Great Exhibition of the North to showcase creativity

Lauren Laverne, Kaiser Chiefs and Turner Prize 2017 winner, Lubaina Himid, will be part of the Great Exhibition of the North this summer.

Revealed on Tuesday (February 27), the line-up of events for the 80-day free festival (June 22-September 9) includes art, culture, design and innovation from across the north.

Laverne will curate a series of gigs, and there will be the chance to see work by pop art pioneer Richard Hamilton and sculptor Antony Gormley – as well as the original character models of Postman Pat.

The exhibition will be the biggest event in England this year and is expected to reach an audience of three million people, including more than one million visitors from across the UK and overseas.

Sir Gary Verity, chairman of Great Exhibition of the North, said: “As well as being a showcase for some of the best creative and inspiring talent from the north of England, our diverse programme tells a pioneering story and one that will help change the way the world views the north.

“Whether you have a love of arts and design, cutting-edge culture, history and innovation, inspired technology or vibrant street performance – there is something in this programme to intrigue and excite those of all ages and from all backgrounds.”

Three key venues are taking part – Great North Museum, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and Sage Gateshead – and there will be three interconnected trails through 30 other locations and public spaces on either side of the river Tyne.

As part of the opening event on June 22, visitors will experience the UK’s largest water sculpture from the Quayside, a new film about a journey across the north of England, performances from Kaiser Chiefs and a live presentation by Lemn Sissay of his new anthem for the north. The inaugural evening will also bring together art, design, culture and innovation and will reveal content that will be present throughout the 80-day exhibition.

On September 9, the world’s largest half marathon, the Great North Run, will form the centrepiece of the closing weekend.

The Great Exhibition of the North is expected to bring a £184 million boost to the north east.