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Fun and bright times ahead as culture crawl LightNight returns

By Dawn Collinson

MORE than 900 artists and performers will come together on Friday May 19 for Liverpool’s eighth annual LightNight ‘culture crawl’.

Based on this year’s theme of Time, the city will be filled with over 100 free night-time cultural events, including eight new artist commissions.

Festival organisers Open Culture have created a diverse programme featuring arts organisations and venues from the mainstream – including Tate Liverpool, the Everyman, Philharmonic Hall and FACT – to the more unusual, such as the National Oceanography Centre at Liverpool University.

The Unity Theatre, on Hope Place, is planning a reawakening ceremony to mark its reopening to the public after a £845,000 redevelopment, while the Phil opens its main auditorium for a LightNight first, staging a full evening of performances.

Liverpool John Moores University, the festival’s main sponsor, will have a programme of activities across its campus including Time, Space and Climate Change at the John Foster Building in which experts will explore the vastness of space, past climates and the probable future impact of climate change.

Both cathedrals will become performance venues for the night, with a mass singing workshop at Liverpool Cathedral and a commemorative light art performance in collaboration with the cathedral choir.

And, in addition to indoor venues, there will be street drumming, theatre, puppetry and music, as well as light art installations at the Metropolitan Cathedral, Victoria Gallery & Museum, and FACT.

LightNight will reach an after-party finale with a ticketed installation/club project at Constellations, raising funds for the 2018 event.

A printed LightNight guide with the full line-up of events and articles is available, priced £3, and listings can be found online at

With more than 100 events to choose from, spread right across the city centre and down to the waterfront, a bit of planning is needed to get the most out of the night and not miss anything you fancy.

To make things a little easier, here’s Good News’ guide to just some of the highlights and tips for where you can enjoy a bit to eat or a coffee while you’re there (if you have any time to spare!) …

  • Liverpool Samba School, 9.30pm-10.15pm, Exchange Flags

Go on a time travelling journey with Victorian, futuristic and steampunk-inspired costumes and illuminated drums as Liverpool Samba School fills Exchange Flags with a riotous spectacle, culminating in a finale bringing together Liverpool Samba School and Wirral Samba Drummers.

Afterwards … stay in the samba spirit with a cocktail at The Vincent on Exchange Flags

  • LJMU Screen School Candlelit Labyrinth, 5pm-11pm, Northern Lights, Cains Brewery Village, 5 Mann Street

New Liverpool arts space Northern Lights opens late for a unique experience. Created by artist Alex Irving and supported by LJMU Screen School, it invites visitors to go somewhere time doesn’t exist, walking through a candlelit labyrinth with a choral soundtrack.

Afterwards … try the burgers at Baltic Social, over the road on Parliament Street

  • A Living Timeline, 5pm-10pm, Town Hall

Merseyside’s history is brought to life with a live interactive walk-through timeline, featuring actors talking the roles of some famous faces including Cilla and The Beatles. They’ll tell their stories, and visitors can add their own by bringing along personal photos and memorabilia.

Afterwards … grab a slice of Brazilian pizza at Santa Maluco on Castle Street, just opposite

  • Here be Dragons, 8.45pm-10.15pm, Steble Fountain, William Brown Street

Performed for the first time as a night-time lantern show, Liverpool-based Headstrung Puppets has created stunning walkabout street theatre. Mysterious hooded figures wander through crowds with two huge dragons, delivering messages from the past in two 30-minute shows.

Afterwards … raise a glass at Liverpool’s historic Ma Egerton’s stage door pub behind the Empire

  • Rubber Duck Orchestra, 7pm-7.45pm & 8.15pm-9pm, Philharmonic Hall, Hope Street

If it’s a lively, stomping musical treat you’re after then Rubber Duck Orchestra definitely fits the bill. Promising an “unabashed frenetic vibe”, join seven barmy, brassy dancing musicians as they combine Balkan, Roma, Klezmer and Swing rhythms for two fabulous floor bouncing sessions.

Afterwards … get a shot of caffeine to help you keep going at 92 Degrees Coffee, Hardman Street

  • The Man Behind Dredd, 7pm-8.30pm, UoL Victoria Gallery & Museum, Ashton Street

Comic book fans can hear from the man who found worldwide success working with DC and Marvel Comics – celebrated comic book artist John Higgins. He’ll be interviewed for a free, ticketed event, and his exhibition Beyond Dredd and Watchmen will also be open late.

Afterwards … enjoy a LightNight menu at the Waterhouse Café, next door on Ashton Street

  • Time To Taste Liverpool Scran, 5pm-10pm, Blackburne House, Hope Street

This pop-up food market celebrates all that’s deliciously diverse about Liverpool food. It aims to raise the profile of the city’s hidden food gems, from supper clubs, cheese shops and bagel makers, to HomeBaked Anfield, creators of the legendary Shankly and Scouse pies.

Afterwards … still hungry after all that food? Head to The Quarter, Falkner Street for fresh pasta

  • The Super Sonic Assembly, 6.45pm-11pm, Liverpool Cathedral

A family event spanning music past and present. Community choirs from across Merseyside kick things off in 1940s style followed by a performance and audience improv with Rev Cleve Freckleton before DJ Greg Wilson’s special LightNight set brings the night to a climax.

Afterwards … wander down Upper Duke Street and Chinatown is waiting for late LightNighters!


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