Pride Month is here, and we are thrilled to hear about all the fun and family-friendly LGBTQ+ events happening in the Northeast in the coming months. Pride events are joyful and empowering community celebrations filled with music, films, art, and activities that celebrate the diverse and vibrant LGBTQ+ community. Many of these events are perfect to enjoy together with the children and young people in your life, with fantastic quality, inexpensive activities, and performances for all ages! For young people who are figuring out who they are and where they fit into the world, these events can be particularly important, providing spaces where they can have fun, be themselves, and meet people who share their experiences.
We have highlighted below some upcoming events that we think would be brilliant for young people and families:
Curious Arts events- throughout the summer:
If you’re looking for some varied and creative Pride events this summer, Curious Arts has you covered. They are bringing Mini Pride for children and families across the Northeast. Folks will have the opportunity to enjoy a celebration of everything that’s unique and wonderful about families whilst taking part in fun, creative activities from colourful arts and crafts, flower power performances and interactive Storytime’s with Curious Artists.
"In our house we have our rainbow flags at the ready and are gearing up for a summer of Pride events across the region which kicked off with a gorgeous visit to Ouseburn Family Pride last weekend. As a proud queer parent to a queer child, Pride and Family Pride Events are really important to us (as well as being super fun). They are a way to spend time with our friends and other families like ours, learn about our beautiful differences, explore identities in a positive and supportive space, and also to add our voices to the vital and ongoing activism and protest that Pride was born from. Most importantly for me is that we not only acknowledge and accept ours and our kids' queerness, but that we are intentional about celebrating it too 🌈"
-Rachel Robson Producer (Earned Income) at Mortal Fools
Hexham Pride- Throughout June
Hexham Pride is a brand-new festival for 2023 that offers plenty of activities that are perfect for children and young people! Holly Clarke is curating a night of queer folk music featuring a plethora of local musicians taking inspiration from traditional music and showcasing heartfelt lyricism.
Modest at Northern Stage-Monday 12th June- Tuesday 13th June
Modest at Northern Stage is an exhilarating Punk inspired show with elements of Music hall, theatre and drag king cabaret. The performance is set in 1874 and follows artist extraordinaire Elizabeth Thomas as she narrowly misses out on being elected as the first woman to join the prestigious Royal Academy and finds she must fight to be accepted by the sexist Victorian artistic elites. This show is suitable for ages 14+.
Acycliffe Pride- Saturday 1st July
Acycliffe Pride features a line-up of exciting, campy drag and tribute acts including headliners the Spicey Girls and local legend Lou Lou Lipstick, all hosted by the hilarious MX Drag Queen England Winner 2022 Lavender Love who is returning for a second year. There will also be craft stalls, fairground rides and a zip wire to keep kids entertained all day.
Sunderland Pride- Saturday 8th July
Sunderland Pride promises to be a fun and lively musical event featuring big names and old favourites including the Cheeky Girls, Kelly Wilde and Kelly Llorenna. During the evening event under 16s must be accompanied by an adult however Sunderland Pride also has a young people's and family zone throughout the day with queer artists running activities.
Northern Pride- Saturday 22nd July to Sunday 23rd July
Northern Pride is a large and welcoming event where there really is something for everyone! If you are new to Pride the Community Village is a great place to start- you will find support and tips for people attending Pride for the first time and a Family and Youth Zone which will run arts, crafts, musical and sensory activities for all ages throughout the whole weekend.
You can see fantastic big-name acts on the main stage as well as local acts in the Bescene dance and cabaret zone representing the wonderful diversity of the queer community in the Northeast. You can also take part in the bold and colourful Pride Parade that passes through the heart of Newcastle and is always a joyful and affirming experience to be a part of.
This year the theme of Northern Pride is “Together always-united in diversity”, celebrating the broad range of queer experiences and standing in solidarity with those who face social ostracization and legal consequences for simply existing. It highlights the importance (for those who feel able) of making ourselves visible and showcase what a beautiful, creative, and kind bunch we are.
Stockton Pop Up Pride- Saturday 29th July
Programme to be announced!
Darlington Pride in the Park -Sunday 13th August
Pride in the Park will be a relaxed and welcoming event with acoustic music and a range of crafts and activities perfect for families.
"Pride is really important to me because you can find out about other people's identities. I've learned that I'm not alone and there are other people like me."
- Aphra, aged 10
Beyond Pride season it is vital that families and young people feel that they still have access to a community of people that can understand and support them. Therefore, we have collated a list of regular North East youth groups which you can find here.
We also recently caught up with Darren at Northumberland Pride to find out why Pride is important from their perspective…..
“Respecting diverse perspectives on Pride is important because the experiences of LGBTQIA+ people are different like any community of people. Everyone has their own unique connection and understanding of Pride, and it is perfectly fine if some do not feel a connection to it at all.
For Northumberland Pride, Pride holds significance as a way for young people to embrace self-acceptance and shape their identities through positive role models. It demonstrates that there is a vast community of LGBTQIA+ people who share similar experiences.
Pride serves as a platform for visibility, enabling conversations about historical and current issues that impact our community. Often, growing up in unsupportive environments deprives us of the validation and support that every person deserves. Pride offers an invaluable opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals and find comfort in others who share similar experiences. This is particularly crucial for young people, as the absence of networks can lead to feelings of isolation and rejection.
Many young people face bullying and rejection from their loved ones due to their identities, but Pride celebrates and embraces our differences. Beyond a personal connection, Pride is a way to raise awareness. Pride events, whether they last a day, a week, or a month, provide opportunities for education on a range of topics, including history, LGBTQIA+ rights, and the challenges faced by our communities. Pride promotes inclusivity, allyship, and support and looks different across the country and the world.
As an LGBTQIA+ organisation based in a rural county, it is important for us, as well as others, to find ways to connect with local communities. This led us to take Pride on the Road in 2022, including queer talent, collaborating with other organisations to share information on mental health support, and creating localised content that represents LGBTQIA+ people in Northumberland (which will be released soon!).
While Northumberland Pride events are on hold for 2023, we will be actively engaging with LGBTQIA+ people in Northumberland later this year to understand their desires for a future LGBTQIA+ event(s) in the county.”
You can find out more about Northumberland Pride via their Facebook page.
If there are any events or LGBTQIA+ groups that we’ve missed that you think our Mortal Fools community would enjoy, drop them in the comments below and have a Wonderful Pride Month! #PrideMonth2023
World Environment Day, held annually on 5 June, brings together millions of people from across the globe, engaging them in the effort to protect and restore the Earth. This year marks the event’s 50th anniversary. #WorldEnvironmentDay is a global platform for inspiring positive change instigated by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), celebrating environmental action and the power of governments, businesses and individuals to create a more sustainable world.
This year’s theme is #BeatPlasticPollution – across the week, folks are being encouraged to be more conscious in their plastic consumption and mindful of plastic pollution matters. The steps governments and businesses are taking to tackle plastic pollution are the consequence of this action.
You can download UNEP’s “Beat Plastic Pollution Practical Guide” to see how all of us can play a part in this global movement to solve the plastic pollution crisis.
We are always reflecting on our environmental practices and looking for different ways we can reduce our impact. In recent years, environmental impact has become an ever increasing priority for us at Mortal Fools. As a growing organisation that is scaling our offer to meet the demands of our beneficiaries across rural Northumberland, in a sector that has quite fixed norms (i.e. theatre production touring), being environmentally friendly in everything we do, can be a challenge. However, we are known for our ingenuity, and we are determined to do better.
For #WorldEnvironmentDay we thought we would share some of the steps we are actively taking to help protect our world:
1. We now have a named contact in our organisation that is leading this area of work; it’s our Production Manager Craig and you can contact him via email firstname.lastname@example.org – Craig welcomes being contacted to exchange ideas and best practice, especially in the area of environmentally friendly touring.
2. Across Summer 2023, each member of employed staff is committing to at least half a day to tidy up their digital footprint – this includes tidying up cloud storage, getting rid of old files, deleting old hidden pages from our website, and going through email inboxes. This digital detox of Mortal Fools, will improve our digital carbon footprint.
3. We have recently joined Become Green Together and are working towards our Bronze Award! Become Green Together is a support and training programme to help organisations like Mortal Fools to embed environmental sustainability into their working practices and gain the knowledge they need to work with their communities and networks on climate change issues.
This is helping us to monitor and reduce our carbon footprint by providing us with training and resources. We have found it so inspiring to share learning with passionate and committed people from a range of organisations who are on the same journey as we are.
4. As part of our pledge to improve our environmental practices as an Arts Council NPO we are taking part in Julie’s Bicycle’s Environmental Programme which involves closely recording our energy usage and waste and implementing good practices to measurably reduce our environmental impact.
To limit warming to 1.5 degrees, by 2030 every sector must have halved their emissions. The culture sector is already acting, and this programme will accelerate and scale our response to climate crises. We feel so proud to be part of this wider change in the sector which is being led by iconic Northeast organisations including the Baltic, Northern Stage and Tyne and Wear Museums who all took part in Julie’s Bicycle’s spotlight programme 2021-2022.
5. We are in the process of developing a “decision making framework”, which is a matrix of all the factors and considerations that need to be accounted for and explored when making a decision and which take priority. The purpose of this framework is to empower staff at Mortal Fools in their decision making, whilst making 360-degree decision making more conscious. Within that framework, environmental impact is a key consideration.
6. Environmental Impact is now a key consideration in our project planning, project working group agendas and reflective end of project debriefs. This means that every member of staff in each project, irrespective of role is considering their environmental impact, talking about it more openly and striving to do better. Outcomes of this process have been – reducing our marketing print quantities, using more recycled materials than before, budgeting more to purchase higher costing environmentally friendly materials, working with local businesses and easy swaps, like instead of purchasing bottles of water of young people – instead getting cans of water.
7. We regularly reuse props and costumes and over the past four years we have not built a single new stage set. Instead, we reuse our set for all our shows, adjusting and redesigning based on the themes of the show. We have found this presents an interesting creative challenge which we have fully embraced and embedded into our way of working.
8. When we need to update our equipment or buy new office supplies, we have been actively searching for and choosing more sustainable options. Thanks to Community Chest Funding, we were able to invest in eco-friendly LED stage lighting that not only reduces our energy consumption but also enhances the atmosphere of our performances.
9. As our team has grown, we’ve needed more office equipment – people need seats and desks! Instead of purchasing what we need, we’ve managed to secure secondhand furniture and kit from the likes of Virgin Money to give a second life to unwanted items.
10. We strongly encourage car sharing and using public transport where possible. Increasing access to arts and cultural activities in rural areas is a core aim of Mortal Fools, so we often have no choice but to drive however we have found by being more proactive in planning our travel as a team, that we’ve managed to reduce the number of cars driving to and from Mortal Fools’ activities. This will have a big impact on our emissions.
11. As an organization that puts on live events – we are aware of the wider environmental impact of that. Whilst we don’t have any solutions – it is in the forefront of our mind and we are exploring ways we can offset our impact. One of those ways, we are currently exploring is ecolibrium – the live events industry response to the climate crisis; a community of events, festivals, suppliers, artists and music companies in environmental restoration by moving climate action & low-carbon travel into the heart of live events culture.
Combating climate change is a complex ongoing process and for Mortal Fools, is involved balances lots of other priorities as a charity. But we recognise that we need to take responsibility and work together with our Mortal Fools community to make meaningful change.
So on #WorldEnvironmentDay, we invite our Mortal Fools community to share any steps you’re taking to reduce your environmental impact in the comments so that we can learn from each other!