Alternative romance: artsy Valentine’s dates in Newcastle

Not a traditional hopeless romantic? Rachel Makinson gives some inspiration for some more alternative Valentine's dates

Rachel Makinson
10th February 2020
Valentine’s Day, once again, is just around the corner. If you’re not a huge fan of candlelit dinners, watching sunsets, and all the other traditional soppiness that comes along with the 14th of Feb, then here is a small handful of artsy, alternative ideas for how to spend this Valentine’s in Newcastle.
Star and Shadow

Star and Shadow is a small, independent cinema on Warwick Street, run entirely by a group of volunteers. After their film screenings - which showcase the work of indepednent, non-mainstream artists- the Star and Shadow hold Q&A's to create a dialogue, in their words, "as opposed to buying your ticket, sitting or standing in the dark and then heading home". They also stage regular events, including gigs, craft sessions, and even DJ events. This February 14th, they will be screening Extra Ordinary, which definitely isn’t your classic Valentine’s romance film, but a fantasy/horror film about a woman with supernatural abilities who must save a possessed girl. So, if you and your date are up for an alternative, enlightening evening of culture, give the Star and Shadow a try.

Alphabetti Theatre

image: Live Music at the Alphabetti Theatre via Kerrin Tatman

Based on St James Boulevard, just a short walk from the city centre, a trip to the Alphabetti Theatre always makes for a great evening. They create, produce and programme new and exciting work from upcoming artists, from music events, to poetry events, to the performing arts and comedy evenings. There’s always something different going on, and many of the performances are “Pay What You Feel”, making the theatre super accessible for everyone, which is admirably one of Alphabetti’s key priorities. On Valentine’s, they’re hosting “A 21st Comedy Night That Passess The Bechdel Test”, with the bio telling you to except fun, to except friendship and to except the unexpected (plus cake). 

Laing Art Gallery


If you love visual art, the Laing Art Gallery, located on New Bridge Street, is without a doubt a great place to visit. The gallery was founded back in 1901, by Alexander Laing, and today is home to an internationally momentous collection of art, including pieces by Henry Moore, Paul Noble, paintings by John Martin, Paul Gaugin and Burne-Jones. Isabella and the Pot of Basil, a pre-Raphaelite masterpiece by William Holman-Hunt, is also displayed in the gallery. Regular exhibitions are hosted by the Laing Gallery, of historic art as well as modern and contemporary. This month, you can explore The Enchanted Interior exhibition, as well as view The Crystal Gaze by Ursula Mayer, a film which forms part of The Enchanted Interior. The film can be viewed for free, but to explore the full exhibition, you must purchase tickets in the gallery’s shop, which also sells lovely handmade and unique gifts. 

If you’re looking for something a little different to do this Valentine’s, then these are all great places to start. Why spend Feb 14th star gazing when you could spend it at a crazy and completely wacky comedy night?

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