3 in 1: Local Agency in Newcastle

We’ve had a brilliant time working on Local Agency in the North East over the last few months – developing three projects across Newcastle and Northumberland with some fantastic people and organisations. At Queen Elizabeth High School, Hexham, we ran a Loveliness Operation. We worked in the centre of Newcastle with Warm Collective – a music collective who invited us to ask A Good Question – and we delivered agency training to some brilliant artists based in the North East, which culminated in A Pub Quiz On Newcastle at Northern Stage.
Toby Peach, who has been heading northwards to work on the projects alongside Morag Iles, has been finding himself on trains more and more…

Back onto the train for the 3hours trip up to Newcastle- I’m getting quite used to the sights streaming past my window. The first time I was greeted by thousands lining the track side. Either these were people waiting to see me venturing north or were train fans watching the Flying Scotsman steaming past. As I couldn’t ask them I am guessing it was the former.

These Newcastle trips have incorporated 3 projects

  • Introducing Queen Elizabeth School to the principles of Coney (one in particular) and meeting an Improv after school group, who sometimes call themselves the illuminaTea.
  • A local Pub quiz at Northern Stage with local artists
  • A double headed workshop with Warm Collective looking at the principles of Coney and asking A Good Question

These opportunities for Coney have been produced by the wonderful Morag Iles and she has made the project a delight to be part of.

Our workshops in Queen Elizabeth High School have been running over 5 weeks, some I have run on my own and some have been run remotely by other Coney counterparts *some of these counterparts have a fondness of carrots. As the illuminaTea the group come together over tea to discuss tea puns and positiviTea (yep) projects, and they introduced me to their own version of jousting, in the form of tea bag jousting, a spectacular sport that ends with all members receiving a gift at the end (a cup of tea!). When I left them they were putting together thoughts on delivering a personal mixtape for a fellow student, which I thought was rather lovely.

Our pub quiz was created by 12 local artists, who ranged from dancers, theatre makers to circus performers, and involved a week of workshops generating material on the local area. Obviously a pub quiz on the local area would be an easy assignment in the digital age but artists were tasked with collecting questions and facts from local residents, creating a portrait of the place and community. From rounds on Would You Rather questions proposed from residents to learning about local cuisine (look up what a London Pizza is!) the final Pub Quiz was a 2-hour feast of knowledge and stories about Newcastle. Players of the Quiz also had to create a mascot of their team (a suggestion from Lizzie from the workshops, who is herself a lucky mascot!) and I’ve shown some of the wonderful creations here. Thank you to all the artists who came along to our workshops and supplied material for the quiz and to Northern Stage for hosting a unique evening!


Warm Collective is made up of teenagers who are originally from Angola, South Africa, the Philippines, Mexico and Jamaica and are now living in the North East. The collective create, record and perform Hip Hop and Urban Music. The first session involved wheelbarrow racing grandmothers footsteps, a game I encourage anyone to play, and we discussed why they make music and the impact they want their lyrics to have on their audience. They’re called Warm Collective because their philosophy is to spread warmth with their music. As the group prepares to leave their current home and embark on a new venture they wanted to make a gift for a person who has brought them together and use their skills to leave a message. A song dedicated to one of those that positively influenced their lives. Beautiful right?

 As the current projects in Newcastle come to an end we can safely say we’ve had an absolutely wonderful adventure up north, meeting loads of brilliant artists and interesting organisations. We’ve learnt a lot about the local area, not just food related, and can’t wait to find a way to venture back on the 3 hour train again. Lets see if those people are lining the tracks this time.

Toby Peach

Local Agency will return soon.

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