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Merry Christmas from the stars and staff at Headway Arts! 

We hope that you are all getting into the festive spirit. We certainly are! We have had a very busy few months at Headway ArtSpace producing and hosting a whole range of events for our local community.

First up was our Conjunction exhibition which ran 9-19th November. Conjunction was an immersive installation combining sound with projections designed to present and evaluate the fruits of our Arts Council England funded ‘New Worlds’ project so far. New Worlds, for those of you who don’t know, is a high quality artistic programme championing and supporting the fuller participation of learning disabled artists in the cultural life of their communities. 
*“Great to see the process unfold within a beautiful installation environment.” – 10/11/15 Taryn Edmonds 
“Conjunction was an inspiring piece, documenting incredible work. The collection of words, pictures, photographs and video played with the soundscapes easily filled the whole environment, transporting me to all the wonderful locations in the imagery. The surround shape of the exhibit worked really well to help the audience actively explore between the two screens. The sounds and noises coming from the multiple speakers continued to impress me with subtle vibrations and rumbles, a moving sensory experience. Thank you for memories that will be with me for as long as I am about” 9/11/15 Joseph Robson
*“Enjoyed the words as much as the film. Thank you.” 12/11/15 Lisa Blaney
As our Conjunction exhibition came to a close, the fun didn’t stop for Headway Arts staff as we had our Annual General Meeting on the 18th. We were joined by our hardworking trustees, loyal supporters and even special guests from The Big Lottery and The James Knott Trust for teas and coffees, wine and festive snacks. Yum!
On the 20th November, Headway Arts’ staff were involved in the Blyth Lantern Parade, part of Blyth Town Council’s Christmas Lights Switch On Event. While the Conjunction exhibition was running, we were busy coordinating and facilitating lantern making workshops in four of Blyth’s primary schools: Malvin’s Close, The Dales, Morpeth Road and Croftway.
After a number of emails and conversations with schools, around 150 local children made lanterns and over 100 children and their families attended the parade with us. To get a feel of what a fantastic event it was really was check out the video that Fran created.
In the midst of these events, Headway ArtSpace was taking a step closer to becoming an inclusive centre for the arts thanks to a £59,372 grant from SITA trust. We now have a warm and cosy church to rehearse and host events. We announced this to the public and even received a letter from Ronnie Campbell our local MP! 

Next it was Headway Arts’ Satellites Dance Group turn to take to the stage at the Freedom Moving Platform. Freedom Moving Platform is an event created by Liberdade in partnership with Dance City in Newcastle. Satellites Dance Group presented ‘The Worlds We Weave’ which they have been working on with Associate Artist Tracey West. Have a look at some of the pictures from it here:
With only the weekend for rest, the start of December saw the return of Come on Down: Headway Arts’ annual festival of creativity and performance for and by learning disabled people. This year, it took place 1st – 3rd December and was bigger and better than ever before. Firstly by being in our converted church sanctuary space and with two performance days and one workshop day.

On Tuesday 1st December, we had groups from all over Northumberland and Tyne and Wear come down to us in Blyth to perform, support and share. Groups included Parkhead Centre, Braena, Pottergate Centre, FilmAble from Haltwhistle Film Project, Liberdade, North Star Centre, Tynedale Centre to name a few. With a range of performances, films and the very exciting COME ON DOWN game, it was really a fantastic day had by all. We hope you like the pictures:
On Wednesday 2nd December, we had Mind the Gap join us for our workshop day. Mind the Gap are England’s largest learning disabled theatre company and came to us all the way from Bradford. Supported by bait, Mind the Gap’s group of 2 non-disabled artists and 6 disabled artists facilitated two workshops while Headway Arts’ associate artist Tom Burton facilitated the other two. Everyone who attended got to experience at least one workshop. Attendees included The Twisting Ducks, students from Cleaswell Hill School, learning disabled artists from Tynedale Centre in Hexham and The Pottergate Centre in Alnwick, as well as our artists from Headway Arts.

Headway Arts’ workshops explored the Come on Down 2015 theme of adventure with Tom discussing alternative dream holiday destinations and asking artists to put pen to paper.

Mind the Gap’s workshops also played with our theme of adventure through fun games and exercises that were thoroughly enjoyed by all. In the afternoon, the workshop has a specific focus - the legacy of the Magna Carta.  
The final day of Come on Down was another performance day for Headway Arts’ Learning Disabled Theatre Company. The Stars presented Comet Tales, their original drama set in a galaxy far, far away powered only by the starlight of their dreams. Supported by an audience including The Dales School, Blyth Riverside Centre, Headway Arts’ family and friends, it was a lovely round off to Come on Down. We are all already looking forward to next year!
After such a busy month, we are now winding down for Christmas. This doesn’t mean however that the fun has stopped! Last week the Satellites’ Tuesday Creative Arts group ventured down to The Dales School to support them in their Upper School Christmas Performances. It was a lovely opportunity to get out, see a performance and support each other. As of course with any Christmas performance, it brought a tear to many eyes and now it is safe to say we are all in the festive spirit and getting ready for the big day. 
BREAKING NEWS 11/12/2015: Headway Arts have been awarded a grant of £46,145 from the Coastal Communities Coastal Revival Fund. We are one of the 77 very lucky organisations from across the country to have been awarded and one of the only 3 in Northumberland. Read all about our plans for it: www.bdaily.co.uk/creative & www.newspostleader.co.uk/news
 
So with that fantastic end to 2015 and before we sign off for a few weeks, here are some dates for your diaries:

Monday 4th January: Headway Arts reopens and Satellites performing arts workshops resume.
Friday 29th January: European project launch with MEP Judith Kirton-Darling 16:00 – 17:30
Friday 19th February & Saturday 20th February 8pm: Headway Arts proudly presents: Always the Bridesmaid at Live Theatre, Newcastle.

See you all next year!
Fran, Allie, Paul, Kerri, Laura, Jay, Emma & Jen
Copyright © 2015 Headway Arts, All rights reserved.


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