Passion for the Planet

A community-centred, site-specific theatre project, a multi-faith exploration of Creation stories with an environmental core.

The piece centres on the crucial themes of sustainability and care – care for the Earth and all its guests, care for self, care for each other.


Working in partnership with Gateshead Deanery, Damn Cheek CIC is currently deep in the preparatory phase of the project, working with schools, colleges and community groups from the Gateshead area.

Through COVID-secure experiential workshops, we’re inviting participants to explore Creation stories and environmental themes through drama, narrative, letter-writing, music, artwork, costume, scenery and installations. In line with our ecological focus, all making will be done, where possible, with recycled or sustainable materials suitable for future use.

We’ve designed this preparation process to support personal creativity, self-esteem, and mental well-being, as well as to develop new artistic skills and enhance existing ones. 

For early-years pupils, the project particularly helps build practical, emotional and social school-readiness – we feel hugely fortunate to be supported in this by Well Newcastle Gateshead.


In July through August 2021, the inspiring creativity and art that emerges from the local community culminates in a specially commissioned, sustainability-based and ecologically themed professional production.

This site-specific promenade performance – for adults, children and young people of all ages – takes place both within and around the beautiful building of Christ Church Felling.

Damn Cheek’s actors and musicians will take the audience on an epic, immersive, 50-minute journey combining music and song, dance, mask, puppetry, storytelling and multimedia, audiovisual and digital installations. The performance will of course be fully COVID-secure.


Passion for the Planet places community at its heart. Local participants not only help shape the content material for the performance, but also take the lead in creating scenery, costumes, masks, puppetry and installations.

Local community members also support many practical aspects of the performance including front of house, marketing and publicity, stage and production management.

In these challenging times, Damn Cheek CIC is thrilled to be not only co-creating a project that brings together performers, supporters and audience in a professional production. But also, post-lockdown, we’re delighted to be helping reunite the local community in a COVID-secure yet playful, fun and family-friendly environment.

Past and future

Damn Cheek CIC’s previous experience in large-scale community theatre, including The Malvern Mystery Play (2019), led to our being invited to develop a community-based Mystery Play for the Gateshead Deanery.

But when the Mystery Play became unfeasible as COVID-19 took hold, we put our Deanery and Damn Cheek heads together, flexed our imagination muscles and grew the vision of Passion for the Planet.

Hopefully, Passion for the Planet will be the first in a series of inspiring partnerships with the Deanery – plans are already in place to deliver the originally planned Mystery Play in summer 2022.

The team

Passion for the Planet is an exciting co-production between Gateshead Deanery and Damn Cheek CIC.

Damn Cheek was born out of 24 years of collaborative practice and from a deep commitment to accessible, inclusive theatre. With wide experience of community projects – small-scale, large-scale and everything in between – we are also proud to have so far produced 15 new shows during the pandemic.

Darren Cheek

Co-founder and Artistic Director of Damn Cheek, Darren is thrilled to be leading and facilitating the team and artistically directing this project.

Read Darren’s biog

Darren Cheek
Tony Earnshaw

Tony Earnshaw

Co-founder and Executive Director of Damn Cheek, Tony is delighted to be writing the final performance script, as well as taking on the role of Executive Director for the project itself.

Read Tony’s biog

We’re delighted to be supported in the project by our vibrant and inspiring Steering Committee, a multi-talented core team of professionals from diverse beliefs, local churches, organisations and institutions, including:

Age UK Gateshead logo
Brandling Primary School
Gateshead Council
Newcastle College
North East Religious Resources Centre

We’re also hugely grateful for the funding support we’ve already received for Passion for the Planet, including the many generous people who have so far sponsored Darren’s (COVID-delayed!) upcoming run in the London Marathon.

Our wonderful funders so far include:

Arts Council England Lottery Funded logo
Westhill logo
Bluestone Collaborative

Gladiator Trust

Get involved

We are very keen to partner with other funders and organisations and also with local organisations and businesses who may want to be involved in this timely and important community-centred production.

Passion for the Planet (July/August 2021) and our subsequent large-scale production Mystery Play (summer 2022) are 2 amazing opportunities to partner with us – and to make an important, active difference to the Gateshead community as well as to place your organisation visibly at the community’s heart.

For details of partner involvement, please contact Artistic Director Darren Cheek on 07956 891 110 or at

Community creator volunteers

We’re inviting anyone, no matter what age, background or experience, to come and play, create and explore with us.

Learn how to make a mask, a puppet, a set, costume or props – all out of recycled materials! No experience necessary and all materials provided.

Find out more about how you can volunteer

Community production volunteers

We’re inviting anyone, no matter what age, background or experience, to work on all areas of support and production, including:

  • box office
  • front of house
  • marketing and publicity
  • set and costume design
  • stage management

No experience necessary and full training given.

Find out more about how you can volunteer


We’re now gathering our professional performance team, and want to recruit a locally based professional actor-musician.

Find out more about this performing opportunity

Need more info? Contact us!

If you’d love to get involved in any aspect of Passion for the Planet, contact Darren asap for a quick informal chat or to find out more.


phone: 07956 891 110