The Lighthouse Invites the Storm

The Lighthouse invites the Storm

Reconnecting Malcolm Lowry to his New Brighton birthplace, each side of the Mersey will play host to a new commission marking the seventieth anniversary of his seminal novel, and the sixtieth anniversary of his death.

The performance The Lighthouse Invites the Storm will encompass live music, film, spoken word and songs. Drawing on the stories of merchant seamen, Lowry’s sea-voyages, his journeys through the Liverpool night and the rise and fall of Mersey tides, this experimental cross art form composition will be performed at Mariners’ Park Care Home in New Brighton and the Bluecoat over two nights alongside an exciting programme of events.

Commissioned by the Bluecoat and Liverpool John Moores University, artist Alan Dunn, composer Martin Heslop and writer Jeff Young have been working with retired seafarers at Mariners’ Park over the past six months, uncovering hidden stories and adventures which have inspired the work.

Mariners' Park Sessions Day 2

Alan Dunn: “We wanted to better understand what it was like to leave Liverpool by sea at a young age. We spent time with former merchant seamen at Mariners’ Park, a retirement facility overlooking the Mersey for those with at least twenty years at sea. We met men who had set sail at the age of 14 or 15 and made their own leaps into the void. We were interested in how their memories were as hyper-real as Lowry’s writing, with very specific details of particular bars or ports and of how everyday life passed them by in a sense. They were at sea when man landed on the moon or cultural revolutions occurred and they relied on each port or the BBC World Service to catch up with land-based life. We would sit and listen to adventures and fantastic tales, of how there are fewer than 10,000 Brits working at sea now rather than nearly 100,000, of how they view our planet and their take on class, tolerance, pirates, language, war, graft and coming of age.”

Lowry Black Dog 2

Dunn, Heslop and Young will be joined by Liverpool’s musical maverick Jack Roberts, multi-instrumentalist Vidar Norheim and singer-songwriter Mersey Wylie (will check how she wants to be described) to perform a suite of musical stormscapes and lyrical poems. This will also include projections including some unseen Super 8 footage taken by one of the seafarers around Vietnam during the war in the late 1960s.

See and hear the Wirral with Lowryesque eyes and ears through the full programme of events detailed below including artworks inspired by his radical modernist style, a chance to meet retired seafarers in New Brighton, specially commissioned artwork in Lime Street Station and a two-day international conference exploring the legacy of Lowry’s work international conference.



Monday 17 – Sunday 30 July:The Black Dogs, ten-part posterwork by Alan Dunn, Wirral Line Escalator, Lime Street Station, Liverpool.

Monday 24 July: Lowry, edition of 25,000 x A5 printed artworks by Alan Dunn, distributed in the free Wirral Globe newspaper.

Wednesday 26 July, 2.30 – 4.00pm: The Leaving of Liverpool, open afternoon, Mariners’ Park Care Home, Royden Avenue, Wallasey CH44 0HN, programmed by Roger Cliffe-Thompson with content courtesy of National Museums Liverpool (Liverpool Maritime Museum); an opportunity to meet retired seafarers and see displays and artefacts, no booking required.

Friday 28 July

All day event: Under the Volcano, 70 Years On: A Malcolm Lowry Conference, Liverpool John Moores University, Brownlow Hill, Liverpool, L3 5UG Booking here:

2.30 – 4.00pm: The Leaving of Liverpool (as above)

8.30 – 10.00pm: The Lighthouse Invites the Storm (electric), performed by Jeff Young, Martin Heslop and Jack Roberts. Bluecoat. School Lane, Liverpool L1 3BX, 0151 702 5324 , free to the public, numbers limited, booking link:

Saturday 29 July

All day event: Under the Volcano, 70 Years On: A Malcolm Lowry Conference (as above)

2.30 – 4.00pm: The Leaving of Liverpool (as above)

7.00 – 8.00pm: The Lighthouse Invites the Storm (acoustic), Mariners Park Care Home, Royden Ave, Wallasey CH44 0HN 0151 702 5324, free to public, numbers limited, booking link:

Monday 17 – Sunday 30 July

Day of the Dead, free download mix by Balam Ronan, Alan Dunn and Phil Legard.



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