NE Festival Producer Announced

Published: 17 August 2012
Reporter: Peter Lathan

The Festival of the North East 2013 has announced that Jonathan Best has been appointed producer. His career spans theatre, music and festivals, and he has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company, National Theatre, Royal Opera and Opera North. He led Manchester’s Queer Up North International Festival for four years and, most recently, has been developing the arts festival in his home town of Holmfirth, West Yorkshire.

Festival of the North East, which takes place in June 2013, will celebrate the region’s creativity, inventions and discoveries from the 7th century to the present day, acting as an exciting regional celebration heralding the arrival of the Lindisfarne Gospels in Durham for three months in July 2013.

The festival was the original concept of musician and composer Kathryn Tickell, who was then joined by other creative figures from the region including playwright Lee Hall, musician Paul Smith from the band Maxïmo Park and sculptor Antony Gormley who will be artistic advisors supporting Jonathan Best to create, curate and manage the festival.

“Festival of the North East will be a unique celebration of the innovation and creativity of the region,” said Best. “I look forward to working with community groups and cultural organisations throughout the North East to make a festival that will exemplify just what makes this part of the UK so special to live in and so exciting to visit. It’s also a privilege to be working alongside our artistic advisors Kathryn Tickell, Lee Hall, Paul Smith and Antony Gormley.”

Kathryn Tickell said, “I am delighted that Jonathan Best will be working with us on Festival of the North East. We wanted to find someone who would have their own ideas and creative input into the festival as well as being able to work with the hundreds of projects that have already been proposed, from all corners of the region. Jonathan is that person; he has all the relevant experience to deal with local issues as well as setting our festival right up there with the best national and international events. As soon as Jonathan began describing his ideas for the Festival of the North East I got really excited – he was talking exactly about the festival I imagined, but better!”

Lee Hall added, “I am delighted by the new appointment. Jonathan is a brilliant and inspiring choice. His work at the Holmfirth Festival has been excellent. His fresh, innovative and sensitive approach to both the Arts and audiences has been a huge success. We are very lucky to have him in the North East.”