The Late Shows 2012

May 25th, 2012 by Alistair MacDonald Leave a reply »

For the last few years The Late Shows have happened in Newcastle and Gateshead where cultural venues who would normally be closed on a Friday and Saturday night open their doors until 11pm (and sometimes later).

This year I was out with some friends on the Friday for a drink and a visit to the Ouseburn venues. The trouble with going for a drink with friends first is that you tend to get caught up in nattering and not getting to the venues you were planning to. Eventually we set off and here is a summary of what we managed to see at in the time we had…

Toffee Factory

We got to see a little singing (well okay, about 20 seconds) and then took a tore to look at the rooms available (clearly being run by estate agents and not cultural folk this one ;-) ) and finishing up at the roof garden. No residents seemed to be exhibiting anything but it is there first year open so hopefully we will see exciting things next time.

Wychcraft Furniture Co

Not an official stop but it is nice to see a local woodworker showing their wares. It was also great fun having a go at balancing fire on my chin. Apparently there was more of this fire juggling fun and the like on the Saturday but sadly I did not get across there this year.

Seven Stories

A venue that got its name from having 7 floors, and it is also important to remember that the exit is on floor 3, or somewhere like that. Anyway, this children’s story telling venue had lots of costumes of charters from books resulting in lots of [so called] adults putting on costumes and regressing to their childhood. There were plenty of dressing up opportunities this year but this was by far the best. If they ever need volunteers to dress up for the kids then a few hundred of them can be found at the Late Shows.

36 Lime Street

Only a brief visit here as we were running out of time and a friend of ours got involved in a political debate about politics that swallowed the rest of the time we had.

On the Saturday I decided to have another look at some venues, but this time by not going to the pub beforehand. I hoped to see more and on my bicycle that I did…

Mushroom Works

This was one of my favourite stops last year with a great elephant show and Sarah Blood’s neon baked in Cake . Although there was not all that much new to see this year there were a few good things to look at. I also caught up with fellow maker Bettina Nissen who has some marvellous 3D printed creations.

Onethirty3, Hoults Yard

Some basic and slightly fun prints being exhibited. The works were okay but the way they were being hung in the space really added to them.

Unit 44, Hoults Yard

Some of my favourite art works of the weekend. I especially enjoyed the “smiley” designs. Taking time to look at these made my trip the Hoults worthwhile.

Unit 44 – While Walls, Hoults Yard

Well, not quite my thing, but each to their own and all that.

Newcastle Cycle Hub

Ironically I had trouble finding somewhere to put by bicycle here where I could see it. It appears to be a cycle shop, cycle hire and café in one although I might have got that wrong. I will have to stop off another day and find out more.

Side Gallery

This is always worth a look. Some great thought provoking photography on show here. It is always a good selection and in many ways I with a lot of what is shown here was more accessible to the world. It is free to visit any time so if you are around then go.

Castle Keep

Somewhere I have been many times and I love to go to the roof for the view. The view changes every time I visit, but there do tend to be a few years in between each visit. My oldest memory of the castle as a child is of the view of all the train tracks and points going in to the station, but from what I can figure most of those are now the long stay car park. There was also a play that was nice and slightly odd diversion, and some interesting models of old buildings in Newcastle.


I was not going to stop here as my intention to go one day in the week, but I was passing and although pre-booking was normally needed there was a spare space belonging someone who did not turn up. Something that defiantly gets my mad invention seal of approval. It is a shame it is not a more permanent installation.

Holy Jesus Hospital, National Trust

Somewhere I have passed many times and wondered what is inside. A great introduction and brief history of the building at the start. There were also a few fun things going on like dressing up (yet again) making stained glass windows like at school, a cycling simulator (no idea why but who cares). They were even giving away free soup that gets my thumbs up ever time.

So that is what I did, and there was so much I did not get to do. Some say that this should happen more times a year, and although I don’t disagree perhaps it would be more practical to have different sectors of the cities open on different weekends, or add a Thursday as well. Well dome all and fingers crossed for next year.


1 comment

  1. Barry says:

    I went to see Rick Fury at St Edmunds Church in Gateshead. First time I’d been in there.

    Rick is a local rapper from South Shields and he was pretty good.

    I only heard about The Late Shows late on, so I think I was too late to plan or book onto other shows, but I’ll be better prepared for next year.

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