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  • Writer's pictureClaire Venus

The Strength of Cultural Partnerships in Northumberland - and what we can learn from them

There are two positions when it comes to creating culture;

  1. Alone in a room (read office, theatre, community space, music centre etc)

  2. With partners collaboratively

In Alnwick this summer there is the opportunity for us all to experience what the outcome of strong cultural partnerships looks and feels like through the outdoor theatrical experience Wind in the Willows.

Directed by Alnwick Playhouse' CEO Damian Cruden who is also an incredibly talented artistic director, the show is an absolute triumph of mischief, magic and animals capers!

Damian had a vision for this work and a way to get there right back when he first took up the hot seat at Alnwick Playhouse as CEO in the wave of the pandemic.

His vision was simple;

Bring great theatre to Alnwick, entertain locals and tourists alike - keep people coming back and surprise them with how GOOD it can be.

The method; listening to families and working in partnership!

The show (Wind in the Willows) is a partnership between Queen's Hall Hexham, Alnwick Playhouse and Alnwick Garden. I have worked as a freelance engagement consultant for the show along with Suzy Walker on PR and the marketing teams at all three venues and two freelance content creators. That's a BIG marketing machine (for the North East of England anyway!)

The (honest) results - slow ticket sales followed by a sharp incline as the show launched at the start of the summer holidays!

The show is an absolute triumph of theatrical delight in my opinion. I'm not a theatre reviewer so I'm not going to review it here but all I'll say is that my son (who is nearly nine) and used to be frightened in theatres had a whale of a time. We were laughing out loud, chatting with the characters and he was regularly jumping out of his seat in delight at the ridiculous hilarity on stage! For me, there was a revisit to a secondary school production of the show that I couldn't quite place but gave me nostalgia for the brilliant storytelling and these adorable characters.

I said to my mum as we left, that is the best thing I've seen in Alnwick since we moved here seven years ago!

If you are looking to be entertained and delighted this summer, ticket bookers can spend the day at Alnwick Garden (included in the price) and see the show later on in the day. If it rains heavily its relocated (round the corner) to Alnwick Playhouse. You can book tickets in advance or on the day.

To read more on Wind in the Willows and reviews as they are published head to Alnwick Playhouse facebook page.

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