Last year was my first full year in Newcastle since my return, and it was a good one. I was lucky enough to enjoy many of the delights the city offers, as well as fitting in lots of travelling around the UK to catch up with friends and see shows. This year I’m determined to build on this to see more of the region – so what are my 2020 Resolutions?
Support local arts
It’ll come as a surprise to precisely no one I was devastated by the Election results, and fearful of what they mean to our public services. The arts have borne a lot of cuts over the last few years and that is likely to increase, so supporting local arts organisations has never been more important. Last year I became a supporter of Northern Stage and Live Theatre and renewed my membership of The Tyneside Cinema – all of which help support those orgs, as well as offering benefits such as discounts on tickets and drinks, which means they often pay for themselves. This year I plan to become a friend of the Laing Art Gallery, and be a bit more committed to dropping some money into the donation boxes of venues I visit whenever I can.
Support indie artists
Again, this isn’t strictly a new goal for me, and it’s one I have been OK, if not great, at implementing, but where I could definitely improve. Last year I made several trips to the Make and Mend Market – which happens monthly in Grainger Market – and shopped at indie-owned stores like For the Love of the North. While this will have to be balanced with my commitment to buying less (I’m trying to be more eco-conscious), I want to spend my money in more thoughtful ways this year.
Get out of my theatre comfort zone
I had a great year for theatre last year – I saw shows in London, Edinburgh, Liverpool and York as well as in Newcastle. But I have tended to slip into a familiar triangle when I am home (the Live-Northern Stage-Alphabetti axis) so want to be a bit more adventurous this year. We have a plethora of great venues in the North East, I want to become more familiar with more of them.
See more of the region
One of the best things about Newcastle is it’s close to so many other great places – something I haven’t taken as much advantage as I should have last year. But with towns like Corbridge, Hexham and Alnwick an easy train ride away (not to mention having Durham on the doorstep), I really want to visit more of the region over the year.
Get more involved in the literary scene
While I’ve been pleased with all the theatre writing I’ve done in the past year – and certainly plan to keep that up – I have let the rest of my writing slide a little more, and sometimes need to remind myself that, um, hello, I am actually an author. On the literary side I did little more than attend a book launch last year, so definitely want to become more involved in the literary scene, whether in some active way that I haven’t figured out yet, or even just attending events.
Do more weird shit
Some of the most fun I had last year came unexpectedly, stemmed from my commitment to try new things and push myself out of my comfort zone. Some of this was pretty mundane (I’ve led a sheltered life) – try a hot tub for the first time, tackle my fear of heights by climbing Newcastle castle or walking the Forth Bridge – some a bit stranger, like trying a gong bath or VR flight. This year I already have my eye set on axe throwing and a bird of prey experience (obviously, those are separate events…), but am open to seeing what else comes my way.
What about you? Any resolutions you’d like to share or tips on things I should check out? Let me know!
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