Yoko’s Only UK Performance – the Bluecoat April 4


Forty years after her first performance in Liverpool at the Bluecoat in 1967, Yoko Ono will create a new work to celebrate the re-opening of the UK’s oldest arts centre after its £12.5m redevelopment. This is a rare opportunity to see live work by Ono in the UK. She recalls her first performance at the venue as ‘an experience I have never forgotten’. The work, which has been specially created for the new performance space at the Bluecoat, will also be screened live for the people of Liverpool on Friday 4 April 2008 at 18.00 on Liverpool’s “BBC Big Screen” in the city centre and at the Bluecoat’s “Hub” space. Tickets to the performance sold out within the hours of tickets going on sale a month before the show.

The 1967 performance at the Bluecoat by the artist, then unknown in Britain, generated enormous interest and was captured on film by Granada TV (footage currently showing at the Bluecoat). Audience members were invited to join in a number of actions, such as jumping off ladders and wrapping the artist in bandages. Ono smashed a china jug and handed pieces out. Throughout her career as an artist at the forefront of experimental art movements such as Fluxus, conceptual art, underground film and performance, Ono has invited the audience to engage directly with her art. In Liverpool she found a willing and appreciative audience.

Yoko Ono comments, “I fell in love with Liverpool the first time I went there in 1967 as an artist. When I arrived in Liverpool, the first thing that caught my eyes was the beautiful, old elegance of the city by the water. Performing at the Bluecoat is an experience I have never forgotten.”

Alastair Upton, Chief Executive at the Bluecoat, said “We are very excited to be welcoming Yoko Ono back to the Bluecoat 41 years after her original performance. The live broadcast of the performance gives everyone in Liverpool the chance to share the experience.”

Ono is also included in the Bluecoat’s opening exhibition Now Then, where she presents a participatory installation which invites visitors to write and share their wishes, which are tied to the branches of a tree planted in the Bluecoat garden. The wishes will then be incorporated into her Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland. Ono also invites visitors to engage in an installation in the gallery at the Bluecoat. Now Then is the first exhibition at the Bluecoat since it reopened on March 15.

Yoko Ono’s performance will take place in the new performance space at the Bluecoat at 18.00 on Friday 4 April.

Live feed to the Hub at the Bluecoat and BBC Big Screen Liverpool, Clayton Square (opposite Lime Street Station).