Passion for the Planet: About the project

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.

This page is about the Gateshead, 2021 production

To find out how to book the show for your venue or organisation, see the main page about Passion for the Planet.


In partnership with Gateshead Deanery, Damn Cheek CIC is currently working with schools, colleges and community groups from the Gateshead area.

Through COVID-secure experiential workshops, participants are exploring Creation stories and environmental themes through drama, narrative, letter-writing, music, artwork, costume, scenery and installations. Where possible, all making is done using recycled or sustainable materials.

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

For early-years pupils, the project particularly builds practical, emotional and social school-readiness – we feel hugely fortunate to have Well Newcastle Gateshead‘s support in this area of the project.


In July and August 2021, the inspiring creativity and art emerging from the community culminate in a specially commissioned, sustainability-based, ecologically themed professional production.

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

Damn Cheek’s actors and musicians lead the audience on an immersive, 50-minute journey combining music, song, dance, mask, puppetry, storytelling and multi-media installations. The performance will be fully COVID-secure.


Passion for the Planet places community at its heart. Local participants help shape the performance content material, and take the lead in creating scenery, costumes, masks, puppetry and installations.

Community members also support 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 bringing together performers, supporters and audience in a professional production – and, post-lockdown, helping reunite the community in a COVID-secure yet playful, family-friendly environment.

Past and future

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

When COVID-19 took hold and the Mystery Play became unfeasible, we instead grew the vision that has become Passion for the Planet.

We hope this will be the first of many inspiring partnerships with the Deanery – including the original Mystery Play, now planned for 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 16 new shows during the pandemic.

Mahsa Hammat Bahary


Mahsa Hammat Bahary

Read Mahsa’s biog

Abby Black

Trainee Director

Abby Black

Read Abby’s biog

Tony Earnshaw


Tony Earnshaw

Read Tony’s biog

Laurence Saunders


Laurence Saunders

Read Laurence’s biog

Paul Batten

Production Mgr & Design Consultant

Paul Batten

Read Paul’s biog

Darren Cheek

Artistic Director

Darren Cheek

Read Darren’s biog

Eloise Kay


Eloise Kay

Read Eloise’s biog

Izzy Sorby

Early Years Schools Facilitator

Izzy Sorby

Read Izzy’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
The Auckland Project
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

The 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

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