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East Durham Creates

Date uploaded: October 20, 2014

Beamish Museum, Forma and East Durham Trust have collaborated with leading artists, musicians and producers to develop the first 'East Durham Creates' festival. This biannual event will launch this autumn and will run from the 29th of October to the 16th of November 2014.

Inspired by the communities, landscape and history of East Durham, Ed Carter, Gayle Chong Kwan, Dryden Goodwin, Holly Gramazio, SŌ Percussion, Uninvited Guests and Walker & Bromwich bring storytelling, film, drawing, music, sculpture, art lending, theatre and outdoor performances and games to towns, villages and rural places across the county.

Dryden Goodwin’s new commission for the Festival, Skill, is a 72 minute animated film focused on his encounters with 12 people local to East Durham, each with a hands-on specialist skill, ranging from tattooing, to snooker playing and horse handling.  Skill encapsulates the drawings Goodwin made observing each person’s activity with an evocative soundtrack of the conversations he had during the meetings.  The film is presented throughout the Festival on large-scale 6.5m wide x 3.7m high outdoor screens and indoor locations including community and welfare centres, a college, town hall and marina.

Inspired by East Durham’s maritime heritage, local stories and a lifeboat disaster in 1962 that claimed nine lives, Ed Carter’s FI10: False Lights Seaham combines sculpture, light and sound in a specially commissioned large-scale installation and performance.  Using a unique electro-magnetic resonating system playing orchestral bell plates, the bespoke musical instrument resembling Seaham’s old wooden staiths, produces a haunting elegy to the dramatic coastline and its history.

Other Festival projects include Walker & Bromwich’s Art Lending Library that lends residents of East Durham one of 50 artworks for three days, by artists including Jacqueline Donachie & Roderick Buchanan, Ciara Phillips, Bill Drummond and Graham Fagen; Holly Gramazio’s Games For Places, a series of new games situated in shopping centres, parks and community centres for anyone to play; and Love Letters Straight From Your Heart by Uninvited Guests, that lies somewhere between a wedding celebration and a radio request programme as performers act out local residents’ favourite songs and memories.

To launch her year-long residency for East Durham Creates, Gayle Chong Kwan in the guise of The Pan Hag, a character who absorbs local myths and legends, takes people foraging, cooking and storytelling on the ancient pathways of East Durham.  In 2015 Chong Kwan presents a large-scale environmental installation developed from her residency.

In advance of a major new site-specific commission responding to East Durham’s industrial past in 2015, SŌ Percussion, a Brooklyn-based percussion group, are presenting a mixed high-energy bill using traditional instruments and found materials from around East Durham.

East Durham Creates is managed by a partnership of Beamish, Forma and East Durham Trust. The project is supported by Durham County Council via East Durham Area Action Partnership and the Arts Team and is funded through Arts Council England’s Creative People and Places (CPP).  CPP aims to increase the number of people experiencing and being inspired by the arts, irrespective of where they live or their social, educational or financial.

For more information about the full programme click here.