The opening of our new Arts Cafe was a very exciting time for East Durham Creates, especially as it coincided with the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions. What better time than to celebrate the creative individuals in our community?

Arts Cafe Live brought live performance, storytelling and spoken word poetry live from the Arts Cafe, which was streamed to our community via Facebook Live, and ran for four weeks. It was a fantastic opportunity to get to experience live entertainment once again, but still from the comfort of our own home, and it is largely thanks to the incredibly talented performers who took part and gave their time and enthusiasm to this event.

The first week featured poetry from Tees Women’s Poet Julie Easley and live music from the talented students of East Durham College. 

Prior to our Arts Cafe Live events, East Durham Creates distributed themed arty packs to our community which linked to the live event, such as encouraging individuals to make their own box guitar and blackout poetry.

The first pack was animation-based, designed by animator Sheryl Jenkins, which coincided with the second Arts Cafe Live session delivered by Sheryl. Check it out in the video below.


The following arty pack was designed by our friends at The Barn, Easington, who took part in the third Arts Cafe Live session with a focus on storytelling.

The final session was led by Henry Gallagher. Henry Gallagher is an extremely talented poet based in the North East, it was fantastic to hear some of his poems read aloud.  Check out the final Arts Cafe Live Session here.

We really loved running the four Arts Cafe Live sessions, which were jam-packed with creativity, enthusiasm and fun. Although it was not how we had originally envisioned the grand opening of our arts cafe, the sessions were a huge success thanks to both participants and viewers at home who got involved through our arty packs and engaging with the virtual live sessions online! We hope that our Arts Cafe continues to flourish in such a way as a hub of creative expression.