Shakespeare in the park, observatory cinema and a return to Spike Island

It feels like things are getting back to "normal", doesn't it? And with that comes a whole load of new events, festivals and even club nights in the calendar. 

This month sees the return of Liverpool Theatre Festival to the Bombed Out Church, with 14 new works for the stage. It's been a tough year for theatre, so we're also dead chuffed that The Royal Court are back with Ellen and Rigby, the first show at The Court for a long time.

There's outdoor cinema in Wirral, a comedy crawl in Chester and the resurrection of the Stone Roses (kind of) at Spike Island. Mad for it.

Read on for our top picks of what's happening in Merseyside this month.

AS YOU LIKE IT | Liverpool parks | 3 July - 14 August

Imaginarium Theatre returns to our parks, gardens and green spaces this summer, with a reprise of one of Shakespeare’s best loved pastoral comedies. Journey deep into the Forest of Arden for this hilarious and magical outdoor performance, as cross-dressing heroines and triumphant heroes learn how to embrace their imaginations, let go of their fears and surrender to romance. Love, just as you like it. Venues include Crosby Hall (3 July), Reynolds Park (4 July), Prescot Woodland Theatre (17 July), Croxteth Hall (24 July) and Taylor Park (25 July).

Various venues (Tickets £16.50/£13.20 from TicketQuarter)

Imaginarium Theatre As You Like It Outdoors Performance Shakespeare
Starry night - Imaginarium Theatre perform Shakespeare's 'As You Like It'


Hailed by Stone Roses bassist Mani as "the second best Stone Roses in the world", The Clone Roses play this special one-day festival to celebrate 30 years since one of the world’s most legendary gigs. The line-up includes top-tier tribute acts Oas-is, The Smiths LTD, Happy Mondaze, The James Experience, and True Order. A number of original faces from the iconic Madchester scene will also be there, including Clint Boon, Bez, Andy 808 State and MC Tunes. Mersey paradise.

Spike Island, Widnes, WA8 0DG (1pm; tickets from £33 at Ticketline)

Spike Island Clone Rose Stone Roses Tribute Widnes Festival Thirty Year Anniversary Live Gigs Crowd Ian Brown Aerial Photo
Chemical world - the Stone Roses played Spike Island, Widnes, in 1990

LIVERPOOL ARAB ARTS FESTIVAL | Various venues | 16 July - 14 November

The UK’s longest running and most successful annual Arab arts and cultural festival is for the first time expanding from its usual two-week period to almost four months. The 2021 event is centred on an artist-led response to the complexities of the climate emergency in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region today. Highlights of the launch programme include the world premiere of Eating The Copper Apple by poet lisa luxx; Grounds for Concern, a new installation by Jessica El Mal; as well as a new film programme running throughout the festival. 

Various venues; for more information visit Liverpool Arab Arts Festival

SUPER COOL DRAWING MACHINE | Future Yard | 15 - 18 July

Artwork by jazz saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings, Mercury-nominated singer Cate Le Bon, and folk musician Richard Dawson feature in this touring exhibition, a celebration of the visual art created in lockdown by a host of internationally acclaimed musicians. Other participants include African American experimentalist Lonnie Holley (who has previously exhibited at Turner Contemporary in London), former Maccabees frontman Orlando Weeks, and drummer and composer Seb Rochford, as well as members of This Is The Kit, Mammal Hands, Haiku Salut, Snapped Ankles and many more.  

Future Yard, 75 Argyle St, Birkenhead, Wirral CH41 6AB (Daily viewings at 12pm, 2pm, 4pm and 6pm; tickets from £5.50 at Future Yard)

Super Cool Drawing Machine Future Yard Birkenhead Francois The Atlas Mountain Animation 2
Artwork by Frànçois (the Atlas Mountains) - part of Super Cool Drawing Machine

ELLEN AND RIGBY | Royal Court Liverpool | 1 July - 31 July

Lindzi Germain and Andrew Schofield star in this new comedy from Gerry Linford. Lucky in life, unlucky in love, Ellen has been looking for a man. Now, thanks to the organisational power of the NHS, Joe Rigby has been dropped in her lap. This is the first show back at The Court for a long time. Make a meal of it for an extra £12 with dinner served at your table before the show. The Courtyard Bar & Kitchen is also doing a pre-theatre offer of two courses for £18 and three for £22pp - we recommend the wagyu burger with whisky and bacon jam.  

Royal Court, 1 Roe St, Liverpool L1 1HL (8pm; tickets start at £14 from The Royal Court)

Royal Court Building Image 12
The Royal Court reopens this month with new comedy, 'Ellen and Rigby'

LOST IN SOUL | Lost Lounge | Thursday 8 July

Lost Lounge has already gained a reputation for boss brekkies and now they’re cooking on gas with a series of boiler-room style club nights. The first floor is home to online radio station, Svara Radio, which has built a reputation for incorporating a wide range of sounds, DJs, features and guests. Lost in Soul has been a highlight of the club nights - this edition features soul and disco sounds from DJ Che Wilson, resident at the Jacaranda and official remixer for Simply Red, Jarvis Cocker and Confidence Man. Dust off those flares and get yourself down to Ranelagh Street for a night to remember.

Lost Lounge, Ranelagh Street, Liverpool L1 1QA (7.30pm; tickets from £7 at Skiddle)

Lost Lounge Live Music Collective Lost In Soul Disco Club Night Liverpool Dj Che
The Lost Lounge collective hosts club nights and secret DJ sets. Sssssshhh

CHESTER COMEDY FESTIVAL | Various venues | 11 - 22 July 

Catch some of the UK’s biggest comedy stars in venues across Chester city centre, from pubs to restaurants, the city’s cathedral, Storyhouse, Chester Market, Grosvenor Shopping Centre and Chester Racecourse. The 12-day event includes Jason Manford, Ed Byrne, Reginald D Hunter, Gary Delaney, Maisie Adam and Rich Hall. From stand-up to comedy dinners, pub crawls, children’s events and more, you’ll be laughing all the way to the river bank. 

Various venues, full line line-up at Chester Comedy Festival

Chester Comedy Festival 2021 Storyhouse The Comedy Crawl Head To The Shropshire Arms 2019 2
Top comic Brendan Riley will be back at this year's Chester Comedy Festival

OBSERVATORY CINEMA | Bidston Observatory | Friday 2 July - Sunday 4 July

Abandon Normal Devices Festival present a weekend of open air cinema atop Bidston Hill, featuring family-friendly animation Song of the Sea, award-winning documentary All Light, Everywhere, John Carpenter’s The Fog and contemporary cult favourite The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. During the weekend there will be an accompanying installation at Bidston Observatory for the commissioned project Radio Ensemble. This is free to visit between 5pm - 8pm. Grab a radio and explore the four tracks each on a separate frequency, or jump between them to create your own ensemble. Wired for sound. 

Bidston Observatory, Birkenhead, Wirral CH43 7RA (Cinema tickets from £15 per plot of six people via AND Festival)

Bidston Observatory Wirral Abandon Normal Devices Festival Radio Outdoor Cinema
Abandon Normal Devices take over Bidston Observatory for a weekend of outdoor cinema

THE OLD DOCK TOUR | Maritime Museum | Friday 2 July - Friday 30 July

The Old Dock tours are finally back after a lockdown hiatus. Revealed during excavations on the site in 2001, the story of the world's first commercial enclosed wet dock is explored. On the tour, you will be taken back in time to see a large portion of the Old Dock rising more than 20 feet from the bed of the Pool - the creek that gave Liverpool its name. Discover the origin of Liverpool's fortune; how a brave idea and an innovative feat of engineering shaped the city's destiny forever. 

Maritime Museum, Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool L3 4AQ (Tours run on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 10.30am, 12 and 2.30pm. Tickets cost £7.50/£6.50; children £3, under fives free; from Maritime Museum)

TELLING TALES | Fashion Hub Bar & Kitchen | Sunday 25 July

Liverpool Queer Collective’s storytelling event is back and this time the theme is “Let’s Get Physical”. LGBTQ+ experience of sport and physical activity can be very different to that of straight people. Love it or hate it queer people are often marginalised by the narrow gender boundaries presented by sport and the changing room culture, which can present feelings of awkwardness, fear and excitement. This LGBTQ+ storytelling event aims to bring the community together to listen, share and connect. Music at this event comes from house band the Luv Puffs. 

Fashion Hub Bar and Kitchen, 14 Gildart St, Liverpool L3 8ET (7pm; booking essential, pay what you can)

Liverpool Queer Collective Telling Tales July Fashion Hub Fabric District Rainbow Queer Gay Lgbtq Man Running
Liverpool Queer Collective invites you to get physical with 'Telling Tales'

RED RUM | The Atkinson, Southport | 3 July - 2 October

Red Rum rose from humble beginnings to become Britain’s best-known and best-loved racehorse. The regular sight of this equine hero flying over the Southport sands where he trained thrilled many a local resident. This exhibition traces his life through three Grand National wins and a racing career which took him over 300 miles and 1800 obstacles to becoming an iconic sports celebrity in retirement. Central to the exhibition is a new mural of Red Rum by artist Paul Curtis. 

The Atkinson, Lord St, Southport PR8 1DB (More info at The Atkinson)

Read next: Liverpool Theatre Festival returns to Bombed Out Church

Read again: 1931 restaurant joins the Hope Street Hotel portfolio

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