The third annual Gateshead International Festival of Theatre (GIFT) kicks off this evening (2 May 2013) at Gateshead Old Town Hall, offering performances and workshops throughout this bank holiday weekend at a range of venues all within five minutes walk from the hub. Here, founder Kate Craddock gives us five good reasons to go.

One
It's May and almost the start of the summer - GIFT is a great way to start your festival season!

Two
You can see and meet artists from all over the world. Alma Sudermann arrived this morning and is in the UK for less than 24 hours for her performance of The Talk with Jolika Söderberg at the launch this evening.

Three
For artists and theatre makers in training, GIFT is a great opportunity to see a broad range of performances and take part in workshops that you would never normally get access to, all in one place; that's one of the main reasons that GIFT is growing so quickly each year and constantly attracting the very best in contemporary theatre makers.

Four
The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming for audiences and performers and because a festival pass is only £30 and there are over 40 things to be involved in. You do the maths, it's a bargain.

Five
We don't know the last reason, it's still to happen. New and emerging ideas happen all the time in the festival atmosphere, and by coming along, you can be part of that, or be the first to witness the next big thing.

GIFT runs until Sunday (5 May 2013)