Debbie Stokoe

Debbie Stokoe is a freelance writer, blogger and Coach. Since starting her blog The Avant Garde in 2012, her work has been published both in print and online. She writes about her passions – the arts, fashion, theatre, travel, entrepreneurship and spirituality. She is about to publish her first book.

Elaine Cusack

Elaine has been attending, enjoying and reviewing live theatre, music and spoken word performances for over 30 years. She spent a decade working as a journalist and critic for publications including The Times, Select, Mojo and Newcastle’s Chronicle.

Elaine’s poems have won numerous awards and appeared in various collections as well as on national TV and radio. She’s also written for and fronted several bands.

Elaine lives in Whitley Bay with her fingers in several creative pies. She co-runs popular spoken word and music night, Free as a Bard with Peter “IRON Press” Mortimer at the town’s Jam Jar Cinema. She’s a Director of Whitley Bay’s Happy Planet Creative Arts CIC and co-runs Poetry with Friends, poetry appreciation sessions with Happy Planet’s founder, the artist Gail Curry.

Elaine co-runs arts organisation The Next Page with coast-based writers Jennifer C Wilson and Sandy Chadwin. Together they organise writing workshops, live events, including Pure Fiction around Tyneside plus the free to attend North Tyneside Writers’ Circle in North Shields’ library.

Elaine blogs at


Emily Park

Emily is a journalism graduate from Newcastle who now works in content development. She’s a massive supporter of the North East’s arts and culture sector, and visits some of the region’s fantastic venues – both big and small – on a weekly basis. She’s also helped to plan festivals and run arts and culture websites that are based in Newcastle and Gateshead. She can’t wait to see what brilliant productions the next year will bring.

Gemma Corking

Gemma is a bookworm from Teesside who regularly journeys across the North East to feed her appetite for live stage performances. Never one for being up on stage herself, she has found a passion for writing critiques of the creative worlds of art & literature. From small stage productions, to worldwide bestselling books, she’s engrossed in it all.

Humira Imtiaz

Humira has a love and passion for exploring narrative and symbolism in all forms of art and performance, with a special interest in looking at varying subjective perspectives of characters and audiences alike. Her work with AET has expanded her understanding of the different kinds of talents and skills the residents of Teesside has to offer, from sketch comedy to slam poetry. Humira recently received a bursary with Moving Parts: Newcastle Puppetry Festival and went on a 6-day intensive Puppet Making workshop, a new found skill and hobby. She hopes that with her growing set of skills she can understand the world of theatre in more detail and can work her way into producing and bringing people’s stories to life for the world to see.

Kirsten Luckins

Kirsten Luckins is a poet, performer, theatre-maker and illustrator based in Hartlepool. She has toured two spoken word shows with Arts Council funding; the first, The Moon Cannot Be Stolen, came second in the Saboteur Awards for Best Solo Show in 2014, while the second, The Trouble With Compassion, accompanies her debut poetry collection of the same name with Burning Eye Books. She works as producer (north) for Apples and Snakes, England’s leading organisation for performance poetry, and is currently working on too many projects to mention.

Follow her work at, on Twitter @ImeldaSays or on Instagram @imelda_says


Lewis William Cuthbert

Lewis Cuthbert is a writer, actor and avid theatre-goer from the North-east. Can often be found at the People’s Theatre in Heaton. In 2013 he co-founded Playing Up with several other members of the Live Theatre Writers’ Course, who aim to bring new writing from the region to professional venues and will soon be staging their fifth event at Northern Stage. He lives in Byker and would like to have a cat.

Michael Brown

Having followed the ghosts of Wordsworth, Coleridge and De Quincy across the English mountains, Michael settled in Newcastle to indulge in a lifelong love for the theatre. He’s previously reviewed plays for an online publication and written extensively on issues from the arts to politics to tweed caps.

“Theatre remains my greatest passion within the arts for it delivers the ultimate thrill. The live situation, realised imagination, lack of barriers and sense of total escape gives it an edge to which other forms cannot compare.”

Michael adores play reviewing as it provides the opportunity to combine two of his greatest passions – writing and theatre. His favourite play is The History Boys by Alan Bennett and Incognito by Nick Payne.

Sarah Gonnet

Sarah is a writer, artist and autodidact from the North-East of England. She makes work in a variety of forms, predominantly theatre but also poetry, arts journalism, prose, painting, artist books and moving image. In 2015/16 she trained as a playwright with Graeae Theatre Company. She also talks publicly about mental health and disability and runs a mental health support group. She will be speaking at the 2017 NAWE conference about access to Creative Writing education. In February 2017 she received a grant from DadaFest to develop a novel based on the life of Louise Bourgeois.

She is the editor of The Female Gaze film magazine, and is currently under commission by Random Acts to make a short film about the beautiful structures to be found in the homes of compulsive hoarders.

Visit Sarah’s website.


Tracy Hyman

I have been a member of Arcade for a couple of years now and regularly attend shows at ARC. During this time and in the past I have attended numerous shows, including those in their development phases. This has shown me how works can progress and develop and the importance if feedback and support in this development. It has also shown me how this area of the arts needs promoting as the audiences sometimes seem smaller than they should be, and there is a lot of excellent work out there.

Past Reviewers

Andrew Smaje
Hannah Morpeth