Museums at Night - Newcastle gears up for even bigger Museums at Night extravaganza

By Culture24 Staff | 25 March 2009
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A picture of two faces, the nearest of whom is wearing a white spiky mask, the further away a red and black one

Mask making is on the agenda when Museums at Night hits Newcastle

Newcastle and Gateshead will be exploding into life again for this year’s Museums at Night 2009, with everything from fire spinning to mass excursions of the hallowed turf at Newcastle United’s St James’s Park stadium on offer in their Late Shows series.

An estimated 11,000 revellers took part in the city’s “culture crawl” last year, when an eye-catching display at the Angel of the North was among multitudinous highlights, and Tyneside’s festivities promise to be even better this year as more than 30 venues take on a new light by opening their doors after hours.

A picture of a brick building with a green sign and address on the outside

Hands-on activities are the order of the day at 36 Lime Street

The Hatton Gallery will be hosting a special theme night to coincide with its Art of the 50s exhibition, showing films, music and art school activities from the post-war decade, including an old-fashioned milk bar.

Music fans will find Sophie Beresford playing Spanish Makina techno music at the Laing Art Gallery, a quiz and acoustic sets at the Discovery Museum on Friday, local singers at The Shipley Gallery and swing jazz dancing at The Art Works Galleries.

A picture of an enormous football ground at dusk

Visitors will get the chance to tread the turf at what could be the finest non-Premiership ground in the country next season

DJs will play soul, funk, reggae and disco at the World Head Quarters in a special all-nighter, the Tyne & Wear Archive Service presents revealing footage of gigs from the 1950s and 1960s and the Lit & Phil opens a Poetry Booth.

Described as “a cross between a cookery demonstration, a factory production line and an art-making process”, Waygood Art Boutieu invites you to attend a chaotic combination of food tasting and video artistry, or you could just stick to piping jacket potatoes from a potter’s kiln as ceramics and sculpture take over the Black Swan Courtyard.

A picture of a young lady with black hair and a nose piercing at an exhibition

The Late Shows proved extremely popular last year

Sheffield artist group HAG present “imagined, otherly and utterly alien sounds”, contrasting with the more familiar effects of freight trains passing through the city, which will be recreated in Castle Keep’s installation, Coals to Newcastle.

In a city with some magnificent buildings to goggle at, the new City Library will become the latest when it opens later this year, and sneak preview tours of the four-floor glass elevation lauded as a beacon for libraries across the country.

A picture of a symbol with The Late Shows written on it

Free buses will transport Tynesiders to the city

Less new but no less iconic, visitors will be able to venture onto the centre circle of St James’s Park without attracting the groans the players of the beleaguered Premiership team have grown used to this season.

The acclaimed artist known as Bob and Roberta Smith exhibits People and Politics at Gallery North, Franko B offers eerie objects and stuffed animals at Globe City Gallery, A Duck For Mr Darwin explores evolutionary theory at the BALTIC and there’s a collection of rare mushrooms and funghi at the Workplace gallery.

A picture of a young lady smiling while wearing a t-shirt with The Late Shows written on it

A variety of galleries offer world-class art across the weekend

There are also chances to explore some of those secret nooks usually hidden from view, with a lantern led tour of St Mary’s Church and a walk through the underground Victoria Tunnel, sheltering an audio-visual artwork in the former wartime shelter.

Opportunities to immerse yourself in the creative process include a drawing workshop at Lime St Studio, badge and printmaking at Northern Print, Dr Who maskmaking with expert Ray Phillips at Seven Stories, textiles at The Biscuit Factory and a market at The Art Works Galleries.

A picture of a cinema in darkness with different coloured luminous windows

Tyneside Cinema. Picture courtesy Sally Ann Norman

Free bus services will be running, leaving nobody with any excuse to avoid joining in the fun. Bill Griffiths is one man who will be looking forward to the festivities in his role as Project Manager. “Since its debut in 2007 The Late Shows has been a huge success,” he says. “This year the event will be even bigger.

A picture of a tunnel with neon glowing signs in it

The Victoria Tunnel. Picture courtesy Rainbow Code - A van 't Klooster

“The line-up is fantastic this year, and with such a wide selection of events on offer and the additional evening to the programme we are hoping that even more people will join us for a weekend of after-hours culture.

“We are rightly proud of the amount of culture there is across NewcastleGateshead, and we want people to bring friends and family back to the region to experience it first hand this year.”

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:

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