1 February 24

Animating Hexham returns this February...

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Taking place Friday 9 – Sunday 11 February 2024, Animating Hexham returns after 2021 pilot with new animations by local artists and children, as the Hexham community and visitors alike are invited to take to the streets to enjoy the inspiring works for free.

Animating Hexham is funded by Historic England and presented by Queen’s Hall Arts on behalf of Hexham HSHAZ (High Street Heritage Action Zone), an ambitious project seeking to deliver cultural activity that boosts the town centre and enhances awareness of 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 and visit.

Displayed on shopfronts and key landmarks, animations will once again light-up the town centre and help define why the Hexham’s heritage is important and what value it will have in the future.

Highlights for 2024 include:

It’s Home Isn’t It? by Jennie Brewis with animation by Lily Mae Kroese. Using the voices of local people and the sounds of nature and the environment It’s Home isn’t it? captures the positive communal experience of Hexham. This piece was made in collaboration with Gary Bowden, Chrysalis Club Tynedale and the patrons of The Coach and Horses, Rowan Lees, the young people and staff at Corbridge Middle School, Rob Mackay, David de la Haye, Julie Bartley and the families involved in Queen’s Hall’s Sound Explorers workshops as well as John Ashton, who worked on the audio post-production.

Jennie Brewis commented: “How do you go about writing a song for Hexham? What stories do people have to tell, and how do you go about discovering them? Through a series of workshops in collaboration with amazing creatives, we recorded the voices of school children, community groups and we even went to the pub! We found sounds in the buildings, the park, the river and trees. Using those stories and sounds, I aimed to write a song capturing the communal feeling of Hexham.”

The Hexham Dragon animations will also premiere at this year’s Animating Hexham. In 2023, Queen’s Hall ran a writing competition for local children to create a story about ‘The Hexham Dragon’. Sheryl Jenkins, a professional animator, then worked with the winners and their classmates from Hexham First School and Sele First School to bring the stories to life using stop-motion animation.

Justine Overton, Headteacher at Hexham First School explained the children enjoyed working with Animator Sheryl Jenkins saying: “The children had a fantastic day and were full of excitement about their film. We can't wait to see the finished piece!”

Sarah Porter, Key Stage 2 Coordinator at Sele First School also commented: “Thank you for all your support the team gave to our children. It makes such a difference.”

Other exhibiting artists for 2024 include Liam Owen and Stevie Ronnie, Charlie Riddle, Sheila Graber, Ken Patterson, Joanna Byrne, Yoan Segot, Dennis Sisterson, Rachel Campbell Hewson and Isabel Graham.

Katy Taylor, Queen’s Hall’s Artistic Director & Chief Executive explained: “After such a successful pilot back in 2021, we are delighted to be bringing Animating Hexham back and to have once again worked with an amazing cohort of local artists as well as inspiring young people and their teachers. The team have worked really hard putting this year’s selection together and we’re really looking forward to sharing it with our local community in another free event!” 

Running on Friday 9, Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 February, the animations will be visible each night from 6 - 8pm. The event is completely FREE, and no tickets are required.

Keep an eye on this webpage for the Animating Hexham 2024 map!

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