A campaign has been launched to make the North East the UK's leading cultural capital.
The 'Case for Culture' manifesto outlines the region's cultural vision for the next 15 years. It says investment in culture will benefit people, places and the economy in the North East, helping to build and sustain a better future for the entire region.
The 'Case for Culture' manifesto has been launched by the North East Culture Partnership, which is formed of 12 local authorities alongside arts and cultural organisations, sport and tourism, and businesses and educational organisations.
The partnership aims to spread the benefits of arts, culture and heritage across the region by reaching an extra 500,000 people per year, boosting economic growth and job creation.
It is hoped the campaign will increase access to culture for young people across the North East.
The partnership says they will achieve their aims by increasing the planned funding from £100 million to at least £300 million over the next five years.
New figures published today show that visits to cultural centres, including museums and galleries, are increasing in the North East.
The Government’s Taking Part survey measures cultural participation across the UK.
In the North East, the number of adults actively engaging in the arts has risen from 70.2% to 75.6% since 2005/06.
Whitley Bay's Grade II listed Spanish City and Dome will be restored and reopened to the public. The redevelopment comes as a result of a £3.7 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant to North Tyneside Council.
One of the North East's most popular and historic music venues has been saved from closure, it has been confirmed today.
There will also be new investment in Newcastle's City Hall to protect its future.
The city council leader confirmed what we reported last night: that the trust which runs the city's main theatre will take it over.
Watch the full report from Ben Chapman below.
The City Hall, which once hosted the Beatles and Buddy Holly, had been threatened with closure due to budget cuts.
In future the City Hall will be managed by the trust that runs the city's Theatre Royal.
Those who campaigned to save it, like Hazel Plater from the North East Music History Group, have welcomed the announcement, as long as the City Hall remains a music venue.
The leader of Newcastle City Council has confirmed to ITV News that the historic music venue, the City Hall, is safe from closure. Nick Forbes said that a partnership with the Theatre Royal would give it "a bright future."
He also said there would be investment in the venues catering facilities to help it pay its way in the years to come.
The venue had been threatened with closure due to council budgets cuts, and plans to close the City Pool, which is in the same building.
13,000 people signed a petition calling for it to be saved, as a vital part of the city's musical and cultural heritage.
Mr Forbes praised the North East Music History society for working with the council to save the venue.
Newcastle's historic music venue, the City Hall, has been saved from closure. The City Council has only confirmed that it is 'in talks' with the Theatre Royal Trust about the possibility of taking over the management of the venue.
But I understand proposals will be put to councillors tomorrow that will confirm its future.
Around 13,000 people signed a petition calling for the venue to be saved from council budget cuts. The group behind that campaign has "tentatively" welcomed the development, but wants further guarantees from the council.
Newcastle City Council have released the following statement in response to reports that Newcastle's City Hall, which had been under fear of closure, is safe and that it has a new owner.
There are reports that Newcastle's City Hall, which had been under fear of closure, is safe and that it has a new owner.
It is understood that the Theatre Royal has struck a deal with the music venue in the city and an official announcement on the development is expected tomorrow.
Neither the Theatre Royal nor Newcastle City Council would comment tonight.
More details on that story to follow.
This glorious illumination of the North East coastline is taking place over the next few evenings. Global Rainbow is being projected from St Mary’s Lighthouse on North Tyneside. It’s marking the start of what organisers say will be a ground breaking year for the region's art and culture.