The best outdoor arts & entertainment in Liverpool this summer
Words by Natasha Young
William Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’
Where? Knowsley Hall
When? 9 August
What’s happening? Pack up a picnic, set up your camping chair, sit back and enjoy an evening of theatre outdoors. All male company The Lord Chamberlain’s Men will perform its fast-paced production of the popular Shakespeare play in the grounds of Knowsley Hall for one night only. Soaring poetry, high comedy and tender love are all promised alongside Elizabethan costumes, music and dance at the show in Prescot, which boasts its own genuine historic links to the Bard. Hopefully the sun will continue to shine over the open air performance, however the show will go on whatever the weather. Tickets are available for children and adults, with family passes (two adults and two children) also on sale.
Where? Locations in all six Liverpool City Region boroughs
When? During 9-12 August
What’s happening? In a cultural first for the Liverpool City Region the French artist Olivier Grossetête, his team and hundreds of volunteers will build monumental cardboard castle-inspired structures in public locations. Some of the towering creations, which will reach up to 20 metres tall, will be based on actual medieval forts or historic structures which once stood in the region. At different points during the four-day event, sculptures will be built at locations including Liverpool’s Williamson Square, Knowsley Safari Park, Halton’s Norton Priory Museum, West Kirby’s Ashton Park, North Park in Bootle, and Victoria Square near St Helens Town Hall. Watch the magical structures being built and then stick around for the fun of toppling them at the end of the weekend.
Folk on the Dock
Where? Royal Albert Dock Liverpool
When? 25-27 August
What’s happening? Grammy nominated lyricist and double Ivor Novello award winner Chris Difford is among the acts already announced for this year’s three-day dockside celebration of folk, roots and acoustic music. BBC Folk Awards 2017 winner Daoirí Farrell has also been added to the bill for the contemporary Dock Stage, hosted by Janice Long, as the festival returns to the city for its third year. Around 200 artistes will perform across 10 stages in total during the free bank holiday event, which will also incorporate the Liverpool Shanty Festival to bring music to boats around the water’s edge. A host of acts are still to be announced.
Red Bull Drift Shifters
Where? The Strand
When? 19 August
What’s happening? In search of some action-packed summer entertainment? Well Red Bull Drift Shifters could be the answer. Some of the world’s best drifters will showcase their skill, speed and precision as the race comes to Liverpool for the first time. Drivers including 2017 Formula Drift Champion James Deane, two-time British Champion Matt Carter and Red Bull racer Mad Mike Whiddet who dreamt up the event will be among the competitors in the gripping race. Grab your tickets and enjoy the thrilling event surrounded by striking city landmarks including the ‘Three Graces’ as a track is set up alongside the waterfront.
Where? Exchange Flags
When? Until 28 October
What’s happening? Over the years Liverpool Biennial has brought some memorable public art to the city’s open spaces, from 2008’s slowly rotating ‘Joyful Trees’ on the corner of Parliament Street and Great George Street to Richard Wilson’s attention-grabbing ‘Turning the Place Over’ installation on the side of a former Yates’s Wine Lodge in Moorfields. This year London-based artist Holly Hendry has stepped up to draw in passers-by with her large-scale sculpture, ‘Cenotaph’. Hendry reflects Liverpool’s architecture in her ‘pipe’ creations, which are situated behind Liverpool Town Hall in Exchange Flags, with inspiration said to be taken from the Williamson Tunnels and the old dock under Liverpool ONE. Sections of the sculpture are made from glass reinforced concrete (GRC), after the artist also researched material processes tied to Liverpool, its architecture and shipping heritage.
Where? 75-77 Granby Street
When? Open Saturdays, 2-5pm
What’s happening? Artist Mohamed Bourouissa has worked with local people, gardeners, school pupils, teachers and artists to deliver a new community garden in Toxteth’s Granby area. Commissioned by Liverpool Biennial in partnership with Kingsley Community School and Granby Four Streets CLT, the work takes inspiration from a garden made by a patient of the psychoanalyst and writer Frantz Fanon at the Blida-Joinville Psychiatric Hospital in Blida, Algeria. The patient created the original garden as occupational therapy, and Bourouissa researched and learnt their approach to botany, architecture and therapy to create a space of ‘resilience’. Some of the chosen plants are native to Algeria, with others said to have healing effects.