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Dunston Staiths Sonic, cinematic and lighting intervention

Date uploaded: March 12, 2014

Dunston Staiths, the monumental wooden structure on the River Tyne that was used for over a hundred years to ship coal worldwide, is the dramatic setting for DS30, an intervention by seminal industrial music group Test Dept, which brings this year’s AV Festival to a close. The group – in their first event since they ceased operations 17 years ago – are re-emerging to investigate their involvement in the Miners’ Strike of 1984-85.

Thursday 27th March to Sunday 30th March 2014 at Dunston Staiths, Gateshead.

For four nights audiences sail up the River Tyne to Dunston Staiths where Test Dept bring the drama and noise of the Staiths back to life in a sonic, cinematic and lighting intervention. Marking thirty years since the Strike, DS30 reflects on the group’s nationwide Fuel to Fight Tour when they collaborated with local activists and mining communities including Kent miner Alan Sutcliffe who wrote and performed with the group during and after the Strike, and the South Wales Striking Miners’ Choir, with whom they recorded Shoulder to Shoulder, a benefit album for the Miners’ Hardship Fund.
At the forefront of a radical countercultural industrial movement in the eighties, the band’s experimentation with sound and visual representation reached its political zenith during the Miners’ Strike. DS30 for Dunston Staiths re-visits elements of their original provocations, with a new soundtrack linking previously unseen documentary footage from their 1984-5 activities, with archive film material of mining communities and the coal industry on the River Tyne.
Susan Wear, Port of Tyne Director of Corporate Affairs, said: "We’re delighted to be part of a festival that has grown into one of the UK’s leading arts, film and music events attracting internationally acclaimed artists to our region to celebrate our rich heritage.”
Test Dept formed in 1981 in New Cross, London and became one of the most important and influential early industrial music groups in the UK, renowned for high-energy percussive live performances in derelict industrial settings playing found ‘instruments’ such as scrap metal and industrial machinery against monumental projected slide and film projections.  They performed in many notable and unusual places including major tours behind the Iron Curtain; Bishopsbridge Maintenance Depot in Paddington marking the end of the GLC (Greater London Council); Britain Day at the World Expo in Vancouver; Rover Car Factory, Cardiff (collaborating with Brith Gof for the Gododdin international tour); St Rollox BR Engineering Works, Glasgow (for European Capital of Culture 1990); a disused nail factory in Hamburg; an underground car park in Ljublijana, and Konrad Str Complex on the Amsterdam Docks.

There are two departures each evening; Thursday – Saturday at 6.45pm and 8.15pm, and on Sunday at 7.45pm and 9.15pm.  Duration approx. 1 hour and 15 minutes for the return journey.  Tickets £7.50. Booking essential.

For more information of to book tickets click here.

Dunston Staiths, Gateshead

Dunston Staiths, Gateshead