Newcastle Gateshead – the Late Shows

Go with the glow!

The Late Shows rolled into Newcastle this weekend. The annual, after hours cultural crawl around the city, goes from strength to strength and we set off to sample a few of the wacky and wonderful things on offer this time around. An inspiring programme of events and exhibitions held in venues that are usually closed in the evening, it is linked to the International Museums at Night event and designed to get people to try visiting somewhere they haven’t been before. We started at the Shipley Art Gallery in Gateshead which is a lovely venue just by itself anyway, but it is extra nice when it is home to the display of a life size knitted garden. There was a knitted allotment, a knitted greenhouse, a knitted gardener (complete with knitted cat) knitted flowers, knitted wheelbarrow, and knitted vegetables.

Woolly wheelbarrow

You could also get a glass of Prosecco, eat some cake (carrot naturally,) and listen to a string quartet – just like at a real summer outside garden party!

Carrots on a cake

We then took a short drive down to the Mining Institute in the centre of Newcastle. This is an astonishing building of historical significance, which pays homage to the country’s mining wealth, history and heritage and all things engineering related. It has a beautiful wood panelled vaulted library with stained glass windows and the lecture theatre is like something out of a scene from Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Although the Mining Institute is a very old building it is quite enlightened in its outlook and far from stuffy. This weekend it welcomed in the circus and we saw aerial displays and music in the library and high jinks with hoops in the lecture theatre. My favourite of all was the Forma Fortis family of German Acrobats. Alex, Marion and their two little boys Leon and Killian did an amazing display of strength and balance dressed as pirates which was both impressive and quite charming at the same time. 

My wife’s all over the place 

The Mining Institute was getting very full indeed by this time so we moved on to my final choice of venue – the Mushroom Works which houses studios for a collection of professional artists and crafts people. There are furniture makers, potters, jewellery designers and painters here and the theme for this open evening was Alice In Wonderland.

Late for the Late Shows!

Folk were dressed up as characters from my all time favourite work of fiction and there was wine flowing (not chardonnay – hurrah!) and some funky bass guitar going on. I bought some beautiful cards and was on the verge of buying a lamp with an oak base and hand made shade when the voice of caution in my head said ‘where are you going to put it?’ I took heed. My house is full of stuff already including quite a lot of lamps. I hate that voice.
I don’t know why its called the Mushroom Works. Is it where indentured mushrooms used to toil? Or was the man who built it just a Fun Guy? I’ll probably never know. Love the Late Shows though.

Things are never what they seem..

Knit one, purl one, plant one