Liverpool EuroFestival unveils full line-up
The full programme of commissions for this May’s EuroFestival has been revealed – with events taking place at locations and venues throughout the city centre.
They include 12 giant illuminated nightingales, a simultaneous mass participation kite-flying event involving hundreds of British and Ukrainian children, a Liverpool/Ukrainian ‘supergroup’, an immersive audio experience following artists on the front line, and a contemporary media opera.
EuroFestival – which runs from May 1-14 - will also include a wide range of other performances, poetry, film, exhibitions and installations.
A sneak preview of the commissions earlier this spring revealed a giant blue and yellow submarine trail, a poignant installation inside Liverpool Cathedral, a simultaneous rave in Liverpool and Ukraine and English National Opera Does Eurovision.
Among the venues involved are Tate Liverpool, Invisible Wind Factory, Liverpool Everyman, the Unity Theatre, the Bluecoat, Chavasse Park and Exchange Flags, along with the EuroVillage at the Pier Head.
Culture Liverpool director Claire McColgan says: “EuroFestival is unique in every sense. No other Eurovision host city has ever curated a creative programme of such scale and scope, paying homage to the culture and heritage of both Liverpool and Ukraine in the most unforgettable way.
“Evocative, thought-provoking, joyous, celebratory, reflective, hopeful – these 24 commissions cover the whole gambit of emotions which will draw in the audience and make them really feel truly part of this Eurovision experience.
“It’s a programme of glorious brilliance, made by artists with open hearts and the will and commitment to present a show in less than five months, to reach across countries and genres and to produce this Scouse/Ukrainian mashup of brilliance.
“This is the spirit of Eurovision spilling onto our streets. Free for all. Accessible to all. Uniting us all.”
EuroFestival has been made possible thanks to support from the DCMS, as well as The British Council, Spirit of 2012 and Arts Council England. The content partners are The Ukrainian Institute, the BBC, Liverpool ONE, The Liverpool BID and Royal Liverpool Albert Dock.
Protect the Beats
Exchange Flags – May 1-14
Company/Artist: Whispered Tales and Denys Kashchei
As war broke out in Ukraine, everyone looked on in horror as people across the country tried to keep their loved ones safe. But it wasn’t just their loved ones they were protecting, but their culture, art and music.
Protect the Beats is a work of solidarity with the people of Ukraine. A large-scale public artwork will feature a well-known Liverpool landmark – and over 2,500 sandbags. A short film, embedded in the artwork, illustrates how music remains at the beating heart of Ukrainian culture in a message of hope, joy and defiance.
Created by Whispered Tales in collaboration with the Ukrainian musician Denys Kashchei, the film features a range of footage – from opera singers to drum and bass – illustrating the power of music to unite people, even in the darkest of times.
Land & Sky, Home & Dreams
Tower Grounds, New Brighton
Company/Artist: Go Fly Your Kite and the Junior Academy of Science Kyiv
This atmospheric performance sees children from Ukraine and Liverpool united by art in a simultaneous flying finale, representing their soaring dreams and shared aspirations.
Throughout May, Go Fly Your Kite hosts inspiring kite design workshops in Liverpool, while in Ukraine, Junior Academy of Sciences creates workshops working with young people across four cities.
They will come together with schools from Liverpool City Region, to creatively illustrate their dreams and wishes onto their kites. And then they fly.
With Fire and Rage
Multiple sites throughout the city, trail starts at Everyman Theatre – May 1-13
Company/Artist: Zoe Lafferty (Artists on the Frontline) / Veronika Skliarova (Parade-Fest)
Visitors can immerse themselves in the stories of artists on the frontline in Ukraine as they walk the streets of Liverpool.
An immersive audio experience, With Fire and Rage combines testimony with photography, visual art, poetry and music – all they need is a smartphone and headphones to explore the powerful role creativity plays in the face of invasion.
A collaboration between Parade-Fest and Artists on The Frontline, With Fire and Rage features some of Ukraine’s most radical and innovative artists.
Their stories take visitors from music concerts in metro stations during air raids, to smuggling artworks out of cities as rockets fall, to creating subversive street art under Russian occupation. Their words expose attempts to eradicate the country’s cultural identity – a tactic of war – highlighting the human cost behind standing up to an empire.
Walk through Liverpool and encounter narratives of creative resistance at key public and cultural locations, with the stories of those protecting Ukraine’s spirit rising from the city streets.
Sound of Freedom
Tempest Hey Building, Liverpool – May 1-14
Company/Artist: Katya Taylor
Sound of Freedom focuses on cooperation between Ukraine and the world at all levels: political, social, and cultural. This cooperation starts with artistic interaction, an example of prosperity created by joint efforts.
The artwork explores the cultural identity of the nations through music. It examines the musical background of each country and finds common ground, celebrating diversity, talent, and creativity.
The project is commissioned by Culture Liverpool, curated by Katya Taylor, and implemented by Port, an Agency based in Kyiv, Ukraine. Ukrainian artist Somari and Liverpool based artist Neil Keating will collaborate to bring this mural to the city.
Liverpool joins The Wall project, created in collaboration with the Ukrainian Institute, with the vibrant Sound of Freedom mural. The city joins Vienna, Berlin, Marseilles, Brussels and Nairobi with a unique work of street art.
Trail locations can be found across Liverpool city centre – May 1-14
Company/Artist: Amigo & Amigo, Svitlana Reinish, Anton Dehtiarov and M3 Industries.
Follow the Soloveiko Songbird map to discover the songs of Ukraine. The Soloveiko Songbird – nightingale in English – is the national bird of Ukraine and a symbol of song and happiness.
Twelve Soloveiko from different Ukrainian regions have travelled to Liverpool, bringing their songs and stories to EuroFestival.
Each Soloveiko has been placed in a unique location around the city, and visitors are invited to listen as they share the stories and songs of their homeland.
To accompany the beautiful Soloveiko Songbirds, a four-minute 3D animation will bring the nightingales to life and tell their stories.
Big Eurovision Read
Liverpool Central Library – launching April
Company/Artist: Reading Agency
Music, books and great writing transform lives and inspire generations. Celebrate the Power of Music with these 12 – ‘douze’ – recommendations for great reads.
The Reading Agency and BBC Arts share an inspiring book list full of brilliant suggestions, from fiction to autobiographies, curated by librarians from across the UK.
Visitors will be invited to explore and enjoy the books at the Reading Den – a dedicated space outside Liverpool Central Library as part of EuroFestival – and their own suggestions of books about the power of music.
Working in partnership with Liverpool Libraries, sites will be open to all and invite visitors to relax with a book, dive into talk series or join workshops at the Reading Den.
National Museums Liverpool x Eurovision
National Museums Liverpool – May 1-14
National Museums Liverpool calling…
Liverpool’s museums and galleries get a Eurovision glow-up, with musical stairs and night-time projections at the Museum of Liverpool and dazzling day-time live performances at its sites across the host city.
Get inspired with tours and talks as the NML team delve deeper into Eurovision – or get hands-on with a variety of workshops for fans of ages. NML’s cafés promise to keep visitors fueled for a fortnight of Eurovision fun with inspired food and drink, as they run around town making Eurovision memories.
The Bluecoat – May 1-14
Company/Artist: Bluecoat with Olena Kasperovych and Jam Factory
Head to one of Liverpool’s oldest buildings for Dialogues, a free exhibition developed in partnership with Jam Factory Art Center, Lviv.
Work from Liverpool artist Ellie Hoskins and Ukrainian artist Alevtina Kakhidze shows their humorous take on life as they observe the world around them.
Find it both in the galleries and outside on posters on Blundell Lane.
Online – May 1-14
Company/Artist: First Take
From drag kings to Scouse queens, LGBT music to local activist visionaries, Queerovision captures the most anticipated international festival of the year during its Liverpool edition.
Queerovision will be sharing visual clips on social media and breaking daily coverage of all things Eurovision, capturing the entirety of Liverpool’s Eurovision adventure.
Celebrate being ‘united through music’, as Liverpool plays host to the world’s largest multicultural music festival. Queerovision will explore queer identity, community, politics and music, and platform Queer Scouse voices in a once-in-a-lifetime history-making Festival Wrap Film.
Izyum to Liverpool
Liverpool Cathedral – May 1-19
Company/Artist: Katya Buchatska & Liverpool Cathedral
Visitors can immerse themselves on a poignant train journey with this multi-channel video installation from Ukrainian artist Katya Buchatska, who will transform Liverpool Cathedral into a railway carriage.
Filmed in real time, this is an extraordinary window into the journey of escape many Ukrainians have taken since the full-scale Russian invasion in February 2022. The journey starts with views of liberated Ukrainian regions moving to apparently stiller Western cities.
Izyum to Liverpool is about the fragility of our environment, our lives and the landscape surrounding us. It is about the war in Ukraine. It is about something that can happen anywhere. Normal life can be changed in just one moment.
This work is about the loss of certainties. A one-way journey provoking a shift in the state of mind. Even if in a safe environment farther away from the front line, this feeling of loss and uncertainty stays with viewers.
Various underground locations – dates TBC
Company/Artist: Invisible Wind Factory / Sonia Chapman / Slukh Media / Perfectionist.London
Electronic meets performing arts in this exciting, curated programme born from the shared desire to bring Ukrainian and UK artists together in solidarity.
While Liverpool hosts Eurovision on Ukraine’s behalf, Xpresia Festival sees collaborations between British and Ukrainian creative producers and curators, to deliver something unique, vibrant and atmospheric.
Celebrate culture, unity and creativity through visual arts, electronic music, DJs, live music, theatre and cabaret and creative technology with the new Xpresia Festival.
Taking place in the exciting Ten Streets area, Xpresia Festival is happening across some of Liverpool’s best independent arts and music venues.
Invisible Wind Factory – May 1-2
Company/Artist: Opera Aperta
Archaeological opera in seven novels.
A contemporary media-opera inspired by the impact of nuclear power on our world, Chornobyldorf is a post-apocalyptic fantasy. It combines folk and classical singing with physical theatre, dance, unique musical instruments and cinematic video-novels.
Having survived a series of disasters, the descendants of humanity find themselves in a post-society – the world after the death of capitalism, opera, and philosophy. Wandering amongst the ruins of the nuclear power plants, abandoned churches, theatres and galleries, they try to recreate the lost civilisation through archaeological performances rituals, universal symbols and signs.
Described by the Times as “a modern Ukrainian masterpiece everyone needs to see,” and “One of the most shattering and essential performances anywhere in the world today,” by BBC Radio 1, be sure not to miss it.
The People’s Flag
Online – From May 5
Company/Artist: Northern Town, Jeanefer Jean-Charles
Visitors to Liverpool will be welcomed with The People’s Flag, a new, mass participation film.
Mass movement director Jeanefer Jean-Charles MBE and local choreographers Lisi Perry and Grace Goulding have invited the public to be part of this exciting film project, designed to create a unique, warm welcome to all Eurovision-comers.
If you want to be part of the film, register here by midday on Monday, April 3.
A Place of Hope
Unity Theatre – May 2-5 and 9-11
Company/Artist: Unity Theatre and Yurii Radionov
A celebration of Ukraine, poignantly located on a street called Hope Place. For two weeks in May, Unity Theatre’s iconic venue becomes a Place of Hope, with a jam-packed, free programme, celebrating a host of incredible Ukrainian artists.
Created in partnership with award-winning Ukrainian theatre makers Yurii Radionov and Shorena Shoniia, the programme includes their acclaimed theatre production UKRLAND:Stories from Ukraine and the world premiere of Yurii and Shorena’s highly anticipated new show Maria.
Unity will also host a night of Ukrainian poetry, panel discussions, creative workshops and the opportunity to come together for a unique Ukrainian dining experience.
There will also be a new photography exhibition and walking trail from Open Eye Gallery and an extended exhibition from Kyiv photographer Anton Shebetko on the queer history of Ukraine.
Late at Tate Liverpool: The Spirit of Eurovision
Tate Liverpool – May 4
A very special Late at Tate Liverpool celebrates the power of music and creativity and its ability to unite.
Enjoy live music, performance, workshops, talks, immersive installations and fashion, inspired by the joyous spirit of the Eurovision Song Contest.
Late at Tate Liverpool showcases the work of emerging and established creatives alongside Tate’s collection, the national collection of modern and contemporary art.
Join Tate Liverpool for this unique opportunity for Eurovision fans to experience different types of art and activities inspired by the much-loved Song Content, in an iconic Liverpool building. Royal Albert Dock is part of the largest group of Grade I listed buildings in the country, nestled between the M&S Bank Arena and Pier Head Eurovision Village.
Tate’s café will be serving delicious food and drinks throughout the evening. Find more details at www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-liverpool/late-at-tate-liverpool-the-spirit-of-eurovision.
The Blue and Yellow Submarine Parade
Various locations across city centre – May 5
A submarine research vessel explores the deep sea, its mission: an underwater life of happiness, making friends in a world where everyone lives in unity. The trusty seafarers and their friends symbolise the partnership with Liverpool and Ukraine, the global Eurovision community and the unity it brings.
A drumming octopus, skating jellyfish, disco ball angler fish and lots of other sea creatures parade the street, the submarine gliding in their wake.
Members of the public are invited to join en route and adopt the underwater fancy dress theme.
Performers in blue form a vast undulating sea, with a shoal of fish weaving in and out. It is an underwater kingdom of sounds, dancing and fun ending in a very exciting finale not to be missed.
The opportunity to be part of the parade is available to all through creative facilitated workshops.
Open Eye Gallery – May 5-July
Company/Artist: Open Eye Gallery
What does Home mean to you? Ukrainian photography inspires UK words, shared in exhibitions, trails and events across Liverpool City Region.
Spot especially created Ukrainian photographs and UK poems in train stations and public spaces. Visitors can follow the Home Trails app and explore 25 independent venues each hosting a Ukrainian photograph. They can also collect the postcards and respond by uploading their own poem, lyric or letter. End each trail with an exhibition at the Unity Theatre, Williamson Art Gallery and Museum, Norton Priory, Kirby Gallery, or The Atkinson.
Visit the Home exhibition at Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool and see Ukrainian photography that brings to life the vibrancy, diversity and creativity of modern Ukrainian culture. Find more on Home events, film, poetry workshops and publications at www.openeye.org.uk.
Welcome To Eurotopia
Pier Head, EurovisionVillage Main Stage – May 5
Company/Artist: Natalie McCool, Stealing Sheep, Krapka;KOMA, Helleroid, Iryna Muha plus Guests
Join Welcome To Eurotopia for an avant-pop spectacle, launching Eurovision Village at the Pier Head on May 5.
Liverpool art scene musicians Natalie McCool and Stealing Sheep lead a line-up of hometown all-stars and Ukrainian musicians. Joining forces with Ukrainian artists Helleroid, Krapka;KOMA and Iryna Muha, Welcome To Eurotopia is a cosmic show, melding Ukrainian styles with classic sounds from the city.
Visitors can enjoy a host of guest performances from some of Liverpool’s brightest stars in celebration of EuroFestival, Ukraine and the spirit of Liverpool – the centre of the creative universe.
Content – May 7
Company/Artist: Birmingham Music Archive
Two cities. One rave! Rave UKraine unites DJs and ravers across simultaneous live events in Liverpool and Kyiv, sending a message of support and solidarity to the people of Ukraine.
Using the power of music, Rave UKraine will bring people from different cultures and countries together on the dance floor of CONTENT in Liverpool and HVLV Bar ft Hangout in Kyiv.
The daytime raves are being streamed into both venues, connecting clubbers to each other in real time – and before Kyiv’s nightly curfew kicks in.
People from across the globe will be invited to join the live-streamed Liverpool rave, with ticket sales and streaming proceeds donated to Ukrainian humanitarian charity UAME | MUSIC SAVES UA.
Chavasse Park, Liverpool One – May 8-10
Company/Artist: Black Gold Arts (M) / Hackney Showroom (T) / Homotopia (W)
Black Gold Arts Takeover - May 8
Queer artists and allies from the Global Majority* serve up circus, family catwalk extravaganzas, bands, DJs, strollers, dance, spoken word – and more.
Also featuring performance and walkabout entertainment from RubyLemon.
(*Global Majority = African, Caribbean, Southeast, South, East Asian and Middle Eastern diaspora communities, as well as Indigenous communities.)
The Best and The Wurst of Eurovision - May 9
A jam-packed day of drag and cabaret talent, paying homage to legendary acts and iconic Eurovision moments as they battle it out for ultimate glory.
Hosted by Liverpudlian superstar Ms Sharon Le Grand, with live acts including Ginny Lemon, Don One, Midgitte Bardot, Eat Me, Bolly Illusion and more to be announced.
HomoVision - May 10
A cabaret like no other; a celebration of all things Eurovision, of all things queer and of all things fabulous. For one spectacular day only, Liverpool based LGBTQIA arts organisations Homotopia and DuoVision join forces to bring HomoVision.
Homovision will bring performers from Liverpool, nationally and international, and showcase them in the heart of the city.
ENO does Eurovision
Pier Head, EurovisionVillage Main Stage – May 13
Company/Artist: English National Opera
Two very different musical worlds: one epic outdoor performance. The world-renowned ENO Chorus and Orchestra, conducted by Stephen Bell, are joined by former Eurovision contestants and international opera stars to perform classical arrangements of some of the Song Contest’s greatest hits.
Expect bright costumes, rousing choirs, fabulous divas and sing-along tunes.
Winning Eurovision songs, interval acts like Riverdance and Eurovision’s long-standing theme music – Charpentier’s Te Deum – are given the orchestral treatment. Joyful, moving and loud, this project promises to perfectly capture the spirit of Eurovision.
Everyman Cinema, Metquarter – May 11-12
Join the BBC’s Storyville strand for Storyville Live in Liverpool this May.
The landmark feature documentary strand has made quite a name for itself showcasing the very best of international feature documentaries.
Storyville Live sees it curate a selection of films highlighting Ukraine’s rich cultural heritage and stories from the frontline of the conflict with Russia, alongside new and classic music documentaries.
Jamala presents QIRIM to the world
Pier Head, EurovisionVillage Main Stage – May 11
Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar singer-songwriter Jamala – the 2016 Eurovision winner – performs a live premiere of her QIRIM album with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.
From mysterious mountains and lifeless steppes to lively seaside villages, Jamala invites the audience on a journey across the Ukrainian peninsula Crimea, shining a spotlight on a culture and language most people know little about.
QIRIM includes 14 ancient songs, each representing a part of Crimea.
Jamala has gathered songs from across her homeland for decades – more than 80 Crimean musicians joined the album’s creation, to preserve the peninsula’s history.
The people who inspired and created them now live under a grave threat to their existence. “But is it possible to erase the memory of the monumental beauty of the music that was passed across generations?” she asks.
You’re A Vision!
Liverpool Everyman – May 12
Company/Artist: Liverpool Everyman
An Everyman Cabaret with Sheep Soup + friends
Visitors can join Sheep and Soup and their fabulous friends for a night of cabaret to raise the roof – a performance that’s in turns sexy, anarchic – and thoroughly brilliant.
For one night only the Everyman falls under the control of Sheep Soup – Rob Green, Nic Harvey and Ben Welch.
Heading up a house band with some familiar local faces, Sheep Soup lead a riotous night of cabaret – performance artists In Bed with my Brother bring their special Eurovision performance.
There’s award-winning Welsh National treasure Bopa Rhys, and Little Peaches, voted in the top 50 most influential burlesque performers globally, with more to be announced.
This is not the place to sit back and shrink away – get ready for games, sing-alongs, and all manner of silliness. Let’s come together to celebrate Liverpool, music, and YOU.
EuroFestival runs from May 1-14. More details HERE