The late news...
And look how it’s grown! The Late Shows began life back in 2007 when a hardy 14 venues took part with the aim of providing some free, late night entertainment, for curious revellers. Last year the event had ballooned, rather gloriously, to take in more than 70 venues, with over 40,000 people in attendance, and this year’s two-night shindig looks set to spread its wings even further. But with such a huge amount of stuff going on we cannot possibly include everything here, but, game as ever, we’ve stuck in our thumb and pulled out a few plums that have piqued our interest.
The Discovery Museum, for instance, will let you delve into the world of live-action role playing games at the Four Rivers Gaming Convention that will be taking place in their Great Hall (which will also have that all-important bar up and running too). They will also have the next in their PLAY+INVENT activities going, on where you can try your hand at a spot of engineering, and performances from the brilliant Streetwise Opera (at 7.30pm, 8.30pm and 9.30pm) which will plunge you into the fascinating history of the Carpathia ship, which rescued passengers on the Titanic.
The Shipley Art Gallery are celebrating their 100th birthday this year and so they’re returning to the Jazz Age for an evening of roaring sights, sounds and styles. Drop in for 1920s music, cocktails, canapés and craft, and bag a classic outfit at the vintage clothes stall. It’s also the perfect opportunity to check out their fabulous new exhibition, Companion Pieces, which presents paintings, drawings, decorative art and contemporary craft from 100 years of the Shipley collection; and swing by their new Creator Space in order to make your own unique piece of craft. I’ll be the one twirling my flapper pearls and looking coquettish.
Also celebrating their 100th anniversary is family firm Hoults, and Hoults Yard will be showcasing an eclectic mix of creativity under one roof with installations from various artists, such as Deborah Snell, Multiminded and Olivia Turner. It will also be housing pop-up stalls, tasty street food and a fully licensed bar.
Northern Print’s packed programmed comes with a thought-provoking and expressive element as they invite visitors to use their beautiful letterpress type to show how you choose to define yourself. Come and explore their printmaking studio and meet their artists who will be giving demonstrations and talking about their work. You can also catch their latest exhibition of exquisite drypoints (and try your hand at making a drypoint print).
The Lawnmowers Theatre Company will once again be doing their stuff with performances at Swinburne Street at 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10pm with their latest piece going under the title of ‘The Mechanics of Music’. The only thing we know about this piece is this enigmatic rhyme: “Great artists start in a dusty space / A basement, a garage or an abandoned place. / Creative people experiment, and play / In weird, wonderful and wacky ways. / Come in, take a seat, see our latest creations. / Kick back, relax and soak up the vibrations.”
If you’d like to go Back to the Future, then drop into Gateshead Central Library’s Caedmon Hall for an 80s themed evening. They will have taster digital arts sessions from their Digital Makings artists, a retro arts workshop facilitated by The Crafthood, Bowie-esque body art, 80s smash hits so you can get into the groove, day-glo decorations, retro games and more. I’ll be the one trying to look like Madonna and falling woefully short.
St. Dominic’s Priory are hosting CONNECTION, an evening playing with connections between community, space and spirituality, which will feature DJ-ing with a difference in the Grade-II listed church: Gregorian chants and other spiritual music will be offer – you choose the track. This will all be accompanied by a special visual and light installation, interspersed with live music from Latin and African choirs, and a new dance co-created between Filipino, Portuguese and West African communities.
From the sublime to the, well, frightening: Jack’s back! Once again the Time Bandits will transform Ouseburn into Victorian Whitechapel where the first and most notorious of all serial killers stalks the streets. Visitors join the tour by the Cluny where they will be conducted around the dark, winding passages, witnessing crime recreations (tours 6.30pm and 8pm).
The Tyne Bank Brewery are holding a large-scale interactive drawing activity. A giant roll of paper stretched across a 20-metre-long wall awaits with coloured pencils suspended at different heights along its length. Get involved, start a new section of this huge artwork or finish someone else’s. And, of course, you can also kick back and relax with their fine selection of locally-brewed beers as the artwork evolves before your very eyes.
Newcastle’s Cathedral Church of St Nicholas will be hosting a unique and evocative feature by performance artist Stu Herring. Using an industrially-built Tibetan-style spiritual horn, he will create frequency and sound to produce an abundant saturation of energy dictated and enhanced by their beautiful interior. A single note will be played throughout the evening to creative a sublime blend of meditative acoustics within their sacred space. The sound of the horn is comparable to that of the unique frequencies found throughout nature and religion – the God frequency…
Blast! I’ve ran out of space and haven’t had room to tell you about the pop-up choir with Beccy Owen, Club Tropicana (a celebration of the late, great George Michael) or the many other late, late night parties running into the small hours with live music, DJs and more. Best take yourself off to the Late Shows website to get the full programme and see what tickles your evening fancy.
The Late Shows 2017, Friday 19 and Saturday 20 May, venues right across Newcastle and Gateshead, free (although some attractions such as guided tours have limited capacities and need to be booked in advance). http://thelateshows.org.uk