Young take centre stage at festival

Writing a play for your local school is a treat, especially in these cash-strapped times of functionalism where education is seen more as a preparation for wage slavery than an expander of the mind.

Saturday, 25th May 2019, 1:18 pm
The Iron Or Festival brochure.

Arts in schools are at a dismally low level so I’m chuffed that the opening IRON OR festival event is Cullercoats Primary’s world premier of the new Mortimer stage opus, Zephaniah Haddock and the Stolen Star.

The plot involves Zephaniah climbing a ladder to steal a star – with disastrous consequences.

When I gave the script to drama teacher Jenny McCall I suggested that some pupils might draw illustrations for use in the poster.

On my next visit, a collection of 250 masterpieces was piled on the desk.

Jenny will direct the play and fellow teacher Chris Howlett has already built an ambitious set.

Katherine Rain is working on the music, with Corinne Harris looking at choreography.

Several parents are coming up with props and costumes, and there’s the infectious enthusiasm of the head Gavin Storey as an extra fillip.

I love it!

These youngsters will be performing not in the womb-like security of the school itself, but out in the big bad world – the concert room of the Crescent Club.

I can’t wait.

Opening the evening on Thursday, June 20 are more examples of the borough’s young creativity – the exciting North Tyneside Steelband.

The IRON OR Festival runs from Thursday, June 20 to Sunday, June 23.

Started in 2013 as a one-off celebration to mark 40 years of IRON Press, the literary festival won several awards and has now become a regular feature around the harbour area of Cullercoats, taking place over four days, every two years. Festival writers are associated with the region or the press.

Festival tickets are available at Ticket Source on 0333 666 3366 or see

Alternatively, get them direct from Cullercoats Coffee, Cullercoats Library and The Boat Yard.