Jack Asbery

Culture Awards: David Almond, Great North Passion and Nadine Shah among winners

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Sunderland Minister hosted the ninth Journal Cultural Awards last night (June 30). Having been held in Newcastle, Gateshead and Durham since 2007, it was Sunderland’s turn to host the award ceremony which recognises North East talent and dedication.

Guests were treated to a wide variety of performances, from drama to art and writing, as well as watching all 15 winners take their awards.

The first award was won by David Almond for Writer of the Year for his narration during the Great North Run Million opening ceremony.

Speaking about winning Writer of the Year David said: “I’m delighted. You know I’m sort of attached to this area and to be right here for that particular project which was so much about the North East and about northern history, northern character and northern future it’s wonderful.”

Following David’s award there were five awards for the best event in Sunderland, Tyneside, Northumberland, Teeside and Durham with the winners of each area competing for the best event overall.

The nominations were Summer Streets for Sunderland, Mallard 75 for Durham, Great North Passion, 150th Miners Picnic at Woodburn for Northumberland and Jabberwocky Market for Teeside.

Great North Passion bagged the Best Event overall where the event retold the last hours of Christ in celebration of Good Friday.

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The award for Best Arts and Business Partnership went to Port of Tyne and Various Partnerships, which was followed by a preview of the year’s best writer David Almond’s new opera MIRACLE! An Opera for two halves.

Stand up Woodhorn earned the North East Museum of the Year award just before the audience was a little surprised to see an award that was not announced: the Special Award for Young Achievement. The secret award was given to Hawthorn Primary School who then proceeded to show the guests why they deserved the award by performing live.

The final award before the interval was given to Mamela for the Performance of the Year. The play tells true stories of young women from the Eastern Cape.

Hyde and Beast opened the second half of the awards with a trio of songs and were joined on staged by special guests The Whitburn Singers.

Professor Magdalene Odundo took the first trophy of the second half for Visual Artist of the Year which was closely followed by Heather Carroll winning the Newcomer of the Year award.

Richard Dawson performed a track from his album Nothing Important before the Culture Awards moved on to the Performing Artist of the Year award which was taken by Nadine Shah.

Speaking about winning the award Nadine said: “It’s really nice seeing people from all kinds fields of creative industries out tonight because I left the North East 13 years ago and it’s nice to come back to my home town. There was never, ever gigs at the Minister when I lived here so I’m hoping I’ll bring my band back here at some point.”

The penultimate award of the night went to the AV Festival for the Arts Council award which paved the way for The Cultural Awards Special Contribution Award.

Former winner of the above award, David Whetstone, announced that the GNR Cultural Programme would be taking the award home with them.

Performer of the year winner, Nadine Shah, wrapped up the show with two songs before the guests all gathered at the Dunn Cow for further celebrations

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