Untold stories is a commissioning strand led by East Durham Creates which aims to spotlight and share the stories of those in our communities who feel their voices aren’t heard or represented in work created by the cultural sector or even by East Durham Creates. In early 2022 two open call outs took place led by our Community Panel, one for a largescale commission and one with a specific focus on the stories of men who are generally underrepresented in both our own audiences and those of the wider sector.

We were overwhelmed by the breadth of commission ideas which came in, with two additional commissions being supported as a result of this.

The Auxiliary – Stories from Campfire to Hearth 

The Auxiliary are an established gallery and studio space based in Middlesbrough most noted for leading the Middlesbrough Arts Weekender and Sonic Arts Week. Their commission is based on the concept of gathering around a campfire with food to share stories and they will be bringing a range of artforms and artists into the commission. Campfires have been held at the Barn at Easington, Thornley Village Centre and Blackhall Community Centre followed by a number of workshops.

The Lubetkin Theatre Company 

Lubetkin have previously worked with EDC on projects like Tangent, a new verbatim musical theatre piece inspired by stories of those that access East Durham Trust’s services and a series of commissions utilised to explore the theme of Domestic Abuse with students from the College. Lubetkin will be commencing their commission from September 2022 in the next academic year.

CreativePop CIC – Up Our Street 

CreativePop are a locally based arts and events organisation and long-term collaborators with East Durham Creates and the local community. Their project focusses on hyperlocal work exploring the stories that make up the fabric of a street culminating in a street party and largescale bunting. They will be specifically working in Easington.

The Six Twenty Theatre – Fan Club 

A commission to gather the stories of men focussed on how they use fandom to connect with other men, whether that’s in relation to football, music, allotments etc. These stories will be used to create a new piece of interactive theatre, with participants involved in the performance.

These commissions will run over the course of a year, aiming to complete by March 2023.