” This World Here…Nomhlaba Le”

Curious Monkey Theatre Company, Newcastle upon Tyne and Newcastle Arts Development Organisation, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa have been collaborating for two years on the “Two Newcastles” project, and last week presented a work on Tyneside that they have created together called ” This World Here…Nomhlaba Le”

It’s a journey to a new world full of song and discovery. When faced with a new culture, visiting a new place, what do you bring with you? What do you leave behind? Original music intertwined with traditional South African and Geordie songs, verbatim testimony and storytelling about their lives, homes and experiences in two different Newcastles by the performers, exploring community and belonging, celebrating diversity and uncovering our unconscious biases. Asking…where is home?


Created and performed by:
Sanele Mzimela, Phelelani Mzimela, Velaphi Mthimkulu, Samu Khumalo, Sam Bell, Alice Blundell and Stan Hodgson
Directed by Amy Golding
Produced by Sphiwe Xulu and Jen Dewar
Assistant Director Jonluke McKie
This World Here…Nomhlaba Le was commissioned as a flagship cultural project of Newcastles of the World supported by International Newcastle. Funded by Arts Council England Grants for the Arts, Waka Waka Africa North East, Newcastle Municipality KZN, The Department for Arts and Culture (South Africa) The Tyne and Wear Community Foundation (UK)


Robert Indiana (1928 – 2018) – A Giant of “Pop Art”, from New Castle, Indiana

It’s sad to record the passing of a great figure from the world of modern art.

Aaron Dicken, of New Castle, Indiana (Robert’s home town) tracked him down and met him in 2015. Here he pays tribute to Robert’s life and legacy


“Reading his biography, one could probably rationalize why Robert Indiana had a reputation for being somewhat unpleasant. He was adopted, he had transient parents who later divorced, and was repeatedly taken advantage of, which includes the copyright debacle of LOVE, as well as the requests for art and more, late into his life (speculation).
However, that is not the man Dick Bouslog and I met in the summer of 2015. For three hours, which is a lot for someone who was 86 at the time, he was gracious, he was warm and welcoming, and he was just another man who enjoyed conversation over coffee and cookies (my mom’s cookies, actually).
He was an enigma and a recluse. So many people had tried to reach out to him after his permanent move to Vinalhaven, Maine, and without much success. The late John Dickey (another New Castle citizen) shared a note he had received from the artist when we showed a small exhibit of serigraphs at the Henry County Art Center in New Castle, which was a rarity. I remember being floored looking back at that visit to the Star of Hope that he had a binder marked “Henry County Indiana,” which I regretfully did not ask to peruse. I can only imagine it was filled with his unreturned collection of correspondence from other community members and articles of interest.
Though over due, I’m proud of how the New Castle community has taken to heart Bob’s legacy, which started with his first breaths in New Castle. A group of people have come together, whether it be with financing, fabricating, or organizing, to create our two LOVE sculptures, a beautiful mural that represents his life and works, and the Robert Indiana Parkway. During this sad time, I am comforted in the fact that I got to show Bob how he is loved and how his legacy will carry on in his “long ago hometown” before he passed.
This artist is obviously world-renown for LOVE, a powerful message and theme in 1966 that will undoubtedly carry his legacy. But his life was so much more than that, such as his stint at the New York World’s Fair with his EAT sign in 1964, his breakthrough into modern art with American Dream I at the Museum of Modern Art in 1961, his avant-garde design and painting of the MECCA floor for the Milwaukee Bucks in 1977, or the reimagining of LOVE when he created HOPE in 2008.
Surely, HOPE is something Bob carried with him throughout his life. But that leads me to a word I think he embodied even more…RESILIENCE. Although that word can’t be made into a masterpiece as easily, to come from the beginnings from which he came, to endure the trials and tribulations he endured, it beyond question took resilience. Had he not exemplified that word, the world would be a little less colourful, a little more devoid of HOPE, and a little less full of LOVE.
May his legacy of love, hope, and resilience live on.”





Our 20th Anniversary Conference, Shinshiro, Japan , October 2018









Provisional programme 2018 NCW Conference

On behalf of Shinshiro City, we are pleased to invite you and other representatives of your Newcastle to the 20th Anniversary Conference of the Newcastles of the World Alliance that will be held from the 3rd to the 9th of October 2018.
We will be discussing the potential for development of our Alliance for the next 20 years especially in new and stronger collaborations and exchanges in education, culture, business and tourism. The registration fee for the conference is 100’000 Japanese Yen (~ $930 USD/ ~€ 756) per person. This registration fee includes accommodation, meals, workshops, many cultural activities and a visit to the extraordinary world heritage site of Kyoto. If you have any questions about the conference please contact Rumi or David Faulkner – see below

If you may be interested in  attending then please first of all advise your contact in your “Newcastles” – see link below – or Rumi Matsushita at newcastle@city.shinshiro.lg.jp, or David Faulkner at newcastlesoftheworld@gmail.com




Newcastles Passport offers special welcome to visitors

The Newcastles Passport scheme has launched, promoting tourism and friendship between Newcastles around the world.

Each Newcastle taking part has carefully selected a series of special offers just for visitors from other Newcastles. These could be a customised programme if the visitor has any special interests – places to visit or people to meet, or special discounts from local businesses.

Visitors sign up for a free ‘Passport’ through the website, then get in touch with the Newcastle they wish to visit. Each Newcastle is committed to offering a personalised touch, with a warm and friendly welcome to anyone living or from an affiliated Newcastle.

Exclusive offers include:

  • Invite to a tea-making ceremony in Shinshiro, Japan
  • Meet the Mayor of Neuburg, Germany
  • Free chocolate gifts from Neuchâtel, Switzerland
  • Guided Amish tours of New Castle, Pennsylvania
  • Dine with a host family in Shinshiro, Japan

The scheme is ran by Newcastles of the World, the body which brings together over 100 Newcastles from around the globe to promote friendship, tourism and collaboration between areas and will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2018 with a conference in Shinshiro City, Japan.

Zélie Guérin, Director of International Newcastle which is secretariat for the project said of the scheme:

“We’re delighted to launch the Newcastles Passport, which will help visitors experience the tremendous welcome and different cultures of the Newcastles across the world.  It’s a great opportunity, which we invite you to join us in.”

David Faulkner, Co-ordinator of Newcastles of the World, said:

“This important step will promote tourism between our Newcastles and builds on the work already done in the fields of culture and education. It’s a friendship alliance between people and groups in communities that share the name “Newcastle” whatever their language, with real tangible benefits available through working together.”

To find out more about the Newcastle Passport visit: www.newcastlesoftheworld.com/projects/passport