Host

Chris Connel 



Chris’ work has taken him to Broadway, the National Theatre and many other large scale theatres all over the UK. He has also been known to wreak havoc in the Woolpack, Byker Grove and on George Gently’s 1960s Durham streets.


He has created a cockney psychopath for Richard Bean and a Geordie psychopath for Max Roberts and, while a theme is starting to emerge here, he has also shared Lee Hall’s quiet and sensitive Oliver Kilbourn with a New York audience. TV, film and stage work has seen him bring many a historical character back to life including William Armstrong, George Stephenson and Sherlock Holmes (albeit fictional).


chrisconnel.com




Performers

PIT PONY

With a rawness that owes influence to the North East coast they call home, Pit Pony are a caustic, fuzz-rock five-piece from Tyneside. The band create an adrenaline fuelled, full throttle soundtrack for singer Jackie to explore tales of political ineptitude, mental health, motherhood and failed relationships.


With their first new music since 2020, Pit Pony return with their foot firmly on the throttle. Their debut album World To Me explores themes of identity, isolation, anxiety, motherhood and although not intentionally, the impact of the pandemic on us all. Songs like ‘Tide of Doubt’ and ‘Black Tar’ are quite visceral which Jackie describes as an “outlet for the pent up anxiety of isolation and the what seems like constant bad news coming at us from all angles”. ‘World To Me’ and ‘See Me Be’ explore the experience of having a baby and navigating life after that. ‘Best Is Yet’ is more of a love letter to Jackie’s younger self, with ‘Supermarket’ and ‘Cold’ exploring themes of complex relationships and self preservation.


Despite a relatively modest back catalogue of just a handful of singles since forming in 2018, Pit Pony have received support from BBC Radio 1, BBC6 Music, Radio X, Amazing Radio with DJs including Steve Lamacq, Mary Anne Hobbs, Huw Stephens and John Kennedy getting on board early. Armed with lots of new music and a bigger sound, the band are back with the bit between their teeth and ready to move.


In the last 12 months the band played 3 sold out headline shows in Newcastle, supported IDLES at their sold out Newcastle date, supported The Wedding Present at the O2 Academy in Leeds as well as slots with The Futureheads, PigsX7 and LIFE, and before that sold out of copies of their first 7” for single ‘Hard Rainfall’.


World To Me is out now


For more information, please email pitponyband@gmail.com

SIMON ARMITAGE

Photo Credit:  Peter James Millson

Poet Laureate Simon Armitage was born and grew up in West Yorkshire. He is the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry and the PEN Prize for Translation. He has published over a dozen poetry collections, including Magnetic Field, and acclaimed medieval translations of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and The Owl and the Nightingale. He is the author of two novels and three non-fiction bestsellers: All Points North, Walking Home and Walking Away. A regular broadcaster, Armitage presents the popular BBC Radio 4’s series The Poet Laureate has Gone to his Shed. He writes extensively for television and radio, most recently for BBC 2’s Where Did The World Go, A Pandemic Poem. An award-winning dramatist, his play The Last Days of Troy was performed at Shakespeare's Globe. He writes, records and performs with the band LYR and has received an Ivor Novello Award for his song writing. Armitage is Professor of Poetry at the University of Leeds. His critical book A Vertical Art brings together the vibrant and engaging lectures from his tenure as Oxford Professor of Poetry (2015-2019).

www.simonarmitage.com

UNCAGED AERIEL THEATRE

Uncaged Aerial Theatre are a female led contemporary circus company co founded in 2019 by Emma Bloomfield, Sarah Dobbs and Rosie Vleugels.


They create emotive and impactful work inspired by their lived experience and by drawing on their collective skills in high level aerial arts, storytelling and community engagement.


Their 'Letters of Hope' work was conceived in lockdown and was based on the idea of collecting actual letters full of hope from the local community and creating aerial and movement in response - a performance which took place on Penshaw Monument. They worked within the local community and a nursing home to create their letters and had a socially distanced performance on the monument involving volunteer letter readers and local musicians.


'Girls, Girls, Girls' was debuted in May 2022 at Arts Centre Washington to a sold out audience. An hour long performance of 3x 20 minute solos using aerial, theatre, spoken word and movement. Each solo was inspired by that performer's lived experience of being a woman and raised issues of consent, mental health and neurodiversity, what happens when you don't fit the societal norm and celebrating being different.


Uncaged offer unique and thought provoking work to the North East and are one of the few female led contemporary circus companies in the UK.

DOMINIC JP NELSON-ASHLEY

Based in Stockton-on-Tees and Middlesbrough, Dominic JP Nelson-Ashley is firmly established as a spoken-word artist who delivers consistently electrifying performances.


His 12 poetry books tackle the issues of fatherhood, chat-up lines, role models, celebrity culture, mental health and spending his teenage years in a Middle England Town.


‘Poetry to remember, full of the rhythms of living music and lived experience, all in a genuine voice with images and words that resonate long after the page is turned or the performance over. Dominic JP Nelson-Ashley has something to say and he does it with both exuberant verve and studied craft.’ Andy Willoughby.


Brilliant – witty, wonderful poems.’ Francesca Beard.


‘These poems have an energy and vibrancy and move between protest and social commentary to comic observations to celebratory odes and tender elegies.’  Bob Beagrie. 


‘Original Soundtrack (debut collection) is a book to read back stage, in the near dark by the curtains, smoking a last cigarette before walking directly out into the light. It’s a book of rhythm and rebellion, part biography and part scratched vinyl. It’s a roar of a read, poetry that teaches us to remember our feet, and to dance.’  Joelle Taylor


Dominic JP Nelson-Ashley has been praised as a writer who is 'Reminiscent of those understated yet highly accomplished old-school jazz cats'. His other creative work encompasses being a Radio host, Music Journalist, Record Label Boss and an Award- winning Social Entrepreneur.


www.djpnelsonashley.com 

Reception & Interval Entertainment

Annie Lince



Annie Lince is an acoustic singer from Saltburn-by-the-Sea.

She started performing live when she left school back in 2017 and has been playing every week since. Annie provides acoustic entertainment all across the North-East at various bars, venues and events and will be performing in The Cloisters during the reception and the interval.


Facebook - Annie Lince Music

Instagram - @annielincemusic