Ticket Details Announced for Great Exhibition of the North Opening Spectacular

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Ticket details for the hotly-anticipated opening of Great Exhibition of the North have been released. The announcement comes as additional exciting content is revealed for visitors to enjoy during the three-month Exhibition.

At 1pm on 22 June, Great Exhibition of the North’s full programme – including trails and venues across NewcastleGateshead – will officially open and the day will culminate in a spectacular evening event, which will see the Quayside burst into life.

Throughout the evening, gathering crowds will be immersed in a world of bands, choirs, dance, animation and street performances. There will be a performance from Mercury prize nominated northern rock band Maximo Park and an appearance by renowned poet, Lemn Sissay introducing his newly created anthem for the North.

In addition, visitors will witness the UK’s largest water sculpture, measuring 80m in length. After dark, the water sculpture will turn on in sync with a stunning light display and specially commissioned musical collaborations by Maximo Park and Kate Rusby with Royal Northern Sinfonia and Darkstar.

Both the afternoon launch and the evening performances are free of charge. To manage demand, the evening event is ticketed, with tickets available from 10am on Friday 18 May for Newcastle and Gateshead residents and general release from Tuesday 22 May.

There will be a series of one-off performances and surprises to enjoy over the opening weekend including a show about Northern women from stand-up poet Kate Fox; a musical performance of life in the North with Trailblazing, a trio of choirs; MESH – by Vanessa Grasse, a group of 10 professional dancers performing through the streets; and 105+db, a large-scale sonic artwork spilling onto the streets which will capture the North’s passion for football.

The approximate timings for the Great Exhibition of the North evening event are:

19:00 onwards: Street entertainment commences

20:00: Gates open on the NewcastleGateshead Quayside for the ticketed event

21:30: Last entry into the site for all ticket holders

22:00: Main event

23:00: Event draws to a close

Carol Bell, Executive Director of Great Exhibition of the North, said:

“We wanted to keep the Opening Event free of charge because that’s what the Exhibition is all about this summer – accessible exhibits, live performances, displays of invention and behind-the-scenes opportunities for all audiences.

“As the 80-day programme is jam-packed full of incredible experiences, we had to make sure it started in spectacular fashion so after many months of planning we’ve created an event which we hope the whole of the North, and beyond, will be proud of. Though tickets are free, they are limited so make sure you register so you can come and celebrate in true Northern style the start of an amazing summer.”

In addition to the original line-up – including displays of innovation and new artworks, with highlights such as a Great Northern Soundtrack curated by broadcaster Lauren Laverne, and the return of Stephenson’s Rocket – the Exhibition has revealed exciting new content for visitors to experience throughout the 80-day event this summer.

Millions of visitors will get the chance to become involved with Richard DeDomenici’s remakes of pivotal scenes from the 1971 NewcastleGateshead classic, Get Carter and to take part in a two-week regionwide gaming showcase from 1up North, profiling VR retro and console games, competitions and leader boards.

There will be a display of the best in Northern creativity from British contemporary artist Damien Hirst with his trademark suspended shark, ‘Heaven’, to David Hockney’s acclaimed painting of Le parc des Sources Vichy at Great North Museum. Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan’s commission of a series of sculptural faces built into internal walls will be shown at BALTIC, and a delicate installation from ISIS Arts of white poplar leaves forming a tapestry of fragmented and foraged experiences embodying migratory movement will be on display at Newcastle City Library.

Gateshead Council, Leader Martin Gannon said:

“Great Exhibition of the North is going to be a fantastic event and we’re very excited to be hosting it in NewcastleGateshead this summer. The opening event is set to be a spectacular start to the 80-day programme showcasing the North’s creativity, innovation, culture and art and I’d encourage both locals and visitors from afar to come and take a look.”

Cllr Kim McGuinness, Cabinet Member for Culture and Communities at Newcastle City Council, said:

“Great Exhibition of the North will be the go to event of the summer and we’re looking forward to welcoming the thousands of people planning to visit Newcastle and Gateshead from all over the world. The array of events showcasing innovation and culture will leave audiences enthused, inspired and entertained and it’s great that leading the way will be some of the North’s top artists and innovators. The Great Exhibition will highlight all that’s great about the North, past, present and future. People are urged to book for the ticketed events to avoid disappointment but after this opening spectacular there will still be 80 days of stunning programming for residents and visitors, of all ages, to enjoy.”

The free, once-in-a-lifetime Exhibition will tell the inspiring story of the North of England and how its innovators, businesses, artists and designers have shaped our present and are inspiring our future. Visitors will begin their journey at one of three iconic venues – Great North Museum, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art or Sage Gateshead – before joining three trails through world-class venues and public spaces.

Alongside the programme, in the first week of August, there will be entertaining and informative activities for families, including Family Workshops and a Get North Family Expo Weekend. These events will include hands-on activities and the chance to explore future careers and develop impressive skills.

The programme will also include a Business Summit to celebrate Northern innovation.

On 9 September, the world’s largest half marathon, the Great North Run, will form the centrepiece of the closing weekend.

The Great Exhibition of the North is expected to bring a £184 million boost to the North East, showing how cultural investment can benefit and inspire entire communities.

Please Note

Due to unforeseen circumstances the Kaiser Chiefs are no longer available to perform as part of the opening event. 

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