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GIFT DIGITAL 2020 Listings

(L-R: Greg Wohead, presenting Crack of Dawn. Credit: Paul Blakemore. Artist Gemma Paintin, one half of duo Action Hero, in RadiOh Europa. Credit: Pelagia Karanikola)

All events will be hosted on Tickets are available to book, including for BSL and captioned events, from Friday 10 April. Audiences can make a Pay What You Decide donation to support this year’s festival here.

Images available for download HERE

Music For Lectures/ Get lost: Jonathan Burrows and Matteo Fargion, with Wendy Houstoun.

Podcast- available for download across the festival, Friday 1- Sunday 3 May. Age Guidance 16+

UK online premiere of new work Music For Lectures/ Get lost- a funny and deeply moving podcast and new commission for GIFT, which sees Wendy Houstoun front a rock band to deliver a short talk on ‘lostness’. Perfect for these times, audiences are invited to listen while walking or running, in a moment of escape from the house, colliding travels with a virtual journey that goes nowhere. Written and spoken by Wendy Houstoun, with music by Jonathan Burrows, Francesca Fargion and Matteo Fargion, this is the third of an ongoing series conceived by Burrows and Fargion, inviting artists to deliver a talk, alongside band accompaniment.

As Far As Isolation Goes (Online): Tania El Khoury and Basel Zaraa

Digital Performance Installation (for one audience member at a time). Friday 1 May - Sunday 3 May, daily from 11am -3pm. Age Guidance 16+.

A stark, live-streamed one-on-one performance using touch, sound, and interactivity, bringing audience members into contact with those faced with inhumane detention centres and a mental health system that disregards their political and emotional contexts. A collaboration between live artist Tania El Khoury and musician and street artist Basel Zaraa, this piece has been reimagined for an online context during the UK’s coronavirus lockdown. It is built from their original collaboration, As Far As My Fingertips Take Me, inspired by conversations with friends and colleagues who have recently claimed refuge in the UK.

The North Sea: A (radio) play in three pints: Curated Place for NATUR. Project/Nick Hegreberg

Radio play- downloadable across the three festival days, Friday 1- Sunday 3 May. Age guidance 18+.

Catch the vivid UK premiere of The North Sea: A (radio) play in three pints, which unravels a couple’s love affair- from first clumsy pub encounter to a magical and surprising meeting decades later. This collaboration between Norwegian writer Nick Hegreberg and a stellar team of creatives from North East England, is performed by local actors Brian Lonsdale and Karen Traynor, directed by Northern Stage Associate Director Mark Calvert, with sound design by Nick John Williams. For the full-pub-feel experience, audiences are encouraged to download and listen to a new episode (or pint) over each day of the festival. The North Sea is the culmination of a NATUR residency supported by SICC Productions, produced by CURATED PLACE. NATUR residencies connect the cultural heritage and creativity of the countries of the North Atlantic and the North Sea.


Performance discussion. Friday 1 May - Sunday 3 May, groups of between 9 - 12 audience members hosted by the artist on Zoom, twice daily. Friday 1 and Saturday 2 May 1pm-2.15pm and 5pm-6.15pm, and Sunday 3 May, 11am - 12.15pm and 5pm-6.15pm. Age Guidance 16+. Each conversation will last 1 hour and 15 minutes. BSL interpreted on Saturday 1pm.

A new performance discussion by UK Artist Rosanna Irvine, conceived during the current COVID19 outbreak, creating a virtual gathering space to reflect on what is happening, how we are living - and how we want to continue. Using consensual modes of group decision-making that seek to foster cohesion, rather than divisions, MANIFESTOS FROM TIMES OF CRISIS asserts a politics of being, in commonality. Lively audience interaction guaranteed! Rosanna is a Glasgow-based choreographic artist working across performance, installation, participatory public art, drawing, digital media and writing.

Little GIFT House Party: Chalk

Children’s party games and activities, Saturday 2 May 10am -12pm and 5pm-6pm. Sunday 3 May from 10am - 11am. For all ages.

Fun filled interactive online games and activities, family audiences, are invited to host their own little GIFT tenth birthday party from their own homes. Join in the digital fun, with colourful downloadable resources including challenge instructions, decorations, costume designs and more, using household items. The weekend closes with audiences creating a 'gift' for the festival- a dance, picture, photograph, pledge or a piece of writing, shared online. To register your interest ahead of the festival weekend and get party instructions, email

Friday 1 May:

Where are we now?: Kate Craddock and guest panel

Talk and facilitated discussion. Friday 1 May, 10.30am-12.30pm. For all ages.

Join GIFT’s Festival Director, Kate Craddock, for a very warm welcome to the festival, and a whistle stop tour of the digital programme. Audiences will hear more about the process of moving GIFT into an online space, and how they can participate over the three days, with opportunities to ask questions and get familiar with the digital festival platforms. Kate will be joined by participating festival artists, to discuss emerging themes across the programme, including how the current global pandemic has impacted on their individual practice and livelihood.

The Climate Emergency – A Reality Check: Anna-Lisa Mills | Sustainability & Carbon Expertise

Talk and facilitated discussion. Friday 1 May, 2pm. Age guidance: 16+

Join Anna-Lisa Mills, Director of True North Sustainability and SmartCarbon, for an inspirational talk on the Climate Emergency. Artists and audiences are invited to find out more about the ongoing global crisis and take part in a post-talk facilitated discussion, which will include the role the arts can play and how artists of all disciplines could create works that respond to this critical global issue. Anna-Lisa Mills is also Principal Consultant and Advisory Group Member of not-for-profit, community interest company Climate Action North East, and develops, implements and leads environmental, sustainability and carbon strategies for a wide range of organisations, from SMEs to large multinational organisations.

ships-ov-fool: gobscure international

Online performance and conversation in real time. Friday 1 May, 3pm. Age Guidance 16+. For an online audience of 25 people. BSL interpreted.

A performance installation by Newcastle based writer-performer-artist, and former Sage Gateshead summer studio resident, gobscure international, followed by a post-show discussion with audience members. A playful new work portraying a teenager trying to reclaim ‘the languages of lunacy’ and their lost marbles after a breakdown, weaving together storytelling, soundscapes and objects. Inspired by Hieronymous Bosch’s painting ‘Ship of Fools’, in which the artist once found temporary peace, the performance questions those currently shouting their sanity the loudest.

IT DON’T WORRY ME: ATRESBANDES, together with Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas

UK online premiere. Friday 1 May, 8pm, Age Guidance 18+. Contains swearing and some nudity. Subtitled performance.

IT DON'T WORRY ME is a startling collaboration between Catalan company ATRESBANDES and duo Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas interrogating the tension between art and political correctness. We watch a supposedly ‘empty space’, analysed by two commentators in the room with us, but as they become the commented-on, theories and visual associations start to dominate everything, and the show spirals out of control, out of meaning, and out of context. All the while three audience members are dressed in the style of Robert Altman’s 1975 film Nashville, thinking they were coming to see a different show altogether and they each have confessions to make. This work was first shown internationally in Barcelona in January 2020.

The Atresbandes, Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas post-show cocktail lounge: ATRESBANDES, together with Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas

Online ‘festival bar’ discussion. Friday 1 May, 9.15pm. Age Guidance 18+

Hold on to that Friday night theatre feeling, and join Bert, Nasi and Atresbandes for a post-show cocktail party in GIFT’s online festival bar. The world-acclaimed makers of IT DON’T WORRY ME will host you for a night of curated playlists and chat- bring your a-game small talk, burning questions, internet connection and sincere/insincere reactions to the show. The place to hang out for discerning theatre goers (Friday 1 May).

Saturday 2 May

Crack of Dawn: Greg Wohead

Online Durational Performance. Saturday 2 May, from 5.30am to 8.26pm BST. Age Guidance 16+

In January 2009, Greg Wohead and his partner found themselves in rural Illinois sitting at the kitchen table of a traditional Amish couple. Crack of Dawn is an online improvised durational piece by four performers in different UK locations, that lasts from sunrise to sunset, taking the idea of that original conversation as its source and replaying it again. And again and again and again. Performed by Greg Wohead, Amelia Stubberfield, Tim Bromage and Catriona James.

Exploring Process: Atresbandes, Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas.

Creative Conversation for theatre makers and artists working across performance disciplines. Saturday 2 May, 10.30am – 12.30pm, Age Guidance 16+.

Join ATRESBANDES, Bert and Nasi, the artists behind IT DON’T WORRY ME, for a creative session exploring their own distinct methods for theatre making, and the processes they encountered coming together to create the show. Open to all theatre practitioners- tune in to gain inspiration from Atresbandes’ laboratory theatre, emphasising the process of creation in order to question the world around us, and Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas’ play on humour and brutality.

Intergenerational Exchanges: telling stories and making moments:Teresa Brayshaw, with Hannah Butterfield

Screening and online workshop in real time.Saturday 2 May, 2pm-3.30pm. (Priority booking for people in Gateshead) Age Guidance 16+

An interactive talk, film screening and accompanying theatre workshop open to all ages over 16, designed to get people reflecting on their own experience of ageing. Involving movement, speech, writing and performing, the session is based on two innovative and ongoing practice-based research projects, CINAGE: Film & CINAGE: Live, and encourages personal storytelling through the creative practice of film writing and theatre making, to explore how telling our own stories can create connections, resonate, inform and enrich our experience of ageing.

Augmented: Sophie Woolley

Solo performance. Saturday 2 May, 4pm. Age guidance 16+. Subtitled throughout.

Just flick a switch and everything will be okay. A new, moving and funny solo show by writer and performer Sophie Woolley, sharing her personal story about the joy and conflict of becoming ‘hearing’ again after 22 years of progressive deafness. Exploring the impact of her ‘activation’ on her sense of self and closest relationships, the subtitled piece considers the transformative power of technology and whether Sophie’s experience can be a blueprint for the future of humanity? Directed by Rachel Bagshaw and filmed by Toby Bennett, it features creative captions by award-winning Josh Pharo, design by award-winning set and costume designer Laura Hopkins and Khadja Raza, and an amazing soundtrack by Adrienne Quartly.

Elision: Gudrun Soley Sigurdardottir

Online performance in real time, broadcast live from the artist’s home. Saturday 2 May, 7pm, Age Guidance 16+.

In a climate of division and disconnection, Icelandic artist Gudrun Soley Sigurdardottir’s real-time, live performance piece explores national identity through an attempt to stay warm in a fake tropical set. A funny and tender show, which invites the audience to work with materials and objects at home, in the same way as planned for a live theatre space, and draws on autobiography, pop culture and ice in its many forms. Gudrun Soley Sigurdardottir is a performance maker and director based in Glasgow and creates autobiographical work, questioning authenticity, the rehearsed live-moment and ideas around theatrical deconstruction.

RadiOh Europa: Action Hero

24 hour durational performance. Saturday 2 May, from 9pm- until Sunday 3 May, 9pm. For all ages.

Artists Gemma Paintin and James Stenhouse of Action Hero create a 24 hour international homage to love, in a new digital translation of their continent-spanning work, Oh Europa, where they travel through Europe in a motorhome recording strangers’ love songs. Audiences can tune in live to enjoy all the love songs recorded to date by global performers, and newly recorded songs from North East artists including Ross Millard of The Futureheads, Richard Dawson and Sally Pilkington of Hen Ogledd (performing two separate songs) musical artist Beccy Owen and actor Charlie Hardwick.

Sunday 3 May

Scratch ‘n’ Scran: Luca Rutherford and Greg Wohead

Work in progress performances. Sunday 3 May, 12 – 2pm. Age Guidance 16+. Content warning: may contain references to sexual violence.

Treat yourself to an inspiring experimental Scratch ‘n’ Scran lunch, sitting down to watch two new work in progress performances by exciting UK theatre makers Luca Rutherford and Greg Wohead, with facilitated feedback sessions over lunch. Luca Rutherford's new work- in-progress tells a story of discovering quiet power in a moment of making a lot of noise. It looks at the stories we tell and the ones that get retold, the ones we hide behind and the ones we have the power to re-make, re-mould and disrupt. Greg Wohead’s In Floods is an early-stage reading of his new material. Strange things happen when you unexpectedly return to where you came from for two back-to-back funerals. The lump in your throat grows until there is no room for it.

International Working and Sustainability: Festival Director Kate Craddock and guest panel

Panel discussion. Sunday 3 May, from 3pm-4.30pm. Open to all ages.

Join GIFT Festival Director Kate Craddock and a panel of guest speakers from artistic venues and festivals across the world, via online link-up, for a lively debate about working internationally. While international festivals increasingly offer opportunities for artists to present their work and to develop their practice, what is the impact of working this way on the environment and how can we produce artistic projects more sustainably?

GIFTed Conversation: Rosa Postlethwaite

Facilitated discussion for students. Sunday 3 May, 5-6.30pm.

Newcastle based artist Rosa Postlethwaite, invites university students and recent graduates to come together to share their thoughts and experiences of this year’s programme, and festival, so far. This open and welcoming session provides an opportunity to make new connections, exchange ideas and share solutions to practice challenges. GIFTed is the strand of GIFT that specifically supports students and recent graduates.


Online performance. Sunday 3 May, 9pm. Age guidance 18+.

A world premiere digital work. After WWII, when Germany lost the vast eastern european territories it had colonized over several hundred years, millions of German refugees had to be integrated into West- and East German society – a process that has largely been expelled from national memory. Using a vast ethnographic sound archive that documents this cluster of historical events as a starting point, Oliver Zahn examines the promises and pitfalls of techniques and practices of social forgetting. Oliver Zahn (*1989) is a German theatre maker. His performance essays circle around ideas of nationalism, memory, history and corporeality.

Idol: Jamal Gerald

Instagram performance, Sunday 3 May, 10pm. Age guidance 18+. Hosted from the artist's instagram account @jamiboii

Join Leeds-based artist Jamal Gerald for a late night instagram intervention featuring extracts and music from his daring and unapologetic examination of religion, pop culture and Black representation, Idol. Who would you rather pray to Beyoncé or white Jesus? Find out Jamal’s answer. Get your incense lit and hands cleansed. This late night event includes musical performances by musicians Pariss Elektra and Azizi Cole. Jamal Gerald is an artist based in Leeds. His work is conversational, socially conscious and a celebration of individuality.




For further press information please contact:

Kate Redway, / 07984 450 765

Notes to editor:

About GIFT:

Founded by Kate Craddock, GIFT was first established in 2011 to provide a platform for performance work which is not normally programmed in the region, and to offer professional development for contemporary theatre makers. GIFT serves as a creative and cultural response to the ongoing redevelopment of Gateshead, with activities connecting the regenerated Gateshead Quayside with the more commercially redeveloped town centre. It is the only festival dedicated to contemporary theatre in the North East. Organisers and participants see it as an important opportunity to bring high quality cultural activity to the area and to offer a showcase for North East artists.



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