from Artists & Audience
Zoe Murtagh, Artist
Newcastle upon Tyne & Stockton (UK)
GIFT has played a vital role in my development as an artist. From being one of Kate's students volunteering at the festival, to being an artist there in my own right with new, risk- taking work, GIFT provides a unique and supportive atmosphere to meet new people and try new work.
The performances, workshops, talks and events are always exciting, engaging and unique and bring artists and performers to Gateshead that would otherwise not come to the North East. At a time when it seems less people and companies are supporting local arts venues and championing local and international artists, GIFT does just that, but with friendship, generosity and most importantly community at the heart of the whole team's ethos.
There is a commitment to accessibility of the work which allows space to engage new people with the festival. In terms of my practice, the festival has allowed me to learn new skills through workshops and talks, build connections and meet new collaborators, mentors and friends. The support in developing my own work for the festival was brilliant, the use of rehearsal spaces and presence of press at the sharing helping my process as well as building my profile as an artist. The north east is the perfect place for festivals and GIFT feels like a refreshing, important and exciting addition to the cultural landscape.
Rosa Postlethwaite, artist & producer, Newcastle upon Tyne (UK)
GIFT is important for the cultural sector as the only international festival for contemporary performance in the Tyneside area. It has given me the opportunity to see work I would have otherwise had to travel to Leeds or Edinburgh to see.
It radically opens up the possibilities of performance for emerging artists by introducing different ways of working and different fields of practice. It diversifies the kind of work being made in the region. And draws together artists working, often separately, in fields of dance, theatre and visual art.
The festival is a key calendar date for local producers and programmers drawing awareness to interdisciplinary, form-pushing and site-specific practice.
GIFT builds relationships between local students and festival performers. Drawing other artists from across the UK through their exchange programme.
GIFT’s national and international relevance, puts Gateshead “on the map” and creates a much needed gathering space to feel part of important conversations.
GIFT’s wide ranging programme, has been a key context for my work which sits between theatre and live. I previewed my debut solo show, Composed at GIFT in 2018. This was an incredible opportunity to show my work alongside established artists working in contemporary performance.
Through GIFT’s exchange programme and social spaces I have grown my network. In 2017, I hosted artist, Gillian Jane Lees who has stayed at my place since and who regularly bump into a Live Art events! GIFT introduced me to Tom Cassani’s work who I then programmed at PUG, a quarterly performance club night I produce in Newcastle. Festival Director, Kate is an amazing supporter of local artists and has not only given me advice on international platforms but brokered conversations with programmers.
Jenny Duffy, Theatre Maker
Bristol & London (UK)
Speaking as an artist, the long-term relationship I have had with GIFT since first performing there, has been invaluable in connecting me with national and international artists, audiences and programmers in an unrivalled way.
The wide ranging support from programming, to having our back, to watching our work over a number of years, has been an invaluable consistent in a harsh and unsupportive environment for artists trying to make
and tour experimental work in the UK and beyond.
Without GIFT I wouldn't have been exposed to anywhere near the sheer variety of performance and performance-art based work that I have been within the North East of England.
As a student it allowed me to challenge, push, and develop my tastes as an audience member, and as an artist the performance and GIFTed programme significantly developed my interests and practice. GIFT was where I first saw Third Angel's work - who I
am now mentored by and have worked as an Associate Artist with - and where my interest in solo performance practice began.
GIFT is a huge asset to audiences and artists in the
North East as it for a long time existed as the only offer for contemporary and international theatre and performance in the area, and its legacy in the existence of more contemporary.
Holly Gallagher, Theatre maker Newcastle upon Tyne (UK)
Gillie Kleiman, Artist,
Newcastle upon Tyne & Leeds (UK)
GIFT is one of the most important actions in the dance that is northeast performance. For me, GIFT is the one gathering that connects the North East and its practitioners across performance disciplines to wider national networks - though the international aspect is important, my sense is that GIFT has the capacity to enable local practitioners to understand the national landscape into which they might be projecting their own ambitions, and to see what might need to be done to make that possible for themselves.
The festival and its satellite activities activate a local theatrical community which has, in recent years, lost much sense of connection and direction, and offers to this community an opportunity to see the collegiality available to them in relation to national networks of performance makers. It is an important site for local, regional and national dialogue about the business of performance- making as well as the aesthetic, political and ethical possibilities of live work.
GIFT is the only organisation that works so fulsomely and enthusiastically across venues of Gateshead, connecting municipal and cultural centres and attracting participants and audiences from across Tyneside, the region and the nation.
Kate Craddock is a cultural leader like no other - a maker, teacher and thinker in her own right, she empowers and enables others with verve and clarity. Kate and her festival are a true gift.