FEATURE: Red Dreams, Hartlepool | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Dawn and Ian McManus have run Red Dreams for the last nine years, supporting young people in their creative endeavours throughout Hartlepool and beyond. Here they tell us more about their incredible story.

What’s been the driving force behind Red Dreams?
Red Dreams was established in 2007 with the sudden tragic passing of our son Kyle McManus, aged 16, from a brain haemorrhage. Kyle loved the creative arts, from writing to acting, drawing to digital art, playing instruments to singing; taking part in many shows, as well as the school choir. The community bonded through the loss, raising a large amount of money, Kyle had touched so many lives. We decided to use the money to set up Red Dreams Charity to help young people with their creative dreams, whilst also looking to build self-belief, self-confidence and self-esteem. The name Red Dreams came from Kyle, as his most vivid and imaginative dreams were always tinted red.

What have been the success stories for Red Dreams so far?
Over the last nine years, Red Dreams has helped hundreds, if not thousands of people by building a creative unit, organising a number of events including their own festival five years running, which saw young people playing to thousands of people, recording and releasing a number of charity singles to help raise funds for the likes of BBC’s Children in Need, Help for Heroes, Miles for Men and many others.

What services do you offer?
Our current creative unit has 2 studios (all with industry standard hardware and software), 2 vocal rooms and 3 band rehearsal rooms; as well as a photography area, film-making facilities and our very own, small venue ‘The Pluto Room’, which can hold over 100 standing or 85 seated.

Red Dreams is the living legacy to Kyle, and promotes not just learning and enjoyment, but also determination, focus, respect and support

Tell us more about the workshops on offer
We are predominantly staffed by amazing volunteer coaches who coach vocal, drum, guitar, bass, songwriting, acting, and film-making sessions. We don’t work towards grades; we look to develop the individual, making them comfortable with who they are, whilst also teaching creative crafts.

Red Dreams offer vocal coaching, instrument tuition, acting, film-making and our rehearsal rooms at £2 per session (per person) for all members (under 19’s), the rehearsal rooms are open to others too, with vocal rooms at £4 per hour and band rooms at £6 per hour (all rooms coming with a PA, amps, drum shells, mic’s etc.), and we always have a member of the team on hand to help.

We have become proficient at recording bands, singers and acoustics, having songs played on local, regional and national radio, as well as BBC television. We established our own ‘Not for Profit’ record label, Otiss Music, in 2013, after noticing the quality of music coming from the unit; giving young artists the chance to take their music to the next level.  Over the past few years we have released a number of EP’s and singles, some of which have charted not only on iTunes, but also in the Official Charts too. Not just about music, we have also been commissioned by organisations and artists to produce advertising, educational, promotional, instructional and music videos; recorded using HD cameras and producing products on industry standard software. All the creative input comes from North East talent who are learning their trade.


What’s in the pipeline for the future?
We are always looking for volunteer vocal coaches in all areas, and have a number of slots available for vocals, instruments, acting and our film-school. Red Dreams is the living legacy to Kyle, and promotes not just learning and enjoyment, but also determination, focus, respect and support.

Red Dreams are currently looking for applicants for their 1 Voice competition, seeking solo singers, duos and vocal groups in three age groups – 8-15, 16-24 and 25+. Email music@reddreams.org.uk for more info

Red Dreams is located at Unit 5, 110 Whitby Street South, Hartlepool. Those interested in getting involved with Red Dreams should call 01429 894605 or email enquiries@reddreams.org.uk

Check out their website for further information.


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