Great Exhibition of the North: Closing Weekend Friday 7 – Sunday 9 September

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Well that’s nearly the 80-days of Great Exhibition of the North over! It has been a brilliant, busy, buzzing summer in Newcastle and Gateshead for Great Exhibition of the North and we’ve loved hosting such an amazing event.

Thousands and thousands of you have experienced brand-new innovation, been immersed in thought-provoking art, watched drama, music and animation unfold and tried your hand at designing, creating, crafting and imagining for the future.

The Closing Weekend is your veeery last chance to experience Great Exhibition of the North (check out Rachel Kershaw’s blog post about what is happening when during the final week!). Read on for details of what will be happening each day including information about’s Great North Star event which will be broadcast on BBC One on Saturday 8 September and live streamed during the performance on Friday 7 September.

Happening every day during the Closing Weekend

Great Exhibition of the North ends on Sunday 9 September and there’s plenty for you to see, experience and enjoy before it closes. Many of the exhibitions, venues and attractions along each of the three trails will be open until Sunday 9 September including our hub venues – Great North Museum, Sage Gateshead and BALTIC. Get North for Art, Design and Innovation and explore what is happening daily. There will also be some brilliant events and pop-up activities for you to keep an eye out for during the final week and Great Exhibition of the North’s closing weekend.

LNER Abseil, Newcastle Quayside (Fri 7 – Sun 9 September)

This is your last chance to get a bird’s-eye view of the Quayside with LNER this summer! Watch all the action on the busy Quayside while daringly abseiling out of a crane – all for FREE. This is not the only great offering from LNER, you can also try your hand at driving a train with LNER’s simulation in the Innovation Room at Discovery Museum until 9 September. If you find yourself in need of a snack after taking part in the LNER Abseil, Tyne Bar and Cycle Hub are two cracking spots to have a drink or bite to eat with views along the Quayside. It is not far to then wander along to Ouseburn from here where you can pick up the Get North Design Trail at Toffee Factory and complete your Northern Design Quest.

Heritage Open Days (Thu 6 – Sun 9 September)

The North East is literally dripping in layers of history and heritage. Every year, we’re given an opportunity to discover a little more about hundreds of venues across the region as part of Heritage Open Days. There are countless free events to choose from including:

  • Building History and Tour at Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books, Saturday 8 September. Discover the history behind Seven Stories’ Grade II Listed building and delve into north-east writer David Almond’s dreamlike world. Tour includes a visit to the first-ever retrospective of the author’s work in Where Your Wings Were…Journeys with David Almond.

Fashion Your Future at Great North Museum: Hancock (Sat 8 – Sun 9 September)

Fashion Your Future and shape your dreams at hub venue Great North Museum all weekend. During this activity you will have the opportunity to design a shirt which represents you. While you’re there, explore the whole of this excellent museum and discover amazing examples of Northern art, design and innovation as part of their Which Way North exhibition.

Self Build Utopias at Northern Stage (Fri 7 – Sun 9 September)

Experience the final installment of Northern Stage’s Self Build Utopias and step into their Where Do We Stand? audio experience every day from 10am-6pm. Prepare for a silent disco-meets-installation event!

Blackett Street Family Fun (Sat 8 – Sun 9 September)

Blackett Street in the centre of Newcastle will be decked out for the final weekend of Great Exhibition of the North with astroturf and deck chairs for you to take a break while you explore the city!

Rocket at Discovery Museum (until Sun 9 September)

This weekend is your last chance to see Rocket in situ at Discovery Museum before it heads off to Manchester and then settles in York’s National Railway Museum.

It has been a brilliant summer at Discovery Museum so while you are there this weekend, check out the inspiring Little Inventors exhibition and hop aboard a virtual reality Rocket with Rocket Reimagined. You are only a short walk from The Core where you will find so much innovation to keep you busy. In the other direction, follow the Innovation Trail for the final time to visit all the amazing LEGO and engineering events taking place at The Mining Institute.

Friday 7 September

Royal Visit to Great Exhibition of the North (Fri 7 September)

We are also absolutely delighted to be able to welcome The Duke of Cambridge to Newcastle and Gateshead on Friday 7 September to celebrate Great Exhibition of the North with us. We’re thrilled to be able to introduce His Royal Highness to some of the amazing exhibits and venues which have made our summer so memorable.

The Hexagon Experiment #6 at Cobalt Studios (Fri 7 September, 6-9pm)

The final installment of The Hexagon Experiment takes place on Friday 7 September – this has been a brilliant series of 6 events from Brighter Sound. Genre-defying composer, producer and performer Anna Meredith explores the common language between musical and scientific composition in brand new work created with some of the best emerging female artists from the North East. In partnership with Generator.

Great North Star (streamed live on Fri 7 September, 9pm and broadcast on Sat 8 September)

To mark the closing weekend of Great Exhibition of the North there will be a special performance called ‘Great North Star’ to celebrate and honour the women of the North of England, taking inspiration from the centenary year of the first women in Britain getting the right to vote. The emotionally compelling outdoor performance will celebrate the spirit of the North of England, as exemplified by the world’s largest half marathon on 9 September, the Great North Run. Great North Star has been created by Festival.Org with choreography from Ballet Lorent and has been written by Manchester’s award-winning poet, playwright and performer, Louise Wallwein. The Great North Star event will include musical and theatrical performances from stars of television, athletics, music and a cast of spectacular volunteers.

Viewers can watch the 50-minute Great North Star performance when it is streamed live on BBC online at 9pm on Friday 7 September. Alternatively, you can tune into BBC One on Saturday 8 September to watch this epic performance following the Great North City Games television coverage (from 3.15pm-3.45pm).


Saturday 8 September

If you’re on the Quayside for Great North Run events and Great North City Games

The epic Great North City Games (Sat 8 Sept) and Great North Run weekend will be underway along the Quayside with a chance for you to witness world-class athletes competing against the iconic backdrop of Newcastle and Gateshead’s bridges. With the Mini and Junior Great North Run events taking place on Saturday 8 September as well as the City Games and famous Pasta Party, we know that the Quayside is going to busy! Make sure to plan ahead if you are travelling and allow extra time to get around. There will be restricted access to BALTIC and Sage Gateshead on Saturday however these venues are both still open so do drop by!

If you are on the Quayside – why not:

  • Pop into Live Theatre’s Live Works Garden to see the Suspended Garden Installation
  • Keep an eye out for the Get North Water Sculpture which performs on the hour daily from the middle of the River Tyne
  • Drop into Side Gallery – a creative haven tucked away along Newcastle Quayside – to enjoy a photographic exhibition About the North: Imagined Dialogue

Ouseburn Saturday Street Food Market at Ouseburn Farm (Sat 8 September)

The inaugural Ouseburn Saturday Street Food Market was a huge hit this summer and returns for another date on Saturday 8 September. This is a great pit stop from your busy exploring. While you are in Ouseburn – why not complete the Winged Tales of the North Trail (you can pick up a map from Seven Stories’ reception). Don’t forget to download the How Will You Fly? app and create your own wings too.

Parental Guidance Party feat. Paul Smith (Sat 8 September, 10am-12noon)

Get your groove on for the last time as part of Great Exhibition of the North with Maximo Park frontman, Paul Smith. The first Parental Guidance Party feat. Paul Smith at Sage Gateshead during the Get North opening weekend was so popular, that it’s back for a second toe-tapping event. It is free so just drop in and enjoy the music! Be warned, it will be very busy around Sage Gateshead and Gateshead Quays on Saturday due to Great North City Games, Pasta Party and Junior Great North Run activities.

While you’re at Sage Gateshead – make sure to experience all this for the last time:

  • DJing with Deepframe
  • take your photo in their Remake a Take Film Selfie Board
  • take a look at some of the brilliant paintings of Northern musicians that make up Stanley Chow’s North in 100 Song portraits.
  • Listen to the three specially commissioned pieces of music that were created to accompany the Water Sculpture. There is an iPad with the three songs on the concourse in front of the (rather brilliant) cafe.

Horse to Hyperloop at Cooper’s Studios (until Sat 8 September)

Horse to Hyperloop has been popular this summer so don’t miss your chance to explore the high-speed transport of tomorrow inside a building with a fascinating link to the travel of the past. Last chance to see is Saturday 8 September.

Get Carter + Get Carter Redux Screening at Tyneside Cinema (Sat 8 September at 8pm)

As part of our closing weekend events, head to Tyneside Cinema to watch the finished Get Carter Redux created by Richard DeDomenici. This summer for Great Exhibition of the North, Richard invited you to help him recreate the Northern cult film Get Carter as part of The Redux Project. Filmed in original locations, and starring local participants, Richard shoots on a furious schedule, with little more than a cheap camera and his wits. Tickets cost £12 per person (£10 for concessions) and the screening of the Remake will be followed by a chance to watch the original movie.

Closing Party at Workplace, Gateshead for Women Artists of the North East Library (Sat 8 September, 8pm-late)

To celebrate a summer of Women Artists of the North East Library at Workplace Foundation as part of Great Exhibition of the North, you are invited to join them for a Closing Party at Workplace, Gateshead. There will be music from DJ Helen Collard and plenty of time for dancing!

Sunday 9 September

Great North Run (Sun 9 September)

Wave, cheer and high-five runners as they make their way across the Tyne Bridge – this is one of the most iconic moments of the Great North Run. Be there to watch the Red Arrows fly over and enjoy the buzz as thousands of runners including elite athletes, celebrities and definitely a handful of Smurfs, get started on their Great North Run half marathon adventure.

Raising of the Flag at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, 11am

These weekly events have been joyful, moving, uplifting and celebratory! Don’t miss the final Raising of the Flag event on the final day of Great Exhibition of the North. On Sunday 9 September at 11am, join the Tyneside Steel Band for a glorious send off!

While you’re at it, pop into BALTIC and browse their many floors to take in exhibitions by Turner-Prize winning artist Lubiana Himid, Phil Collins, a brilliant collaborative exhibition Idea of North and a chance to look at elements of the Worker’s Maypole installation that adorned Monument for much of the summer. BALTIC have got a cracking shop and café too and you will be able to get amazing views over the Tyne from their viewing area. (Just another reminder, access to BALTIC on Saturday 8 September is likely to be a bit tricky due to the busy Great North City Games activities so allow extra time if you are visiting on Saturday.)

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