In the lead up to this year’s festival, a number of artists are undertaking artist residencies in locations across Gateshead, working on projects that will come to fruition for GIFT 2023.
This is all part of a shift in how GIFT plans to work with artists in the future, making a commitment to supporting artists to develop projects over a number of years, during which time they connect with audiences and participants in Gateshead as part of their making process.
Earlier this month, we welcomed Canadian artist duo Mia & Eric who are spending time in the Chopwell Woods area, as part of the ongoing 3 WOODS project, a multi-year project connecting GIFT with other festivals in Germany and in Norway. 3 WOODS began as a remote, off-site residency in August 2020, whereby the artists invited people who engage with Chopwell Woods to become their eyes and ears, and to relay how they experience the woods remotely, while Mia & Eric were still in Canada, and unable to travel. This remote work continued throughout 2020 and 2021, and into this year, connecting people who are local to Chopwell Woods through creative collaborations online with Mia & Eric and participants in Norway and Germany.
As a result of this remote working, the artists have developed firm friendships with people living in the Chopwell Woods area, and Mia & Eric were given a very warm welcome in Blackhall Mill on their arrival. During their residency, Mia & Eric are spending time exploring the woods, getting to know people who regularly use the woods for all different purposes, and supporting local volunteer activities. This research, and the connections they are making, will feed into the creation of a new co-created event for GIFT in 2023. Mia & Eric are also offering a number of workshops in the woods during their time in the region, that are open to all to join. First up, is a Chorus of Ideas, a public reading group taking place on Saturday 23rd April and Saturday 21st May. In addition, to kick the GIFT festival activities off, Mia & Eric will be leading a workshop Hello Neighbours in Chopwell Woods on Friday 29th April at 10.30am, as our first event of GIFT 2022.
Spaces are limited, so advance booking is highly recommended!
Image 1: Blackhall Mill, Mia & Eric Artist Welcome | Image 2: Greg Wohead, In Floods
In the week running up to GIFT, we also welcome theatre maker Greg Wohead to Gateshead, who will continue working on their new show, In Floods, which was originally presented as a work in progress at GIFT 2020 online, where it received brilliant audience feedback. Greg will be spending the week working on the show in Gateshead Central Library, where they will be engaging library users in conversations about the material they are developing, and sharing extracts in informal settings. Greg will also share some of the material they develop during their residency as part of a creative walk, Riverside Routes, on Sunday 1 May, to experiment with alternative contexts for the work, and gather feedback from audiences that will inform the next stages of the work’s development.
In addition, in the week running up to GIFT, Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas, and their collaborator Laura Dannequin, will spend a week in a residency at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, working on their new show THE BEGINNING. As part of the process working on the show, Bert and Nasi will be leading a series of movement workshops with participants who are aged over 60, and live in Gateshead, who will help inform movement material that is used in the final performance. Bert and Nasi will also be leading a theatre making workshop for young people aged 10 - 17. To find out more about how to take part in any of these workshops, please get in touch with us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bert and Nasi will also be performing their award winning show THE END on the first night of GIFT, Friday 29th April, at 8pm at BALTIC. We are thrilled to welcome them back to GIFT following the extraordinary reception they received performing Palmyra at GIFT in 2019.
We are really keen to have more conversations with artists who are working across art forms and are interested in developing their work in this way through a residency with GIFT. This is something we will be applying for funding to do more of in the future, so do keep in touch!