NEWS: A People’s History of the Bigg Market @ Tyneside Cinema | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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While outside of the region the popular picture is one of a seething, Hogarthian centre of debauchery, us locals have our own vision of the Bigg Market. Infused with the tall tales and rose-tintery of memory, we find ourselves by turns nostalgic, wistful, horrified, indifferent, or all of the above for this much-maligned spot.

A historically significant area with a storied past and a considerable importance to the local economy and community stretching back to the middle ages, this formerly thriving marketplace has long deserved better. On the cusp then of what looks to be a genuinely transformational period for the Bigg Market, it’s a rare thrill to be able to reflect on where we’ve been and get excited about where we could be going.

Produced by Northern Stars (the local talent who brought us The Dream Palace: A People’s History of Tyneside Cinema), a new documentary entitled A People’s History of the Bigg Market will be screened at Tyneside Cinema on Saturday 22nd July and has been commissioned by NE1 Ltd as part of their enormous regeneration project, a long-awaited scheme seeking to give Newcastle its historic heart back.

While nostalgia isn’t what it used to be (rampant alcoholism and keeping exotic animals inside a council building could do with measured reflection, not exaltation), there is a double-barreled enchantment here; a reveling in the personal stories of some truly incredible characters who found their groove on the sloped streets, and a reinvigoration of affection for the area and what looks to be a very bright future indeed.

Essential viewing for locals and outsiders alike, this combination of personal stories from current and former residents – combined with archival imagery from North East Film Archive – hammers home the startling density of the cultural assets housed in such a small area, offering a glimpse of the potential of a Bigg Market truly fit for the 21st century.


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