Virtual fun for 2021 Gathering
Saturday, April 10 sees the 2021 online Morpeth Northumbrian Gathering, the first virtual festival of Northumbrian heritage and family events.
After a year without a physical Gathering, a day of pre-recorded and live events aims to keep the tradition going with concerts, storytelling, craft, drama, presentations, have-a-go sessions and even a barn dance for couples at home.
The morning starts with family tales from Jim Grant and a virtual art exhibition, and then the Gathering’s figurehead, Morpeth Gadgy Alex Swailes in his full regalia, delivers the traditional Northumbrian welcome.
While Covid-19 prevents families from joining a physical procession, the Gathering pageant will appear in archive scenes from earlier years.
Youngsters are invited to join in with dragon masks and puppets using the ingenious instructions already online in a video by The White Lantern Company.
A dragon features in Hazelsong Theatre’s new show, which uses music, drama and puppetry to tell the traditional local legend The Ballad of the Laidley Worm of Spindlestone Heugh.
Three concerts showcase many Gathering favourites, including fiddler Stewart Hardy, the legendary Johnny Handle, entertainer Bob Bolam, songwriter Graham Bell, dialect poet Eileen Beers and storyteller Taffy Thomas.
Among other performers are rising stars the multi-talented Mossy Christian, past visitors Tonbande from Germany singing in Northumbrian and the amazing Canadian family Glowan, who wowed the Town Hall audience with their music and step-dancing at the Gathering’s last live concert in February 2020.
Finally, Pat Dunn – the Ashington-born actress known for her many TV and stage roles – will round off the evening as ‘Elsie’, her show postponed from last April.
While all events are free to view, audiences are asked to consider donating towards performers through their online shops.
The festival’s organisers would also welcome direct donations towards the considerable costs of producing the festival, and enabling it to continue into the future, via gofundme.com/f/morpeth-northumbrian-gathering