The Late Shows returns and here is a selection of the lineup in Newcastle and Gateshead
Clear the diaries, gather your family and friends and get ready for adventure – The Late Shows two nights returns in May with a program of highs and lows – quite literal.
Options on its route range from climbing the heights of Newcastle Cathedral’s Lantern Tower to underground tours of the Victoria Tunnel. Others include a chance to see the hidden gem of The Pattern Shop for the first time; an invitation to enjoy a barn dance at Ouseburn Farm and a throwback to the 80s at the Discovery Museum.
Anyone not addicted to Eurovision is invited to step out on Saturday evening to explore the cultural sites of Newcastle and Gateshead which have a rare after-hours opening, especially for the event as it returns from its cancellation pandemic. While Saturday is the big night for The Late Shows – with its focus on the city center and Gateshead – it actually starts Friday in Ouseburn to ensure it covers as much ground as possible.
Read more: Tips for getting the most out of Late Shows
The Free Cultural Exploration, which sees museums, galleries, studios and historic landmarks hold special events such as behind-the-scenes tours, workshops, performances and parties, aims to encourage people – especially the most young people – to visit places they may not have been before. Since the first event in 2007, which was attended by 14 venues, it has involved over 70 venues and has become an award-winning experience attracting 30-40,000 venue visits over its two nights.
Organized by Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums and sponsored by The Biscuit Factory, it also includes a free open-top bus on Saturdays linking key locations so people can access as many places as possible on the night of their choice. There will also be shuttles around Ouseburn on Friday and Gateshead on Saturday, linking Shipley Art Gallery, Bensham Grove and Baltic.
Where are you going to visit during The Late Shows? Let us know in the comments below
As the event prepares for its return – its 14th – we dive into its packed schedule to pick out a few ideas for each night where to go and what to see. Most events start at 7pm while those in Gateshead tend to start at 6pm. For real night owls there are also Late Late Show events. For the full program of what’s on offer, see here.
Late Shows – Friday, 7pm-11pm
Victoriatunnel – Ouse Street, Newcastle, NE1 2BE, www.ouseburntrust.org.uk
This year, there is no pre-booking required for these 6-10:30 p.m. introductory tours to explore the underground attraction so those interested can simply show up, but numbers will obviously be limited. This is your chance to see a preserved section of the 19th century coal wagon that runs under the city from Town Moor to the Tyne. Wheelchair access is also limited.
The Biscuit Factory – Stoddart Street, Newcastle, NE2 1AN, www.thebiscuitfactory.com
A Silent Book nightclub – with a playlist curated by Forum Books – and flash-mob performances of Shakespeare by actors from the People’s Theater will bring a whole new vibe to the gallery, a former Victorian warehouse. It will also undergo a transformation into an art studio where visitors can join artist Megan Randall in casting ceramics that will help form a unique installation to mark The Biscuit Factory’s 20th anniversary. Food and drink will also be offered under a canopy of lights on the rooftop terrace.
Ouseburn Farm – Ouseburn Road, Newcastle, NE1 2PA, www.ouseburnfarm.org.uk
The farmyard will be transformed into a “good old barn dance” Hootenanny with straw bales, string lights, live music and maybe even line dancing. And why not. Local bands will set the Americana vibe for a family affair and there will be a barbecue using produce from the farm.
Tyne Bank Brewery Tasting Room – 375 Walker Road, Newcastle, NE6 2AB, www.tynebankbrewery.co.uk
The brewery will become very artistic, with the help of local artists who will organize demonstrations and workshops ranging from nature-inspired lino prints to screen printing. Don’t get so immersed that you forget to check out the range of beers on offer as well.
The bandits of time – meet at Cluny, Newcastle, NE1 2PQ
Visitors can join a walking story, following in the footsteps of Jack the Ripper as these historical re-enactors transform Ouseburn into the Whitechapel of 1800s London. Performances at 7.30pm and 9pm will revolve around the characters of Holmes and Watson as they attempt to solve grisly murders.
Late Shows – Saturday, 7pm-11pm
Bessie Surtees House – 44 Sandhill, Newcastle, NE1 3JF, 0191 269 1255
It has been closed since the pandemic but the old house, showcasing 16th and 17th century Jacobean architecture and its famous runaway story, will reopen especially for The Late Shows on Saturday evenings for tours which must be booked in advance. Take advantage of a rare opportunity to visit – and even rarer to visit some of the private rooms – by booking on the number above to ensure a time slot: 7.15pm-8pm; 8:15-9pm or 9:15-10pm. Only a limited number of tickets are available, so hurry.
Newcastle Cathedral – Mosley Street, Newcastle, NE1 1DF, 0191 232 1939. newcastlecathedral.org.uk
Also with limited availability, these Tower Tours will take place at the Cathedral throughout Saturday night. The Lantern Tower promises to be a real eye-opener for those ready to climb the ladder and for those who aren’t there will be a film screening revealing all about it. To book a visit online, see here.
Discovery Museum -Blandford Square, Newcastle, NE1 4JA, discoverymuseum.org.uk
The museum invites visitors to “be kids again” and to encourage us to unleash our inner child, it will host an evening of retro fun with music, games and challenges inspired by the 80s. It will offer also adult extras, like a bar and refreshments.
Assembly House – 55 Westgate Road, NE1 1SG, www.newcastle-arts-centre.co.uk
Hands up who knew? This stretch of Westgate Street was occupied from the 15th century and now is your chance to learn more about the site of the Newcastle Arts Center which was built on a Roman Milecastle. Assembly House was once a mansion from which the King’s appointee ruled Newcastle and in the 18th century it was decorated in Roman style as a tribute to the Georgian monarchy. Booking is essential for its visits and conferences at 7 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. – see here – but it will be open for discovery from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
The pattern shop – Sussex Street, Newcastle
There’s a unique chance to see what’s billed as one of Newcastle’s hidden heritage gems that has a pioneering history but has been off limits for decades. It’s in the Stephenson area of the city and, with its ongoing restoration, there’s a chance for a preview tour – for those 18 and over for insurance reasons only – and a drink with the team behind the project. Archival footage will be on display to tell how Robert Stephenson’s locomotive designs revolutionized the railways. There will also be limited wheelchair access.
Bensham Grove – Sidney Grove, Gateshead, NE8 2XD, www.benshamgrove.org.uk
Another little-known gem is this restored Grade II listed building which has a rich arts and crafts history. From 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., it invites visitors to enjoy its garden and get creative indoors with make-and-go workshops on ceramics, glass and wirework.
Shipley Art Gallery – Prince Consort Road, Gateshead, NE8 4JB, www.shipleyartgallery.org.uk
Recycling and making will be the theme of a special event from 6-10 p.m. that will include workshops in sustainable art, clippy rug making and quilt making. There will also be weaving and spinning demonstrations as well as music, including the West Newcastle Symphony Orchestra from 6-7pm and Low Fell Singers from 8-9pm.