Welcome to NORTHERN SPIRIT – Imagining the North Now



A still from the Ken Loach film 'Kes', 1968.


Northern Spirit involves a group of artists coming together to take imaginative ownership of a part of the world that they feel passionate about, and re-imagining how that part of the world can be expressed. We’ve resolved to see the North of England as an imaginative space, with enormous possibilities.

The Northern Spirit project will eventually lead to a brand new theatrical short-story sequence for the theatre in Autumn 2012. Each story will be set within a great North of England city now, each story written by a great contemporary writer from the North. Northern Spirit in production will enable people living within four great North of England cities – Newcastle, Sheffield, Liverpool and Manchester – to see, talk to, listen to, connect with, and inspire each other. Northern Spirit sees this as a very healthy thing.

This is the Northern Spirit blog. On this blog we’ll share with you how we create the work, as we create it. It’s our aim that this blog can embody and be an extension of our process and the work that we create. As with the eventual production, we want this blog to be engaging, vibrant, entertaining, accessible and sometimes irreverent. But we also want it to possess substance and to sometimes ask tough questions. And it’s genuinely important to us that we can benefit from your contributions as well. We’d love you to come with us and be part of the conversation.

Within the ‘All About Us’ section you’ll be able to learn more about who were are, how the project came about, what we are doing within the project and why.

There’s also a category we’re calling ‘Cultural Touchstones’. In here you’ll find examples of work which we feel evoke places and experiences within the North of England in a fresh, surprising and truthful way and which we’re inspired by. Also in this category is a section called ‘Don’t Even Think About It’, which are examples of the kinds of clichés and habits of imagination that we want to avoid.

Over the coming months we’ll also be sharing articles, essays, ideas and other stuff which inspire us and which we feel you might find interesting. The rule of thumb is – if it’s yellow, give it a click and it’ll take you somewhere else that we think you’ll like.

Oh, the reason for the image of Billy Casper? I’m using the Ken Loach film Kes, and also the Barry Hines novel it’s based on, A Kestrel for a Knave, as one of my cultural touchstones.

Hope you enjoy having a look around.

Tar-ra for now,

Chris Meads



Northern Spirit is funded by the Arts Council of England and is produced by Haus Projects.

The ‘Northern Spirit’ logo was designed by John Disley.

The following organisations are kindly offering their advice, support and expertise to the Northern Spirit project:


We really appreciate it.