A Late Night in Store for City's Culture Vultures; Museums and Galleries Open until 11pm

Article excerpt

Byline: David Whetstone

MEET an elephant, try "fun, creative, weird and wonderful" things to do with a sheep's fleece, indulge yourself with white drinks or dress up 1920s-style to visit a cinema made for one.

Yes, The Late Shows are back and venue staff across Tyneside have evidently been vying with one another to woo the after-hours crowds with the quirkiest attractions.

Tonight marks the fifth Late Shows when, in conjunction with a European initiative called Museums at Night, venues extend their normal opening hours in search of new audiences.

This year on Tyneside a record 46 art and heritage locations put themselves forward for inclusion, enthusiastically answering the call to lay on something a little out of the ordinary.

Late Shows project manager Bill Griffiths, of Tyne & Wear Museums & Archives, said: "We want people to move around the venues and see as much as they possibly can."

To that end, City SightSeeing buses will be offering a free service, transporting evening culture vultures between the many and varied venues in Newcastle and Gateshead.

Armed with maps and glowsticks to engender a sense of shared purpose, Late Shows visitors embark on a voyage of discovery. Anyone managing to visit all 46 venues between the allotted hours of 7pm and 11pm will certainly qualify for a Sunday morning lie-in.

The glorious eccentricity of The Late Shows is perhaps best expressed by the top picture on this page, featuring Dodgy Clutch theatre company's baby elephant which may well be part of a zoo-themed exhibition at Mushroom Works, the artists' studio complex in Byker, and members of history re-enactment group Time Bandits who will be engaged in some period crime-busting on the Late Shows circuit.

The other photograph shows German artists Cem Kozcuer and Sebastian Walther who are the first to exhibit publicly in the High Bridge Studios & Gallery (formerly Waygood) in the heart of Newcastle. …