Young and old enjoyed a “culture crawl” around Newcastle’s Ouseburn Valley last night as this year’s Late Shows got under way.
Thousands more will descend on Newcastle’s and Gateshead’s museums, galleries, castles and studios tonight in what is now the UK’s largest Museums at Night event.
Last night, as the event warmed up in the Ouseburn, the Paper Jam Comic Collective launched an anthology of Newcastle stories at the Holy Biscuit gallery.
Meanwhile, at the Mushroom Works art studios, where there is an exhibition on the theme of magic, a magician called Flash, who once appeared on Britain’s Got Talent, was entertaining.
Over at Wychcraft Furniture, a Jack Russell terrier called Rollie was helping guests create a giant artwork.
At the Toffee Factory, vintage glamour and cocktails were on the menu as music from the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s was played on the dance floor.
And for those looking to step even further back in time, the Victoria Tunnel was open for guided tours, allowing people to explore below the streets of Newcastle and even experiencing the sounds of an air raid.
This year’s Late Shows are the biggest, with nearly 70 attractions.
The event coincides with a Europe-wide initiative called Museums at Night. It has the same philosophy, but The Late Shows actually preceded it so it keeps its own branding.
Bill Griffiths, project manager for The Late Shows, said: “This is the eighth year that The Late Shows has taken place and we’re really excited about the line-up.
“There are some venues in this year’s event, which are old favourites, like the David Fry Pottery Studio, which is always popular as people get to have a go on the potter’s wheel.
“We’re also welcoming some new venues like the Tyne Bridge Tower – artist Ed Carter has worked with the Northern Institute of Cancer Research to make a really exciting artwork using light and sound, inside this amazing hidden space.
“People keep telling us that there isn’t time to see it all so we are having a Gateshead ‘happy hour’ today with venues there opening an hour earlier so people have more opportunity to get round.”
Details of all the activities, taking place from 6pm or 7pm tonight, are in the Late Shows brochure or online at www.thelateshows.org.uk