FOUNDER AND FESTIVAL DIRECTOR
Kate Craddock is Founder and Festival Director of GIFT - Gateshead International Festival of Theatre. Kate established GIFT in 2011 to provide a platform for international, contemporary, and experimental performance practices in North East England.
GIFT was one of the first festivals globally to pivot online in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, Kate has spoken on numerous international panels and conferences about her experience of moving a festival online and consulted with other festivals and artists about pivoting their work for online contexts.
GIFT 2020 was awarded the Journal Culture Award for Best Event 2020 – 2021, and Kate published a chapter called ‘Curating Community and Connection in a Crisis’ about her experience of transitioning GIFT online as part of a book called Performance in a Pandemic (Routledge, 2021).
Between 2020 and 2023 GIFT worked alongside national consortium partners at Battersea Arts Centre, FABRIC, Fierce Festival, MAYK and Transform to deliver Horizon – Performance Created in England, an international showcase for Edinburgh’s Festivals commissioned by Arts Council England www.horizonshowcase.uk.
Kate has combined working across academic roles and creative projects since 2005 and between 2019 and 2023 was Research Associate in the School of English at Newcastle University. In this role, Kate co-authored a book, Theatre and its Audiences: Reimagining the relationship in times of crisis, with colleague Helen Freshwater. Prior to this, Kate was a Senior Lecturer at Northumbria University (2011 – 2019) where she led on the industry focused MA Theatre and Performance programme. Kate completed her practice led PhD in 2010 with the title: ‘Collaboration in Performance Practice: Trust, Longevity and Challenging Proximity’ which focused on the potential for using readily available online technologies in creative collaborations.
As a theatre maker, Kate has presented her own devised performance work at a range of organisations across the UK and in multiple international festival contexts to critical acclaim. Kate was recipient of the Theatre Fellowship with the Clore Cultural Leadership Programme 2018/19, and undertook a secondment with HOME, a major arts venue in Manchester. Kate was part of the British Council and Arts Council GENERATE programme (2019/2020). Kate is Chair of the Board of Trustees for ARC, Stockton Arts Centre.