FEATURE: The Late Shows | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Dani Gilbert, whose work appears at Arch Sixteen

One of the many great things about The Late Shows – Newcastle and Gateshead’s ‘late night culture crawl’ – is the opportunity it provides for audiences to curate their own perfect festival. Want to see a dark piano recital, followed by a silent film era-inspired installation and end up at a book-themed silent disco? Head to 36 Lime Street, Northern Print and The Biscuit Factory. How about a Bollywood dance lesson, an audience with a dinosaur skeleton and medieval entertainment with rogues and gamblers? Gateshead Central Library, Great North Museum: Hancock and Newcastle Castle have got you covered.

Now in its thirteenth year, and taking place on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th May, The Late Shows is a prime example of a multi-venue cultural extravaganza done well. As always, there’s far too much in the programme to mention it all here, but we’ve put together a list of must-see events, just for you…

Friday night’s entertainment kicks off in the Ouseburn Valley, where headline sponsors The Biscuit Factory combine contemporary art and literature with disco in their Glitter-arty night. They’ll unveil the Open Contemporary Young Artist Award exhibition and, alongside Forum Books, host a silent disco featuring book-inspired tunes. We’re there with bells on. Northern Print host another goodie in the form of dynamic installation Lighting Up Time by Nicole Polonsky, inspired by the silent film era; Ouseburn Farm provide a possibly highly surreal experience in their Enter The Night Garden event, which uses interactive UV paint to enable attendees to see the Ouseburn as never before.

As always, there’s plenty of opportunity to engage with local artists at 36 Lime Street, with particular highlights including a performance from She Choir and pitch black piano recitals courtesy of Steve Luck; the newly rebranded Shieldfield Art Works (FKA The Holy Biscuit) presents an exhibition of local work; while local artist Jim Edwards throws open his studio gallery to display his distinctive paintings of local pubs. New to the Valley, LOT on James Place Street (near the Cumberland Arms) features a film reel of artists’ work including Isabelle Kenningham, Emma Wiseman and Jade Sweeting alongside large-scale installations; Hazel Plater and Maria Maza’s On The Lash street photography exhibition takes over Star & Shadow Cinema, plus there’s live music and DJs; and St. Dominic’s Priory Church will host a multi-cultural programme of music, poetry, story-telling and dance.

The Late Shows is a prime example of a multi-venue cultural extravaganza done well

If you’re looking for something a little more booze-related, Nowt Special return to Tyne Bank Brewery to showcase local artists whose work spans illustration, print, painting, street art and sculpture, plus there’s street performances, animated projections (and lush beer, obvs) until the early hours; there’s more beer and art at Valley newbie Brinkburn St. Brewery Bar & Kitchen. If you fancy spending some of your hard-earned on a unique souvenir, head to artistic cooperative Flea Circus where independent artisans sell their wares, and enjoy an exhibition of work by Polish artist Karolina Borchardt. Keep the candle burning courtesy of Cobalt Studios who, after showcasing DJ’s artists films and providing artist-led workshops, offer up a silent disco that will go on until the early hours.

On Saturday, Gateshead’s delights include Bollywood dance workshops courtesy of GemArts and Thought Foundation’s cardboard city at Gateshead Central Library; there’s a late night opening of NewBridge Project’s exhibition, The Great Assassin by artist Andrew Maughan; craft and technology go hand-in-hand at Shipley Art Gallery; Arch Sixteen welcome multi-disciplinary artist Dani Gilbert, whose bold work explores themes of gender liberation, female empowerment and sexuality; and By The River Brew Co’s container village hosts world-renowned street artists in conjunction with Unit44.

Back in the Toon, Newcastle Arts Centre explores art and music across its three venues, and studio members at Breeze Creatives in Bamburgh House showcase their creative practices. Commercial Union House’s huge array of practitioners turn the building into a warren of creativity, where highlights include a textile exhibition delivered by the Women of Tyneside project; a solo gallery show from international artist IDA4 and an eclectic mix of live music, performance and workshops; plus attendees can learn about light-based printmaking processes, contribute to artworks exploring themes of self-awareness and diversity and indulge in creative geekery courtesy of MakerSpace. Globe Gallery continue their mental health awareness programme and showcase the work of artist Susanne Strassmann; Spaghetti Factory founders take over Goldtapped in Carliol House and Tyneside Cinema’s Bar Café screens archive footage celebrating the history and culture of Newcastle and Gateshead over 120 years.

If all this sounds a bit sensible, how about having a (ticket-only) late night encounter with Dippy The Diplodocus at Great North Museum: Hancock? Or, unleash your inner potter at Laing Art Gallery; hang out with rogues and ne’er do wells at Newcastle Castle’s medieval tavern; party harder at Alphabetti Theatre’s live music and poetry as part of the Late Late Shows or enjoy a late-night dub reggae party with Coalescence Sound System at Dynamix Skate Park.

Younger attendees will enjoy Twi-Lates, in which 12-17 year olds can engage with thought-provoking and fun activities. Highlights on Friday include Beccy Owen’s Pop-Up Choir at Seven Stories and Victoria Tunnel’s taster tours; on Saturday, join a drama workshop with Mortal Fools at Gateshead Central Library, an animation lesson at Hatton Gallery or a contemporary or ballet taster session at Dance City.

This year The Late Shows are dropping the use of their throwaway plastic glo-sticks and replacing them with neon metal badges, so you can be both culturally and ecologically fulfilled. Winner.


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