Sage Gateshead is working with Ed Carter, the composer and artist behind the 2012 Cultural Olympiad sculpture Flow, to present a brand new animated film, set to premiere at the Great Exhibition of the North.

The film, Bridges, will premiere at Sage Gateshead as part of the opening of the festival on 22 June, and will then feature as part of the venue’s family programme throughout the exhibition.

Music composer and interdisciplinary artist Ed Carter has worked with children’s TV writer and producer Katie Simmons and creative studio NOVAK to develop the animation, which tells the story of a man, a dog, and their small fishing boat overcoming a series of challenges as they navigate the River Tyne to an incident at Dunston Staithes.

The animation introduces the seven bridges as different characters, each setting a musical challenge based on its own architectural structure.

The visual aesthetic draws on the linocut style, giving the film a timeless, hand-crafted quality. The score, which was composed by Ed Carter, will be recorded by Royal Northern Sinfonia, Orchestra of Sage Gateshead, with conductor Tim Burke.

Abigail Pogson, Managing Director at Sage Gateshead, said: “We wanted to commission something for young audiences as part of our Great Exhibition of the North programme. Ed and Katie’s piece is beautifully made, visually stunning and with music written for and recorded by Royal Northern Sinfonia. The film captures a sense of place really wonderfully. We can’t want to share it with audiences. We hope that many people, of all ages, will enjoy this film during the Great Exhibition and for many years beyond.”

Ed Carter said: “I had wanted to create a piece of music responding to the Tyne bridges for a long time, so when I had the idea for the animation I sent Katie Simmons a draft of the story and asked if she would be interested in collaborating. We met up and took an incredible boat trip from Dunston Staithes out to Tynemouth, taking lots of photos and making endless notes. After that, we continued sending each other ideas, and the final pieces of the story fell into place really quickly.

“I’ve always had an interest in the relationship between architecture and music, and how we can interpret our surroundings in terms of “rhythm.” Henri Lefebvre said “Everywhere where there is interaction between a place, a time and an expenditure of energy, there is rhythm”, and that pretty much sums up how I approached writing the music for Bridges. I have worked with Sage Gateshead before in this way, on the project Barographic, which was a piece using the architecture and atmospheric pressure of the venue.

“Visually, I wanted Bridges to feel timeless in some way. To achieve this I worked closely with creative studio NOVAK to develop an approach inspired by traditional printing processes, but using a combination of 2D and 3D digital animation techniques. Our aim was to capture the atmosphere of the Tyne today, whilst retaining a tangible sense of history.”

Bridges will be a free ticketed event, which will premiere on 22 June, and then 4 August to 2 September, 11am and 2pm. Tickets for all shows are available at from 4 May.