The Birdcage Stage performing at the Sgt Pepper at 50 celebrations in 2017 © Culture Liverpool

Liverpool Without Walls brings culture back to the streets

ALMOST 50 cultural organisations and freelance artists have been awarded money to bring art and performance to Liverpool’s city centre streets.

The next stage of the ‘Liverpool Without Walls’ project, commissions have been funded for projects ranging from live music, theatrical performance, dance, light installations, murals, photography exhibitions and street animation. 

Last month, the city council announced a £200,000 fund to support creative businesses and individuals who have been hardest hit by Covid-19 in the cultural sector, and in doing so, start to bring the city’s streets to life with its world-famous cultural offer. It also complements the huge success of the first stage of the project which has seen bars and restaurants reimagine themselves as outdoor eateries. 

Some of those awarded bids of up to £5,000 include:

  • Bring The Fire Project who will plan a series of different events and workshops for all ages involving fire dancers and circus skills.
  • Freelance artist Sumuyya Khader will create a series of billboard style artwork which celebrates the creative talent of black artists in the city.
  • National Museums Liverpool and dot-art will work together to create a temporary new mural on the exterior steps of Museum of Liverpool. What will look like an abstract piece of art from certain angles, will transform in to a brand new Liver Bird from other angles.
  • Inspired by online exercise classes during lockdown The Kazimier will showcase DrumFlash an uninhibited flash mob of musicians and dancers leading an interactive exercise class on the streets. With a high-energy soundtrack, passers-by will be able to get involved.  
  • Homotopia will curate a new visual art exhibition using shop fronts, billboards, walls and other public spaces to display the work of ten LGBTQIA artists, celebrating the community’s role in the city’s past, present and future.
  • Paper Moon will devise a safe, outdoor performance space where a line up curated by all-female group Stealing Sheep will perform.
  • Whispered Tales will join forces with Unity Theatre on a project called Distant Drums – a project that tells the story of Reggae Sound System culture using animation, music and narration.
  • The Lantern Company will use the funding to transform shop windows giving them a fantastical, surrealist and humorous look day and night.
  • In a celebration of diversity and inclusivity, The Daisy Choir will take part in a number of performances across the city centre, singing brand new music which showcases the skills of the choir which is made up of people living with disabilities.
  • The Birdcage Stage curated by Katie Anne will provide family entertainment with a range of music, aerial and comedy acts performing from the confines of the cage.

The Culture Liverpool team is now liaising with the successful bidders on performance dates, with the ambition for the majority to take place over three consecutive weekends starting on the 29/30/31 August. Visual art will also start appearing across the city in the coming weeks.

With no pre-advertised schedule, there will be an element of surprise for visitors to the city centre.

More information on performers will be unveiled later this week on Visit Liverpool and Culture Liverpool social channels.

Due to the number of applications already received, the fund is currently on hold and will only be reopened if all the money is not allocated in this initial phase.

The funding has been made possible thanks to Arts Council England.

Liverpool’s Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for culture, tourism and events, Councillor Wendy Simon, said:

“This culture fund is all about us doing what we can to support those freelancers and arts organisations that may have fallen through the cracks when it comes to financial help during this global pandemic.

“The response has been overwhelming with so many brilliant ideas about how to use our streets as a stage, and the passion and drive to bring culture to the forefront once again is really encouraging. For those that have received funding, it means they can now concentrate on bringing their work to life and the spontaneity of it will be something visitors to the city centre can enjoy.  

“We are renowned for amazing outdoor performances and it’s great to see this slow, steady return – we’re one of the first cities in the UK to attempt to facilitate something of this scale and it will be incredibly exciting for all involved to see how yet another strand of the ground-breaking Liverpool Without Walls programme will develop.”

Artist Sumuyya Khader said: “As a former Capital of Culture city with one of oldest black communities in the UK it’s imperative we acknowledge and celebrate the wealth of creatives on our doorstep.

“I’m incredibly excited to help share the work of a few of our amazing black artists who often go unknown by organisations. Let’s get them visible!”

Kate Johnson, Head of the Museum of Liverpool: “The superbly animated figures on the glass balustrade reflect how our museum and magnificent waterfront is alive and buzzing with people after such a difficult lockdown. And we are so excited to see our very own Liver Bird emerge on the steps of the museum. It’s an icon for the city and perfectly symbolises its indomitable spirit as we all adapt to the new normal.

“For the arts and culture sector support like the Without Walls fund is vital to its recovery and we’re delighted to be able to help facilitate such important initiatives. But the artworks won’t be there forever, so we urge people to come down and enjoy them over the next few weeks!”

Liverpool Waterfront