From Liverpool dreams to Halloween nightmares, there’s a packed month ahead

TALES FROM A PSYCHEDELIC RESEARCHER | Constellations | Tuesday 2 October

Funzing Talks are designed to ‘reinvent your evenings with an array of unique subjects from inspiring individuals and speakers’. This talk by Dr David Luke from the University of Greenwich sounds particularly suitable for a city once described by the Guardian as “the great psychedelic capital of Europe”. From the use of psychoactive plants by ancient cultures to today’s cutting-edge space cadet research, expect a talk that touches your mind’s outer limits.

Constellations, 35-39 Greenland Street, L1 0BS (7pm; tickets £12 at

LIVERPOOL’S DREAM | Liverpool and Wirral | 4-7 October

Since the return of the Royal de Luxe giants was first announced, it’s been revealed that this will be their last appearance anywhere in the world. So if you’re a giant virgin (so to speak) and you want to catch them at least once in your life, you know where to come. Except there are too many times and locations to list here, so check out the Liverpool’s Dream website for the latest timings and routes.

This is a free, street-based event that takes place over four days throughout Liverpool and Wirral

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Liverpool's Dream is a free citywide event

ANDREW MCMILLAN: PLAYTIME | Bluecoat | Wednesday 10 October

Poet Andrew McMillan brings his new collection, Playtime, to the Bluecoat, where he will read a selection of its ‘intimate, sometimes painfully frank’ poems. Until recently, McMillan was a creative writing lecturer at John Moores University and his one-time JMU colleague, Helen Tookey, will be joining him in conversation.

Bluecoat, School Lane, L1 3BX (6.30pm; tickets £4/£3 at

HYPNOTIC BRASS ENSEMBLE | 24 Kitchen Street | Wednesday 10 October

If your last experience of a brass band was at a wind-blown church fete, prepare to have your sonic world turned upside down by this Chicago-based crew. There’ll be no room for Abide With Me or the theme tune from Van der Valk here. The members of Hypnotic Brass Ensemble are all sons of legendary jazz musician Phil Cohran, and their repertoire mixes up the big-band sound with influences from jazz, funk and hip-hop. 

24 Kitchen Street, L1 0AN (doors 7pm, last entry 8.30pm; tickets £12.50/£15 at

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The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble are sons of legendary jazz musician Phil Cohran

ON THE WATERFRONT | Philharmonic Hall | Saturday 13 October

With a title that sounds startlingly like one of those council-backed Pier Head festivals that always feature The Christians and The Lightning Scenes, Elia Kazan’s 1954 classic won eight Oscars, including the Best Picture gong and a first Academy Award for Marlon Brando. And as if the film itself wasn’t enough, it will be accompanied here by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, who’ll play Leonard Bernstein’s electrifying score.

Philharmonic Hall, Hope Street, L1 9BP (7.30pm; tickets £21-£48 at

SMITHDOWN CRAWL | Smithdown Road | Saturday 13 October

The Smithdown Ten was once the name of a legendary pub crawl – ten pubs along Liverpool’s most studenty thoroughfare. The ten have been reduced in number in recent times, but there remain some inviting old boozers in addition to some new ones. This take on the traditional pub crawl is a fundraiser for the Smithdown Festival, a mini-festival with eight stages across eight venues: acts include Beans on Toast, Tommy Scott from Space, Organ Freeman and the Loose Moose String Band. 

Various Smithdown Road venues (from 2pm; entry to the eight venues is by wristband, priced £6-£10 at

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Acts at the Smithdown Festival include Beans on Toast

ALL YOU NEED IS LSD | Unity Theatre | 16-20 October

Leo Butler’s new play is ‘part history, part wild fantasy’ and is based, at least partly, on his very real experience as a guinea pig in the world’s first LSD medical trials since the 1960s. Along the way, this Birmingham Rep/Told By An Idiot co-production touches on the psychedelic travels or prohibitionary opinions of other notable people, from ‘Aldous Huxley and The Beatles to Steve Jobs and Ronald Reagan’. 

Unity Theatre, 1 Hope Place, L1 9BG (7.30pm; tickets £12-£16 at

SIR TERRY FARRELL | RIBA North | Wednesday 17 October

Although RIBA North’s ‘Inspiration Series’ of talks is primarily aimed at architects, it also gives amateur enthusiasts the chance to get up close and personal with the giants of building design. As an architectural masterplanner, Sir Terry Farrell has masterminded such like-it-or-lump-it edifices as The Deep aquarium in Hull, the postmodern remodelling of Charing Cross station, and (sssh!) the MI6 building on the bank of the Thames.

RIBA North, 21 Mann Island, L3 1BP (5.30pm; free for RIBA members, £10 for non-members; tickets available at

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Sir Terry Farrell designed the likes of the The Deep aquarium in Hull

LIVERPOOL IRISH FESTIVAL | Various venues | 18-28 October

As the British city that arguably wears its Irish influences most visibly, it’s no surprise that Liverpool’s Irish Festival is back for its fifteenth year of music, drama, art and discussion. As always, events take place all over the city; with this year’s highlights including music from Kíla, The Hot Sprockets and The Jesse Janes, an Irish Craft Beer Festival, and a performance of Ron Hutchinson’s play Rat in the Skull.

Various venues (more information and tickets available at

VOGUE BALL | Invisible Wind Factory | Saturday 20 October

The annual House of Suarez Vogue Ball is one of the most fabulous fixtures on Liverpool’s calendar, a ‘hugely hedonistic’ event that brings ‘fantastical costumes, outrageous performances and technical excellence in vogue dance’ to the Invisible Wind Factory. This year’s theme is ‘the toy box ball’, so expect wild costumes riffing on the theme of Action Man, Slinky and Meccano. Possibly.

Invisible Wind Factory, 3 Regent Road, L3 7DS (7.30pm; tickets £23.10-£33 at

LIVERPOOL LITERARY FESTIVAL | Various venues | 19-21 October

The second Liverpool Literary Festival brings out the bookish big guns with sessions including such literary luminaries as Val McDermid, Michael Frayn, Blake Morrison and Linda Grant. Radio 4’s Book Club programme also broadcasts from the festival, and there are events aimed at younger readers too, including Frank Cottrell-Boyce talking about his book Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth.

Various venues, times and ticket prices; see the event website for details

A DAY IN THE LIFE | Liverpool | Saturday 20 October

This street photography project may not have the most original of titles, but hopefully the smartphone snappers and amateur photographers who take part will manage to find a few unique views of life in the city. Anyone can sign up to help capture a snapshot of city life, with award-winning photographer Mark Waugh leading a workshop to help people find their snap-happy groove. Then it’s out onto the streets to find the images that sum up the city we call home.

This is a street-based project and workshop; see the event website to sign up and find out more

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Perfect that angle on 'A Day in the Life'

IN GOOD COMPANY | Grand Central Hall | Friday 26 October

The concert room at the Grand Central Hall on Renshaw Street is something of a hidden gem, despite being one of our larger city centre venues. It has hosted gigs before, but this one-night mini-festival heralds something a little more ambitious, with city promoters Harvest Sun bringing Brooklyn-based Phosphorescent, BC Camplight and that old favourite, TBC, to the newly-renovated hall.

Grand Central Hall, 35 Renshaw Street, L1 2SF (doors 6.30pm; tickets £22 at

CHAMBER OF HORRORS: GALLOWS EVE | St George’s Hall | 27-31 October

The sumptuous interiors of St George’s Hall can fill your soul with wonder and light, but delve a little deeper into our great neoclassical centrepiece and you find a darker world of mystery and gloom. Local theatre company LoveHistory have, er, history when it comes to bringing the hall’s subterranean spaces to life, and this year’s Halloween experience promises to take visitors ‘on a voyage through the cold, dark passageways’ in the company of ‘unspeakable characters and lost, tormented creatures’.

St George’s Hall, St George’s Plateau, L1 1JJ (various times; tickets £17.50 at

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Descend into the dark depths of St George's Hall with LoveHistory

THEY DON’T PAY? WE WON’T PAY! | Liverpool Playhouse | 30 October – 3 November

Northern Broadsides return to the Playhouse with a new adaptation of Dario Fo’s classic comedy, Non Si Paga, Non Si Paga! (more commonly translated as Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay!). Here, the original Italian setting is transposed to Brexit Britain but - with its themes of high prices, low wages and corruption - it’s likely that the play will slip seamlessly into its new guise. 

Liverpool Playhouse, Williamson Square, L1 1EL (evenings 7.30pm, matinees 1.30pm and 2pm; tickets £10-£30 at