Film director, producer and London Olympics artistic director Danny Boyle has been announced as this year's speaker at the South Shields Lecture.
The filmmaker and theatre director, who was also masterminded the London Olympics opening and closing ceremonies, will deliver the annual lecture organised by former South Shields MP and ex-Foreign Secretary David Miliband.
Already a successful theatre director, Danny Boyle became a household name working on hit British films Shallow Grave and Trainspotting, going on to work on a number of other productions including the Beach, Slumdog Millionaire, 28 Days Later and 127 Hours.
He was also artistic director for Isles of Wonder, the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games.
His visit to South Shields comes in a year which has seen the release of T2 Trainspotting, reviving the 1990s name which catapulted him into international stardom. The lecture will take place on Friday September 29 at Harton Technology College.
Speaking after his visit was announced by Mr Miliband, Mr Boyle said: "I accepted David's invitation immediately. In fact I said why haven't you invited me before now?! I know South Shields is proud of its history but is also looking forward, economically and culturally.
"I am looking forward to meeting people from the town at Harton Technology College, and sharing my thoughts about the past and future.”
Mr Boyle is the second film director in a row to deliver the South Shields Lecture. The three most recent speakers have been James Bond and American Beauty director Sam Mendes, musician Sting and dramatist Alan Bennett.
The first lecture took place in 2001, with Neil Kinnock taking the stage. The event has continued to grow and evolve, with other speakers including former Prime Minister Tony Blair, writer Bill Bryson, comedian Jo Brand and film producer David Puttnam.
Mr Miliband said: "When I stood down as MP for South Shields, I gave a commitment that I would continue to organise and chair the South Shields Lecture. It's always great to come back to the town, and it’s even more special that I can bring Danny Boyle with me to deliver the 2017 lecture.
"Danny's early days reflect the history of many South Shields families of Irish descent. Danny Boyle was born into a working class family in the North West, his parents arriving there from County Galway.
"I am looking forward to reflecting with him on his personal story, his extraordinary artistic achievements, and his view of Britain five years on from the Olympics Opening Ceremony that encapsulated so many hopes for a caring, creative Britain.
"We will have a special evening on September 29, for local people to listen to someone who has captured the imagination of millions worldwide.”
Sir Ken Gibson, headteacher at Harton Technology College, added: “We are delighted to host the South Shields Lecture at Harton Technology College for the 9th consecutive year. We have been privileged to have met some fabulous guest speakers, and the prospect of Danny Boyle coming to Harton is incredibly exciting. As a school we strive for excellence and aspiration for all students, and Danny’s story will, I am sure, be inspirational.”
The South Shields Lecture 2017 is sponsored by Port of Tyne.
Andrew Moffat, Chief Executive Officer the Port of Tyne said: "The South Shields Lecture is a great annual event that brings national and international acclaim to the region, and we are delighted that our sponsorship helps make it possible. Danny Boyle is another excellent choice to deliver the lecture: which will no doubt be a notable event.”
:: The lecture will be hosted at Harton Technology College on Friday September 29 2017, starting at 6.30pm. Tickets are free, but demand is always high so early applications are advised. Tickets are limited to two per a household.
Requests for tickets should be made by email to firstname.lastname@example.org including your name, full address and contact number, and the names of who will be attending.