As part of Northern Stage’s ongoing commitment to supporting the independent sector in the North East, we are excited to introduce our brand new Associate Artist scheme in June 2018.

We’ve pioneered a number of programmes that have facilitated a step change in artist’s careers from Title Pending to our Edinburgh programme and have identified the need to take a new approach and provide a more bespoke and targeted programme of activity.

Northern Stage has built a relationship with all of these companies and wanted to formalise and develop these relationships in order to make a bigger impact. Each artist brings a unique offer to the programme and through partnership working we hope to make a targeted difference to these artists and that they change how we work at Northern Stage.

This new two-year programme will support a diverse range of established North East artists and companies at different stages of their careers who are looking to make a step change in their practice, whether that’s touring on a different scale, collaborating across different art forms, or finding ways to work with new technology. 

It will complement existing schemes for emerging artists, such as Northern Stage’s own NORTH programme and Creative Team.

What’s different about our programme?

  • The programme is sector led rather than venue led
  • Each relationship is bespoke to meet the differing needs of the artists.
  • We hope the relationship will impact on Northern Stage as much as the artists. Helping us to shape our future talent development opportunities, programming and reaching new audiences.

You can find out more in the full press release here

Meet our Associate Artists 2018-20


balletLORENT was founded in 1993 by Artistic Director Liv Lorent (MBE). A leading UK contemporary dance theatre company based in Newcastle upon Tyne, creating memorable and beautiful dance experiences, the company champions inclusivity by creating dance that has narrative content teamed with high aesthetic values and predominantly values the people we connect with including our diverse range of audiences, participants, performers and collaborators.

In 2018, balletLORENT will celebrate 25 years of diversity having delivered a high quality artistic programme offering distinctive family work that has increased from small scale (Angelmoth) to middle and large scale theatres across the UK (Rapunzel, Snow White and Rumpelstiltskin); site-specific works that have appealed to adult audiences (Designer Body, la nuit intime, Blood, Sweat & Tears, The Night Ball and LOVE STRUCK) which have been performed in landmark locations including: Trafalgar Square, Tyne Bridge Tower (Newcastle), Latitude Festival and internationally at Koninklijke Stadsschouwburg, Brugge.

Curious Arts

Curious Arts is a Newcastle Gateshead based not-for-profit organisation developing LGBTQ arts, artists and audiences across the North East of England. Our work celebrates and explores Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Culture. Curious Festival is an annual flagship weeklong celebration of LGBTQ Culture across the region.

"Curious Arts partnership with and support from Northern Stage is a critical investment in LGBTQ Arts development in the region. Together we can champion Queer led work improve opportunities for artists and audiences in the North East. After a pilot project with Northern Stage last year we are really excited to be showcasing our commissions form regional artists and developing our young peoples programme this July." - Phil Douglas, Curious Arts



Curious Monkey

Curious Monkey is an international award winning theatre company founded by artistic director Amy Golding. The company creates outstanding theatre inspired by people they meet and connections they make in our local community and around the world. They listen to people whose stories are rarely told. Collaborating with a team of award winning artists, they shape these stories into fresh, direct theatre that is rooted in the experiences of the people they work with. Their work shares rarely told stories widely with audiences, decision makers and influencers; and deepens engagement with audiences and participants. 

Their artistic programme gives a voice to under-represented people and raises awareness of the issues that they face. Their audiences are often new to the theatre. They make theatre that provokes and inspires audiences to connect with each other, with the ideas that they explore and with the stories that they share. Working with specialist partners, Curious Monkey uses theatre to engage with influencers and decision makers to help create positive changes in the world. Past work includes Preggers, Mamela, Beats North and Leaving by Paddy Campbell.

"We are really excited to be part of the new Associate Company programme with Northern Stage working towards a new co-production. We're looking forward to sharing, learning and growing with the NS team and the other Associates and over the next two years."



Gateway Studio Project

Gateway Studio Project (Gateway) was founded in 2012 by Martin Hylton. Based in the heart of Gateshead town centre, Gateway’s focus is on designing, promoting and delivering a dance related arts programme, primarily for the local community in and around Gateshead, but also on a national, professional stage with partners such as Phoenix Dance in Leeds and the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry.

Working collaboratively with artists in all art forms, Gateway produces professional work through the Arts Council England and artistic commissions. Gateway is the first organisation to deliver the prestigious Phoenix Dance Theatre Youth Academy outside of Leeds providing young people in the region direct industry links to one of the country’s leading and longest running contemporary dance companies. Through the Phoenix Academy North East and Gateway Youth Dance, Gateway nurtures gifted and talented students, providing weekly professional training and dance opportunities.

Gateway also works in partnership with a number of charitable organisations, including the ‘Us Children’s Charity’, devising and delivering programmes for young people in Newcastle with mental health, behavioural and social challenges.

"Having worked with both Lorne Campbell and Mark Calvert I am delighted to be announced as an associate artist with Northern Stage. I am looking forward with, huge excitement, at what will unfold over the next two years."


Luca Rutherford

Luca Rutherford writes and performs her own solo work which playfully invites whoever is watching to consider the big questions she’s asking. She’s interested in something happening in a room full of strangers, as opposed to showing something to a room full of strangers. Luca aims to create with curiosity and silliness, finding that this helps fend off the unhelpful desire (that sometimes creeps in) to be cool or sound clever! She is an associate artist of ARC Stockton & Northern Stage, a Third Angel mentee, and was shortlisted for Royal Exchange’s Hodgkiss Award 2016.

Her current show Luca Rutherford’s Political Party is an attempt to transcend the paralysis of being confused and over-whelmed by politics. It is an ARC Stockton production, co-commissioned by The Albany, Camden People’s Theatre, Northern Stage, Unity Theatre and touring Sept 2018 & Feb 2019. As well as making her own work she collaborates as a deviser, performer, dramaturg, writer and engagement officer. She has worked with companies including Action Transport Theatre, fanSHEN, RashDash, Third Angel, Unfolding Theatre, Unlimited Theatre, and under the writing mentorship of Chris Thorpe and Chris Goode.

"I once went for a morning swim in the sea and saw dolphins. That felt like a bit of magic. After surprise dolphin visits, it’s the people making things in the city and the places nearby that make living in Newcastle great. But it’s tricky, I’ve often thought of leaving the North for London and the sheer amount of things going on there. I haven’t though because here I’ve found a network of artists and people who are kind, supportive and playful. It’s this that keeps me going on the bad days and boosts me up on the good days. But being an artist isn’t sustainable if you’re running solely on encouragement. I’m excited to be an Associate Artists of Northern Stage, the more direct connections between venues and the artists that make work in them the better."