The Late Shows is a regional Culture Crawl around some of Newcastle and Gateshead’s galleries, museums, libraries and workshops. The event takes place annually on consecutive Friday and Saturday evenings in May from 6-11pm alongside the national Museums at Night. I had always dismissed The Late Shows as an adult only event. Something about excitable kids, expensive art and booze filled me with dread. However, Sprog on the Tyne’s excellent guide to The Late Shows with kids convinced us to head get involved. Here’s how we got on at The Late Shows this weekend:
The Late Shows Friday Night: Newcastle
Lime Street Studios
First stop was Lime Street Studios, where we were handed a guide to the event and the all important Glow Stick. Happy girls and a big first tick of the night. The Lime Street Studios are just that, working artists studios in what can only be described as a massive rabbit warren. Inside we found textile artists, jewellery and furniture makers and a huge printing press to make lithograph prints. It was a little intimidating as some of the studios are tiny and it was a little bit sardine-like. Still very interesting to see the artists at work.
One of our favourite Seven Stories was free entry tonight so seemed like a no brainer to pop along. The night was themed on the children’s series ‘Alien’s love Underpants’ with themed crafts in the studio and a show hourly in the Attic. The show was bonkers and genius in equal measures and the two lads acting as kids had great comic timing. The new children’s gallery Bears! was open so we popped in, only to find a guy performing some spoken word. This is when you know you’re at the Late Shows.
Jumping in the car to dodge the rain we were soon at our next destination Hoults Yard, a modern business park just along Walker Road. The Late Show activities were taking place in the canteen area, a massive draughty open space. In one corner there was a projection of a blinking donkey and in another a DJ playing some chilled out tunes. A licensed bar and crepe stall was also open. I have to say Hoults Yard was all a little bit on the surreal side there just didn’t seem to be enough to fill the huge space. Playing ping pong is hard enough with the girls but try doing it in the pitch black!
The Biscuit Factory
Our last destination of the night was the Biscuit Factory in Sandyford. The last time we came was to see the school Snowdog back in September. The Biscuit Factory is an art and cultural space, showcasing the best in art all of which is for sale through their Affordable Art scheme. After a look around the artwork the girls decided they wanted some ice cream (as you do at 10pm) from the Factory Kitchen. At this point we were flagging so I was more than happy to sit and read Living North, while they ate and coloured in a carnival mask. All cultured out we returned home and crashed into bed.
The Late Shows Saturday Night: Gateshead
Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art
After a chilled out day we were back and ready for all the culture Gateshead could throw at us. We had an extra child for the night with their bestie Millie tagging along. First stop The Baltic to secure the popular Late Show glow stick. We found Holly Hendry’s Wrot to be interesting.
Using layers of Jesmonite (nothing to do with Jesmond but a handy way to remember it!) to build up a huge sculpture exploring the layers in our bodies and materials around us.
Rodney Graham’s exhibit ‘That’s not me’ was a fun exhibition exploring what it means for him to be an artist today. The large illuminated photographs were striking and it was fun to pose outside the Woolworths shop.
Last stop at the Baltic was a trip to see the Kittiwake cameras which film the nesting birds on the side of the building. The toys in this space brought out the kid in Alan and he made a house from the tessellated magnetic shapes. How Saturday’s have changed since we have had kids!
Gateshead Central Library
This scored as the best venue of the Late Shows from the girls. Organised by fellow blogger Rachel aka The Culture Vulture we had great fun getting our 1980’s on in Caedmon Hall. In the library there was so much to do.
From finger knitting necklaces with very patient The Crafthood, an 80’s photo booth with We Engage, cool VJ-ing from Karen Underhill and amazing facepainting.
Using old tape recorders to record sounds was so retro.
The girls looked at me crazy when I was telling them about making mix tapes and writing down the tracks on the sleeves. Not sure if they have even seen a cassette before!
Shipley Art Gallery
Our last and final venue of the Late Shows 2017 was Shipley Art Gallery. This little gallery (which is free entry all of the time) was just up the road from the library. I think I’ve only ever been to Shipley once when I was a small kid so it was all pretty fresh. The Shipley is a compact gallery in a lovely historic space. Inside the gallery you’ll find interesting paintings (The Blaydon Race by William Irving is awesome!) cool Japanese items from Gateshead’s twinned city and some lovely local pottery.
The atmosphere inside the gallery was chilled and was channeling a Great Gatsby vibe with a cocktail bar and jazz music. We were told by a helpful guide that there had been a live band earlier but we missed that. So much to do so little time. For the children, there was a great craft table making 1920’s feathered headbands. Around 10pm we dragged them from the sequins to head back home after another thought provoking and fun night at The Late Shows.
The Late Shows
We had such a fun couple of night at The Late Shows and barely scratched the surface. If time was on our side Bessie Surtees House, The Swing Bridge, Dunston Staiths and Discovery Museum would have been the next venues on the list. Can’t wait for The Late Shows 2018 already. Bring on the late night culture!