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08...It’s here!

Introduction Culture is what people make of it - a shared culture and shared lifestyle. One of the key roles, perhaps characteristics, of the term culture is to question. To challenge. To be disruptive in the way technological innovation is disruptive by changing the way things have always been done. It should, at the same time be reassuring. Reinforcing both traditional cultural values while at the same time reaffirming the right to think differently. To depict the world in both recognisable ways but also taking new and different angles. Liverpool 08 will celebrate the fact that no matter what it is Liverpudlians will engage with it, will get something out of it and will give it a slightly different twist that you might not get anywhere else. We engage people in creating culture and let them define their own culture. The people of Liverpool are proud that their city is capital of culture – it gives them an avenue to express themselves and makes people feel good and confident about their city. Part of the job of 08 is to remind people that the big world events – such as the hub festival, the Mathew Street festival, the Biennial – happen here all the time. And during 2008 to use these to attract people to the other events happening during the capital of culture year.

Phil Redmond Photo: Karen Wright Photography

Another part of 08 is the legacy, building up to 2009 and beyond. And that’s not just about bricks and mortar, but about the confidence to engage with the potential and emergence of the city. In the years after 2008 I’d like people to be able to say that they visited Liverpool during 08 and were pleasantly surprised by what the city had to offer and that the city didn’t match its general media representation. And looking back on 2008, I hope people will be able to say that the city’s grown in the confidence it displayed during 08. I really believe that culture is about conversation, dialogue and debate – so have your say at Open Culture - - a resource that is designed to allow anyone to engage in and create culture, whatever that is, rather than just have it done to them. The resource is there for everyone to use as they wish, moderated only by its user community. Phil Redmond Liverpool’s Capital of Culture year is a great moment for the arts in the city, and in the UK as a whole. Arts Council England has been working closely with Liverpool City Council, and with the arts sector, to ensure that we seize this opportunity. With significant funding, and close partnership working, we are determined to help ensure that the arts are at the centre of Liverpool’s regeneration and continuing success beyond 2008. Michael Eakin, Executive Director, Arts Council England, North West

The Singh Twins The Changing Face of Liverpool, St George’s Hall Heritage Centre The Singh Twins are Merseyside-based artists with a world-class reputation. Their unique approach – which they call ‘past-modern’ – combines the detail and symbolism of traditional Indian miniature painting with new themes and new audiences. The sisters were commissioned by the Liverpool Culture Company to produce two paintings, one for the city’s 800th birthday in 2007 and The Changing Face of Liverpool. This new interpretation of the city’s coat of arms is now on display in the St George’s Hall Heritage Centre, a lasting legacy for the people of Liverpool. Amrit Singh says: ‘We were delighted to be given the commission and we did not take the responsibility lightly. We research all our work meticulously and feel we have created something lasting that reflects the city’s past present and future. ‘It was also a tremendous opportunity for us to show our work to what is in effect an international audience, and a fantastic platform for us to raise awareness of the kind of work that we do.’

The Singh Twins, following the official unveiling of their painting (Liverpool 800: The Changing Face of Liverpool) by Prince Charles at St George’s Hall in 2007. Painting Commissioned by the Liverpool Culture Company for the city’s 800th birthday, as part of wider celebration of Liverpool European Capital of Culture. Photo: Gurdip Kaur

The Singh Twins artwork is on display in the St George’s Hall Heritage Centre throughout 2008. Ken Dodd Ken Dodd’s Liverpool Laughter Makers, Small Concert Room, St George’s Hall He might be 80 years old, but veteran funny man Ken Dodd still leaves ‘em laughing all over the world. One of Liverpool’s most famous sons, Doddy is a hugely respected practitioner of the art of stand-up comedy. But for his Capital of Culture extravaganza, Ken Dodd’s Liverpool Laughter Makers, he pays tribute to those who went before him – the likes of Arthur Askey, Tommy Handley and Robb Wilton. Ken says: ‘These men were the geniuses of their time, real inspirations to me and many others, and this is my way of showing my respect to them. It is my gift to Liverpool during 2008 and I am thrilled to be doing it. This city is renowned for its humour, it has a humour unlike anywhere else, it is something that defines us and pulls us together. ‘Liverpool is known for exporting comedians and prime ministers – but sometimes it’s hard to tell which is which!’ Ken Dodd’s Liverpool Laughter Makers will be held on 1 and 2 April at the Small Concert Room in St George’s Hall.

Ken Dodd. Photo: courtesy of Liverpool Culture Company

Jyll Bradley Fragrant, various venues Liverpool’s Botanical Collection is the largest of its kind under municipal ownership in the UK. Its story reflects some of the city’s history: founded by William Roscoe, one of Liverpool’s greatest visionaries – slave trade abolitionist, MP, human rights campaigner, MP and poet. He is often credited with being the founder of ‘culture’ in Liverpool. The collection, including a world-class selection of orchids, has survived – but only just. A turbulent time in the 80s saw Harthill Gardens, its then home, closed down. The specimens were rehoused to different locations, and only now are the first serious steps being taken to provide it with a permanent base. Some of the collection is now displayed at Croxteth Hall and Gardens. Artist-in-residence Jyll Bradley is celebrating and documenting the collection in Fragrant, which has events throughout the year at venues such as the Walker and the Bluecoat. In summer, an Artist’s Book will be published, pulling together the story of the collection, and of the people who fought against the odds to keep it going. She says: ‘I have been researching this over the last year, and I can honestly say it has been a privilege. Learning about the history has been marvellous, and meeting the people has been even better – the people who saved this collection, who fought so passionately for it. I have felt honoured that they have opened up to me so much about their stories. Organisations like the Walker have also been a joy to work with. ‘I hope this project is a fitting tribute to them all, and to the collection itself, and also that it raises awareness in the city of what a great asset they have. ‘I must admit that I have also totally fallen in love with Liverpool – it’s going to be hard to leave!’ Fragrant has various strands and events. For more details go to Vasily Petrenko Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, various venues The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic – or The Phil as it is know to pretty much everybody – is one of the crowning jewels of Liverpool’s cultural life. Its gracious Art Deco Hall is home to a dynamic programme of music; classical, world, pop and jazz. Their outreach and education

Janet Graham of Liverpool library services with William Roscoe’s Monandrian Plants of the Order Scitamineae, Liverpool City Library 2007. Photo: Jyll Bradley

projects involve thousands of people, young and old, across the region. And under the leadership of young Russian conductor Vasily Petrenko, the orchestra has been making its mark on the national and international scene as well. The orchestra is playing a key role throughout 2008 – leading events such as Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem at the Anglican Cathedral; Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmoniker at the Hall, and the Tavener Requiem at the Metropolitan Cathedral. Vasily Petrenko shows as much pride in the city as any native. He says: ‘One of the reasons I wanted to come to Liverpool was because the Liverpool Phil is a great orchestra made up of great musicians. Since I came here in 2006, our understanding of each other is developing all the time; it means the music we make together gets better and better. We’re enjoying ourselves too, and judging from the comments, letters and emails I get, so are our audiences. ‘Liverpool’s much anticipated year as Capital of Culture is finally here and it’s a very exciting time to be here. Liverpool has unveiled a wonderful programme of events that I think will be enjoyed by Liverpudlians and visitors alike. Along with our musicians, I’m looking forward to playing my part in making 2008 an exceptional year.’

Vasily Petrenko, Principal Conductor, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Photo: Jan Wallin

For details of 2008 events involving the Phil, go to Ben Johnson Liverpool Cityscape 2008, Walker Art Gallery Liverpool has one of the most famous skylines in the world – and renowned artist Ben Johnson hopes to capture that, and much much more, in his epic painting Liverpool Cityscape 2008. The huge eight foot by 16 foot work is set to become one of the lasting legacies of 2008, after the equivalent of 18 years work by Ben and his five assistants. The Cityscape is now nearing completion, after thousands of photos, drawings, and time spent in Liverpool soaking up its atmosphere and listening to its people. The final stages will be completed, live, at the Walker Art Gallery, with Ben as artist-in-residence from 28 January to 3 March. The prospect does not leave Ben at all nervous. He says: ‘I have spent a lot of time in Liverpool, and I grew up in North Wales where a Scouser is not an unfamiliar sight, and I am fully prepared for the sense of humour to be unleashed on me! I welcome it all. ‘I have done cityscapes in Jerusalem, Hong Kong and Zurich, and for me this has definitely been the best one, partly because of the people of Liverpool.

Ben Johnson working on Liverpool Cityscape. Photo: © Ben Johnson

‘I want this painting to engage people, to inspire them, to spark their memories – I want it to be a lasting legacy for the city.’ Liverpool Cityscape 2008 will be displayed at the Walker from 24 May to 2 November, along with Ben Johnson’s other cityscapes and works. There will also be a selection of historic views of Liverpool. It will be housed in the new Museum of Liverpool in 2010/11. Akram Khan Bahok, Playhouse, March Akram Khan is one of the most acclaimed choreographers currently at work; and one of the most outstanding male dancers of his generation. The National Ballet of China has an equally impressive global reputation. No surprise, then, that a new collaboration between them – Bahok – is causing a huge stir in the dance world. The piece is choreographed by Akram Khan; and the dancers include four from the National Ballet of China and five from his own company. Music has been composed by Nitin Sawhney. The piece represents a unique partnership of different cultures and dance backgrounds, drawing on the North Indian style of Kathak and Chinese folk dance as well as modern and classical western dance. It receives its world premiere in Beijing, and its UK premiere in Liverpool, as part of Capital of Culture and Leap 08. Akram has received an MBE for his services to dance, and has worked with a wide variety of different dancers and artists – including Antony Gormley and Kylie Minogue! He says: ‘This is a fantastic opportunity to explore how different cultures express themselves through dance. It’s been a fascinating exploration of dance language amongst a range of highly versatile and talented dancers.’ Bahok is at the Liverpool Playhouse on 7 and 8 March. More details on Pete Moser, More Music in Morecambe The Long Walk, various locations, and The Cornerstone, Hope at Everton, March The death of 23 Chinese immigrant workers in Morecambe Bay in 2004 shocked people around the globe. The deaths at sea occurred while the men and women were picking cockles for pitiful wages, and raised important issues about human rights. Pete Moser, artistic director of More Music in Morecambe, the acclaimed music development organisation, has responded to the

Akram Khan. Photo: © Rankin

This calendar represents only a proportion of what’s on offer throughout the year. To find out more register for regular updates and receive all the latest news visit or call 0151 233 2008.

tragedy with a unique musical and theatrical event called The Long Walk. It examines themes such as displacement, exploitation and journey – relevant to us all, no matter what our background. Together with poet Lemn Sissay, he carried out workshops with hundreds of people, initially in Morecambe and Lancaster. The project is currently in the rehearsal stages in Liverpool, drawing together a wide range of groups such as Fraktur, the Liverpool Phil, MZone and Sense of Sound. The unique format of the event involves two stages – Act One and Act Two. Act One is held in six different locations in Liverpool, including a boat, a studio and a city centre walk. After joining one of those locations – making a choice in their ‘journey’ – everybody then meets up back at the lead venue, the Cornerstone, for Act 2. Pete says: ‘It has been quite a journey in itself. Working with the musicians in Liverpool has been great, there’s been some really good energy, some fascinating material has come out of it. And we hope that it is an important step in engaging with the Chinese community on projects like this.’

Angela Chan in Act One of The Long Walk. Photo: courtesy of More Music in Morecambe

The Long Walk is held at various locations, and The Cornerstone, Hope at Everton, on 14 and 15 March. More details at Yoko Ono Now Then, Bluecoat, March-May Yoko Ono might be known as the widow of John Lennon – but before John, and after John, she was and is a practising artist. Japanese-born Yoko has always had a flair for the theatrical – one of her earliest performances in Liverpool, at the Bluecoat in 1967, involved her being ‘unwrapped’ from body-hugging bandages. She has always maintained her relationship with the city, and retained close links through both her charitable work (she donated John’s former house, Mendips, to the National Trust) and her art (taking part in the Liverpool Biennial). The re-opening of The Bluecoat after its £12.5 million refurbishment is looked on by many as the highlight of 2008. Yoko, who has such fond memories of the venue, is taking part in Now Then – the opening exhibition, which celebrates both established Bluecoat artists and rising stars. The exhibition highlights both the history and the future of the Bluecoat, and includes video installations, a wall painting and various other commissions. Yoko’s contribution will be a set artwork and performance.

Yoko Ono. Photo: Sheridon Davies

She said: ‘I fell in love with Liverpool the first time I went there in 1967 as an artist. In those days, I was invited to art schools in various countries to give lectures and performances of my work. So it was no surprise to me that Liverpool Art School invited me, too. But it turned out to be a very special trip. When I arrived in Liverpool, the first thing that caught my eyes was the beautiful, old elegance of the city by the water. The professors at the Art School were young, alert, and all very hip to my stuff. ‘When I performed at the Bluecoat Society, the place was filled with students who welcomed me warmly...a barely five-foot Asian artist with a big head who could have come from Mars for all they knew! It was an experience I would never forget.’ Now Then runs at the Bluecoat from 15 March to 4 May. Further details at Tom Paulin The Bluecoat, March The re-opening of the Bluecoat in Liverpool is one of the most eagerly anticipated events of 2008. The historic arts centre, now known just as The Bluecoat, has played a key role in the development of the arts and artists in both Liverpool and beyond. Festivities for their opening weekend, 15 and 16 March, include visual arts, music, dance, performance and literature events. One of the highlights of a very exciting weekend will be the visit of award-winning poet, critic and playwright Tom Paulin. Tom, who was born in Leeds and raised in Belfast, is also well-known for his appearances on the BBC’s Late Review programme. He will be in conversation about his new book, The Secret Life of Poems, which is out now through Faber & Faber. The book examines a number of classic poems by authors such as Donne, Shakespeare, Larkin, Heaney and others. Tom says: ‘I will be talking about the book, The Secret Life of Poems, and about the rhythm, sound form and rhyme – the DNA structure of poetry. ‘I’ve been to Liverpool many times before – but until now, never to the Bluecoat.’ Tom Paulin appears at The Bluecoat on 16 March. For more details see

Tom Paulin. Photo: Barney Cokeliss

Pete Postlethwaite King Lear, Everyman, October Pete Postlethwaite is one of the nation’s most respected actors. As well as a hugely impressive history of playing classical theatre, his onscreen skills resulted in him being in great demand for movies such as Jurassic Park: The Lost World; Amistad and In The Name Of The Father. This October he returns to his roots – Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre. The Warrington-born actor spent some of his formative years treading the boards of the Everyman, in the late 60s and early 70s, and says it is there he started to truly learn his trade. His performance as King Lear is set to be one of the highlights of Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture. Directed by Rupert Goold, the man who staged Macbeth with Patrick Stewart to much acclaim, the play is already one of the most eagerly anticipated events of 2008. The 62-year-old said: ‘I feel that I became an actor while working at the Everyman. It is one of the most interesting theatre spaces in the world.

Pete Postlethwaite discusses playing King Lear at the Everyman and Playhouse theatres’ 2008 press launch in December 07. Photo: Tim Brunsden

‘Doing King Lear is a big, big privilege – terrifying and exciting at the same time - and I hope it will fulfil all our dreams and hopes. I feel it is the right time, in the right place, with the right people.’ King Lear starring Pete Postlethwaite is at the Liverpool Everyman Theatre from 30 October to 29 November. Ticket details are available on

Richard Wilson Turning the Place Over, Cross Keys House, Moorfield The former Yates’ Wine Lodge on Moorfields in Liverpool has probably set a few heads spinning in its time. But now the reason is Turning The Place Over – the iconic piece of architectural art by Richard Wilson. The building – Cross Keys House – is now a focal point for thousands of passers-by. By the end of its time in the city, millions of people will have stared up in awe at the eight-meter diameter cut from the facade, revolving above them. The piece was one of the trailblazers for Liverpool’s Capital of Culture, and was commissioned by the Biennial. It has been described as the jewel in the crown of the Culture Company’s public art programme. The artist has said that he ‘fell in love’ with Liverpool while working on the project, and it represents one of his key themes.

Richard Wilson Turning the Place Over 2007. Photo: courtesy of Richard Wilson and Liverpool Biennial

He says: ‘We believe architecture to be incredibly rigid but all the time we see buildings being demolished and others being built over the top of them. ‘We tend to think of concrete and stone and steel as terribly permanent material, but they are all temporary and adaptable in the skilled hands. All I’m doing is tampering with the edge of where we think the certainty is in structures to show it can be altered. Architecture tends to have a certain permanency imposed upon it, but it’s a terribly fluid situation. How permanent is a brick? Or a bit of concrete? Or a bit of glass? They are all just material, they can be changed. ‘Why not see the architecture around us as slow event rather than anything solid? We all have preconceptions about architectural space, about rooms, about buildings - whether they are galleries and museums or not – and if you can do something that unsettles those preconceptions you can generate a whole new way of understanding your place in the world.’ Turning the Place Over is at Cross Keys House, Moorfield. The Biennial takes place from 20 September to 30 November, but with a full range of projects in progress throughout the year. Go to or for details.

Contacting the World Various venues, July-August Contacting the World brings together the newest, most exciting and innovative young theatre companies from across the globe to help redefine the way in which collaboration and internationalism combine in the global community. For the first time ever Contacting the World’s festival of theatre moves from Manchester to be co-hosted in Liverpool as part of the city’s Capital of Culture celebrations. ‘Liverpool’s commitment to young and emerging artists is an important part of the 2008 celebrations’ said Contact’s Artistic Director John McGrath. ‘What better way to showcase this than by inviting some of the world's most innovative young artists to the city?’ Leading up to the Festival in July 2008, the journey of these young artists is being played out simultaneously across the globe and revealed online as the collaboration intensifies. Contacting World is a complementary project to…

Get In… Cornerstone, July Young people involved in theatre from the UK and around the globe will be in Liverpool in July to take part in Get In … an international forum. Get In…is the culmination of the Young People’s Participatory Theatre Project, an Arts Council England three-year programme to develop youth and participatory theatre.

National Youth Council from the Young People’s Participatory Theatre project. Photo: Amanda Crowther

More than 250 young people and theatre practitioners will take part in the weekend event at the Cornerstone. Susie Hargreaves, project manager, said: Get in… ‘was created to highlight international innovation and excellence in young people’s participatory theatre. ‘It will provide a forum for artistic debate and a platform for the exchange of ideas, alongside showcasing models of innovation.’ The weekend also looks set to be great fun – with club nights and partnership events with the likes of Brouhaha to liven things up! Susie added: ‘It looks set to be a wonderful event, pulling together people from all over the world, and it is great to be part of Liverpool’s Capital of Culture celebrations.’ For more details of Get in… and Contacting the World go to

It feels great at last to be in the European Capital of Culture year in Liverpool rather than leading up to it. The city is at a crucial stage in its economic recovery and I am delighted in my new role to build upon relationships with the Culture Company, the cultural organisations and artists in the city and with regional agencies to capitalise on this momentum. Arts Council England is committed to working with Liverpool 08 and partners towards a lasting legacy. There are so many strengths to build upon: the major cultural organisations are developing new ways of working together and with the city on the post ’08 cultural ‘offer’; the city council’s cultural strategy for 2009-13 is currently being widely consulted upon; there is a strong commitment to the role of culture in expressing the distinctiveness to the world of the city and its many and diverse communities. But the impact of the year has to be felt not just in the city centre but also in Liverpool’s neighbourhoods if the year is to have a lasting legacy. Impacts ’08 research programme recognises the need to track over the longer term the wider impacts of this experience both on the city and its people. So, there are challenges ahead but there is also a wealth of cultural delights to be enjoyed. I hope this publication is a reminder to come and see for yourself and to watch out for further updates on the programme as there are a few surprises yet to come. Maureen Jordan, Director, Liverpool, Arts Council England, North West

Arts Council England, North West Manchester House 22 Bridge Street Manchester M3 3AB Phone: 0845 300 6200 Textphone: 0161 834 9131 Email: Charity registration no 1036733 Š Arts Council England, February 2008 You can get this publication in Braille, in large print, on audio CD and in electronic formats. Please contact us if you need any of these formats.

Capital of Culture brochure  

Brochure written for Arts Council England to showcase their involvement in Liverpool's year as European Capital of Culture

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