Cultural boost for North East economy
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An annual, year-long programme of cultural events and festivals has been launched for 2009 by the NewcastleGateshead Initiative in North East England, which is expected to be worth almost £30m to the region's economy.

The focus of this year's programme, curated by Culture10, has been designed to allow local people and visitors to celebrate the region's landscape and heritage, with events estimated to attract one million visitors. Included in the programme of events is the opening of the £26m Great North Museum in Hancock, as well as Roman re-enactments at Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland and Cumbria in May. Culture10 also includes arts and sports events, such as the Test cricket match between England and West Indies at Chester-le-Street.

First staged in 2004, Culture10 is co-ordinated in partnership with the destination marketing agency, the NewcastleGateshead Initiative. Funding is provided by a number of organisations including One NorthEast, Newcastle City Council, Gateshead Council, and Arts Council England, North East. Stella Hall, creative director of Culture10, said: "This year's programme delves back through the centuries to celebrate and animate the region's dramatic landscape and rich heritage in exciting new ways.

"We've worked closely with regional, national and international partners to create an ambitious programme of events that we hope will attract and embrace audiences from far and wide, and raise the profile of NewcastleGateshead and north east England." David Miliband, MP for South Shields and foreign secretary, added: "The North East has exported people and ideas around the world. It is great to see the world coming to the North East. NewcastleGateshead's cultural programme will lift spirits and broaden horizons for everyone's benefit."

Image: Chris Bishop

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An annual, year-long programme of cultural events and festivals has been launched for 2009 by the NewcastleGateshead Initiative in North East England, which is expected to be worth almost £30m to the region's economy.
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