Archives for posts with tag: Rowan McCabe

I’ve always loved writing arts reviews. I enjoy anaylsing films, books, art and music. I don’t care if I love, loathe or am indifferent to the work. Just let me reflect and write…in 600 words or less!

I wrote my first reviews aged 15 in letters to music-obsessed pen pals then for various Smiths fanzines. My first job was writing gig reviews for Newcastle’s Evening Chronicle and after university I worked for music magazines in London.

Fast forward to 2014 and I’m back on Tyneside and hear about North East Reviews. It was set up by the North East Artist Development Network to increase the amount of critical writing around new performance work in the region.

The NEAD Network’s venue partners are Alnwick Playhouse, Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle, Arts Centre Washington, ARC Stockton, Bishop Auckland Town Hall, Caedmon Hall, Gateshead, Dance City, Newcastle, Gala Durham, Hartlepool Town Hall Theatre, Live Theatre, Newcastle, Northern Stage, Newcastle, Saltburn Arts Theatre, The Firestation, Sunderland, The Witham, Barnard Castle.

I’m one of 10 freelance reviewers and over the past four years I’ve reviewed dance, theatre and spoken word performances. Earlier this year I sucked the marrow out of  a review writing masterclass with The Guardian’s Lyn Gardner.  At the beginning of May  I reviewed Rowan McCabe’s latest show. Check it out here.

I’m looking forward to reviewing another performance next week. Say no more until the review’s posted online here




I’ve been blessed this past week with inspiration from other writers. Last Thursday I watched and listened to Rowan McCabe perform at The Stanza in North Shields. Five years ago Rowan, Andrew Sclater and I took part in Amuse Bouche, a scheme run by Apples and Snakes and Stockton ARC to improve our poetry performance skills. We three enjoyed working together and  it was wonderful to see natural performer Rowan in full flow at The Stanza.

The following day I ordered Andrew Sclater’s poetry pamphlet, Dinner at the Blaws-Baxters from the delightful Happenstance Press. This Scottish publisher produced the pamphlet last year. My copy arrived on Saturday morning but I’d already left the house to co-run the third North Tyneside Writers’ Circle at North Shields library by the time it was pushed through my letterbox. I opened the package that evening.

Opening the Happenstance package felt like opening a birthday or Christmas present. What a treat. My excitement mingled with the buzz from the day. That morning I’d enjoyed North Tyneside Writers’ Circle guest, the poet Steve Urwin performing and talking about his work. Inspirational.

I devoured Andrew Sclater’s Happenstance pamphlet on Sunday morning and hope I get to see him perform again soon.

Yesterday morning I ran a workshop for the  Cramlington Writers’ group. It was my third visit to this committed and supportive group. I borrowed Jennifer C Wilson’s Ekphrasis workshop idea and shared it in Cramlington. The workshop tried to coax inspiration out of art: painting, photos, sculpture.

Cramlington Writers’ group had done their homework. They brought a wide range of art from their homes including a Balinese wooden sculpture and a 60 year old wood cut from Africa.

Thanks to Rowan, Andrew, Steve, Jennifer, Happenstance Press and The Cramlington Writers’ Group. Your words and actions are inspiring me to write this week.

The inaugural Newcastle Photography Festival is taking place this week until Sunday 26th. The festival was inspired by the considerable achievements of local legend, Joseph Swan.


Tonight a play by local writer Barry Quinn was performed at The Lit and Phil as part of the festival. The play, The Life and Works of Joseph Swan was rehearsed under considerable time pressure but the cast, consisting of Colin and Lewis Cuthbert and Willem Evans plus director Mary Pickin should be proud of their achievements. Congratulations to cast, director and writer, Quinn.

Last night I attended North East Rising by performance poet, Rowan McCabe. The show about north East identity is funny and thought provoking. It features Geordie Shore, Stottie Cakes and Joseph Swan.

rowan poet

It’s been a delight to watch and listen to Rowan growing as a writer and performer. Last night was the icing on the cake. North East Rising is at Stockton’s ARC tomorrow.

For more information about the Photography Festival visit


My Amuse Bouche gig with Rowan McCabe and Andrew Sclater has been cancelled.


This means you miss out on seeing our hats.


Elaine at Hartley

I performed my poem History Lesson at the New Hartley Memorial in Earsdon. Next month I will perform at:

Tuesday October 15th at The Star and Shadow, Ouseburn.

Thursday October 31st at Washington Arts Centre.


Tuesday’s gig at Live Theatre went well. It was great working with Andrew and Rowan once again. The Undercroft is a great space for poetry readings.

Andrew, Rowan and I hope to do some more gigs together soon.


traceGearing up for tonight’s sold out gig at Live Theatre. Had lunch with friends inc Jen who has hand stitched the very first copy of Allotments No1 so I can take it along to the gig tonight. It looks great!
Backcombing my hair and polishing my DMs to Tracey Thorn’s first album A Distant Shore
I’m sure, like her song Plain Sailing everything will go to plan.
Mind you Apples and Snakes coordinator, Mistress Kirsten is ill so we will miss her smiling face and warm up exercises tha neet.


Last September I took part in Amuse Bouche at Stockton ARC. It was a free night of poetry organised by ARC and Apples and Snakes. I performed my poetry alongside Andrew Schlater and Rowan McCabe. It was an amazing experience. We had our performance skills honed by Kirsten from Apples and Snakes and ARC’s Annabel and Helen.

We will be replicating the evening at Newcastle’s Live Theatre in less than three weeks. The gig will take place on Tuesday March 19th in Live’s Undercroft space. This is the comfy, intimate room next to the bar. You can sup wine, beer or tea and listen to us for FREE. Mind you, you still have to book your ticket. Go to live’s website and the fun starts at 8pm

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