Hexham Culture Network has announced plans to animate the historic town centre through a series of projections created by artists and local families.
Inspired by Hexham’s heritage and funded by Historic England, Animating Hexham aims to discover stories and evoke memories of the town’s high streets and buildings, using these to inspire animations and conversations about Hexham’s heritage. This pilot project will project the animations across the main shopping streets in the autumn, helping to define why Hexham’s heritage is important to the community and what value the town centre will have in the future. Animating Hexham is being developed and managed by Hexham Culture Network on behalf of Hexham High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) and led by Queen’s Hall Arts. HSHAZ is an ambitious scheme seeking to deliver major improvements to boost the town centre and enhance the Conservation Area. It aims to revitalise Hexham’s historic town centre making it a more attractive, engaging and vibrant place for people to live, work, invest in and visit. It is a partnership between Historic England, Northumberland County Council, Hexham Town Council and the Hexham Community Partnership, working with the local community.
Treading the Boards
We're very proud to announce the appointment of two new Trustees and an opportunity for four more people to join our board at an important time for Queen's Hall Arts.
New board members Clare Forsythe and Dr Tony Newton are no strangers to the Queen’s Hall, having both appeared on stage here. Jonny Tull, Chair of the Board of Trustees said, "We’re delighted to be welcoming Tony and Clare to join the board of Trustees at such an important time. Their experience and guidance will be much-needed as we plan for our re-opening and the exciting years ahead. Myself, our Artistic Director/Chief Executive Katy Taylor, the staff team and the Trustees are all looking forward to working together.”
We present a diverse programme which stimulates, entertains, nurtures creative talent and above all serves the community we live in. We invite applications from anyone with a passion for playing a part in this; the deadline is 31 March.
New audience panel to help us plan for a safe reopening
Over the last few months, while we’ve sadly had to remain closed, we’ve kept in touch with our audiences to try and understand how people are feeling about returning to live cultural events. As the situation continues to change over the next few months, and as we plan and prepare to safely reopen, we want to make sure that we know how our audiences feel about coming back to us – and what they want from us in the meantime.
We’ve worked with our partners Indigo to develop a survey which will allow us to keep in touch with our audiences. We’ll be tracking how audiences are feeling about returning to us by sending a survey regularly over the next six months, which will ask many of the same questions each time so that we can see how things change.
If you clicked the button to sign up via our e-newsletter please look out for the first survey coming soon, and we'll keep you posted when the results are in.
Call out for North East musicians to help celebrate Unsung Heroes in song
More news about our new commission! Communities in and around Hexham have nominated their Unsung Heroes, sharing stories about the everyday people who have inspired them, and now Bridie is looking for North East musicians to take part in the next stage of the project.
Bridie explains, “For me, writing songs is all about capturing stories that would otherwise be lost so it’s a real joy to write about these Unsung Heroes who have made a difference in their local community, and until now, not received the recognition they deserve. We’ve had some really heartwarming nominations and now we’re looking for local people with a passion for music to get involved. While it’s not a professional gig and you don’t need to be able to read music, it would be great if you had some live performance and studio experience because they’ll be recording the songs I’ve written and then performing them on camera.”
Musicians should send a short video of themselves performing, plus a paragraph explaining why they want to get involved to email@example.com by Friday 6 November. Audition videos can also be submitted on social media using #UnsungHeroesHexham and tagging @QueensHall
Musicians of all ages in all genres are welcome, and individuals, duos or ensembles of up to four people can apply as long as they’re from the same household or bubble.
New commission: nominate your Unsung Hero
Queen’s Hall Arts have commissioned international multimedia artists Davy & Kristin McGuire and North East musician Bridie Jackson to create Unsung Heroes - a brand new augmented reality gig co-created with the local community.
Songwriter Bridie Jackson will work with communities in and around Hexham to collect stories about the everyday people who have inspired them. Whether it’s the neighbour who brought their shopping during lockdown, someone who has made a difference in their village or a figure from local history who did something incredible but never got the recognition they deserve, Bridie will create songs celebrating these unsung heroes to be performed by North East musicians. Audiences will then be able to experience a ‘mini gig’ wherever they are simply by pointing their camera phone at a postcard which will make the musicians pop up to perform the songs on a ‘postcard stage’.
Unsung Heroes is part of Here and Now, a national and local celebration of culture within communities. 40 brand new projects will take place in and around 40 arts centres across the country, led by artists and co-created with local people. The project is supported by Arts Council England and Future Arts Centres, marking The National Lottery’s 25th birthday.
To nominate your Unsung Hero email firstname.lastname@example.org
New Creative Age activities for people aged 50+ to take part in at home
QHA is delighted to announce that we have received funding from the Kellett Fund at the Community Foundation serving Tyne & Wear and Northumberland to extend our Creative Age project for another year (until summer 2021).
Usually, we would be meeting in groups at Queen’s Hall or in village halls, but during the Covid-19 pandemic we’re developing new projects that people can take part in at home. Alongside our ongoing Contribute to a Quilt project, several new activities are in the pipeline including Dress A Doll, Dog or Cat - a project to create stuffed toys to send to families in need at Christmas; a creative writing project exploring memories of local villages to be made into illustrated booklets; and From My Window - responses to a view from a window in particpants' homes in any medium - e.g. drawing, knitting, writing, painting, textiles or photography. The work will form part of a celebratory exhibition at Queen’s Hall which will celebrate and showcase creative work made by the community during the Covid-19 lockdown.
All activities are free for anyone over 50 to take part in and we’re particularly keen to reach people who may be isolated due to Covid-19 shielding. For more information please email email@example.com or read the news in full here.
Growing confidence for Northumberland live performance venues
There is a light at the end of the tunnel and growing confidence for Northumberland live performance venues to reopen safely in November following the latest Government announcement of a pilot scheme to test social distancing in selected theatres from August 1st.
Covid-19 is having a huge impact on the theatre industry with most of the Autumn’s touring dance, theatre and music productions already being cancelled or transferred to next year. The Northumberland theatres have been communicating regularly to make tentative plans towards the re-opening of all venues. The latest Government pilot scheme will be monitored with great interest enabling venues to implement successful social-distancing measures which have been tried and tested on selected audiences. However there is no ‘one size fits all’ in terms of social distancing for a theatre; a lot depends on the physical layout of the building, such as how wide and how many entrances, exits, staircases and toilets the building has but all the venues agree that it is a move in the right direction.
“Queen’s Hall Hexham is the creative heart of the community, and during lockdown we have continued to connect with our community, offering things for people to do and see at home such as our Creative Age quilting project for people aged 50+, and online writing courses for Young People in partnership with the Hexham Book Festival. We are also planning some refurbishment work while the building is closed to create a new flexible performance and workshop space, and to make all of our spaces and backstage areas more accessible and welcoming when we reopen.” Katy Taylor, QHA Artistic Director
Queen's Hall Arts Centre, Alnwick Playhouse and Berwick Maltings are looking at November to reopen with social-distancing and a range of other safety measures in place. The three venues are working together to plan a special Christmas project for audiences to reflect on the challenges of the past year and celebrate looking forward to the next.
Opportunity for Freelance Marketing support for our Audiences in Lockdown Project
Queen's Hall Arts want to engage freelance marketing support for 12 hours per week for 12 weeks starting in early July.
The Queen’s Hall knows that it is vital to engage our current audiences and to grow new audiences during the lockdown and throughout the temporary closure of the arts centre. We are working with our community to create and share artistic activity throughout this time with the aim of curating an exhibition of work once the venue reopens. Queen's Hall Arts will commission artists to produce relevant content and projects which will enhance the lives of those living in Hexham and its rural hinterland.
In order to support this project, we want to engage freelance marketing support. Please download the application here.
Queen’s Hall Arts, Hexham awarded £206,550 Arts Council Funding for Opening Doors Project
Queen’s Hall Arts has been awarded £206,550 Small Capital funding for their ‘Opening Doors’ project, which will improve access to performing, participation and circulation spaces within Queen’s Hall Arts Centre.
Opening Doors is an exciting 2 year project which will create a new Studio Theatre within the Queen’s Hall.
QHA Artistic Director Katy Taylor said ‘The space will provide a flexible performance and workshop space which will allow us to present small scale theatre, children’s performance, music and workshops....'
January 2019: New Season at QHA: January to April 2019
The new season, programmed by new Artistic Director Katy Taylor, is now on sale.
Download our Press Release here
29 January 2018: Geof Keys to leave QHA.
After more than 20 years at the helm Geof Keys, Artistic Director of the Queen’s Hall Arts Centre, Hexham is stepping down this summer.
Download our Press Release here
19 April 2017: QHA Easter Raffle is a cracking success
Registered charity Queen’s Hall Arts (QHA) is delighted to announce that it raised over £1,200 in ticket sales through a recent Easter Raffle. Arts Council England is currently match funding all donations the charity receives, thus bringing the grand total raised to £2,400. Funds raised will be used to develop and deliver arts projects for young people in the local area.
Download our Press Release here
27 July 2016: Catalyst to Success
We are delighted to have been awarded £150,000 from Arts Council England to develop and grow our fundraising income.
Geof Keys, Artistic Director said: “The £150,000 ‘Catalyst Evolve’ award is very timely as we celebrate our 150th anniversary. It will mean QHA is here for future generations and will help us in our ambition to ensure everyone in our community has access to great arts and culture and the opportunity to fulfil their artistic potential”.
Funds raised will be used to bring higher quality performances to Hexham, to nurture local talent and to ensure the local community has increased opportunities to enjoy and take part in the arts.