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The Glasshouse


Posted on 9 September 2019



Media Release: 6th September, 2019

Singer-songwriter Ruth Patterson – who wants to ensure all music venues provide appropriate access for disabled musicians – has been announced as one of three new ‘Artists in Residence’ at Sage Gateshead.

Ruth, who is lead singer of Newcastle-based folk-rock band Holy Moly & The Crackers, has said she will use her residency to work on a solo project around her experiences as a disabled front-woman.

She is joined by singer Holly Clarke and performer, composer and educator Paul Edis as the international music centre’s Artists in Residence’ for the next 10 months. Each receive a bursary, regular contact with Sage Gateshead, use of rehearsal facilities, investment in a creative project of their choosing and investment in a project that will help them in their creative and professional development.

Growing up in North Yorkshire, Ruth classically trained on violin and clarinet whilst teaching herself to play piano and write songs. However, at the age of 15 she was diagnosed with chronic arthritis and was unable to play for two years; her hands have never fully recovered. She began to sing and has developed her versatile rock voice and intelligent song-writing and performance style.

At the age of 21 she was diagnosed with Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome, a connective tissue disorder affecting all of the joints and causing frequent dislocations, wide-spread pain and chronic fatigue. She has been a wheelchair user since then but has managed to extensively tour across the UK and internationally with her band since graduating university.

She works with organisation Attitude is Everything, spreading awareness of the needs of deaf and disabled performers and audience members.

“Understanding other people with different, diverse experiences is really important and we only gain understanding by sharing. That is the focus of my solo project at Sage Gateshead,” Ruth said.

“During my time here I would really like to record a really high quality single and video and ideally have a whole EP recorded by June.

“The residency is giving me more of a platform and a space to create. Even just Sage Gateshead believing in me fills me with confidence to keep going. The more I can progress my career the more I can help spread awareness and hopefully young disabled musicians will think ‘I can do this too.’

“The music industry as a whole is lagging behind in terms of access. My goal through my career is that at some point it won’t be a big deal. That would be a nice point to get to, where it doesn’t phase people anymore.”

Sage Gateshead is a PRS for Music Foundation Talent Development Partner. The residency is supported through this scheme and is part of the organisation’s commitment to artist development and the future of the music industry. Every year Sage Gateshead supports more than 100 musicians through programmes such as this and Summer Studios (where artists can use the venue for free over the summer and access industry expertise and world-class facilities).

Holly, from the Lake District, is a singer in her band Holly and the Reivers, which features Newcastle-based musicians Bertie Armstrong and Merle Harbron. She was part of Sage Gateshead’s Summer Studios residency last year and from that supported Billy Bragg at the Folk on the Tyne Festival in July. During her residency she will work towards a performance of traditional material that has come from her research into ballads and songs from England, Scotland, Ireland and Scandinavia.

Paul is a performer, composer, educator and promoter based in the North East. He works extensively in youth jazz education and is a former finalist of the BBC Radio 3 Young Composers’ Award. Paul intends to work on new projects with musicians from the region, the rest of the UK and Europe and will be writing and performing new music and releasing new albums inspired by his interest in jazz, classical and popular traditions.

Abigail Pogson, Managing Director at Sage Gateshead, said: “We can’t wait to start working with Holly, Paul and Ruth over the coming months and support them with their exciting projects. The residency is very much a two-way street and we know we will benefit as much from their energy, ideas and insight as they will from us.”


For more information on opportunities at Sage Gateshead visit




For further information, interviews or images please contact:

Gaynor Ellis, PR and Communications Manager, Sage Gateshead

  1. E. T. 0191 443 4690

Emily Taylor, PR and Communications Manager, Sage Gateshead

  1. E. T. 0191 443 4617 M. 07793 762 879


Notes to editors:

Sage Gateshead is an international music centre and renowned conference and event venue located in the North East of England. It is for artists, for audiences and for the North.

We are a charity and rely on the support of donors to ensure everyone in the North East community can experience the joy of music.

Every year we welcome more than two million visitors. More than 400 concerts featuring all kinds of local, regional and international music, take place all year round. Music-making and learning activity takes place not only in the building but across the region, with 190,000 people of all ages taking part in over 10,000 music classes and workshops.

The iconic building, designed by renowned architects Foster + Partners, is home to Royal Northern Sinfonia and is a place where emerging artists are nurtured through dedicated programmes and festivals.

Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.