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Festival Programme

Please note the program may change due to the nature of the festival.

Some workshops and activities may need sign-ups, please make sure you sign up to avoid disappointment on the day.

The event space is fully accessible. If you have any access requirements please email

Friday 28th July

7:30 pm // MAIN HALL
Artist Commission Performance // Beth Veitch

Dance, Theatre, Music

 A dance piece about my Gran, Irene Veitch.  She is an 87 year old superstar, having grown up in Byker, and has the strongest North East spirit of
anyone I know! S
he has vibrant stories of her upbringing that paint colour, joy, love, struggle, and above all – the strength of community. The work will be a duet with a North East-based emerging artist with voice & live music & a washing line of North East memories to be added to before and during the festival.


8:30 pm// MAIN HALL
Festival Launch Party! // Booze, food, games and DJ!
Hosted by Jamie Cook & Hannah Guy

Join local legend Jamie Cook and his pal Hannah in a series of dead random but totally acceptible silly games and stuff.

With favorite games such as KEITH, BEEF OR TEETH? and FRUIT HEIGHT.

Prizes, Points, and Pints!

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Saturday 29th July

11am- 4pm // MAIN HALL
Market stalls BOTH WEEKENDS!

A small collection of market stalls supporting local business, artists and entrepreneurs!

Traders will be present during the whole festival!

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11am // THE WEDGE
Puppet Building Workshop // Moving Parts Arts
Ages 6 and up // Sign Up Needed // 2hrs


Create your own simple rod puppet using bamboo, material, cardboard and foam. Develop design and sculpting skills by choosing what head to carve out of your block of foam using scissors - a human? an alligator? an alien from the plant Galtraxia?! It's up to you! Once you've finished constructing your rod puppet there will be the opportunity to decorate it with whatever bits and bobs you can find before adding the all important eyes so it can see! 

This workshop is a 2 hour session for ages 6 and up. The session involves the use of scissors to carve the puppet head and hands from recycled foam. All tools and materials provided. 

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11am // MAIN HALL
Pottery Workshop // Maling Pottery Inspired Goblet Cup!
All Ages // Drop In // 1hr

Drop in with your children to hand make your own Maling “grapefruit dish” (ear-ring caddy or world cup!) in self-hardening clay to take away and treasure.

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All Day // MAIN HALL
Byker Wall of Love // Interactive Installation
All ages

Add your message to the Byker Wall of Love to share with us what you love about the East End and what you want to see in the future!

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Interactive Puppet Performance//Elephant Rock
All ages

This big, bold and beautiful elephant has brought joy to children, adults and families around the North East since being born in 2022. Elephant Rock was inspired by the famous elephant-shaped rock of the same name that stood on the beach near Hartlepool, before it was washed away into the sea 1891. This puppet shows Elephant Rock brought back to life, emerging from the ocean once again over 100 years later. Operated by 3 performers, this walkabout act is certain to make a big impact at your event and offer a unique experience to everyone it meets.

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Watch the only YOUTH CIRCUS UNICYCLE TEAM on Hadrian Square as they ride with confidence and perform tricks and feats of skill and mastery!!

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1.30pm // MAIN HALL
Pottery Workshop  // Maling Inspired Tea Caddy or Jar!
2hr // Sign Up Needed


Spend a relaxing afternoon designing and constructing your own tea caddy or jar out of clay slabs, decorated using monoprinting techniques or sgraffito to

give that detailed Blue and White look.

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CIRKO NORDA YOUTH CIRCUS CABARET // Youth Performance & Workshops


Watch in awe at Newcastle's only youth circus CIRKO NORDA as they throw incredible tricks, acrobatic feats and much more!

Then  why not join the circus and learn some cool tricks in the free circus skills workshops!

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3pm // MAIN HALL
Music // SWAN NEK

DANCE DANCE DANCE! Swannek is a six piece Jazz/neo-soul collective from the Northeast of England.


4.30pm // MAIN HALL
Pottery Workshop // Embossing Plate with Lorraine Clay


Come and design and create your own embossed dish from clay slabs to hand paint.

Lorraine Clay - I have been a professional potter for 20 years, exhibiting in the Biscuit Factory and the Shipley, and
now making for exhibitions and on commission, such as Labyrinth dishes for Shepherd’s Dene.

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7.30pm // THE WEDGE
Séayoncé : RES - ERECTION
18+ ONLY


What better way to feel alive again than with a big throbbing res-erection.  Go on trick or treat yourself to a hilarious drag-tastic séance. Ghouls just want to have fun…and it’s time you did too.

A desperate soul haunts Byker Arts Festival and no, not the out of work performers that congregate in the bar, plot twist… it’s a ghost and it’s about time they exited stage left.

Join the mystical mess Séayoncé as they warm up summoning history’s greatest spirits before a little exorcise.

‘Queer, overboard and full of vice.’

★★★★★ LondonBoxOffice

WINNER: Vault Festival After Dark Award
NOMINEE: The QX Cabaret Awards 2019 – Best Comedy act
Recommended by Condé Nast as one to see at 2019 Edinburgh Festival




9:30pm - Close // MAIN HALL
18+ ONLY

Spend the rest of the night with us and wind up/down with some good tunes and home-brewed beers!


Sunday 30th July

11am // THE WEDGE
Mindful Flexibility // Ella Riley : @danger_riley
Age 18+ Sign Up Needed // 1hr


In my Mindful Flexibility workshops, I incorporate mindful breathing techniques into a specially designed flex plan so participants can enjoy a gentle, full body stretch while also experiencing the benefits of mindfulness. Using these breathing techniques, the participant will connect to the area of the body that is being worked. They will also be able to access the body on a deeper level, getting further into stretches and noticing muscles that may have never been used before. After a 45-minute full body stretch, I will finish the session with a 15-minute mindful meditation. Leaving the participant feeling grounded, calm and connected with their body. Ready to enjoy the rest of the festivities. The workshop is typically 1 hour long but can be adapted to longer. It is also suitable for all ages, genders, and abilities.

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Family Friendly Circus Skill Workshop // Newcastle Circus Arts
All ages // drop in // 2hrs

Learn the magic of the circus with Newcastle Circus Arts CIC! An open-to-all-ages, skill, and ability drop-in workshop covering the basics and intermediate levels of circus skills.


1pm // THE WEDGE
Creative Writing Workshop // Kym Deyn
All ages // sign up needed // 2hrs


A gentle writing workshop suitable for absolute beginners or more experienced hands. We'll look at how to take inspiration from images, incorporating images into our writing, writing "black-out" poetry, and even experimenting with photography and writing together. All materials will be provided. Up to 15 spaces.


Circus Olympics // Newcastle Circus Arts CIC
All ages // drop in // 30mins

Always wanted to be an olympian? Then join our very own CIRCUS OLYMPICS to test your strength, agility, silliness and of course circus skills!

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3pm // MAIN HALL
Beginner Contortion & Flex Workshops // Ellie the Acrobat!
18+ // Sign Up Needed // 1.5hrs & 1hr



Full body flex:

This workshop will be a blend of active flexibility drills and stretches with a short warm up and conditioning at the end. We will be working hard within our existing range of motion to strengthen our flexibility to help prevent injury and ensure longevity. This class will be a good chance for complete beginners & intermediates to come and assess their current skill level in a friendly and non-judgemental environment. I strive to create an accessible as possible space for people to come and move their body with the purpose of feeling good. The aim of the classes will be that you leave with new strategies to help you achieve your flexibility goals and/or pride in showing up for your mind and body.


Additional Handstands and elbow stands: 

This workshop will work as an add on to the first class and is not for complete beginners, this is for those that have experience in training flexibility and are confident to kick up into a handstand on their own. In this class we will be covering basics such as wrist strengthening exercises, how to spot others and how to train contortion handstands and elbow stands in your own training. 


6.30pm // MAIN HALL
MUSIC // Tobias Sarra

Tobias Sarra is an experimental singer-songwriter and improviser, with roots in jazz, folk, and contemporary classical music. His piano/keys led performances blend the familiar and the surreal, whilst emphasising a musical and linguistic playfulness.


Thursday 3rd August

6.30 pm  // WHOLE VENUE
Music // Shunyata Improvisational Group
18+ // 3hr Durational Improvised Music

Shunyata Improvisation Group bring their extraordinary style of music to the Byker Arts Festival: intimate, distinct, quiet, acoustic, entirely composed in the moment providing an immersive meditative experience.

They team up with two outstanding improvisers, John Pope double bass and soprano Katie Oswell. Playing for three hours they will create a meditative experience with the audience invited toexperience as much or as little of the event as they like.


Friday 4th August

5 pm Onwards // WHOLE VENUE
Tyne & Queer Collective TAKE OVER // Various Events

A wee program of events hosted by Tyne & Queer Collective!


Artist Comission // Lindsay Nicholson : Byker Kintsugi
Theatre, Writing, Clown

Written and performed by Lindsay Nicholson.

Kintsugi is the Japanese Art of repairing broken pottery with gold. Byker Ward was home to Maling Pottery, once the biggest in the world. 

This unique true story takes us from the Neon streets of Tokyo to the microclimate of Byker in one woman's search to make sence of culture shock and trauma. This performance uses storytelling and clown to explore what happens when East meets West and the magic of returning home to your roots and yourself. 

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10:30pm// MAIN HALL
DJ // PRNCSS // @theprncssexp

PRNCSS THa BAd Messiah is a multi-disciplinary artist, producer, and DJ. Born in Zimbabwe and raised in Ireland Dublin and currently based in London her art is influenced by the many cultures she has experienced. Experimenting with heavy bass music that is entwined with African rhythms. She is a trailblazer in the Afrofuturism music space.


Saturday 5th August

11am, 1pm & 4pm // HADRIAN SQUARE // FREE EVENT
Flaming Lily Circus // Show & Performance
All ages


Byker's own Flaming Lily Circus Company takes the streets to perform hula-hooping spectacles and bring all the vibes to Hadrian Square! Expect big energy, big bubbles and big laughs!


11:30am  // MAIN HALL
Mark making & Water colour Workshop //
All ages


This workshop is designed for all abilities - anyone who is interested in trying out simple techniques with watercolours and ink.


Learn to create colourful, celestial paintings using watercolour, ink and salt. 

No experience or materials needed. I will provide those.

This is geared for adults and possibly older kids/teens with an interest in watercolour painting.

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12pm// MAIN HALL
Polaroid Poetry Workshop // Ian Horn
16+ // Sign Up Needed // 2.5hrs


Polaroid photography is inspired by a sense of place.

Polaroid gives an instant image on paper and a retro feel.  There is immediacy and permanence in this genre. A mini field trip around Byker will inspire words  / text to accompany images.

Film& writing workshop combined.


Music // Georgia May

Georgia May is a lo-fi soulful vocalist born and raised in Newcastle, with Nigerian roots. Her sound is defined by soothing timbres, exposing contrasting emotions of lust and heartache with a poetic lyrical narrative.

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Block Printing inspired by Newcastle and Byker with Shiori Naruse @narusedesign
All Ages // Drop In // 3hrs


Join designer and artist Shiori Naruse in creating your own block prints inspired by Newcastle & Byker.

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Artist Commission Performance // Zinzi
Circus, Dance, Music

An immersive live art installation produced by Zinzille for The Byker Arts Festival.

This performance combines aerial circus, music and movement to explore themes transition.

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Artist Commission Performance
// Toi Guy and Adele Clifford: "Spinsters"
Fashion, Dance

A collaborative, multi-disciplinary catwalk show exhibiting crocheted clothing and accessories made by local independent designers & makers Toi Guy and Adele Clifford.
Together we will craft a performance developing the fashion runway format to include performative aspects like character and choreography, exploring the concepts that underpin our creative vision as independent crochet artists.



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10pm - close // MAIN HALL
Music, DJ // Toby Thirling

Class craic, mint vibes.

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Sunday 6th August

2 pm  - 4:15 // MAIN HALL
YOGA // Luca rutherford

Yoga, Flow, Restore
Sign Up Needed

SIGN UP - Vinyasa Flow

SIGN UP - Restorative

Two back-to-back yoga classes taught by Luca Rutherford, with gentle soothing music.
Yoga for everyone. You don’t need to be able to touch your toes or get your foot behind your head! Bring your fizzy heads, tired bo
nes, family and friends for a peaceful afternoon to playfully unwind.


14:00 - 15:00 is a vinyasa flow with a focus on the breath. A dynamic class that will get you out of your head and into your body. An hour to move without judgment and smile anytime we wobble.

15:15 - 16:15 is time for an afternoon pause with a slow restorative practice for anyone who just needs a little rest. This practice is suitable for total beginners, just wrap up in somE
comfy layers and get ready to snuggle up. Mats and props are provided for you.

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2 pm // Outdoor HADRIANS SQUARE
CIRCUS THEATRE // Many Hands Circus

Dance, Circus, Theatre

Calling all families! Get ready to be amazed by the spectacular 'Light Work' circus theatre show, featuring jaw- dropping acrobatics and thrilling physical feats that showcase the incredible power of teamwork.
From building human towers to throwing and catching with precision, our show demonstrates that anything is possible when we come together with a common goal.
‘Light Work’ is full of heart-pumping action that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
And with a live, original musical score that adds to the emotion and storytelling, this is an experience the whole family will never forget.
So, gather 'round, and join us for a thrilling adventure that will leave you inspired and full of wonder!


5 pm // MAIN HALL
Dance // NESPE Ensemble
18+ // 1.5hrs

North East spontaneous performance ensemble - dance & live music group.

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9 pm - close // Closing Party
18+ // DJ

Join us in our closing party! Dance, chill and reflect on the festival!

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