We are back! NGCV Venues prepare to open their doors and welcome visitors back from July 2020

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM) will be the first to open back up to the public with their two Roman Forts, which include largeoutdoor areas. Arbeia, South Shields Roman Fort and Segedunum Roman Fort in Wallsend are both offering pre-booked tickets and a limited number of walk up slots from Monday 27th July. Although not all parts of the indoor spaces will be available, staff have worked hard to provide a great offer, with some interactive pieces reconfigured to convey the same high level of informative history as always. The venues have achieved Visit England’s ‘Good to Go’ kite mark for ensuring visitor safety and covid security.


Later in the Summer the Laing Art Gallery will pick up where it left off with their
William & Evelyn De Morgan: ‘Two of the Rarest Spirits of the Age’ exhibition that was left in situ during lockdown. Doors open on the 10th August 2020. Tickets are not required to enter the Laing’s free offer, shop and café but the De Morgan exhibition is ticketed and online tickets will be released at 6pm on 27th July.

The schedule of reopening for Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums’ other venues looks like this:

13 August – South Shields Museum & Art Gallery
21 August – Stephenson Steam Railway
25 August – Shipley Art Gallery
1 Sept – Discovery Museum
1 Sept – Great North Museum: Hancock
Autumn – Hatton Gallery and Tyne & Wear Archives

See https://www.twmuseums.org.uk/planning-your-visit for more details and to book tickets.

Following closely after TWAM’s Roman sites will be Life Science Centre who have an extra special Dino experience planned for visitors entering the venue from the 1st August. The hands-on nature of much of the centre means they have closed all of their usual spaces and theatres (including the Young Explorers’ Zone). Instead, they have developed a completely new experience after listening carefully to what visitors want at this present time: shorter visits, a defined route to follow – and the chance to experience something the family will love. Dinosaurs and LEGO® brick models are perennial favourites, so they have combined the two!
The Dino Experience will last up to 1 hour 45 minutes and booking is essential. Please check https://www.life.org.uk/reopening for prices and how to book.

Coinciding with the Laing, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art will join the list of open venues on the 10th August. To begin, only the Ground Floor gallery will be open where you can visit the Abel Rodríguez exhibition, as well as BALTIC Shop and BALTIC Kitchen. Again every precaution has been put inlace to protect visitors and ensure a great experience. For more information and to book free tickets, click here. 

Seven Stories has begun the process of a phased reopen:

“After nearly five months of closure, we are delighted to be opening our doors to visitors again. In order for us to test new systems, we’re undertaking a phased reopening and trialling new opening days and times. Our lovely bookshop and coffee shop, located at street level, will be open Thursday to Sunday 11am to 1.30pm and 2pm to 4pm until further notice. We’ll be closing each day for 30 minutes to allow time to clean areas open to the public.” Find our more about planning your visit here.

During lockdown Seven Stories hosted weekly online stories times in association with Anderson Press, while achieving a Kids in Museums Family Friendly Museum Award From Home award.

Life and BALTIC and Seven Stories also carry the ‘Good to Go’ kite mark.

While they are not yet offering their usual programme of concerts and live shows, Sage Gateshead continue to support musicians with their Summer Studios residency initiative. A mix of musicians from all over the UK will take part in their flagship artist development programme next month to work on new material, learn from industry experts and develop their practice with the world-class concert hall. This year’s Summer Studios will take place from 3 August – 16 August 2020. They have also announced Sting and Dame Margaret Barbour as patrons of their Crisis, Recovery and Renaissance Fundraising Campaign which aims to raise £3 million. As Covid-19 presents Sage Gateshead with an urgent financial challenge they have launched a three-year, 2020-23, plan to meet this challenge and to serve communities and audiences in the North East and wider North for the long-term. For more information, or to contribute, click here.

NGCV’s three Theatrical venues will not be opening until later in at he year at the earliest. Northern Stage will postpone its autumn season productions Red Ellen, The Invisible Man and Gatsby, and Christmas shows The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and The Hey Diddle Diddle Christmas Spectacular from Kitchen Zoo, however, the creative teams behind Northern Stage’s two festive productions have joined forces to try to save Christmas.

Associate Director Mark Calvert says “We are working on a brand new, feel-good festive show for everyone to enjoy this December – a magical theatre experience for the whole family that can be enjoyed in a safe and socially distanced way. It won’t be the same as we’re used to, and it may or may not take place at Northern Stage, but it will be something special. We’ve still got a lot of details to work out, and all of this is dependent on government guidance, but we will keep you posted with more details as soon as we can…”

Live Theatre have not announced any plans for reopening as yet and have instead focused on open calls for create opportunities, as CEO Jim Beirne explains:

“Creativity certainly didn’t seem to be stifled by the enforced lockdown as we were delighted and overwhelmed to receive an incredible 746 submissions in total. These were: 301 submissions for our short play competition, 10 Minutes..to Call Home; 358 Open Script Submissions for full-length new plays; and 87 applications for Live Theatre Bursaries of £2000 each towards new plays. Live Theatre’s Creative Programme team are in the process of reading through the many scripts submitted and considering the bursary applications.”

Theatre Royal have been able to continue with some of their Children and Young People’s projects including Project A, a one year actor training programme led by an artistic director and supported by leading industry specialists, remotely via video call during the lockdown months.

Dance City, and Tyneside Cinema are yet to announce dates to reopen their physical venues, however they have also still been busy. Dance City have kept their training academy running: “A huge amount of work has been going on to ensure that existing students on our BTEC, BA and MA courses are able to keep studying while social distancing measures are in place, and the team has made a number of changes and adaptations to both teaching and assessment methodologies to create a digital learning environment”. They have also been working hard to support artists, on 2 April they hosted their first ever Artist SOUP event online via Zoom. 69 people joined the virtual event to hear from 11 artists who pitched for 4 x £500 bursaries.

After running weekly themed a home movie competition ‘The Tynies’ Tyneside Cinema has concentrated on fundraising efforts with its #MYTYNESIDECINEMA campaign.

During the lockdown months, NGCV colleagues have continued to work together and share experience across organisational staff. Both the Human Resources and Communications Networks have collaborated regularly to ensure best practise and back office excellence while the physical venues have been closed. Development have colleges extended an offer of help to smaller organisations and individuals to access emergency funding during these exceptional times, click here for more details.


We hope to welcome you back to all of our venues over the coming months, please check individual organisation’s webpages for updates.