Ken Patterson is a North Eastern community artist who has worked freelance from 2000 as a musician, composer, actor, animator, film maker, producer and collaborator with many arts organisations. He has made animations and composed music for Theatre sans Frontieres, Amber Films, 4 Corners Music, Caedmon (acid folk band), Shoe Tree Arts, Hearthside Tales, and Storytellers Mummers. He is a polymath painting watercolours, throwing pots, playing in bands internationally, acting, recording in his studio, and was Egon Ronay recommended as a chef proprietor in 1981.
The Ballad of Geordie Barleycorn
An eight minute animation film created by Ken Patterson during and after the covid lockdown. It tells the Newcastle Corn Riots story in the form of a ballad incorporating animations from participants in a workshop at Star and Shadow Cinema.
After a stormy summer in 1739 Northumbrian crops were wiped out and food was scarce. This was made even worse when it was followed by Newcastle’s coldest winter on record. Farmers couldn’t sow seeds, and what corn was stored was being sold at inflated prices down south. Heaton women and miners marched to the quayside and demanded food enough to get by. The recently constituted Riot Act was read.
The animation uses grain and cracked wheat on a light-table in stop motion, alongside charcoal and shadow based stop motion, and a short section of film from a Covid outdoor performance of ‘General Jane’ in Heaton Park.
The ballad was written by Ken Patterson to the music of We Plough the Fields and Scatter, and is inspired by The Ballad of John Barleycorn. The sound track features local musicians and singers, including Rosie Calvert and Will Finn, Paul Susans, Sally Jaquet, Simon Jaquet, Chris Ord, Gavin Dudley, Richard Scott and Appletwig Songbook, Jane Wade, George Welch and Christine Jeans, Stu and Fiona Finden, Yousuf Ali Khan, Tim Dalling, Charlie Hardwick & Johnny Handle.
The Corn Riots Project was created by Shoe Tree Arts, a collective of artists from Heaton in Newcastle, and funded by: The Joicey Trust, Ward funding from the Ouseburn, Heaton and Manor Park Wards and The Heritage Lottery Fund. A higher resolution version of the movie is available than the YouTube link below.