Recently by Stockton Arc
It was great to see the arts and creative industries represented at last week's North East Business Awards. Too often the arts is viewed from outside as a fluffy world where budgets, HR and strategic planning have no place. In fact, arts organisations often demonstrate best business practice in many areas of their work, as well as making a huge economic impact on their local and regional community. It was therefore rewarding last week so see the arts included in these prestigious awards.
Congratulations to Kitchenware Records, for winning the Best Creative Business Award and thanks to Arts Council England North East for sponsoring it.
Did you know more people go to the cinema during a recession? I guess this is because it is a relatively inexpensive night out and for customers, represents a safe bet in terms of the experience they are going to have. They are buying into well-known directors, actors, possibly a familiar title - and something they may well have seen advertised nationally on billboard, TV etc. so customers can feel confident they are going to have a good night out and get value for money.
So if you are feeling the pinch this month, come to ARC on Saturday and for one day only you can see a film for just Â£1!
Welsh comedy comes to ARC big time in the next seven days, in the form of two of the best comedians to break onto the circuit over the last few years: Rhod Gilbert and Mark Watson.
It is always satisfying as a programmer when you book someone relatively new and up-and-coming (or so you hope) and by the time the date arrives, they have really made it. Rhod is an excellent example of this - I booked him way back in August, after seeing him at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and hoped we would get a turnout of 200-250 people. Needless to say, with his exposure since on everything from TV commercials to the Royal Variety Show, he has sold out.
I have to admit to being a massive fan of Third Angel's work, and was proud to bring Presumption to ARC a few weeks ago. It is a fantastic show that uses both humour and poignancy to explore the relationship between a thirty-something couple. It is exquisitely presented, every word, every action, every moment feels like it has been carefully considered, held, inspected and placed. And it's relevant, something I really like my theatre to be - it will touch you, whether you are in a relationship or not, as it neatly exposes some of the finer points about how humans interact with each other.
Six months on from arriving on Teesside I feel totally at home, with a great venue and great people who are open-minded, and (as the strapline says) genuinely passionate about culture. It has been fantastic to see audiences at ARC show their appreciation for a comedian, a theatre show, a brilliant performance, an evening they have enjoyed.
But I am also lucky in that we are still enjoying discovering the region ourselves. I guess we really are cultural tourists when we travel, as we try and take in a true local flavour of life wherever we visit, as well as enjoying the essential sights.
If January is traditionally a quiet time in the arts, then February has certainly made up for it. I have been busy exploring some of the region's cultural entertainment venues, as well as enjoying some of the best nights we've had at ARC since I arrived. No excuse for my lack of blogging I know, but here's a jaunt through some of my recent highlights anyway....
Perhaps the world can get back to normal now that John Sergeant has bowed out of Strictly Come Dancing, with his dignity just about intact. Will we ever be able to take him seriously as a political journalist again?
What Strictly... has done is re-popularised ballroom dancing, a pastime which had all but died out. Inspired by celebrities - and professionals of course - millions of people now attend regular classes and events across the country.
I've just returned from spending approx. 24 hours at Take Off, a festival/conference about theatre for young children, run by CTC at Darlington Arts Centre.
Watching shows for children is one of the delights of my job as there is some truly beautiful work being made for younger children at the moment (and some awful stuff too).
Hello! I'm Annabel Turpin, and I am the Chief Executive of ARC, the arts centre in Stockton-on-Tees.
I'm new to the North East, having moved up from Berkshire at the end of July to take up the job here.
The last three and a half months have been unnervingly edgy, as it has felt like I have been doing everything for the first time.