Behind The Scenery Podcast Launched

A new podcast dedicated to the arts and culture in Cumbria has been launched. 

‘Behind the Scenery’ produced by Tom Speight, of Cumbria Arts and Culture Network, will cover all aspects of the arts from poetry to painting, live performance to festivals, film, music and museums.

Tom Speight

Tom draws on his background as a BBC broadcast journalist and former Radio Cumbria news editor.

“Cumbria is full of creativity and talent and this new monthly podcast will explore and showcase every aspect of that,” said Tom.

“It will champion events and exhibitions and everything that is going on across the whole county and talk to creative people doing interesting work whether they are well known or not.

“I aim to surprise. And to introduce people to lots of things they didn’t know about.  There is such a lot going on in the arts and culture scene in Cumbria but not everyone realises.”

The second episode of Behind the Scenery has just been released this week. Tom takes listeners on a tour of Wordsworth Grasmere interspersed with features including the modern art gallery Cross Lane Projects in Kendal, the micro festival Esk Fest, and a soundscape feature of a working artist, Chris Dennett, from Ulverston – “in essence, the sound of an artist at work,” says Tom.

The first podcast, which was released in July, visits Rosehill theatre in Whitehaven and includes a look behind the scenes at Sound Waves, the Workington music studio project for young Cumbrians. Writer Carmen Nasr gives the inside story on Theatre by the Lake show The Climbers and Dove Cottage young poet Elizabeth Reid performs her poem The Smell of Rain.

Tom emphasises that the podcast will cover all of Cumbria including areas and groups often overlooked.

“I will be including west Cumbria and highlighting young people in the arts and culture sector because they sometimes get less attention,” he said.

He believes Cumbria needs its arts and culture scene now more than ever.

“The sector here is vibrant and has a lot of talent but it has taken a big hit over the last couple of years with venues closing and people struggling to survive as artists,” said Tom. 

“Now more than ever we need to help and promote the arts. Arts and cultural experiences including museums work wonderfully well to help people’s wellbeing and pick people up who are post pandemic still struggling with life and the cost of living.”

Tom, 53, lives in Cockermouth and has worked for the BBC for 25 years. He is content producer for Cumbria Arts and Culture Network and helped organise the Music on the Marr festival in Castle Carrock for 10 years. He is chair of the National Rural Touring Forum which promotes live performance in village halls. 

Cumbria Arts and Culture Network has more than 500 members and a dedicated following for its Friday morning zoom meetings with guest speakers. 

Chair Kate Parry said: “Our role as a Network is to connect the different parts of the cultural sector in Cumbria and champion all of the great things that are happening. We want this new podcast to be a vital new part of that. We hope it will be listened to and enjoyed by people who perhaps are not already accessing the fantastic cultural offer that our county has to offer.”

Behind the Scenery is available at

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