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

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An unbridled experience of creativity is booming into venues across Newcastle and Gateshead on Friday 19th and Saturday 20th May. The Late Shows is a collection of events which showcase the fantastic local talents in the North East as well as inviting new and courageous attendees to learn and take part in their own creations. The one-off activities are all free to attend, with the aim of promoting and celebrating the huge variety of culture in the region.

The activities on Friday 19th centre around the Ouseburn Valley, and offer some intriguing insights into historical locations as well as cultural ones.

One highlight includes what promises to be an astonishing free tour of the Victoria Tunnel, the preserved 19th Century waggon-way under Newcastle. It holds many thrilling historic tales, from the 1800s right through to the Second World War. For art-fans, attendees can observe Ouseburn-based painter Jim Edwards at work on his latest project, in which he focuses on bringing to picture stunning North East locations, from historic Durham to the bucolic scenery of the Tyne Valley. An evening trip to the Biscuit Factory is also recommended, where a celebration of local art is to take place with live folk music from Miggins Fiddle, poetry from Harry Gallagher and pop-up scenes from local plays courtesy of People’s Theatre. The night will also feature the painting of a large mural by Dan Cimmermann, which attendees are encouraged to take part in, as well as pop-up appearances from top Northern authors.

Also on an arty tip, at Shieldfield Art Works explore the meaning of friendship through art, painting, illustration and discussion in their A Voyage Through Friendship exhibition; fine artist Amy Pearson exhibits her work inspired by women, fashion, nature and animals at quirky shopping hub Flea Circus; explore connections between print-making and art at Northern Print; or get a glimpse into the working lives of artists who make 36 Lime Street their home, and buy affordable art and original work.

For all creatively curious souls, the Late Shows are the perfect chance to cram in as many experiences as possible

For something a little more raucous, head down to Cobalt Studios to discover a speakeasy-esque pop-up print room, complete with DJ’s and live music, where you can speak your mind on paper and help cover the front of the building with important collective messages. Or join The Cumberland Arms as they takeover The Toffee Factory for a spirited ceilidh, alongside food, workshops and a host of other delights.

The fun continues in Newcastle and Gateshead on Saturday 20th. Our top tips include Gateshead Central Library’s colourful and creative drop-in workshop with floral artists, including Pui Lee. Take part by crafting your very own funky flower brooch and find inspiration from 60s fashions. Check out the latest addition to Gateshead’s cultural scene, Orbis Community, where a variety of creative businesses throw open their doors – chief among them is Vane Gallery and their Desire Lines group exhibition, plus Gingerino’s Pizzas provide sustenance.

Over the water, D6: Culture In Transit’s hub in Charlotte Square bring a host of international artists from Ukraine, Turkey, Cyprus and Jordan to explore the social and environmental threads between our region and the rest of the world; Dance City offer up live performances and dance film screenings; get a rare glimpse into the Jacobean splendour of Bessie Surtees House on the Quayside and tour some of the private rooms; duck into the newly opened Farrell Centre to explore architecture and urban design; enjoy mindful illustrating at Laing Art Gallery, inspired by the monks of Lindisfarne; or go wild through the corridors of Great North Museum: Hancock on a Myth Quest which draws on the museum’s amazing artefacts to provide a fantasy adventure.

Plus, there’s live music at Alphabetti Theatre; the Mosaic Tap host a drop-in monoprinting workshop alongside their craft ales; at Newcastle Arts Centre check out a collection of drawing machines and learn how to make your own, then pop next door to The Black Swan Venue Bar and catch a film screening from the Young Women’s Film Academy, enjoy Latin band Bellavana and pour out into the bustling courtyard to find food from local pop-up North East Beef. Also of note is the return of Newcastle Castle’s mediaeval tavern experience, which offers a mediaeval ale (or a soft drink) in the authentic surroundings of the cellar of the Castle Keep.

One of the most unique features over the weekend can be found at Sensation Studios at The Hub in Kelburn House, where attendees can experience an immersive exhibition of glowing silk paintings by learning disabled and autistic artists. Covid screens have been repurposed into lightboxes that illuminate images inspired by the objects, activities, people and places that the artists describe as the light of their lives.  

For all creatively curious souls, the Late Shows are the perfect chance to cram in as many experiences as possible. Attendees are also encouraged to collect a neon yellow metal button badge at venues – to be worn at the return of the Late Shows in 2024!

The Late Shows takes place at venues across Newcastle and Gateshead on Friday 19th and Saturday 20th May. For full listings, visit their website.

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