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Northumberland’s diverse mix of artists, venues and creative businesses across all art forms makes up a unique cultural offering for residents and visitors to the county.

The arts team supports, enables and advises on all areas of creative and cultural development across Northumberland. We aim to provide opportunities for participation and engagement by working through a collaborative approach with:

  • strategic and delivery partners

  • artists

  • heritage specialists

  • venues

  • cultural organisations

  • other council services


Alnwick Playhouse, Alnwick

Alnwick Playhouse is one of the leading small venues in the North of England. The vibrant arts centre is a highly valued part of the local community and provides a rich and balanced mix of professional touring drama, music, dance and film. The Playhouse has its very own youth theatre, community choir and concert band and also hosts the Bondgate Gallery, which runs a continuous programme of art exhibitions throughout the year.

General Enquiries Telephone No: 01665 510898

Box Office Telephone No: 01665 510785


The Maltings Theatre & Cinema, Berwick

Located in the centre of the historic walled market town of Berwick-upon-Tweed, The Maltings Theatre & Cinema is the premier venue for live performance, live broadcasts and cinema in the area. With over 600 events each year, there is a mix of world-class professional performance cinema, community-centred activities, classes, workshops and amateur events. Since 2012, the Berwick Visual Arts initiative brings visual arts in the town under one banner, including two galleries, an artist residency programme, learning and outreach and more. 

Box Office & General Enquiries Telephone No: 01289 330999

Administration Office Telephone No: 01289 330661


The Phoenix Theatre, Blyth

The Phoenix was built with Lottery funding thanks to the dedication and goodwill of local people. The venue has a 300 seat auditorium and a 60-seat studio, presenting a year round programme ranging from drama to musicals. The Phoenix also has a strong youth theatre group and relies on its volunteers to run its programme. The building is available for a variety of daytime activities and the company is keen to develop contacts and relationships with groups and organisations across Northumberland. 

Box Office Telephone No: 01670 367228

Box Office Email: 

Administration Telephone No: 01670 540668

Administration Email: 

The Queen's Hall Arts Centre, Hexham

The Queen's Hall is a magnificent early Victorian building facing Hexham Abbey. The Arts Centre has established itself as a strong base for an extensive range of artistic activity, from the best of international and national touring to shows put on by local community groups. On an annual basis it hosts the Hexham Book Festival and the Hexham Gathering (folk music festival). The centre includes a 340 seat theatre, two galleries, library and café.
Box Office Telephone No: 01434 652477

Box Office Email: 

Northumberland Arts Development

Active Northumberland also supports Northumberland Arts Development (NAD) – the arts development delivery service for the county. NAD provides support and advice to arts initiatives and organisation within the county in order to strengthen the sector and improve access opportunities for everyone. We work in partnership with Culture Bridge North East to build links with the culture and education sectors through supporting Arts Award and Artsmark. Active Northumberland is a training agency for Arts Award Bronze and Silver levels.  

The team sends out the Arts & Heritage Newsletter every three months to provide an update on key activities and projects, training, and funding to assist with developing arts and heritage in Northumberland.

Active Northumberland is committed to the development and delivery of an inspiring, ambitious and deliverable Cultural Strategy for 2015 – 2020. The Strategy encompasses sports and leisure, the arts, heritage, museums, libraries, tourism and cultural education.

Contact Us:
Wendy Scott, Cultural Development Manager -
Fiona McKeown, Cultural Development Officer-

Arts Award

Active Northumberland supports the continual development of creative and cultural opportunities for young people within the county. In order to further this, we have taken on the public and in-house license for the Arts Award training through Trinity College London in partnership with Arts Council England. This means that Active Northumberland provides training for anyone who wishes to become an Arts Award Adviser. We support young people through their Arts Award journey at Bronze and Silver level.

What is Arts Award?

Arts Award offers young people an inspiring art journey. Each path takes a different direction to suit the individual, including fashion, filmmaking, dance, design, photography and poetry.

The award can be achieved at five levels made up of four accredited qualifications and an introductory award. The programme develops young people’s creativity, leadership and communication skills.

Arts Award is managed by Trinity College London, in association with Arts Council England working with 10 regional Bridge organisations. Find out more here


Who is the Arts Award open to?

Anyone aged five to 25 of all interests and backgrounds. To take part, children and young people need an Arts Award Adviser.

Become an Arts Award Supporter!

Arts Award Supporters are arts and cultural organisations who offer events, activities and opportunities which help young people achieve Arts Awards. Supporters enrich the experience for the young people by offering support for those who want to explore art interests outside of the advisor’s expertise.

Applying for the Arts Award Supporter badge is free and helps raise the profile of your organisations by appearing on the Arts Award map as well as strengthening the Arts Award network. Find out more here.

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Arts Award Adviser Training

Northumberland County Council is an Arts Award training agency for the following levels:

Arts Award Bronze & Silver adviser training (one-day course).

Upcoming training dates:

Traning dates to follow.

Book a place:

Phone: 0207 820 6178

For informal enquiries please contact:

Phone: 0207 820 6178

Northumberland Arts Development - About

Northumberland Arts Development (NAD) is the arts development delivery service for the county and is a partnership of:

  • The Maltings (Berwick Visual Arts)

  • Alnwick Playhouse

  • Queen’s Hall

  • Hexham Book Festival

  • Highlights Rural Touring Scheme

  • Music Partnership North

  • Arts Council England

With the help of specialists in music, dance, visual arts, literature, drama and film, we work across Northumberland, providing support and advice to the arts sector to extend quality participation and engagement. NAD also seeks opportunities to bring further investment into the county to support the development of the arts for everyone.

We work closely with initiatives, venues and organisations including Bait – the Creative People and Places programme.

NAD have created a Visual Arts Northumberland Guide to highlight the unique and broad ranging arts offer in Northumberland. The guide aims to support arts organisations that have a year-round offering to residents and visitors. The guide will be distributed to hotels, tourist information centres and libraries in the county and across Tyne and Wear.


NAD’s priorities:

  • excellence - Support individual artists and companies to improve quality and continually develop

  • engagement - Increase opportunities for engagement through participation and education

  • skills Development - create an ecology where the arts are resilient and can thrive

  • advocating for the arts - increase public appreciation of the role the arts can play to secure greater investment in the arts


The NAD core team:

Barbara Slack/ Hightlight Rural Touring – Drama development 

Mileva Donachie – Dance development 

Susie Troup/ Hexham Book Festival – Literature development 

James Lowther/ Berwick Visual Arts & Maltings – Visual Arts development 

Fiona Johnstone/ Music partnership North – Music development 

In addition to the core team, Claire Newton works countywide on Arts Award development. NAD supports national initiatives Arts Award and Artsmark and aims to advocate for and embed these programmes across strategic countywide projects. 

Film will continue to be an important strand in Arts Development and Taryn Edmonds will continue to lead on the successful Doorstep Pictures mobile cinema project. NAD supports the regional network NCAN (Northern Cultural Ambassadors Network) which enables the development of projects and communication between the cultural sector and education. NCAN is a FREE network for anyone wishing to increase engagement of children and young people in high quality cultural activity and access professional development opportunities.

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