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The Late Shows:

Location

On Saturday 14th May I journeyed up to Newcastle for the annual Late Shows, a weekend where museums and art galleries and various cultural places open up after hours to show us what they have to offer.  http://www.thelateshows.org.uk/home.html

There are so many different venues you can’t go round many, but the ones that I chose include the Shipley Art Gallery, Newcastle Arts Centre and adjoining Black Swan venue/courtyard, Castle Keep and a brief look at the Mining Institute.  I nearly made it to the Sage, but the lovely free buses stopped too early and only went round one way!  (though to be fair the Sage opened later than the rest of the venues, if only I had known that and parked near there)  When you get to the Late Shows you are given a glow stick to wear, so you can wander around Newcastle and Gateshead and spot fellow Late Shows’ people.

First stop was the Shipley Art Gallery, this had an Alice in Wonderland tea party theme.  You were invited to drink tea and eat cupcakes, listen to some music, play giant games and make a hat (with prizes for the best ones).  The music was provided by The Kentucky Cow Tippers, the tea by Quilliam Brothers and the cupcakes by the Pet Lamb Patisserie.
http://www.twmuseums.org.uk/shipley/ http://www.myspace.com/tkct http://www.quilliambrothers.com/ http://www.petlambpatisserie.com/

Next was on to the Newcastle Arts Centre, which coincidentally also had an Alice in Wonderland tea party theme.  I am assured that this was entirely a coincidence.  At this venue though, the tea party came in clay.  Yes, the cakes were clay and the tea cups were clay, you couldn’t actually eat them!  Though I am told the advantage to this is that a bar was on hand, rather than just the glass of wine that the Shipley was selling.  Who needs cupcakes when you have beer!  At the adjoining Black Swan and courtyard there was a cabaret (Black Cab cabaret), plus demonstrations of raku pottery and pot making.  The Black Cab cabaret deserves a special mention for being very entertaining and unusual, and for involving a member of the audience whisking up a fake bird/crow with an electric drill.  The audience pick the songs from the ‘song menu’ and then Jenny and Walter, with the help of their backing musicians/chefs, entertain.  A look at the reviews on their website (link below) describes their antics far better than I could describe here.
http://www.newcastle-arts-centre.co.uk/ http://simongriffithssculpture.co.uk/ http://www.blackcabaret.co.uk/

Then there was the Castle Keep.  This is normally open during the week for a small charge, but tonight it was open after hours for free.  It is well worth a visit, and provides amazing views over Newcastle; of the bridges and the rail tracks.  Yes rail tracks may not sound exciting, but it gave an artistic perspective to them that you wouldn’t see from the ground.
http://www.castlekeepnewcastle.org.uk/

Finally, I popped into the Mining Institute; a lovely old building just a short distance away from Newcastle Train Station.  There was an exploration of the digital age and society’s relationship with computers, social networking and new technology.  This involved short videos and cut out words for you to make your own poetry and sentences.  Unfortunately my visit was too fleeting to provide a more in-depth review, for it was time to run for the bus home.  http://www.mininginstitute.org.uk/

The bus home involved a tour round all the venues; as I said before it goes round one way.  but a double decker bus tour of Newcastle at night was lovely, if a little cold.  Instead of ukulele workshops at the Sage the bus received ukulele serenades by the staff of the Mushroom Works as it was closing for the night.  Finally, our final destination of the Shipley Art Gallery was reached, and then it was on to the long drive home.

By Tracy on June 2, 2011


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