Feature: THE LATE SHOWS | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Across Friday 13th and Saturday 14th May, The Late Shows will see Newcastle, Gateshead and the Ouseburn Valley come alive with music, performance, art and some bizarre and intriguing interactive events.

Facilitated by Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, and sponsored by The Biscuit Factory, this year features over 40 cultural venues across Newcastle and Gateshead, with over 35,000 visitors expected to this 14th instalment.

Friday’s activities focus on the Ouseburn Valley. The Biscuit Factory leads the way with an evening of art, craft, literature, theatre and disco. You can join artist Megan Randall to mould and shape ceramic forms to go in an installation to mark The Biscuit Factory’s 20th anniversary, get involved in the friendly urban venues experiment, watch flash-mob Shakespeare in the gallery or simply sit on the roof terrace for food and cocktails.

Shieldfield Art Works explores the importance and interconnectedness of bees to nature’s diverse ecosystems with their continuing Bee Lines Through The City exhibition. Art, music, dance and crafts explore how bees relate to us through food, culture and our environment. Try your hand at Japanese raku pottery at Northern Print with Muddy Fingers Pottery, where a selection of pots and tiles will be available for you to decorate using stencils and metallic crackle glazes. The Flea Circus is hosting an exhibition by Byker-based artist Russ Coleman, who uses skills and practices he learned as a Monumental Mason and letter carver combined with his experience in the construction industry to create works that celebrate the world around us.

There’s several print-based activities around the Valley, including at The NewBridge Project, who host drop in screen-printing and risograph printing activities, with new work presented by first year Newcastle University students and an exhibition by artists Igor Tavares and Rebeca Romero, exploring ancestral knowledge, cultural identity, belonging and the future. They also have a bookshop, gallery, print studio and project space to explore. Immerse yourself in the world of print and the history of dance at the Tyne Bank Brewery Taproom, where workshops and demonstrations will be on offer from four fantastic local print artists. Biscuit Tin Studios exhibition by their printmakers showcases a variety of printing techniques and processes, while also providing an opportunity to have a go at printing your own linocut, quick collagraph or monoprint. You can also visit artist studios at 36 Lime Street, the largest and oldest artist studio building in Newcastle. Check out a range of art and crafts, buy some art, chat to the practitioners and enjoy live music performances.

For something more lively, Cobalt Studios look at the topic of Escape, whether that be through artist projections, silent disco, the Shunyata Improvisation Group’s distinct acoustic music or even by joining in with the performance. Line dance your way to some family friendly Americana down on the Ouseburn Farm, with live music, barbecue, animals and a good ole barn dance with straw bales and dancing.

Other events around Ouseburn include circus skills and performances at Christ Church, Victoria Tunnel taster tours (no need to book), a murder mystery walk with the Time Bandits and a night of magic and storytelling with Seven Stories. See the artistic processes of Jim Edwards in his new gallery space, view and purchase the art of Network Artists North East at the Bottleworks or view the exhibitions and short films down at the Star and Shadow Cinema, with its minimalist café and refreshments.

Saturday’s activities take place around central Newcastle and Gateshead, and provide a myriad of diversions.

In Gateshead, take part in a mindfulness art workshop or simply visit the galleries at night at the BALTIC. Sew, make and craft at Gateshead Central Library on the theme of birds and bees. Explore the Maker Space, visit the Archive or make your own collage inspired by Simon Terry’s exhibition. Shipley Art Gallery is all about recycling and sustainability – try your hand at making clippy mats, quilts and weaving whilst listening to music from West Newcastle Symphony Orchestra and the Low Fell Singers. Orbis Community brings open studios, exhibitions and a night of creativity with something for everyone and there’s performances by students of the Academy of Music and Sound.

Over the river, experience the Life Science Centre after hours with its seven metre replica of planet Earth, see the brand new live planetarium show or take part in one of the many hands on activities in the Making Studios. There’s an open studios event at Newcastle Arts Centre, with the Royal Photographic Society Documentary Awards Show in the gallery. Be part of the action via the Protest Portraits Photo Booth at Side Gallery and tell them what you care about (all participants will receive a free photobooth portrait print to take home and share online). Experience and participate in music, performance, creative challenges and crafts at The Common Room, a historic Grade II* listed building, formerly known as The Mining Institute. Explore innovation and your own curiosity with a creative mini-mission from Unfolding Theatre and be part of the band and sing-along at the speakeasy, with host Jennifer Hastings.

Check out the How We Live Now exhibition of work from the ground-breaking Matrix Feminist Design Co-operative, and explore their work around gender equality and discrimination at Newcastle Contemporary Art. There are screen prints and multimedia down at Gallagher & Turner, with an exhibition by JohnnyX – Panic Picnic and Bleed, Blend, Block Out, Burn featuring a selection of screenprint artists. Laing Art Gallery will be exploring your treasures, inviting you to tell them about your objects of personal significance and their connected histories. You’re welcome to make a noise at the City Library where there’s live music from the 1950s, craft beers from Anarchy Brewery, punk memorabilia to browse and a silent disco to boogie the night away.

Other events include exhibitions at the Great North Museum: Hancock, Hatton Gallery and Robert Stephenson’s locomotive designs at The Pattern Shop; explore the concept of friendly urban venues at Tea Sutra; view an immersive exhibition of life-sized animal busts or try your hand at Scalextric at The Hub, Arcadea; stop for refreshments and live music at The Black Swan Venue Bar and embrace your inner child at the Discovery Museum with an 80s inspired evening.

History buffs will enjoy finding out about the history of the Assembly House, look at the impressive stained glass and ornate wooden furniture of the Maple Terrace Masonic Hall and visit the magnificent Lantern Tower in Newcastle Cathedral. There are also tours of the Bessie Surtees House, and ceramics, glass and wire workshops at Bensham Grove Community Centre.

The Late Shows take place on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th May across venues in Newcastle and Gateshead. Events are free entry.


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