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Newcastle’s Culture Crawl The Late Shows Returns!

After two years of cancellations due to the pandemic, The Late Shows are back with a bang! The award-winning late night free culture crawl takes place on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th May this year, with over 40 venues taking part and a whopping 35,000 visits expected to venues in Newcastle, Gateshead and the Ouseburn Valley across the weekend.

The best thing about The Late Shows is its diversity; expect headline-grabbing exhibitions, unusual performances, immersive workshops, peeks behind the scenes and surprises around every corner.

The action starts in the Ouseburn Valley on Friday 13th, where particularly noteworthy attractions include a farmyard Hootenanny at Ouseburn Farm, with live music, farm food and even line-dancing. Yee-haw! Over the road at Seven Stories, there’s a magical night of storytelling with three floors celebrating magic, nature and books. There’s loads more diversions in the Valley on Friday, plus more in Gateshead on Saturday too.

Saturday night belongs to Newcastle (as always!), and there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Discovery Museum invite you to find your inner child with an evening of retro fun and 80s inspired music, games and challenges; geek out even more at Life Science Centre where the mesmerising Gaia (pictured), a seven-metre replica of Planet Earth, is a star attraction – there’s also a brand new planetarium show, silk banner painting, bug hotel making and a pay bar.

Art-lovers are well catered for, Newcastle Arts Centre hosts an evening of open studios where you can meet the artists and craft makers that call the centre home; Side Gallery invite you to be part of the action in their Protest Photo Booth, and offer a chance to see their fascinating Kill The Bill exhibition on protest, campaigners and activism.

There's more arty goodness at High Bridge Works, who host the radical feminist Matrix Feminist Design Co-operative exhibition, How We Live Now, and they have some open studios too; Newcastle-based painter, printer and multimedia artist JohnnyX exhibits his vibrant work at Gallagher & Turner.

Hatton Gallery’s latest exhibition, The Ignorant Art School, casts its eye over art college education; talking of which, the Newcastle University Fine Art graduates from 2020 finally get their degree show exhibition at Great North Museum: Hancock, while Laing Art Gallery explore treasures and your relationship to the things you hold dear as part of their run-up to the arrival of the Lindisfarne Gospels in September. What an eclectic mix! 

History buffs will love a peek at the beautiful Jacobean public rooms in Bessie Surtees House; Newcastle Cathedral’s magnificent Lantern Tower is open for tours; or why not take the opportunity to view the previously off-limits Pattern Shop building in the Stephenson Quarter, which is undergoing a restoration – view images which tell of how Robert Stephenson’s locomotive engine revolutionised the railways and put Newcastle on the map.

If you’re down for a boogie, head to Black Swan Arts Centre for live music; there’s a speakeasy vibe at The Common Room (formerly known as The Mining Institute), plus creative mini-missions with Unfolding Theatre; Newcastle City Library host a rock ‘n’ roll party with a live band performing hits from the 1950s, there’s also a punk memorabilia exhibition and craft beer courtesy of Anarchy Brewery.

For something completely different, scoot over to The Hub at Arcadea to check out an immersive exhibition of life-sized animal busts, or why not drive a Scalextric among a menagerie of avant-garde beasts?

If you’re completely worn out after all that, the calming environs of Tea Sutra provides a welcoming space to join an experiment on making the pace of urban life easier on your brain, with a calming and relaxing evening, plus a good cuppa. Perfect!

No matter where you choose to wander during The Late Shows, you're certain of a warm welcome. All events are free to attend, check out their website for more information.



Image: The Hub, Arcadea 

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