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Newcastle and Gateshead venues call on people to return to culture

Posted on 14 March 2022


Newcastle Gateshead Cultural Venues

Newcastle and Gateshead’s leading cultural venues are uniting to call on the public to return to in-person performances, exhibitions and events, following a drop in footfall since the pandemic.

Newcastle Gateshead Cultural Venues (NGCV) is a partnership of 10 organisations including Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, Life Science Centre, Sage Gateshead and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. All are hosting a season of new exhibitions, performances and events this spring to welcome more people back.

Keith Merrin, Director of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, explained: “We know that, due to the pandemic, people have missed having days out with family and friends, or taking time out for a visit to a concert or exhibition. These experiences are an important part of our lives and something we hope more people will now start to fully enjoy again.”

NGCV has also launched a joint advertising campaign ‘Make Your Moment’, supported by Newcastle City Council via the European Structural and Investment Funds, and Gateshead Council, which will see posters appear on bus shelters in the region and throughout the Tyne and Wear Metro system, as well as a campaign website to signpost visitors to all the venues.

“By joining forces in this way, we want to highlight the strength of the cultural sector in Newcastle and Gateshead, and what it offers – from science to storytelling and from blockbusters to ballet – to everyone who lives, works and visits here,” added Keith Merrin.  

The Make Your Moment campaign emphasises the range of cultural artforms and experiences that can be enjoyed in Newcastle Gateshead and invites people to ‘make their moment’ by enjoying visits to cultural venues again and sharing those special moments via social media or on postcards in the venues.

Some NGCV venues have seen a reduction in visitors of around 50% compared with before COVID-19, with footfall at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums’ four Newcastle sites (Discovery Museum, the Laing Art Gallery, the Hatton Gallery and the Great North Museum: Hancock) 56% down between May and September 2021 compared with the equivalent pre-pandemic period.

To encourage visitors to return, venues have planned a season of events including a new show by Live Theatre’s Youth Theatre who are back on stage after two years. A to Gen Z will give an insight into the dreams, fears, ideas, pet peeves of Generation Z.

At the Laing Art Gallery, Liquid Light: Painting in Watercolours brings together paintings by JMW Turner, John Sell Cotman and Thomas Girtin, alongside 20th and 21st century artists, including many rarely-seen works.

In Gateshead, the Shipley Art Gallery is taking bookings for its Family Art Festival which will take place in the Easter holidays, while BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art is inviting people to step into an extraordinary, colourful world created by artist Ad Minoliti. Sage Gateshead’s summer season includes six concerts showcasing the very best of Royal Northern Sinfonia’s talents. They’ll be celebrating the Platinum Jubilee with coronation music through the ages, experiencing all Four Seasons in one evening, and taking a musical tour of Vienna.

Co-Chairs of NGCV, Abigail Pogson, Managing Director of Sage Gateshead and Sarah Munro, Director of BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art said: “While venues were forced to close their doors due to COVID-19, we continued our work online and were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and appetite for this. Now that venues have re-opened, with appropriate safety measures in place, we hope that people will want to enjoy live culture again with this brilliant programme of events we have planned for spring and summer. We have missed seeing everyone in person!”

Cllr John-Paul Stephenson, Newcastle City Council cabinet member for Public Health and Culture, said: “The arts and culture sector has really struggled as a result of the pandemic, and we know many organisations and venues are still finding it difficult to get back on their feet.

“Now that these venues have reopened and restrictions have been lifted, and with the necessary safety measures in place, we can all once again make the most of our city’s rich history, take in amazing performances and exhibitions, and experience more of what Newcastle and the wider region has to offer.

“We can still take precautions such as staying at home if we’re unwell, wearing a face covering in crowded spaces, and washing hands regularly, but we can do this while supporting our brilliant cultural sector.”

Councillor Angela Douglas, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure, Gateshead Council said: “We’re very proud of our cultural venues in Gateshead but sadly due to the pandemic they’ve been closed or have had limited in-person access over the last two years. Now is a great opportunity for people to start visiting these places again and is a fantastic way to spend time with family and friends. We know how powerful culture can be for our wellbeing so I’d encourage everyone to check out what’s on and plan a visit.”

Find out about the campaign and links to all the venues at


Notes to editors


BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art
Ad Minoliti
Until 8 May 2022
Step into an extraordinary colourful world at BALTIC this spring with an exciting exhibition by artist Ad Minoliti. With colours this bright, you might just need shades! The fantastical free-entry exhibition includes geometric shapes, playful faces, floor to ceiling colour and paintings on quirky-shaped canvases and 3D objects. There’s beanbags too to have a lounge while you absorb the colour. Look out for the dog and cat people too. With no white walls in sight, it’s also perfect for a selfie to light up your Instagram. Free entry. Find out more at

Dance City, Temple St, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4BR
Easter Dance Camp
19 – 22 April 2022
Easter holiday dance camp is all about diversity! Children will learn routines and develop skills in Street and Break, Bollywood, Contemporary and Musical Theatre. Dance camps take place in the beautiful Dance City venue in Newcastle – a safe, friendly and inspiring environment. Book at

Discovery Museum, Blandford Square, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4JA
Tiny Sparks, Wednesdays, 10.30am – 11.30am
Spark your child’s imagination with stories about science and curious objects. At Tiny Sparks young children aged 3-5 can explore science and museum or archival objects each week through play, activity, song and rhyme. Book at

Great North Museum: Hancock, Barras Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4PT
Great North Nights – Inked: Tattooing throughout time
5 May 2022, 6-8pm
Throughout time people have decorated their skin with pigments and ink; a mark to represent status, individuality and culture. Learn about the history of tattooing and see live demonstrations from some of Newcastle’s talented artists.

Hatton Gallery, Kings Road, Newcastle University NE1 7RU
The Ignorant Art School: Five Sit-ins Towards Creative Emancipation
19 March – 21 May 2022
A contemporary art exhibition and event programme bringing together artists, designers, educators, activists, cultural workers, students and other communities to question what art education is and whom it serves now.

Laing Art Gallery, New Bridge Street, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8AG
Liquid Light: Painting in Watercolours
19 March – 13 August 2022
Liquid Light: Painting in Watercolours celebrates the rich quality and variety of the Laing Art Gallery’s watercolour collection, highlighting artists from the ‘Golden Age’ of watercolours such as Joseph Mallord William Turner, John Sell Cotman and Thomas Girtin, alongside 20th and 21st century artists. Many of the paintings selected for the exhibition are rarely seen, or shown on this scale, due to the light-sensitive nature of the medium. Book at

Life Science Centre, Times Square, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4EP
Space Zone
Open daily
It’s easy to forget we live on a spinning rock that is whizzing through space. Space Zone brings space close to home: find out how we’re already using space technology in our everyday lives and discover how the future of space exploration is being shaped right here in the North East of England. Book at

Live Theatre, Broad Chare, Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 3DQ
A to Gen Z (a compendium of youthful ideas)
2 April and 3 April 2022, 2pm
Have you ever wondered what a young person is thinking? What are the dreams, fears, ideas, and pet peeves of Generation Z? After two years, Live Youth Theatre are back together, back on stage and ready to tell you what they think… Book at

Northern Stage, Barras Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RH
The White Card
29 April – 14 May 2022
The UK and European premiere of Claudia Rankine’s first published play, The White Card poses the question: can society progress when whiteness remains invisible? Written in 2019 during an increasingly racially divided America and before the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests rippled across the globe, a wealthy, privileged white couple invite a talented Black artist to dinner. Tensions run high and a heated debate uncovers some uncomfortable truths that can’t be ignored about white privilege, cultural appropriation and representation. Be an ally, be in the room, be in the conversation. The White Card invites us to all to play our part in the debate. Book at

Sage Gateshead, St Mary’s Square, Gateshead Quays, NE8 2JR
Royal Northern Sinfonia: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons
From 8 April 2022
8 April marks the beginning of an unforgettable summer season for Sage Gateshead, featuring six concerts showcasing the very best of Royal Northern Sinfonia’s talents. We’ll be celebrating the Platinum Jubilee with coronation music through the ages, experiencing all Four Seasons in one evening, and taking a musical tour of Vienna, we do hope you’ll be able to join us. Book at

Seven Stories: The National Centre for Children’s Books
Ask the Author (for all ages)
14 April 2022, 11am and 2pm
Always wanted to write a children’s book? Are you interested in knowing more about what it’s like being an author? Then come and join author Richard O’Neill in this fun, interactive workshop at Seven Stories. Suitable for all ages. Book at

Shipley Art Gallery, Prince Consort Rd, Gateshead NE8 4JB
Family Art Festival
12, 14, 19 and 21 April 2022
Back for the school holidays, the Shipley Art Gallery in Gateshead will be running their Family Art Festival during the Easter break. The gallery will be hosting fun and creative activities inspired by the paintings, textiles, ceramic and glass artworks on display. Families will have the opportunity to make something different each session, all themed around springtime and linked to the Shipley’s exhibitions. Recommended for children age 4+ / £3 per participant. Book at

Theatre Royal, 100 Grey Street, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6BR
Singin’ in the Rain
3 –7 May 2022
Sam Lips, Charlotte Gooch & Ross McLaren along with Steps’ Faye Tozer as ‘Lina Lamont’ star in Jonathan Church’s critically acclaimed production of Singin’ in the Rain, making a splash in Newcastle in 2022! Book at

Tyneside Cinema, 10 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 6QG
Lucia Di Lammermoor, Met Opera screening 
21 May 2022, 5.55pm
Soprano Nadine Sierra takes on one of the repertory’s most formidable and storied roles, the haunted heroine of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, in an electrifying new staging by Australian theatre and film director Simon Stone, conducted by Riccardo Frizza. Tenor Javier Camarena adds to the bel canto fireworks as Lucia’s beloved, Edgardo, with baritone Artur Ruciński as her overbearing brother, Enrico, and bass Matthew Rose as her tutor, Raimondo. Book at


Newcastle Gateshead Cultural Venues

Newcastle Gateshead Cultural Venues (NGCV) is an alliance of 10 North East building-based producers and presenters representing most cultural forms and operating 20 venues and heritage sites:

  • BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art
  • Dance City
  • Life Science Centre
  • Live Theatre
  • Northern Stage
  • Seven Stories
  • Sage Gateshead
  • Theatre Royal
  • Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums
  • Tyneside Cinema

From 2009-19 NGCV hosted 39 million attendances at cultural activities and 8.5 million engagements in learning and participation, collaborating with 6 million children and young people. NGCV is also active and influential regionally, nationally and internationally.

NGCV work together to maximise the artistic and economic potential of the cultural sector in the North East by developing strategic and creative initiatives, sharing practice and resources and by being a strong collective voice.


European Structural and Investment Funds

The project has received funding from the England European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Work and Pensions are the managing authorities for ERDF and ESF funding through the Growth Programme, funds established by the European Union to help local areas stimulate their economic development.  By investing in projects the funds will help to support innovation, businesses, skills and employment to improve local growth and create jobs.

For more information visit