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Applications now open for new Artists in Residence

Posted on 29 April 2022

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Sage Gateshead’s 2021/22 Artists in Residence take to the stage next month to reveal their ambitious new works

New works by Martha Hill, Beccy Owen and Hannabiell Sanders

Developing the huge amount of musical potential in the North East is one of Sage Gateshead’s key focuses. The charity is committed to ensuring that everyone who wants to pursue an interest and passion in music is enabled to do so. A series of initiatives including Sage Sessions, Summer Studios and access to facilities, networking, advice sessions and financial support, help provide year-round support for people looking to develop careers in music.

Its flagship opportunity – Artists in Residence – gives four North East-based musicians with big ideas access to a 10-month long programme of support, opportunities and a performance platform.

In June, music fans have a chance to hear the ambitious projects developed over the last 10 months by current Artists in Residence Martha Hill, Beccy Owen and Hannabiell Sanders.

Across three dates in June (Thursday 2nd, 11th and 16th June), audiences can experience a collection of musical theatre songs inspired by Dracula, an immersive sonic experience, and work expressing themes of identity, freedom, and protest culture.

Martha Hill weaves their unique take on pop melodies over a backdrop of guitars, cellos and synths, thriving in reinvention and fusion. An energy of husky vocals and melodic hooks, their introspective storytelling picks apart the mundanity of life with northern spirit and humour.

Martha has used the residency to develop her musical and song-writing ideas for a musical show inspired by Dracula and her own experiences as a teenager. The musical will discuss themes of sexuality and gender, through an obsession with Dracula, and all set in a teenager’s bedroom. She has learnt how to arrange and score orchestral instruments, and this performance on Thursday 2 June will be a showcase of some of this work.

Beccy Owen is a musician, singer, songwriter, performer, producer, musical director and sound designer. She has established herself as a cherished part of the North East’s cultural fabric and has performed at the UK’s most renowned venues, festivals, and live art programmes.

A new work in progress, The Amplified Sanctum, takes Beccy’s composition work into exciting new territory. The new material strips away her usual pop-baroque complexity in favour of spellbinding and hypnotic music that defies easy categorisation.

Beccy, a neurodivergent and disabled artist, has been exploring how to cultivate creative processes that are sustainable and offer a radical approach to wellbeing. She is exploring the interaction between neuroscience, music and sound and how our relationship to bodies of water and other natural phenomena allow us regenerative possibilities. This research culminates in an immersive, interactive piece that is an absorbing, playful, and restorative sonic experience on Thursday 11 June.

Becky says,

“I have greatly benefitted from the space, affirmation, freedom, resources and bespoke support I have received. I have begun to strip away my narrative approach to songwriting and my compositional tropes, returning to a simplistic, free-flowing process that combines my love of improvisation with music technology, acoustic instruments, slow-culture, field recordings, spoken word and lens-based media.

This has pushed me into new genres and territory and has galvanised me into a more curious, outward-facing mindset.”

Dr. Hannabiell Sanders is a charismatic musician, composer, activist and progressive music teacher who is committed to using music to break stereotypes and bring diverse communities together.

For her Artist in Residence showcase on Thursday 16 June, Hannabiell will present new and reworked music that she will perform as a soloist, with her duet Ladies of Midnight Blue, and her band Hannabiell & Midnight Blue Collective. This showcase will also feature a new stage design commissioned by visual artists Yilis Suriel and James Davoll along with a dance collaboration with Aida Diop. During her Residency she has explored and experimented with weaving narrative, improvisation, and electronics into her music to better express themes of identity, freedom, and protest culture.


This year’s call for 2022/23 Artists in Residence is open for applications

Sage Gateshead is looking for four artists across a range of genres who are among the most exciting artists in the North East of England. Artists can be at any career stage, but at a ‘pivotal point’ in their career where this project will open up new possibilities and move their work forward.

The residency runs from September to June and is self-directed but with the support of Sage Gateshead.

The package of support includes £3,000 towards the artist’s time, £500 towards creative development, £750 towards buying music equipment, a residential retreat, access to rehearsal spaces, a concert at Sage Gateshead to showcase the project at the end of the residency, access to advice, contacts and wellbeing support, and video footage of the final project for future promotional use.

More information here – Deadline to apply is Monday 16 May, 5pm.




For further media enquiries please contact Susie Gray, The Corner Shop PR, 07834 073 795

Or Jackie Thompson, Corporate Communications Manager

Hear from last year’s Artists in Residence (Rapasa Otieno, Man Power, Me Lost Me and Joe Snape) in a series of podcasts:



Artist Development at Sage Gateshead

Sage Gateshead is a PRS Foundation Talent Development Partner in association with Youth Music. The residency is supported through this scheme and is part of Sage Gateshead’s commitment to artist development and the future of the music industry in the North East. Every year Sage Gateshead supports more than 100 musicians through its Artist Development programme. The programme includes one to one advice sessions, GP clinics, networking events and performance opportunities, as well as an annual Summer Studios residency programme.

About Sage Gateshead

  • Sage Gateshead is an international music centre for the North East and wider North. Through music, creative learning and artist development, the organisation demonstrates what music can achieve for communities.
  • Since opening in 2004, Sage Gateshead has worked side by side with partners and the wider community to help address the complex blend of social and economic challenges the region faces.
  • Sage Gateshead continues to be a major employer bringing investment and tourism into the region. We’ve generated a c. £500 million contribution to the local economy, a sum six times greater than its combined capital cost.
  • Sage Gateshead has brought social, cultural and educational value to over 10 million people and millions more via digital and broadcast activity. The scale of its artistic, learning and artist development activity places Sage Gateshead amongst the UK’s largest cultural organisations, while reaching a substantially more socially and economically diverse audience.
  • Pre-pandemic Sage Gateshead attracted 2 million visitors; 5,000 people took part in weekly music classes; 17,854 school children experienced live orchestral music and we worked with a further 2,418 vulnerable young people; more than 2,000 adults a week took part in music making designed to tackle social isolation.
  • The North East region is one of the worst affected by Covid-19. The region will be one where the recovery is slow and hard. Arts and culture have a pivotal role to play in regional and nation-wide recovery.
  • Covid-19 presents a major financial challenge to Sage Gateshead, the iconic Foster + Partners designed NE landmark. 80% of its income has been affected, and in 2020/21 £10 million in revenue was lost. The organisation has taken swift action to overcome this crisis. 90% of the workforce was placed on furlough, significant cost savings have been sought and found, and it launched a fundraising campaign to raise £3 million to help secure the organisation during the next three years. Further challenges lie ahead; in 2021/22, Sage Gateshead estimates box office and trading income to be less than half of what would be expected in a normal year.
  • Sage Gateshead temporarily closed to the public on 17 March 2020, five days ahead of the announcement of the national lockdown. Sage Gateshead recommenced performances in October 2020 with a season of socially distanced concerts featuring Royal Northern Sinfonia and artists across genres, made available by live stream; audiences were able to be present in the hall for two weekends of those performances.
  • In 2020 Sage Gateshead received a grant of £2.8 million from the Culture Recovery Fund Round One to help it through the pandemic and associated financial crisis. In 2021 the charity received a loan of £3m from the Culture Recovery Fund Round Two to support recovery. It has thanked the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and Arts Council England for this vital support.