighbour.

“It has been really inspiring to see participants grow in confidence and gain new skills. Many are complete beginners and have been thrilled at finding they can create beautiful pieces of arts in a fun and sociable environment.

“We try to make the workshops as accessible as possible, but we have introduced a small voluntary fee at some of the more expensive workshops to cover the cost of materials. We hope the programme remains affordable, and this small contribution can help us put on even more exciting activities.

“The courses are becoming increasingly popular, so we now advise that people book in advance.”

To book a course, or for more details, e-mail fiona.mckeown@, go to or call 427 8197.

Twitter: @shieldsgazvicki