21 May 2021 5pm – Late

Everyone is invited out to ‘Play’ for LightNight Liverpool

Open Culture’s arts festival programme is released on Wednesday 5 May

5 May 2021

Liverpool’s annual ‘culture-crawl’ LightNight returns to the city on Friday 21 May, when arts venues will throw open their doors until late at night to shine a spotlight on the region’s world-class artistic offer.

Open Culture will unveil the line-up of over 75 free arts events across the 30 venues taking part in the one-night only arts festival as the programme goes live on Wednesday 5 May. With a combination of in-person events in Liverpool city centre, and an online events programme, the theme of the annual festival is Play; allowing artists and audiences to reflect on the role of arts and culture in escape, creativity and happiness.

The programme includes seven new commissions, announced earlier in April, which include a new work from electronica ensemble Stealing Sheep, a drag cabaret on Church Street and a Scratch Night online featuring newly written work.

Alongside the programme launch, Open Culture is in the final few days of a #LoveLightNight Crowdfunder campaign, fundraising to support the festival and allowing the team to continue to work with artists, creatives, performers and producers who make Liverpool such a vibrant city to live in. With a target of £3,500, it plugs a gap in the budget supporting Open Culture in their continued work as new commissions are created especially for LightNight.

As the country heads into Stage 3 of the government road map, pre-booking and Covid restrictions will be in place at many of the venues opening for the night, including: FACT, World Museum, St Luke’s ‘Bombed Out’ Church, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool Town Hall, Bluecoat, Tate Liverpool, District, Northern Lights, Liverpool Biennial venues and more. Visitors are encouraged to plan and to pre-book where required. They will be able to add their events to an itinerary on the LightNight website, allowing everyone to plan their night in advance.

The full programme of LightNight events is out now

Some programme highlights include:

LUX by Focal Studios, DefProc Engineering, Urban Workbench and Everyman & Playhouse Theatres

20:30 – 23:00 at St Luke’s ‘Bombed Out’ Church

An interactive, projection-mapped game created especially for St Luke’s Church. LUX is an immersive augmented reality game and art installation, giving visitors the chance to interact with the iconic venue. Inside a futuristic control pod, inspired by 80s sci-fi games, players use contactless gesture controls to play with a wondrous machine and see the building come alive with light and energy. Tickets to play the game will be released on 5 May.

Girls on Deck present: Unity Toxteth DJs

18:00—22:00 at District

Girls on Deck aspires to nurture and celebrate the next generation of women and nonbinary DJ’s working in Liverpool. For LightNight they present some of the exciting young students they mentor at the Toxteth Unity Youth Club, who could go on to dominate the Liverpool club scene in years to come. Playing everything from hip hop, afrobeats, UK garage and more, you’re invited to come and enjoy the party. Tickets will be released on 5 May.

Wild Oracle: Live Oracle Card Readings

17:00 – 17:30 & 20:00 – 20:30 Online – live on Instagram

Join Open Eye Gallery for an evening of personal oracle card readings with citizen sci-artist Jay Hampton, exploring the wildflowers of Liverpool. A specially created oracle deck will shed light on the present, but also help us to imagine and manifest a better future.

Paint The Sky by Despite the Monkey

20:00 – 22:00 at Liverpool Town Hall and online

Exploring the possibilities of play as creativity, Despite the Monkey invites you to join us in Liverpool Town Hall or online, as we enlist your help in constructing a digital mural of the city’s skyline. Take part by visiting us in Liverpool Town Hall’s majestic Council Chamber where we’ll be projecting the mural, or by going online and designing your own tile from wherever you may be.

Play with Fire by Bring the Fire Project

In-person at Black Lodge Brewing

Join in with an extraordinary, adrenaline packed pre booked workshop to learn how to do basic tricks and manipulation with a fire sword or fire fan. Initially without fire, but then progressing to setting the props alight under the close supervision of our experienced instructors with full safety training. Tickets will be released on 5 May.

My Favourite Place: Keith Medley Photographic Archive


Join Liverpool John Moores University as we explore the Keith Medley Photographic Archive and encourage you to contribute your own memories and observations of these special places that live on in the hearts of Scousers. Keith Medley was a commercial photographer on Merseyside between 1949 and 1987. His Wallasey-based photographic business made him well-known in the area for his work as a wedding, portrait and press photographer.

Give Us Work Not Dole: Meccano Factory presented by Central Library

19:00—20:00 Online talk with Q&A

Liverpool based Labour historian Dr. Greig Campbell with give a 30-minute talk that explores the little-known story of a rank-and-file workers’ occupation of Liverpool’s Meccano plant – the so-called Factory of Dreams. Using archival source material, comic book style illustrations and oral testimonies, Give Us Work Not Dole provides an intimate account of the 1979-80 fight to save the facility from closure – a campaign that represents one of the most remarkable chapters in Merseyside’s illustrious labour history.

Liverpool Biennial 2021: The Stomach and the Port

At Tate Liverpool, Open Eye Gallery, Bluecoat, FACT, Lush Building, Cotton Exchange, Lewis’s Building and Dr Martin Luther King Jr Building

Curated by Manuela Moscoso, The Stomach and the Port presents a total of 50 artists from 30 countries around the world with 150 works of art, including 47 new commissions. It explores concepts of the body, drawing on non-Western thinking where the body is seen as fluid, being continuously shaped by, and actively shaping its environment. Tickets will be released on 5 May. [Image credit: David Zink Yi, Horror Vacui (film still), 2009. Courtesy the artist]

Drawing Club with Laura-Kate Draws

18:00—19:30 Online via Zoom

Families are invited to a playful workshop full of fun activities, resulting in a series of character drawings and a mini zine. Bring your imaginations and let your creativity flow over your paper. Suited to children aged 5-12 years old, who should attend with a parent or guardian. Tickets will be released on 5 May.


Charlotte Corrie, Director of Open Culture (LightNight producers) said: “Everyone is invited to Play at LightNight this year. So, whether you’re coming out into the city centre, or checking out the online events from home, we’ve worked with our incredible artists and partner organisations to create an inspiring, interesting and playful programme for all.

“We ask our audiences to plan their night in advance and pre-book events as needed, to avoid disappointment and help our partners adhere to strict Covid safety guidelines. So many partners, funders, sponsors, artists and creatives contribute to LightNight each year, and this year’s programme is testament to their commitment and passion to ensure the city is here for us to play in for many more years to come.”


Laura Pye, Director of National Museums Liverpool, said: “LightNight is such an enjoyable and key part of Liverpool’s cultural calendar that we can’t wait to welcome it back after such a difficult year for everyone. As we plan to open our venues on 18 May, we’re very excited that LightNight will give us an extra opportunity to celebrate the reopening of many arts and cultural venues, and give us all the chance to enjoy a side of life that we’ve all been craving over the past months. 

“Once we’ve had the all clear from government to reopen, we’ll be putting tickets on our website to book ahead for our new AI exhibition at World Museum, which has a buy one, get one free offer for LightNight, along with the John Moores exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery We’re also looking forward to welcoming Artemis Street Theatre Productions to the steps of the Museum of Liverpool, for what promises to be a brilliant under the sea performance.”


The programme of this year’s popular culture crawl will take place with a hybrid programme, combining in-person and online activity; planned in accordance with government guidelines and restrictions.

The full programme of free LightNight events will be released on 5 May at www.lightnightliverpool.co.uk

Liverpool’s LightNight unveils seven new commissions

Published: 21 April 2021

Liverpool’s LightNight will unveil seven new commissions when it returns on Friday 21 May 2021, in a combination of online and offline arts activity for the one night only arts festival. With a live drag cabaret event on Church Street, a synth-pop trio becoming a human instrument, a 3D cut out opera and a piece exploring sound waves and social gatherings, the theme of this year’s festival is ‘Play’.

The theme ‘Play’ allows a reflection on the role of arts and culture in escape, creativity and happiness.

The programme of this year’s popular culture crawl will take place with a hybrid programme, combining physical and digital activity, and planned in accordance with government guidelines and restrictions.

The full programme of free LightNight events will be released on 5 May

The seven commissions include:

Queer The City: Drag Cabaret

Live event on Church Street & online film

Homotopia presents Liverpool’s big mouth scouse singing sensation Phillipa McKrackin (aka Filla Crack) and some of the most stunning drag performers in the UK who will play, interact, and delight. Performances will take place outside LUSH on Church Street, with banging and energetic pop-up kikis on all evening.

A Homotopia production, supported by LightNight, LUSH and Liverpool BID Company.


Project Earth: Liverpool! The Cut-Out Opera by Love Ssega

Online event

Musician, songwriter and curator Love Ssega presents an escapist family adventure where viewers are transported into a parallel version of Liverpool based on Andrew Kiwanuka’s Project Earth comic and brought to life from the 2D comic into a 3D Cut-out Opera. As a founder member and original songwriter of Clean Bandit, expect hooks to sing along to as well as a mix of synths and baselines associated with Love Ssega’s more experimental solo productions.

Commissioned by METAL in association with LightNight

The Three /\/\/\/’s by Haroon Mirza

Online event

A new choral performance created by Haroon Mirza The Three /\/\/\/’s (2021) explores social gatherings and ritual and is informed by the Fibonacci sequence and golden ratio – a mathematical phenomenon visible throughout nature and often applied in classical art. This ongoing performance features Liverpool singers including Anne Taft, Emma Bispham, Jennifer John, Steve Boyland and Tayo Aluko.

Commissioned by Liverpool Biennial in association with LightNight.

Song Machine by Stealing Sheep

Online livestream & live performance with limited audience

In a new commission for LightNight, Liverpool’s beloved synth-pop trio become a human instrument for one night only. Audiences are invited to submit playful lyrics, words and poetry through Twitter, for Stealing Sheep to perform in a live broadcast on LightNight. Tweet @stealingsheep using the #playis tag to join in this mass song writing experience.

The Play Scratch Night & Workshops

Yolanda Mercy

Online event

A new commission for LightNight The Play Scratch Night showcases 5 new pieces of writing penned by the local community. Yolanda Mercy invited anyone, new to writing or experienced, to her Writing Lab in the lead up to LightNight. Participants were invited to take inspiration from their lived experiences and the theme of Play to write a compelling and captivating 5-minute monologue, some of which will be performed at the festival.

Play the Stars by leo&hyde, Rosie Summers and Marco Galvani

Online event

In a new interactive digital commission for LightNight, audiences are invited to help create a 3D story as Tilt Brush artist Rosie Summers live-paints audience suggestions into a magical VR world set at Liverpool’s waterfront. Produced by theatre company leo&hyde the live-streamed performance will feature a live score by Liverpudlian composer Marco Galvani and storytelling by Rebecca Macauley.

In Flow by Ronan Devlin

Online event

Commissioned by LightNight In Flow is an online adaption of an audience responsive installation by Ronan Devlin that imagines an atomic resolution vista. Just as the imperceptible atomic world is uncertain, the work’s visual form resonates and changes state through audience engagement, creating a perpetually unfolding ‘scape’ of moiré pattern. Audiences will be able to control and travel through multiple levels of the work online on LightNight. This work was made in collaboration with media-designer Michael Flückiger and composer Ant Dickinson.

The full programme of free LightNight events will be released on 5 May online.

Christina Grogan, Director of Open Culture (LightNight producers):

“We’re thrilled to be planning LightNight for 2021 following such an uncertain time for events, which are essential to the creative and economic life of Liverpool. We’re very grateful to our funders, sponsors, and everyone who has contributed to our Crowdfunder so far; supporting us to create a powerful collaborative festival with our artists, organisations, communities and partners. We hope to offer audiences a space to ‘Play’ this year and try something new after such a long but necessary lockdown.”

Mark Power, Registrar and Chief Operating Officer of LJMU:

“LightNight’s magic is the ability to explore, connect and play with the opportunities our city provides. I am thrilled that LJMU continues to be the principal sponsor for Liverpool’s free one-night arts festival, representing our continued support for the arts community and our graduates in their artistic careers.”

#LoveLightNight Crowdfunder

The Crowdfunder fundraiser launched by organisers Open Culture has reached 57%. It is designed to help support the artists and cultural programme, allowing the team to continue to work with artists, creatives, performers and producers who make Liverpool such a vibrant city to live in. The Crowdfunder asks for contributions that would usually be made in the form of the Festival Guide and merchandise. With a target of £3,500, it plugs a gap in the budget supporting Open Culture in their continued work as new commissions are created especially for LightNight.

Support the Crowdfunder at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/love-lightnight