A Rita Riot on Hope Street for Sgt Pepper

Meow Meow

The only tickets some Liverpool traffic wardens will be issuing this weekend are tickets to ride, as they become the focus of the Sgt Pepper at 50 celebrations.

Attention turns to Lovely Rita – the tenth song on Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band penned by Paul McCartney after a chance encounter with a ‘meter maid’.

On Saturday 10 June in a celebration of the city and its traffic wardens, international performer Meow Meow will lead a riotous parade down Hope Street, as she rides on a float wearing an incredible gown made of parking tickets and red tape. In a celebration of rules and regulations gone wild, she will be joined by her Sleepless Beauties – acclaimed musician, composer and producer Jherek Bischoff, sound designer and composer Jethro Woodward. The piece has been developed in partnership with award-winning New York designer and inventor Andrea Lauer.

The event is called Rita Riot, Rita Dreaming, Rita Requiem and takes place across the entire weekend.

Making Meow Meow’s dress

Setting off from the Metropolitan Cathedral at 9.30am, the parade involves traffic wardens musicians and brass bands. It will finish in a glorious concert at 10am at the Oratory which is located outside the Anglican Cathedral.

The event will then move in to its Rita Dreaming phase. This is a visual and sonic installation by the Sleepless Beauties in the Oratory which will be on display in 30 minute cycles from 11.30am to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday. A soundscape revealing the inner thoughts and dreams of wardens and Liverpudlians will be played out to visitors.

The weekend will culminate in Rita’s ‘awakening’ at 10pm on Sunday 11 June, with a requiem in St James Gardens on the preciousness of time and the ultimate examination of time keeping by meter maids.

This will be followed by another Meow Meow and Jherek Bischoff performance, accompanied by the Liverpool String Quartet and a brass band.

Meow Meow said: “What began as a light-hearted examination of meter maids has developed into an extensive measurement of time, the preciousness of life and a celebration of Liverpool’s history and future.”

Assistant City Mayor and cabinet member for culture and tourism, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “It’s safe to say that this particular commission pushes the creative boundaries to the extreme, which is in homage to the Sgt. Pepper album which did just that 50 years ago.

“It’s a real coup to have Meow Meow working on this project with the Kazimier which we know is an organisation which creates incredible work – together they have taken Paul McCartney’s love letter to a meter maid and turned it into a celebration of our hard-working traffic wardens.

“The support of the Sgt Pepper at 50 events so far has been phenomenal and I hope as many people as possible head to Hope Street on Saturday morning and to St James Garden on Sunday night to see what will undoubtedly be a first for the city, for traffic wardens and for the world!”

Find out how Meow Meow and her Sleepless Beauties are preparing for the weekend extravaganza by watching this short film: https://www.sgtpepperat50.com/meow-meow-meets-traffic-wardens/

Rita Riot, Rita Dreaming, Rita Requiem forms part of Sgt Pepper at 50 which has seen each track on the iconic Beatles album inspire 13 brand new events. The world premiere commissions are a mixture of large and intimate events covering the genres of art, dance, music, poetry and theatre.

Until 16 June there will be performances, installations, live spectacle and moments of surprise across the city, as the spotlight falls on Liverpool celebrating their most famous sons in a way befitting of an album which broke the mould and changed music forever.

For full details of the Sgt Pepper at 50 programme please visit www.sgtpepperat50.com, or follow itsliverpool on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Liverpool Waterfront