Cultural programme 2009 unveiled

ROMAN re-enactments, a shipyard spectacular and illuminated icons as north east England is once again animated throughout the year.

The 2009 cultural programme, packed with unique world-class events and festivals across NewcastleGateshead and North East England, is launched today.

Curated by culture10, since 2004, the latest in the annual programme of exceptional cultural events has been unveiled, including a new theme and focus for the year.

In 2009, both local people and visitors to the region will be invited to rediscover and explore its roots, with a whole programme of exciting, newly commissioned events that celebrate the area's spectacular landscape and rich heritage.

Highlights of this groundbreaking Landscape and Heritage programme include the Living Frontier: in May 2009 the Romans will march again in Northumberland and Cumbria when World Heritage Site Hadrian's Wall is garrisoned for the first time in nearly 1,600 years.

In July A&P Tyne, a fully working shipyard in Hebburn on the mouth of the Tyne, will form the unusual venue and extraordinary backdrop for

The Beautiful Journey, a large scale promenade performance from Cornish company Wildworks, which promises to be visually stunning.

And in October, Odin's Glow will highlight the dramatic landscape of Redcar and Cleveland using light and performance to transform local landmark Roseberry Topping into an artwork.

Combined with major celebrations of our cultural heritage in Avison Live and Reinventing the City, the programme will bring the rich and varied heritage of north east England to life.

Other headline events in the wider programme include the hugely popular annual EAT! NewcastleGateshead Food Festival (May), a showcase of the very best North East food and drink, restaurants and local produce; award-winning Evolution (May), a unique urban music festival and one of the biggest dates in the UK's music calendar; Juice: NewcastleGateshead's Festival for Children and Young People (Oct-Nov), a diverse programme of activities and events for children and families over three weekends, building on 2008's pilot; and this winter, Illuminating Hadrian's Wall will provide the once-in-a-lifetime spectacle of the 73 mile route of the World Heritage Site illuminated as part of a collaborative project by Hadrian's Wall Heritage Ltd, Northumberland Lights, Kendal Arts International and culture10.

LANDSCAPE & HERITAGE

Landscape and Heritage is the theme for key elements in NewcastleGateshead's world-class programme of festivals and events in 2009, inspired by major regional events including the opening of Great North Museum and Hadrian's Wall celebrations.

The programme, developed by culture10, also supports a range of projects which raise the profile of North East England's natural and built assets, exploring the effect of landscape and heritage on the development of the region as well as the impact of people today on our landscape and heritage.

culture10 is an annual curated programme of exceptional cultural events and festivals across NewcastleGateshead and North East England. Established in 2004, it is managed by the culture10 team, funded by Newcastle City Council, Gateshead Council, One North East, Northern Rock Foundation and Arts Council England, North East and works in partnership with NewcastleGateshead Initiative. For details of the full cultural programme see www.NewcastleGateshead.com

Landscape & Heritage events include:

HADRIAN'S WALL – THE LIVING FRONTIER – 2,000 YEARS OF HISTORY BROUGHT TO LIFE (TBC)

28-31 May

History comes to life in vivid and spectacular detail with a programme of events along one of the world's most famous frontiers: Hadrian's Wall. Dramatic re-enactments will bring the frontier story to life all along the wall, with a living cast of Romans, Border Reivers, Civil War troopers and modern soldiers.

There will be two marches to launch the event, followed by three days of living history at sites along the wall, culminating with a large-scale pageant finale in historic Corbridge bringing together all the re-enactors and their stories of the frontier.

WILDWORKS: THE BEAUTIFUL JOURNEY

28 July–9 Aug

The Beautiful Journey is set in a not very distant future. Something extraordinary has happened... we are all on the move, converging at derelict shipyards, trying to make a life for ourselves.

Join us on a stirring outdoor adventure around the A&P shipyards at the Mouth of the Tyne for a promenade performance and total theatre experience featuring stunning visual imagery, water, film, food, fire, ice and music – you will become part of the exodus and transported to a world of futures...the edge of tomorrow.

Led by director Bill Mitchell WILDWORKS productions have been sited in old quarries, derelict mines, working fishing quays, abandoned department stores, a Napoleonic citadel and The Green Line in Nicosia. They have worked with gospel choirs, drama groups, local artists, surfers, tea dance regulars, North African migrants, cake-makers, ex-miners, a young hip-hop group, abseilers and a Hell's Angels chapter.

The Beautiful Journey is created by WILDWORKS in association with Plymouth Theatre Royal and culture10 and is supported by The Customs House.

REINVENTING THE CITY

25 Sept–11 Oct (TBC)

A set of major new exhibitions and films, public events and debates focusing on Tyneside's cultural heritage over the past 200 years – and opening up an essential debate on its future.

Side Gallery will be showing Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen's Byker Revisited, a major new portrait and landscape exhibition that captures both the change on Tyneside and a microcosm of the contemporary inner city, while Side Cinema will premiere a new Amber documentary feature film that has grown out of the project.

The Lit & Phil/Mining Institute is developing City State, a major exhibition exploring Tyneside's urban developments in the 1960s – the era of T Dan Smith - which will include the work of landscape photographer John Davies exploring the disappearing legacy of the 60s plan for the city and previously unseen filmed interviews with Smith.

Working in conjunction with Newcastle University, it is also organising a series of three civic debates in the Mining Institute's historic debating chamber; Sean O'Brien is being commissioned to write a keynote poem for each debate.

Tyne & Wear Museums is holding three exhibitions - The Great North Museum: Hancock will show work specially commissioned by the Hatton Gallery, responding to urban change and disappearance on Tyneside; the Shipley Art Gallery will be showing Building Bridges, an exhibition featuring paintings, photographs and films of the spectacular and iconic bridges over the Tyne; the Laing Art Gallery will be displaying watercolour portrayals of Tyneside, including works by William Bell Scott and by two of the key architects who shaped the Georgian city, John Dobson and Benjamin Green.

AVISON LIVE

September (TBC)

Avison Live will be a large-scale public event, taking place in Newcastle city centre in September 2009. At the heart of the event will be the premiere of a new audio visual commission by a leading contemporary artist and a series of live concerts by the world famous Avison Ensemble, celebrating the tercentenary of the north east composer Charles Avison, who was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1709.

A composer, conductor, organist and writer of music, he is considered to be the most important English concerto composer of the 18th Century.

A collaboration between Newcastle's outstanding period orchestra, The Avison Ensemble, and The AV Festival, the UK's largest international festival of electronic arts, the two organisations will deliver an innovative response to Avison's music and his groundbreaking approach to live performance, which brings the North East's musical heritage to new and contemporary audiences, by pairing traditional music with cutting-edge electronic art.

Avison Live will provide a new and imaginative representation of Avison's extraordinary music, for contemporary audiences in the centre of Newcastle where Avison rose to fame three hundred years ago.

ODIN's GLOW

October (TBC)

Roseberry Topping is currently one of the region's best-known natural icons. Situated at the southernmost point of the region, it is ideally placed as welcome and entry point to North East England. This innovative event will quite literally highlight this fantastic natural landmark using light and performance to create an environmental artwork.

The Roseberry area has been inhabited for thousands of years; evidence has been found of Bronze and Iron Age occupation. The Vikings gave Roseberry Topping its present name, which is one of only a handful of known pagan names in England. 'Roseberry', or 'Odin's Hill', refers to the Norse god Odin, and this ancient and mythical heritage will provide the inspiration for the festival.

Visiting by nightfall, audiences will encounter a range of artistic responses, from light and sound installations to more complex international performances and music, built around key natural features of the hill. The lighting design will be commissioned to illuminate Roseberry Topping and bring previously unseen features to the attention of new and bigger audiences – in particular those from outside the region.

The project will be delivered with good environmental practice in minimising impact and pollution, with three areas of focus: energy, efficiency and sustainability.

Illuminating Hadrian's Wall

Sat 7 Nov - Mon 14 Dec

This winter will celebrate the stunning landscape and exciting heritage of Hadrian's Wall via a series of lighting experiences and events, Illuminating Hadrian's Wall is a collaborative project by Hadrian's Wall Heritage Ltd, Northumberland Lights, Kendal Arts International and culture10

Visitors and communities will have the opportunity to experience the once-in-a-lifetime spectacle of the 73 mile route of World Heritage Site Hadrian's Wall - from Wallsend to Bowness on Solway - illuminated through sensitive yet incredible light installations and events along the Frontier of the Roman Empire - transforming the Wall, surrounding areas and buildings into an iconic and inspiring piece of public art and a stirring finale to 2009's year of Landscape and Heritage.

GREAT NORTH MUSEUM

Spring 2009

The Great North Museum is due to open this spring. Among the highlights of the new 26million museum will be a large-scale, interactive model of Hadrian's Wall – northern England's spectacular Roman frontier. There will be major new displays showing the wonder and diversity of the natural world, mummies from Ancient Egypt, a planetarium and a life-size T. Rex dinosaur skeleton.

The museum will house one of the most important collections of Greek and Etruscan art and archaeology in the country, while the Living Planet display will include a spectacular 'Bio-Wall', with hundreds of animals including live animal tanks and aquaria. Entry will be free.

NEWCASTLE SCIENCEFEST

6-15 March

Newcastle ScienceFest explodes back onto the North East's cultural calendar in 2009 with a 10-day bumper programme of events to celebrate creativity and innovation.

Two big weekends of non-stop activities will entertain the whole family with mind-boggling experiments, hands-on workshops and multi-sensory shows.

Catering for curious minds of all ages, the festival will also include special events for adults with stimulating lectures, science fiction and even a specially-brewed festival beer to celebrate Darwin's 200th birthday!

Newcastle ScienceFest will take place at venues across NewcastleGateshead, with the principal aim of increasing the North East's enthusiasm for science and encouraging young people to consider a career in this area.

INTERNATIONAL VILLAGE OF CULTURE

31 March-4 April

St Aidan's College, Durham University, Durham and venues around County Durham

International Village of Culture is the first ever collaborative international showcase

festival of rural touring, targeting the areas of Scandinavia, the Baltic states and Eastern Europe.

The festival will tour rural venues across County Durham with a series of performances and events ranging from dance, theatre, storytelling and music including two new specially commissioned performances born from international partnerships between local and overseas performers. International Village of Culture gives you the opportunity to experience some exciting new collaborations in small rural settings and redefines and explores what rural touring is in the 21st Century.

Showcase artists include musicians from Poland, acrobatic dancers from Norway and traditional musicians from Estonia. International Collaborative Commission partners include Dodgy Clutch, working with musicians and dancers from the Eastern Cape, South Africa, while the Grand Theatre of Lemmings and North East-based My Giddy Aunt are collaborating with artists Heather Joyce and Alexis Girrard of France.

There will be opportunities to debate the issues of rural touring at an international level with a four day conference, bringing together UK and international delegates.

Confirmed conference speakers include Phyllida Shaw (chair), plus national and international speakers from the UK through to Canada and Sweden.

INFINITY BRIDGE OPENING EVENT, STOCKTON

15 May

Festivities to celebrate the opening of Stockton's 15million footbridge. Expect a bold and spectacular one-off display of innovative light, sound and pyrotechnics. Some of the dazzling effects include a 200ft-high curtain of fireworks shooting out of a high-speed, flaming motorboat; daredevil climbers scaling the bridge; aerialists dancing, abseiling and creating sails of silk from the bridge's main arch, and smoke pulsing from the centre of the bridge across the river.

EAT! NEWCASTLEGATESHEAD FOOD FESTIVAL

2 - 17 May

A showcase of the very best North East food and drink, restaurants and local produce, EAT! NewcastleGateshead is an annual festival which passionately advocates to all the pleasures of creating and sharing good food and drink in North East England. EAT! NewcastleGateshead 2009 will continue to develop innovative, world-first events as well as building on successful events from 2008.

Key events include a search for the best bacon buttie in The B Factor during the month leading up to the festival (April); the Paupers Banquet with a thrifty menu developed entirely from foraged and inexpensive ingredients (foraging 30 April, banquet 3 May); EAT! Carter (7-9 May) dining in the sky, suspended at 50m high - the same height as the 'Get Carter' car park restaurant – in a Gateshead location to be revealed, for never-seen-before views of Gateshead and Newcastle; Slow Speed Dining (5-8 May) an eight course menu of artisan produce and foods that thrill the senses where diners move seats between every course; and Secret Paladares (11-17 May) a series of ten home chefs opening their doors as 'paladares' – the name given to restaurants opened up in people's homes in Cuba - for secret dining experiences.

Spring to Life (1 May) is a glamorous launch cocktail party at St Mary's Centre, Gateshead. IncrEdible North East (2 May) celebrates and explores the productivity of river, land, sea and the natural resources of the North East. It will bring colour, action, street performers and wonderful smells to NewcastleGateshead quaysides and Baltic Square and features a producers' market packed with freshwater and sea fish, seafood and game through to the finest allotment produce. As well as chef demonstrations and workshops, there will be a host of market eateries. Fish on the Tyne and SuperFresh FishSuppers see fresh fish brought on a boat up the River Tyne to ten head chefs, and a market stall on the Quayide. Found! (public event, 4 May) is a series of foraging tours with pit-stop at a local pub or restaurant for a wild refreshments and the Mad Hatter's Tea Party (10 May), will bring a lively outdoor tea party with music and mayhem for over 300 participants to share in afternoon tea on a winding communal table more than 100m long.

The popular Food Heroes Tasting Market (15 & 16 May) returns to the Civic Centre and Northumberland Street, showcasing a hand-picked selection of 60 of the North East's best and most interesting food and drink producers. This year sees a Food Heroes Night Market (15 May) as well as a giant edible map of the North East, plus a Foodie Adventure Playground where both kids and adults can have fun learning about food.

There are competitions, such as Future Chef 2009, a cookery competition for local catering students, and special offers such as Three for Two at some of the best local restaurants throughout May and June. There will also be large-scale involvement from schools, colleges and community groups, plus a busy programme of fringe events.

THE LATE SHOWS

Fri 15 and Sat 16 May, 7-11pm

The North East's free culture crawl is back for the third year running and this year promises to be bigger than ever. NewcastleGateshead will come alive with culture as The Late Shows hit the streets once again – and this time for two nights. In celebration of the international 'Museums at Night' event, more than 20 cultural venues – usually closed in the evening – are staying up late. These popular venues are opening their doors after hours to bring you two evenings packed with unique events and entertainment, from live art to film screenings, plus refreshments at choice locations.

Free transport is available on Saturday evening, making it easy for people to visit as many venues as possible during this evening culture crawl. The Late Shows is co-ordinated by the North East Regional Museums Hub in partnership with culture10.

EVOLUTION

21-25 May 2009

The North East's premier music festival and a key date in the national music calendar, Evolution is back for its eighth year. This year is bigger than ever, with a wide range of exciting live music taking place across a number of different venues and going out with a bang over the Bank Holiday weekend with a huge two-day, outdoor event on NewcastleGateshead Quayside.

With a first class and ground-breaking, diverse line-up expected, this top urban music festival also promises a host of indoor performances and music industry seminars, along with showcases from local talent, unsigned bands and top name DJs.

Friday to Saturday will see a programme of key events in major venues around NewcastleGateshead, with collaborations between venues and promoters (The Carling Academy, The Sage Gateshead, Digital). The schedule also includes a full programme of Blues and Roots events, promoted in partnership with Jumpin' Hot Club. On Sunday and Monday, three stages are programmed on both sides of the Tyne. There will also be four days of music industry-related seminars and events, 'Evolution – The Know How', produced in partnership with Generator, the country's leading Music Development Agency.

NORTHERN PRINT BIENNALE THE 2009 INTERNATIONAL PRINT AWARDS

26 June-4 Oct

Initiated by Northern Print, the centre for contemporary printmaking in North East England, the Northern Print Biennale will be the first major project concentrated on printmaking in the UK for over 20 years. The aim is to celebrate and promote excellence by showcasing the very best in British and international printmaking through an extensive programme of events.

The main exhibitions will be hosted by Hatton Gallery, Laing Art Gallery and Northern Print and will showcase the very best in new British and international printmaking, attracting the broad range of artists whose work encounters print, and aims to promote and reward excellence in printmaking at a national level.

One of the major initiatives of the Northern Print Biennale is an open submission prize for artists, The 2009 Print Awards. The aim of the awards is to encourage a broad spectrum of artists working in this rich and varied medium to gain exposure and to exhibit with other leading artists in their field. From the works selected, three exhibitions will take place across Newcastle's leading art galleries. A judging panel of three eminent artists, printmakers and curators will select approximately fifty artists to be shown at one of the following spaces, the Hatton Gallery 26 June – 15 August 2009, Laing Art Gallery 4 July – 4 October 2009 and Northern Print from 26 June – 4 October 2009.

A number of other exhibitions and events will take place throughout the city, including a large-scale hands-on print event at Discovery Museum. These associated events will be promoted through a leaflet and map providing visitors with a tour of 'Print City'.

Northern Print Biennale is a fitting tribute to the tradition of print in the region which began with the wood engravings of local artist Thomas Bewick and continues to thrive today. The biennale will provide a platform for all artists whose work includes printmaking by aiming to achieve a similar level of recognition and interest that is secured by the John Moores Contemporary Painting Prize or the Jerwood Drawing Prize.

SUMMERTYNE 2009

18-26 July

This fortnight-long festival celebrates the start of summer on NewcastleGateshead Quayside with a full programme of music and family events showcasing NewcastleGateshead's riverscape. Highlights include a dramatic gathering of national choirs, Sing for Water, on Performance Square, raising awareness of global water issues and Water Aid through the huge combined forces of community choirs from across the UK, singing new and existing material on the theme of water.

This year the first weekend focuses specifically on the River Tyne, the Tyne Bridges and the Quays, with the launch of a specially commissioned sound art-installation by the acclaimed American sound artist, Bill Fontana, in collaboration with Nexus. Throughout the week, a mix of concerts, free outdoor events, Captain Beaky family workshops and projects, and the Playing the Building musical tour will offer a lively programme for all ages. To round off the festival, the Americana Weekend features the cream of American performers.

SummerTyne is programmed by The Sage Gateshead in collaboration with other partners.

BRASS: DURHAM INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL

First two weeks of July

A two-week celebration of the strong musical and cultural bond connecting the North East with the international traditions of brass music that brings the highest quality brass players to County Durham. The festival also includes the annual Miners' Gala, which takes place in Durham City.

In development during 2009 is a newly commissioned short film celebrating the mining and brass heritage of County Durham, commissioned specially by Durham County Council in partnership with Forma, one of Europe's leading production agencies for high quality, interdisciplinary contemporary art.

Composed from archive footage of the Miners' Gala and of the mining villages in the Durham region, and it will feature a musical score commissioned from a contemporary composer. The film will be both a requiem for the industry that defined County Durham in the last century, and a celebration of the place of music in that history, and will premiere at the festival in 2010.

JUICE: NEWCASTLEGATESHEAD'S FESTIVAL FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE

Thur 22 Oct - Sun 8 November (includes October half-term)

One of the highlights of NewcastleGateshead's world-class festivals and events programme, Juice is a celebration of the creativity of children and young people aged 0-18.

The festival will showcase outstanding work created by children and young people across Newcastle Gateshead; from hip hop to poetry, film making to music, comedy to animation. Juice is about both viewing and doing and during the half term week there will be an inspiring and fun packed programme of events, performances, sport activities and entertainment for families to take part in, in venues across NewcastleGateshead. These will range from a specially commissioned new work for pre-schoolers, Shhhh! from Newcastle based dance makers Bare-Toed to events in some of our major cultural institutions programmed by teenagers.

WUNDERBAR FESTIVAL

Fri 6 Nov – Sun 22 November

A new biennial Live Art and Performance Festival bringing high-quality contemporary artists and work to the region. Expect two weeks of surprise, mischief and intrigue as brave new collaborations, live work, performances, visual art, installations and extraordinary happenings are presented alongside new and innovative work from national and international artists.

The festival puts North East England on the map as a hotbed of dynamic contemporary arts, hosted by, and produced in collaboration with, a broad range of the region's venues, companies and artists. There will be extraordinary work across every scale, mixing the experimental with the mainstream.

The inaugural festival will take place in November 2009, focusing largely on NewcastleGateshead as a central space, with satellite works around the region, building a strong foundation for a biennial festival for the future.

NORTHERN LIGHTS FILM FESTIVAL (NLFF)

Late November (TBC)

The only UK Film Festival to focus on international feature film breakthrough talent, the 2009 Northern Lights Film Festival (NLFF) will build upon last year's success to showcase and celebrate the best new films by the most talented new filmmakers from around the globe. Beyond the film screenings, the 2009 NLFF also will feature unique, innovative special events, such as the Northern Stars Young Filmmakers, NLFF's programme that nurtures high school age filmmaking talent.

The Festival will be housed at the newly redeveloped Tyneside Cinema plus other cinemas across Newcastle-Gateshead. Accompanying many of the films will be filmmakers, producers and other film industry guests who will participate in post-screening discussions and special panels.

With a rich programme of films from the best and brightest new filmmakers selected to reflect the diversity of the North East, NLFF appeals to everyone: the dedicated film lover, the filmmaker, the casual filmgoer, children, young people, families, or any combination thereof!

AV FESTIVAL 2010

5-14 March 2010 (provisional dates, tbc)

AV Festival is an international festival of electronic arts and one of the North East's flagship festivals. A biennial event, AV Festival spans the four main urban centres of the region, NewcastleGateshead, Sunderland and Middlesbrough.

The festival includes high quality public commissions, exhibitions, performances, film screenings and workshops at the cutting edge of art, science and technology. Working in partnership with many of the North East's outstanding cultural venues the festival aims to enhance the region's international reputation as a centre for creativity and innovation.

AV Festival 2010 will be based on the theme of Energy. The festival will explore energy as a force through which all of life is connected, transformed, renewed and destroyed. This universal theme will inspire new artistic work and create dynamic new experiences for audiences.

From its origins in 2003 AV Festival has grown into an event of international standing. The previous two festivals have attracted over 70,000 visitors to events and over 200,000 people have experienced the festival through its extended radio, online and outdoor programmes.

INTERNATIONAL CRICKET AT THE RIVERSIDE

England v West Indies – npower Test Match

Thur 14 - Mon 18 May

During 2009 Durham County Cricket Club's Riverside stadium will again play host to two international cricket matches. The games form part of the biggest summer of cricket ever seen in England, with the Twenty20 World Cup and Ashes series taking place. In May, Riverside will host the second npower Test Match between England and the West Indies. England's big hitters will be spearheaded by new captain Andrew Strauss, while the West Indies have the likes of Chris Gayle ready to do battle.

NORTHERN ROCK CYCLONE

12-14 June

A major three-day festival of cycling for all ages and abilities; the festival offers the chance to see some of the very best riders in the UK in action, including current Olympic medallists. It's designed as both a participant and spectator event, to showcase the beauty and attractions of North East England and encourage people of all ages to get cycling. The event kicks off with a series of City Centre Criterium races; the Elite race will feature the best riders in the UK.

On Saturday up to 3,000 riders will take part in three non-competitive Challenge rides which go out into the glorious Northumberland countryside; many of these riders will be raising money for charities.

On Sunday 14 it's the 106-mile Beaumont Trophy Premier Calendar Road Race, the equivalent of the Grand Prix series in athletics, which is used to pick the riders who will represent Britain at international level.

AVIVA BRITISH GRAND PRIX

Bank Holiday Monday, 31 Aug

Gateshead International Stadium

World-class international athletics returns to Gateshead with a star-studded Grand Prix of British and overseas world-class athletes. Last year saw superb performances from Beijing Olympic medallists such as Asafa Powell, Christina Ohuruogu and Kenenisa Bekele. Equally great performances are expected this year in both track and field events.

The event will see a host of elite athletes returning to the UK from the 2009 World Athletics Championships in Berlin, one week earlier, and so Gateshead International Stadium hopes to host many medal winners and indeed World Champions. The event, one of only four world-class athletics events to take place in the UK next year, will be televised live on BBC2.

TOUR OF BRITAIN

12-19 Sept; North East Stage planned for 13 Sept

The Tour of Britain is Britain's national elite cycle race and the country's biggest free sporting event. A unique eight-day professional stage race that attracts a world-class field of 96 elite professional cyclists, the Tour travels directly through communities across the length and breadth of the country. 2009 builds on the highly successful first visit to North East England last year, when the riders – including Olympians such as Bradley Wiggins - travelled north from Darlington to a grandstand finish by the Tyne in NewcastleGateshead.

INTERNATIONAL CRICKET AT THE RIVERSIDE

England v Australia – NatWest Series One Day International

Sunday 20 September

The second of two major international cricket events at Durham County Cricket Club's Riverside Stadium, England take on Australia as the final One Day International of the NatWest Series visits the North East.

GREAT NORTH RUN SATURDAY EVENTS and CULTURAL PROGRAMME 19 & 20 Sept

Great North City Games: In 2008 a new 100m sprint was introduced into the Great North Run weekend, the Bupa Great North Sprint. This featured some of the best sprinters in the world competing on a 100m tartan track against the backdrop of the city.

There was a public sprint on Friday and an elite event on Saturday. This year we plan to increase the number of sports to include: 100m, 200m, 100m and 200m hurdles, Pole Vault, Long Jump, High Jump, 1 mile and 2 miles.

In 2009 we also introduce The Athletic Ashes: the first official Australia vs. England city athletics tournament. The two teams, featuring the best athletes from each country, will fight it out across respective athletic disciplines with one team being presented with the Ashes at the end of the competition.

Junior and Mini North Run: The children's programme will be developed as part of a region-wide initiative to get kids active and talent-spot the best to race at the front end of the Junior Run, as well as including school visits, master classes and lectures by professional athletes.

XPERIENCE 09: EXTREME SPORTS FESTIVAL

Sat 24 – Sun 25 October

A range of extreme sports to watch and take part in, alongside the established annual national surfing championship held in Tynemouth. Xperience09 will once again see the very best surfers, BMXers, in-line skaters and snow sports stars show off their skills at Tynemouth, passing on hints and tips to our own up and coming enthusiasts. There will be live music, stalls and many surprises over the weekend.

GATESHEAD INTERNATIONAL CROSS COUNTRY RACES

Sat 14 Nov

Gateshead International Stadium, Riverside Bowl

Gateshead is once again set to welcome some of the finest UK and international endurance runners back to the Riverside Bowl. These televised cross country races will see runners of all ages compete in junior, senior and veterans' events. Runners will be offered a challenging course alongside Gateshead International Stadium on the banks of the River Tyne, with testing hills and fast sections. Spectators will be out in force at the many vantage points.