As a key cultural hub in the UK, Liverpool has a rich and delightful history when it comes to the creative arts. Music, art, literature and performance are key to Liverpool’s existence.
From the birth of the first official gay quarter in Britain – believed to have its origins in the Victorian era – to the fact it is today home to one of Europe’s largest Pride festivals; queer culture and history is undeniably weaved into Liverpool. Here are some of the LGBT people making the Liverpool creative scene what it is today.
Felix Muft-Wright is a multi-talented artist, working as an actor, activist, writer, performer and facilitator. Not only has he organised for Trans Pride Liverpool and Transgender Day of Remembrance, he’s also previously been commissioned by the Museum of Liverpool to write and perform a poem for the latter. He co-founded Transcend Theatre in the early days of 2020; writing about the everyday experiences of queer people that are often forgotten about when it comes to contemporary media and giving local LGBT+ people the opportunity to get involved in theatre.
Kiara Mohamed is a Somali, trans artist, using multiple disciplines to explore the intersections of identity – race, gender and sexuaity, as well as community and self-care. His work, which stretches from photography and filmmaking to poetry and artisanal handicraft, has previously been displayed at FACT. His short film ‘Home’ reflected on the concept and ideas of home during the COVID-19 pandemic, and used footage from Toxteth, where he’s based.
Combining the influences of Queens of the Stone Age and Nirvana, as well as the likes of Amy Winehouse and Joan Jett, CRAWLERS are Liverpool’s freshest musical talent. Self-described as a ‘silly little eyeliner band’, they’re an exciting addition to Liverpool’s scene, who seem to keep excelling further with every release. With only seven songs on Spotify, they’ve already amassed over 1 million monthly listeners, and have recently signed to a major record label.
House of Suarez
House Of Suarez – created by Darren Suarez – in their own words, ‘exists to recognise and celebrate vogue culture as an independent art form incorporating unique & specific dance technique, theatre, costume design/creation and drag performance.’ The organisation is fiercely anti-ractist, aiming to be inclusive and championing diverse talent. Since it’s first event in 2008 – as part of the Homotopia programme for European Capital of Culture – House of Suarez has gone on to host annual vogue events; celebrating ballroom culture and its connections to LGBT history, ballooning into a key cultural event the city holds in its diary.
Lo Tierney is an activist and illustrator based in Liverpool. Taking influence from drag culture, the Riot Grrrl movement, and the modernist style of Henri Matisse, Tierney creates fun and inspiring prints and illustrations. She has worked for the likes of the Walker Art Gallery and the Whitechapel Centre, as well as previously having a solo exhibition at Output Gallery.
Find out more about the amazing LQBT+ events happening across Liverpool in our What’s On section.
Celebrate the Year of the Tiger with the Chinese New Year events happening in Liverpool this February.
The pandemic has previously halted in-person celebrations, but 2022 will see them return once again. Locals and tourists alike gather at the Chinese Ceremonial Archway to celebrate the annual Chinese New Year Festival. The archway is the door to the oldest Chinese community in Europe, and this year the streets will once more be embellished with lanterns as the dragon shares good luck through traditional Chinese dance.
Great George Sqaure’s stage is set to host live performances throughout the day, while buildings will be lit up in red to honour the traditions of Chinese New Year.
That’s not all – there will be plenty of activities and things to explore, no matter where your interests lie. Art workshops with creative exercises, a storytelling bus and a multitude of food stalls for visitors to sample Chinese food will be running all day. And if you aren’t able to make it down then there’s no need to miss out – there’s an abundance of online workshops, activities and opportunities to watch archive footage available.
Culture Liverpool has commissioned all of the new pieces of work to complement the free traditional Chinese New Year celebrations which includes dragon, unicorn and Lucky Man parades, firecracker displays, family workshops, Tai Chi demonstrations, a small fairground and food stalls. Activity will take place from 11am-5.30pm on Sunday 6 February.
New for this year are:
From Friday 4 to Sunday 6 February, a 3D animated Water Tiger will prowl around the tower inside St Luke’s Church (the Bombed Out Church). Taking place from 6-9pm each night, the projections will transform the tower into a Chinese pagoda, complete with lanterns designed by local schools and community groups. The show, which lasts for ten minutes and will run on a loop each evening, is free but there is an ask for donations for the venue. The work has been created by Focal Studios, Scenegraph Studios in collaboration with the Bombed Out Church.
Work is under way on a new mural will take pride of place in Great George Square playground courtesy of Zap Graffiti which is bringing together an award-winning Beijing artist, Tang Shou, and local youngsters who will create a piece of art which symbolises what the Year of the Tiger means to them.
New commissions taking place on Sunday 6 February
Pagoda Arts will shine a spotlight on Tian – an up-and-coming young band made up of east/southeast Asian artists who perform a blend of original east-meets-west tracks. They will take to the stage in Great George Square at 2.20pm and 3.50pm, and will play a ticketed event at the Liverpool Philharmonic’s Music Room that evening.
From 5.15pm, Bring The Fire Project will showcase their incredible skills at the Chinese Arch with a specially created Chinese New Year performance which will incorporate traditional martial arts. They will be joined by Hung Gar Kung Fu’s illuminated dragon and lion.
Dance company Movema explore the cultural history of Chinese New Year and have produced contemporary work which embraces our diverse communities and celebrates what makes Liverpool so unique and special. A series of pop-up performances will take place in the afternoon, in and around Chinatown with on-stage activity at 3.10pm and 4.25pm.
Visually stunning Feng Huang (Chinese Phoenix) street animation will appear at the Bombed Out Church at1.45pm.
The Black-e Youth Circus present, Triumph of the Tiger, a short story told through circus skills, illuminations and costume involving young people aged 6 to 18 years. Involving ground-based and aerial performance, it will create a beautiful illuminated spectacle to tell a simple tale of how we can overcome adversity. The costumes and LED illuminations will be coloured to represent the five tigers from Ancient Chinese myths. The performance involves a collaboration with Bring The FireProject. Throughout the day The Black-e will also be offering circus skills taster workshops on Nelson Street for members of the public to participate in and a beanbag making workshop.
Building up to the main day of activity, from this week thousands of Chinese lanterns will adorn the city centre streets, and from Sunday 30 January a number of buildings will be illuminated in red in honour of the new year – signifying good fortune and joy to everyone. These buildings include the Cunard, Port of Liverpool, Liverpool Town Hall, St George’s Hall, Central Library Picton Colonnades, Toxteth Library, Everyman & Playhouse Theatres, the Martin Luther King building, Mersey Gateway Bridge and University of Liverpool’s Yoko Ono Centre. The Royal Liver Building and the Radio City tower will light up on Tuesday 1 February which is Chinese New Year.
Saturday, February 5th will see FACT celebrating with their World Wide Wontons workshop, sharing stories and recipes that express what togetherness and family mean to each other.
The festivities don’t end there though – The Lady Lever Art Gallerywill also be hosting events on February 12th in celebration, too. The Chinese New Year is sure to be a buzzing celebration all round!
This year Knowsley will be the Liverpool City Region Borough of Culture. 2022’s Borough of Culture theme is storytelling and Knowsley will be focusing on the stories of the people who live there and the places that are important to them. This will include explorations of local folk tales and traditions, fantastic light installations and unique gallery exhibitions. Each demonstration invites you to share your own stories about what makes the area the place that it is.
A New Dawn
Kicking off the sequence of events, A New Dawn is a remarkable set of light installations. Choreographed illuminations will be projected onto town centres, public buildings, landmarks and residential tower blocks, bringing to life the architecture of the borough.
All events are free, however tickets are necessary. New Dawn’s highlights include:
Tall Tales (4 & 5 February 2022)
Merecliff – a residential tower in Stockbridge Village – is to be illuminated by a large-scale community artwork. The animation will tell the story of local people and communities, and will be accompanied by a soundtrack to add an extra layer to the work.
This exhibition will be brought by Illumios for two nights only in February; made in partnership with Knowsley Council, ForHousing and the local community.
Aqualux ( 14 – 28 January 2022)
Exhibited in Kirkby town centre for two weeks, Aqualux is a giant light installation that includes 48 containers holding the annual average water consumption of one person. By night, the illuminated artwork will be switched on and guided by music, in a bid to prove we must protect our water supplies.
The show will debut on Friday 14 January at 4pm. This will include performances from Spark illuminated drummers.
The Magic Wood: A Fire Garden by Walk The Plank (21 – 23 January 2022)
A spectacle unique to Halewood, the exhibition will feature performances from Bring The Fire Project and music from harpist Rebecca Mills.
Gaia (28 January – 18 February 2022)
Gaia is a touring artwork created by Luke Jerram. Set to come to Kirkby’s St. Chad’s Church in the new year, the piece is a large-scale replica of the earth, using detailed imagery from NASA to recreate the planet’s surface. It serves as a unique opportunity to view our planet.
BAFTA award-winning composer Dan Jones has created a surround sound composition to accompany the art.
Submergence (12 – 26 February 2022)
Submergence is an immersive walkthrough experience displayed at Sherbourne Square in Huyton Village Centre. It consists of thousands of specific points of suspended light. Visitors are able – and encouraged to enter the artwork themselves to experience the light and illusion created.
Huyton will also be home to a second light installation still in development by Squid Soup – more details to be announced soon.
New Dawn Light Spectacular at Knowsley Hall (18 & 19 February 2022)
The New Dawn programme will come to a spectacular climax over two consecutive evenings in February at Knowsley Hall. Delivered by video projection artists Illuminos and accompanied by an atmospheric soundtrack from renowned composer Patrick Dineen the spectacular will create a unique and memorable moment for all visitors.
Quentin Blake (17 January to 16 April 2022)
Kirkby Gallery’s first exhibition of the year will be ‘Quentin Blake: Illustrating Verse.’ Sir Quentin Blake – who has worked with the likes of Roald Dahl and Sylvia Plath – has personally selected 120 of his best illustrations, accompanying everything from comical poems to ballads.
The Owl and the Pussy-cat Trail (Dates TBA soon)
Unknown to most; Edward Lear’s classic poem ‘The Owl and the Pussy-Cat’ was written at Knowsley Hall. This, and Lear’s other connections to the borough are to be celebrated throughout 2022 – most notably with a huge sculpture trail, featuring 16 pairs of owls and cats.
The organisers are keen to work with local creatives to bring Knowsley’s cultural identity to life through these magical sculptures. Local artists are encouraged to get involved!
The Opening of the Shakespeare North Playhouse (Summer 2022)
Completing the Shakespearean triangle, the Shakespeare North Playhouse is set to open in the summer of 2022. Not only will the Playhouse be host to brilliant Shakespearean drama; it will also have a programme of performances and cultural activity that spans many art forms and appeals to different audiences.
Knowsley Flower Show and Feel Good Festival (6 & 7 August 2022)
Floral displays and family activities inspired to boost your wellbeing and mental health, the Knowsley Flower Show and Feel Good Festival is a free and fun event set to return on 6th and 7th of August at Court Hey Park, Huyton.
Celebrating Sport (Dates TBA soon)
With many local sporting legends to celebrate, Knowsley will be holding a borough-wide relay to celebrate their great achievements – which span from Olympic medal winners to European cup trophies!
Award Winning ‘As you write it’ Pieces (Dates TBA soon)
National Gallery Masterpiece Tour (10 October – 17 December 2022)
Renowned artists will be displaying their work in Kirkby Gallery from 10 October 2022 until December 17. The exhibition will include work by Cezanne, Degas and Renoir, with the gallery being one of three places chosen across the whole of the UK to host the National Gallery Masterpiece tour of Degas’s ‘Helene Rouart in her Father’s Study’.
This exhibition will coincide nicely with the international touring exhibition from Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum – ‘Making an Impressions: Prints by Manet, Pissaro and their Contemporaries’.
These works will be found on the first floor of the Kirkby Centre, opening times being Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm; and Saturdays 10am to 1pm.