The Beatles’ home city of Liverpool has announced plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Fab Four’s classic 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
The city is curating the Sgt Pepper At 50: Heading For Home arts festival which will see a broad range of artists from the worlds of music, dance, art, poetry and theatre come together to reimagine each of the album’s 13 tracks in 13 separate events.
The festival will take place at venues across the city between May 25 and June 16 and has been made possible thanks to a National Lottery investment of £750,000 from the Arts Council Of England’s Ambition For Excellence programme.
The landmark event will be split into two halves to reflect the original album’s running order.
Scheduled events include a spectacular pyrotechnic show for Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds with composer Scott Gibbons, a play from theatre company 20 Stories High about home and housing to go alongside She’s Leaving Home, 64 choirs will perform a mass singalong of When I’m Sixty-Four – and Lovely Rita will be celebrated with cabaret performer Meow Meow leading a 300-strong procession along the city’s Hope Street.
Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson tells the BBC: “We’re not about wrapping the Beatles’ heritage in aspic or, if you like, turning the Beatles into a Disney-style theme park.
“But we have to celebrate the place, the city, that gave them their inspiration and helped them write their fantastic work.”
Find the full list of events below.
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Sgt Pepper At 50: Heading For Home
Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Mark Morris Dance Group will stage the premiere of Pepperland, with a score inspired by Beatles tracks and performed by a chamber music ensemble.
With a Little Help From My Friends
Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller will unveil two public art commissions on the themes of friendship and self-sacrifice.
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
French pyrotechnic specialists GroupeF and US electronic composer Scott Gibbons will put on a light show that’s billed as “part performance, part storytelling and part pyro display.”
DJ Spooky will create a performance and audio-visual installation asking whether the world is getting better.
Fixing a Hole
US artist Judy Chicago, known for her epic installations, will create her largest work yet – a mural on the side of the grain silo on Great Howard Street.
She’s Leaving Home
Liverpool youth theatre company 20 Stories High will take over people’s living rooms in Toxteth to stage a new play about home and housing.
Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite
Aintree Racecourse will host an event inspired by John Cage’s anarchic Musicircus involving thousands of local people, performers and musicians.
Within You Without You
Leading Indian musicians will perform in the traditional splendour of St George’s Hall to reflect the song’s Indian influence.
When I’m Sixty-Four
Sixty-four choirs of all ages from the city will come together to perform a mass sing-along of the track on BBC Radio Merseyside.
Cabaret performer Meow Meow will lead a colourful procession featuring a 300-strong brass band up Hope Street, ending in a “thought-provoking installation.”
Good Morning Good Morning
Theatres, clubs, galleries and music venues will open their doors at the crack of dawn for one day on June 9.
An unnamed leading artist will perform incognito in a surprise venue, also on June 9.
A Day in the Life
Writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce and film director Carl Hunter will screen a documentary being shot over 24 hours on June 1, the album’s actual anniversary.
The Beatles Quiz: how well do you know Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band?