Newcastle scores with Conversion Festival during Rugby World Cup

Monday 14 September 2015

Newcastle city centre will enjoy a nine day cultural festival as part of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Newcastle’s Conversion festival, produced by NewcastleGateshead Initiative’s Culture Team and funded by Arts Council England and Newcastle City Council, will feature live music, performance, arts, street food stalls and a very special evening spectacular to entertain the tens of thousands of fans and spectators celebrating Rugby World Cup 2015 in host city, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Councillor Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council, said: “We are planning to celebrate our Rugby World Cup games and welcome visitors from across the world by throwing a party that has something for everyone. It doesn’t matter whether you are a rugby fan or not, the city will have a real buzz at tournament time.

“You can enjoy the Fanzone at Science Central or join in the fun across the city centre - we want everyone to enjoy the big tournament atmosphere and make sure our visitors leave Newcastle with great memories - regardless of whether their team wins or loses.”

Festivities will start on Saturday 3rd October with a day of street theatre and music across Newcastle city centre celebrating the musical traditions of Scotland and South Africa, who face each other in the first of Newcastle’s three Rugby World Cup 2015 games.

Fans heading to the Scotland v South Africa game that afternoon will be treated to a mass ceilidh with a South African twist on the way to St James’ Park.

That date also marks the start of the EAT! North East Food Heroes Market which will see thirty street food traders offering some of the best local produce the North East has to offer.

The street food market will be in Newcastle city centre until Sunday 11th October with a special EAT! fringe event running throughout October.

On Rugby World Cup match days in Newcastle visitors and local people will be able to enjoy live music and street entertainment that reflects the nations of New Zealand, South Africa, Tonga, Samoa and Scotland. Musicians and performers will be dotted around the city centre and St James’ Park before, during and after games.

Meanwhile to celebrate the arrival of the New Zealand rugby team to Newcastle, visitors to the Fanzone and St James’ Park on Friday 9 October will be treated to a live performance of Haka Day Out, a celebration of New Zealand Maori culture and art performed by Corey Baker Dance and will have the chance to have a go at New Zealand’s famous Haka.

Saturday 10th October will see the revival of the Rugby Nations’ Dance, which was first performed as part of Newcastle’s New Year’s Eve celebrations in 2014.

Choreographed by mass movement director and creative consultant Jeanefer Jean-Charles, dancers from community groups across the city will come together to perform alongside the People’s Street Orchestra in a unique Geordie celebration of Rugby and the nations competing in Newcastle.

The following day Newcastle’s Grey Street will host an attempt a set a new world record for the largest linocut. Scrum Down Print Forward (led by Northern Print - the regional centre for printmaking – and NewcastleGateshead Initiative) will see each Rugby World Cup 2015 Host City create a section of the linocut that when laid side-by-side is in excess of 30 metres.

Local rugby players will use a scrum machine to produce the finished print that will hopefully put Newcastle’s Rugby World Cup 2015 experience in the Guinness World Record books.

Newcastle’s Rugby World Cup 2015 celebrations come to a spectacular close that evening with a performance by Les Commandos Percu and Deabru Beltzak inside the Fanzone, run by Newcastle Falcons and Ramside Events. Expect drumming, fireworks and an energetic performance from the two internationally acclaimed percussion companies.

Conversion Festival is funded by Arts Council England and Newcastle City Council, produced by NewcastleGateshead Initiative and developed and delivered in partnership with Newcastle City Council.

For more information, visit www.conversionfestival.com.

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