When people think about England, they would usually picture the Queen, the Royals and London.…
North of Tyne, Under the Stars, is a free night-time arts event taking place across the North East in February and March 2022. Blending magic, light projection and fire it weaves together local stories and landscapes from across North Tyneside, Newcastle and Northumberland.
It seems like a long time since I went adventuring, but when I got a leaflet through the door with information about the North of Tyne, Under the Stars events I had to pop along. This is a free outdoor event, taking part at night-time across the region.
Settle yourself comfortably because I am about to tell you a story of a place you might know, West of the Sea, East of the Lakes, South of Scotia and North of the Tyne.The Story Weaver
The story weaver is visiting our region and collecting tales, fables and histories of the area to weave new mythology for the North of Tyne area. A number of family-friendly events are taking place in neighbourhood locations across the area. The culmination of her search of stories will be shown off in an amazing finale around the city centre from the 10th-13th March.
North of Tyne, Under the Stars Neighbourhood Events
We went along to the Wallsend neighbourhood event to find out what it was all about. Entering Richardson Dees Park, we could see lights and fire among the trees and hear voices in the air. We joined the queue, waiting for the first session to finish. Soon it was our turn to walk in.
We walked into a magical grotto, where the trees were changing colour and fire burnt all around. Voices were whispering and a magical portal stood in the centre of the clearing. The story weaver, appeared from the stars to tell us the tale of the North of Tyne.
We watched in fascination as the voices from the stars told us she was coming and to expect her, while the portal lit in glorious colour showing her journey through the stars. Children were watching, silent in fascination as the Story Weaver appears. She tells us the stories of the birth of the area, its industrial heritage and the people we came from. It is a fascinating look at the area and where we came from.
We were listening, entranced as she told us her mission was to collect new stories from North of Tyne and it is our job to collect and create them. The portal changes to show different scenes, Viking ships, coal mining, Hadrian’s Wall and other iconic scenes from the North East.
The show lasted half an hour and was fascinating and unusual. It is a lovely idea for an outdoor event and is suitable for young and old alike.
The last two neighbourhood events take place on Friday 4th -Saturday 5th March, 6pm – 9pm.
Find them at:
- Fenham – Nuns Moor Park, Brighton Grove, NE4 5PA
- Hexham – Abbey Grounds, Hexham, NE46 3LS
Things to be Aware of When Visiting
- The event takes place outside so wrap up warm and dress for rain. An umbrella is not recommended as it could block the view for others. Sensible footwear is a good idea.
- No seating is provided, you will have to stand and watch.
- You may have to queue if it is busy but the queue moved quickly and let a lot of people in.
- The event is free
- You can visit at any time during the times the event is open. It is a good idea to allow around 40 minutes for your visit so watch the end time.
- The artwork sites are wheelchair accessible.
In the Festival Finale, the story weaver brings all the tales she collects on her journey to Newcastle City Centre. The event took place on Thursday 10th – Sunday 13th March between 6.30 pm – 10 pm. The city centre had been closed to traffic and iconic buildings in the city centre were turned into magical light shows. Each of the six large-scale video and sound installations were created by different artists and inspired by a different facet of the North of Tyne region. You could visit in any order you choose.
The installations are all located around the Newcastle University Campus, Barras Bridge and the Civic Centre, within walking distance of the Haymarket. The locations were:
- Great North Museum
- Civic Centre
- Old Quadrangle in Newcastle university
- Courtyard Cafe in Newcastle University
- Blackwell’s bookshop near the Haymarket
- John Dobson Street, near the City Baths
More than 40,000 people came to the event
The artworks are as follows:
The Zoetrope – Civic Centre
The iconic drum of the Civic Centre wasctransformed into a shimmering zoetrope, spinning on its axis. Water and energy will surge down the carillon tower above as if the River God Tyne is powering it. The history of the industry on the Tyne will be displayed.
Read more: Art works at the Civic Centre
This was a fascinating display, the whole of the civic centre lit up taking you through key moments in the history of the North East from the invention of the light bulb to the swing bridge. The whole projection swung round at 360 degrees and the screen on the tower mirrored what was going on making an interesting effect.
Take Me To the River – Blackwell’s Bookshop, Barras Bridge
A child and two unusual companions are splashing about in the Tyne and make their way through the towns and countryside as time moves on. This was a lovely display with catchy music. The whole building was used to display the locations from around the North East as the three characters used the building ledges and windows to move up and down.
It was a lovely tour along the length of the river Tyne.
Hyem – Old Quadrangle
This is a 70-metre long floor projection sound installation that celebrates the culture and identity of the Tyne.
There was a large queue waiting to see this one but the queue moved quickly and it was worth the wait. We walked along an ever-changing path projected on the floor which showcased the history of Newcastle and stars from its past. You could walk at your own pace and music played all around. The buildings around the old quadrangle set it off and I felt a bit like a monk on a holy progression.
The Story Weaver – Courtyard Cafe, Newcastle University Campus
The story weaver is back from her neighbourhood events to tell us all about the stories she has gathered. The magic portal has reappeared with flickering flames as she told us the story of the North East. This was a very powerful tale.
Anthro Zoo – Great North Museum
Anthro Zoo used 3D scanning to bring the creatures from the Great North Museum’s zoology exhibition to life. Behind them the different streets of Newcastle were shown, it was interesting trying to work out where they were as they folded and unfolded.
Meadow Wall – City Baths, John Dobson Street
A magical interactive projection that takes you on a journey from the coastal dunes of Northumberland to the forests of Kielder. It looks at how we can restore and rebalance our ecosystems.
The audience could get involved in this display. We could see people appearing and disappearing on each side of the display, these were the people who had gone into the booths on each side. Lots of people were taking selfies and the kids loved it. We even saw a dog getting involved.
Read More: Visiting Newcastle City Baths
The whole finale was a magical and interesting night which showed an appreciation of the history of the area and the wonderful North East where we live. I really enjoyed the night.
Find Out More
To find out more visit the North of the Tyne, Under the Stars website