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Preview: GIFT: Gateshead International Festival of Theatre

 GIFT: Gateshead International Festival of Theatre 

presents GIFT 2022 (in person and online)

Friday 29 April - Sunday 1 May 2022

GIFT announces GIFT 2022: three days of performances, walks, discussions and workshops designed for in-person audiences in the North East of England and for online audiences everywhere

Following the Journal Culture Award winning, online, GIFT 2020, and The GIFT Exchange online in 2021, GIFT is back for 2022 with a hybrid festival designed to bring artists and audiences together in ways that prioritise care, and that catalyse conversation.

GIFT 2022 will bring together the most exciting, internationally ambitious artists, for a festival designed to celebrate collaboration, creativity and connection. Throughout April, in the lead up to GIFT, participating artists will come together with communities, fellow artists and audiences via a series of conversations and artist residencies.

GIFT 2022 will take place online, and in sites and venues across Gateshead including Chopwell Woods, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and Gateshead Central Library. The three day festival will see a wide range of events taking place both online and in-person across Gateshead, in venues, down by the river, and throughout the town centre. 


There will be chances over the three days to join events in person, or to watch events streamed to wherever you are joining us from in the world; to join in with conversations while out walking in the woods, or to join a conversation online. The festival is designed to welcome audiences back to in person events with care, and to continue to offer a festival experience for audiences who are farther afield, or unable to attend in person.

Festival Director Kate Craddock said:  It is such a thrilling prospect to be bringing GIFT events back to the heart of Gateshead after two years of delivering the festival entirely online. Our online editions allowed us to reach new audiences from all over the world, and to attract increased recognition and acclaim for our work. We are now delighted to be re-connecting with audiences in person, while still offering the option for audiences to have an experience of GIFT online from their own homes. We are committed to ensuring care remains at the heart of our approach, for the artists and audiences who will come together to form our festival community - and we hope that by doing so, we can continue to build new conversations that will help inform GIFT for years to come.

This year the festival will feature many artists who work predominantly as part of an artist pair, so we will be celebrating and exploring what it means to work collaboratively as part of a creative partnership - and there will be opportunities to hear how artists have sustained their creative practice through collaboration - particularly throughout the pandemic.

Planned events will invite audiences to share time and be in the moment together, in order to better understand our recent past, and to re-imagine our collective future. 

Featured GIFT 2022 events include: 

Woodland Walks

Hello Neighbours (Friday 29 April) a workshop which forms part of 3 Woods, an ongoing multi-year project led by Canadian artist duo Mia & Eric. Since August 2020, GIFT has worked with Calgary based Mia & Eric on a remote ‘off-site’ artist residency, connecting the artists from their home in Calgary with individuals and communities who live locally to Chopwell Wood. For GIFT 2022, Mia & Eric will be here, in-person, continuing their residency in Chopwell Woods - connecting with individuals and community groups throughout April and May - before returning next year to co-create a performance for GIFT 2023. Hello Neighbours will be a practical workshop, taking place in Chopwell Woods, in which Mia & Eric will give participants the chance to get to know their more-than-human neighbours who live in the woods. Without a shared verbal language, getting to know each other will require all of our senses, some unconventional ways of relating, skills of observation and patience. 

Will we ever get to Gateshead?

Some of the artists who will feature at GIFT 2022 were originally due to perform in Gateshead for GIFT in 2020, but then worked with GIFT to pivot their performances online in response to the global pandemic. GIFT has continued a dialogue with many of these artists over the last two years, and we are thrilled to finally be able to welcome them to Gateshead.


Bertrand Lesca & Nasi Voutsas will present their award winning performance piece The End created in collaboration with Laura Dannequin (Friday 29 April, BALTIC and Live Streamed) in which Bert & Nasi dance the end of their relationship, imagining what a future without each other might look like. Above the stage, and projected onto a screen, two parallel narratives run alongside each other: the end of the earth, and the end of their collaboration. Audiences can expect a poignant, sad and funny account of the ongoing ecological crisis. Their dance is a reminder and a celebration of our own mortality and everything around us. This performance will mark the culmination of a week-long residency at GIFT, where Bert and Nasi will be developing their new work, THE BEGINNING, which will form part of GIFT’s programme in 2023


Following the performance of The End, audiences will be invited to stay at BALTIC for A Really Small Disco, created by North East based artists Lizzie Klotz and Luca Rutherford in BALTIC’s ground floor Front Room. Taking material from their first collaborative work, A Really Small Dance, Lizzie and Luca, along with their DJ collaborator Charlotte Bickley will create a series of performance interventions, inviting audiences to join them with some really small dances while having post show drinks and chats.


Greg Wohead will be undertaking a residency in Gateshead Central Library during the week prior to GIFT working on the next phase of the performance In Floods, which was presented as a work in progress at GIFT 2020 online. Greg will be available at various points during the residency for conversations with library users that explore the themes behind the work - that centres on the act of crying, of choking back tears and of letting them flow. 

Out and About 

GIFT is thrilled to be welcoming Olivia Furber and Ramzi Maqdisi to Gateshead with their acclaimed guided audio tour The Lands’ Heart is Greater than its Map: an emotional, cartographic resistance piece which actively questions who has the right to claim the history of places and objects and how we can imaginatively salvage shrinking landscapes (Friday 29 April, Saturday 30 April, Sunday 1 May, in person). As part of their preparation and mapping the walking route for audiences in Gateshead, the artists will connect with local artists and community groups to create a bespoke version for Gateshead town centre.  Another event that will invite audiences to reflect on our understanding of the past, and which places audiences at the heart of the experience, is The Acquisitions Panel, an interactive performance by critically- acclaimed immersive experience makers Fast Familiar. The Acquisitions Panel explores the legacies of European colonialism and how we choose the stories we tell about the past (Shipley Art Gallery, Saturday 30 April). GIFT Festival Director Kate Craddock will lead a guided creative walk along Gateshead’s Riverside Park Sculpture Trail, in which participants will be invited to respond to a series of sites and artist interventions encountered along the trail - before being invited to reflect on their observations and contribute to a wider conversation about the future creative potential for the site (Sunday 1 May, in person)

The Lands’ Heart is Greater than its Map

Time to talk

In Neither Here Nor There (Saturday 30 April, Caedmon Hall) Eddie Ladd and Sonia Hughes host and ask and answer questions about how it’s all going, big unfathomable questions about the world, small questions about the state of your garden. Weather permitting Sonia and Jo take the audience on a short walk, there’s small talk, a bite to eat, tables, chairs, questions, talking and listening. Born out of a frustration with superficial connections, iPhones, twitter, instagram, the binary nature of public debate and the rest, Neither Here Nor There creates a space, some time and we slow down. Complexity takes time.

The Imagination to Change it all

On the final day of the festival, award winning duo Two Destination Language will be joined by guest artists from across the North of England to collectively ask What If? (BALTIC, Sunday 1 May, in person and live streamed).  In 2020, a group of 12 artists came together to imagine better futures. Embracing their commitment to optimism, they’ll spend three hours dreaming it all better for you. Bring hope. We think we can change it all. We think we have the imagination to change it all. We really do. So, to help with the changes, we are throwing an OPTIMISM PARTY! A party by and for desperate optimists. Welcome! Following an online residency at the beginning of the pandemic, when it felt that everything really might change, this durational performance is a reunion. Like all reunions, it’s uncertain, but the artists are determined to attempt to recapture their sense of optimism for better worlds, better working conditions, better friendships and a better future.

What if?


For audiences who can’t join us in person in Gateshead, there will be opportunities to connect with live streamed performances from BALTIC (THE END and What If..) as well as online conversations taking place on Zoom. Online, digital performances will include I Melania by Paula Varjack and Chuck Blue Lowry (Saturday 30 April, Online, with Live Art interventions in person across Gateshead). Using Melania Trump as an avatar of an ‘acceptably’ foreign woman, they explore their relationship to being ‘foreign’ to ask: what are the ways a foreign woman can assimilate to make herself more welcome? And how is this open to some foreigners and not others?  Exploring the journey of Melania Trump from her home country and into the public sphere, Varjack-Lowry will compare her narrative to theirs, to learn how and if they can be acceptably foreign and female.

The End



Throughout the three days of the festival (29 April - 1 May) there will be multiple opportunities to join in conversations in person and online. On Sunday 1 May, artists are invited to start the day with inspiring chats in person at The Breakfast Club, hosted by Newcastle’s very own The Six Twenty. The Breakfast Club is a relaxed meet up for artists, cultural freelancers and arts workers who can drop in at any time and stay for as long or as little as they like.


Access information 

Audiences are asked to please email the GIFT team on if they have any specific access requirements or questions.


All events are either ticketed on a Pay What You Decide basis or free to attend - but places are limited and must be booked in advance.

For full listings and for bookings visit:

Keep up to date by following GIFT on Social Media @GIFTfest  

Funders and Supporters

Events at GIFT 2022 are funded and supported by: Arts Council England, Gateshead Council, Canada Council for the Arts, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and Newcastle University

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