The Late Shows: My experience at The Biscuit Factory

The annual Ouseburn and Gateshead Late Shows return with a bang after two years.

Daisy Harrison
23rd May 2022
Image credit: @TheLateShows on Twitter
After a two year wait, The Late Shows returned to Ouseburn, Newcastle, and Gateshead on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th of May this year. Here’s my experience of The Late Shows at the Biscuit Factory…

What are The Late Shows?

The Late Shows began in 2007, and are a free, late-night culture crawl taking place across Newcastle and Gateshead. Over 40 museums, galleries, studio collectives, and heritage venues open late to host one-off events, such as workshops, behind-the-scenes tours, performances, and parties. The main objective of the shows is to encourage people to visit a cultural venue they may not have visited before.

Image credit: @TheLateShows on Twitter

What is The Biscuit Factory?

The Late Shows is sponsored by The Biscuit Factory, which is an independent art gallery, located in Ouseburn. It gets its name as it was formerly a Victorian biscuit manufacturing warehouse, however it underwent refurbishment, and became a venue which; strives to provide a platform for local and national artists; support emergent makers; showcase established artist; and add to the cultural landscape of the region. It was therefore the perfect place to attend my first Late Show!

My experience of The Late Shows at The Biscuit Factory:

Image credit: Daisy Harrison

There was a nice atmosphere upon arrival to The Biscuit Factory, as we were welcomed at the door, and given a programme displaying information about the weekend’s events. We first headed into a project designed by spatial thinker Helena Seget, which aimed to make urban venues friendlier on your brain. The room was filled with comfy seats, and the sound of water, which was pretty calming. After this, we wandered around the gallery, which is set over two floors, and is able to display the work of 250 artists at any time. Although the most notable experience whilst being in the gallery was ‘flash-mob Shakespeare’, in which actors from The People’s Theatre burst into short performances. As an English Literature student, I found this to be very entertaining, and got particularly excited when I recognised the monologues the actors were performing. Once we had revelled in enough Shakespeare and had toured the fabulous artwork exhibited throughout the building, we went to find the silent disco. Upon arriving at the silent disco, I was intrigued to find that the playlist was thematically curated by Forum Books and was in advertisement of North-East based author Jessica Andrews’ second novel, Milk Teeth, which is due to be published in July this year. This was particularly pleasing for me, as I had recently read Andrews’ debut novel, Saltwater.

Overall, my experience at The Late Shows was enjoyable and I would recommend anyone to explore The Biscuit Factory, or the culture that is on offer around Newcastle and Gateshead more generally!

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