LSU’s Rachael Smart: Diversity and Change at the Philharmonic Hall

The Philharmonic Hall is one of several cultural partners with LJMU, who offer students the opportunity to go and see a wide range of shows for free throughout the year. Trying something new can prove to be a great de-stresser from work and the fact that you don’t have to spend anything can only make it better! We sent Rachael Smart, VP for activities with the SU to go and watch a show at the Phil to experience the diverse and exciting steps it is taking to appeal to a new generation.  

As VP for activitiraches with the Liverpool SU, I’m always looking to encourage societies to discover new events and venues on their socials, so that not only do they get to try something new as a team, but can also discover more about their city.  
I recently went to see Tokio Myers at the Philharmonic Hall thanks to Student Opportunities and it was a brilliant experience. I haven’t had the chance to see anything other than a film at the venue before, and was looking forward to seeing a show that exemplifies why the Phil is such a brilliant Liverpool institution. On entering I was greeted by really friendly, helpful and happy staff which reminded me of my favourite ‘student friendly’ venues where regular SU events are held. Needless to say, the venue is amazing and it was refreshing to look around and see a relatively young audience visiting this beautiful and historical hall. Tokio Myers was gave an incredible performance and he really encompassed what the Philharmonic are trying to do by mixing classical music and adding his own contemporary twist.
The opening act was a group consisting of three members and they set a laid back tone for the evening with all original songs that were gorgeous, one even made me cry a little bit! Then for the main event, Tokio Myers was greeted onto the stage by an extremely excited audience and he had an abundance of energy that was extremely infectious. The music he created live on stage filled the massive hall beautifully, as did the silences. The show was a perfect fitting for the venue as Myers’ striking visuals stunned the audience and further created different atmospheres to fit his diverse range of music.
I’m hoping to go back again soon and will encourage groups of students to see some more of what the Philharmonic has to offer because of how they are experimenting with their diversity of shows. They are taking the right steps to introduce a new generation to the venue by giving students an opportunity to see a wide range of traditional and modern shows throughout the year for completely free. So if you want to watch a film, a live podcast, a classical show or a concert, the Phil will always have something interesting on offer for LJMU students to see for free.
Rachael Smart, Vice President Activities

LJMU students get 2x free tickets for a wide range of shows at the Philharmonic Hall throughout the year. Click here to find out what’s on offer for the rest of the season.





Family Fun: Half Term & Summer Family Events in Liverpool

Summer is almost here and, as always, Liverpool is spoiling us all with all of the amazing and diverse family friendly activities on offer. So why not get the family together, get out in the sun and make the summer of 2018 one to remember.

All Aboard the Pirate Ship!
pirate shipAll hands on deck! This family concert from the Phil looks like the best way to unleash the inner pirate in all of us. Landlubbers big and small are encouraged to don cardboard eye patches and feather duster parrots and join a musical adventure where you can “hear from Jack Sparrow, explore Fingal’s Cave, dance a hornpipe and sing a shanty or two”. To top it all off, children are invited to try out a range of instruments for themselves before the show starts in the “instrument petting zoo.” All together now, Yo Ho Yo Ho the pirates life for me!

When: Sunday 24th June 2018 at 2:30pm
Where: Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
Cost: 2 x FREE tickets for LJMU students. (Keep an eye out on our social media for our upcoming competition for this event where you could win free tickets for the whole family!)

The Terracotta Warriors
The Terracotta warriors have been a smash hit since they arrived in Liverpool in February and people have flocked from far and wide to see them in their first ever exhibition outside of London. It’s not often that a man-made wonder of the world comes to visit you in your own back yard, so why not get the family together and take a trip through 2000 years of Chinese history?

When: Now – 28 October 2018
Where: World Museum
Cost:  £2 tickets for LJMU students, £5.50 for children aged between 6 and 17 years &
free for children aged 5 years and under.

Big Art big art
After your trip to the Terracotta Warriors is over, why not head up the road to the Walker Art Gallery where there is a dedicated (and incredibly colourful) space for children to create and explore. Big Art is designed to introduce children to art, giving them a place to paint, dress up, read and discover the little Picasso inside of them. There’s something for the grown ups too, the Walker Art gallery is home to hundreds of incredible sculptures and paintings that are all free to view.

When: Regular dates throughout the year.
Where: The Walker Art Gallery
Cost:  FREE (suggested donation to the gallery is £4).

There is a new interactive exhibition where you get to be part of the art! Brazillian collective Opavivara! have created a show that is designed to get you talking to the other visitors by creating a relaxing and engaging environment to explore. Kids can go and try opavivthe animal printing station where they can decorate their skin in the style of an array of different wildlife whilst adults can go to the herbal tea station and create their own concoction of tea provided by LEAF. And finally, both big and small will love the giant and colourful hammock that anyone can lie in.

When: Now until 24 June 2018
Where: Tate Liverpool
Cost: FREE

Shrek the Musical
Shrek the MusicalShrek the Musical is back after a record-breaking UK and Ireland tour! The classic film about a brave Ogre’s fairy-tale adventure has been transformed into a smash-hit musical that arrives in Liverpool very soon. With a cast of loveable misfits, outlandish comedy and adventure on an epic scale, this show has become an instant classic and is sure to be a treat for all ages.

When: Tue 12th June – Sun 24th June 2018
Where: Empire Theatre
Cost: Prices range between £12 – £52 depending on where you’re sat. (no current discounts for students or children)


SplatterdayssplatterOn Saturdays at the recently revamped Unity Theatre, kids rule. In the morning 5-8 year olds can take part in a wide range of creative play, including storytelling, arts and crafts, quizzes and loads more. In the afternoon 9-13 year olds can join the performing arts club where they will have the chance to try their hand at creative writing, art & design and unleash the inner thespian in them as they learn to act. And grown-ups, don’t worry I haven’t forgotten about you. The Unity has a jam-packed schedule of interesting and diverse theatre and performances which you can get discount to as a student, so there really is something for everyone at the Unity.

When: Every Saturday
Where: Unity Theatre
Cost:  £5 per child per session

Museum of the Moon
Take a trip to the moon with this incredible instillation by Luke Jerram. He combines ‘lunar imagery, moonlight and a surround-soundscape by BAFTA and Ivor moonNovello award-winning composer Dan Jones to create an awe-inspiring experience’ that the whole family will love. You’ll be able to see a detailed view of the moon thanks to NASA imagery that has been meticulously reproduced on a 1:500,000 scale and lit up from inside. Whilst you’re there, why not head up to the top of the tower to see Liverpool from 500 ft above sea level?

When: 25 May 2018 – 31 May 2018
Where: Liverpool Cathedral
Cost:  FREE (booking required) (LJMU students get a free pass to the top of the tower which includes a pass for a guest)

Sefton Park
Sefton Park offers plenty to do for the whole family whatever the weather. If it’s a sunny day you can take a picnic and relax whilst the kids go and run around on thepalm playground, or if you get caught in a shower why not take a trip to the recently restored Palm House containing a host of plant life from Africa, Asia, America, Australia and Europe that’s sure to make the kids feel like intrepid explorers.

When: Every Day (Plam House opening hours are 10.00am to 8.00pm daily)
Where: Sefton Park 
Cost:  FREE

By Lewis Wren – Student Opportunities Intern

STUDENT BLOG: A Clockwork Orange

A Tale of Power and Control

Written by Gioia Dalosso Hemnell

Nick Bagnall’s production of A Clockwork Orange for the Everyman Theatre is an enigmatic and charged, transcendent adaptation of an already established classic film and book. Its angular four point stage, neon lighting and loud classical music run alongside graphic scenes of sexual violence with an uncomfortable ferocity that makes for a cut-throat beginning of what is to come.

It is a tale of power, control and taste for violence that is played out beautifully. Balanced with comedic moments that give you a false sense of security,  you evenclockwork 3 become desensitised to the depravity and unhinged madness that happens throughout. 

Police depicted as pigs with rubber snouts, the strange Saville-like character with a Jim’ll Fix It-esque medal branded with ‘I am a paedo’ and prison inmates with pants on their heads are just a few of the disturbing and evocative images that the Rep Company have managed to achieve.

A political commentary from a priest leaves the audience momentarily hushed and hanging on every word, while the remaining characters stalk and climb the set in a menacing fashion. Bagnall’s production is attentive and focused, with exceptional multi–roling that successfully breaks the fourth wall consistently throughout. Crammed full of moral quandary and with a very powerful performance from Caple, the piece is utterly enthralling.

clockwork 2


Don’t worry if you haven’t seen it yet, you still have time to catch A Clockwork Orange as well as the other three Rep Company shows in 2018 for just £5 each as an LJMU student. Click here to find out more about the shows and when you can see them.

Also, before you go… If you’d like to get involved as a student blogger then feel free to contact us on In return for writing for us, you’ll get the chance to see loads of shows, films and events for FREE and you’ll get some published writing under your belt to top it all off!




LightNight 2018: Student Opps’ Top Picks

We’ve waited a whole year for it but finally, LightNight Liverpool is back! If you haven’t heard of it or been before, LightNight is an annual event where all of Liverpool’s amazing cultural institutions open their doors and the streets are filled with the city’s creative talent. As always there are heaps of fantastic things happening across the evening, so to make it a little easier for you to work out what to go to, three of your Student Opps Team members have selected their top activities from the what’s on list:

Alex – Student Opps Officer
1. LightNight Fundraising Ceilidh
Time: 21:00 – 23:00
Location: St. George’s Hall
About: It might be the only activity with a cost over the course of LightNight 2018, but believe me, £3 for this family-friendly event is well worth it. Whether you’re an avid-ceilidh fan or a total beginner, joining this Scottish group folk dance will have you laughing your head off and making mates with a room full of people… plus how often do you get the chance to dance around St. George’s Hall?! Don’t forget to look up!

2. The Polar Bear Waltz
Time: 18:00, 18:45, 19:30, 20:15, 21:00 & 22:00
Location: LJMU John Lennon Building
About: This new original 15-minute performance piece has been commissioned by LJMU for this year’s event, and we can promise it will tug at your heartstrings and stay with you for a while. In-keeping with this year’s LightNight theme, The Polar Bear Waltz reflects on how human actions have transformed our beautiful planet, as seen through the eyes of the last polar bear floating on the last iceberg. Honestly, I can’t even write about it without feeling emosh so go, get involved and let it influence your thoughts, conversations, and hopefully actions too.

3. Mersey Swing Lindy Hop Social
Time: 20:30 – 22:00
Location: Liverpool Town Hall
About: Okay so as you can probably tell, group dancing is something I’m really into, but it’s sooo fun! Having begun in New York in the 1920s, Lindy Hop is a type of swing dance which incorporates Charleston, tap and breakaway, and is accompanied with a fantastic jazz soundtrack. If you haven’t seen the style before, I’d recommend watching Hellzapoppin’ on YouTube… although to manage expectations, I should point out you won’t be leaving the LightNight session dancing like that…!


Lucy – Student Opps Intern
1. The Imago
Time: 20:30 – 23:00
Location: Liverpool Cathedral
About: In Atom, the creator of the installation piece The Imago presents the idea of feeling ‘out of sync’ with others and at times misunderstood. The installation will feature two projection screens telling a narrative between two characters using recordings. The title of the piece The Imago acts as a metaphor of transformation which is the main theme of this year’s Light Night festival. His piece is open for many interpretations, it definitely appears an interesting installation to check out!

2. Big Art For Little Artists
Time: 17:00 – 22:00
Location: Walker Art Gallery
About: Other than LJMU Fashion students’ immersive installation ‘Fashion Geographies’ at the gallery, there are also lots of fun family-orientated events that you can get involved in at the Walker Art Gallery for Light Night including Big Art for Little Artists. This event will see the opening of the children’s gallery where you can enjoy arts and crafts as well as fun for all dressing up in costumes. It’s worth taking your youngsters along to!

3. Talking Stalls
Time: 17:00-21:30
Location: Liverpool Medical Institution, Mount Pleasant.
About: These intimate series of performances will tackle and explore issues such as gender and identity. The performances will take place in the ground floor of the ladies toilets and will be an interactive performance. What interests me about this is that audiences can contribute their own thoughts and feelings about the themes by scribbling on the walls of the cubicles and interact directly with the performer. The piece will undoubtedly raise interesting conversations which is the real beauty of LightNight, to create discussion and leave a lasting legacy on the city of Liverpool. Please note that the event is 18+.

Lewis – Student Opps Intern
1. Liverpool Acoustic
Time: 17:00 – 22:00
Location: Music Room at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
About: Head over to the beautiful Music Room at the Phil for a healthy dose of acoustic music played by a variety of talented Liverpool artists. “Vocal duo Limerance, Liverpool Acoustic Songwriting Challenge winner Lydia Higham, popular singer-songwriter Chris Callander, new guitar duo King & Byrne, and art-pop two piece St. Jude the Obscure” will all be performing in ten minute sets, meaning if you stick around for an hour, you’ll get to see them all perform! And as a bonus, each artist will be ‘transforming’ versions of classic songs by adding their own musical stamp on them, giving you the opportunity to sing along to your favourites like you’ve never heard them before.

Time: 17:00 – 23:00
Location: FACT
About: VR has fought for years and years to prove it’s more than just a gimmick, and with recent developments it has well and truly cemented its self as a force to be reckoned with. It has become so much more than a source of entertainment, being used in healthcare to train doctors in surgery simulations and and by NASA for to visit the far reaches of space without ever having to leave earth. FACT are holding an array of tech based exhibitions during LightNight, but I think that the VR RCADE promises to be the most exciting as it offers you the chance to experience this game changing technology for yourself. So head on down to FACT this LightNight and who knows where in the world (or beyond) you’ll end up!

3. Brazilica Samba Showcase
Time: 21:30 – 22:00
Location: Merseyside Maritime Museum
About: Do we need to say any more?! Go and watch the “Liverpool Carnival Company transform the Albert Dock into a mini carnival of music, dance and costume” in this experimental marriage of technology and culture. This high energy performance will be an amazing way to end the night (or get your night started if you’re one of the many people who will be unable to resist the feathers, drums and glitter and has to join in)! It’s not often you get to see a Carnival, let alone in Liverpool at night, so head on down to the docks this LightNight to ensure you don’t miss out.

We hope we’ve helped you find out a little more about what to look forward to at this year’s event! For the full LightNight programme, please look at the official website here.

Deadlines done? Here’s how to celebrate!

You’ve worked your socks off all year, and most of you are now FINALLY coming to the end of your exams and assessments – congratulations! Whilst catching yourselves up on sleep and re-making contact with the outside world is the first port of call, the second question has got to be… how on earth are you going to celebrate?! We have come up with a few ideas for you, all of which are free, cheap or have student discount options, so check them out & get planning… you deserve it!

SoundCity-2016-2 (003)

Sound City
Date: Saturday 5th & Sunday 6th May
Location: Baltic Triangle
Price: £40 LJMU ticket
Sound City is back for another year this weekend, but with a big change in venue and a lot more up-and-coming acts, 2018 looks set to be a game changer. Now located in the Baltic Triangle, the festival will see the likes of the DMAs, Peace and Superorganism take to the stage in a line-up full to the brim of emerging talent. LJMU students are entitled to £40 tickets for the two days, and with the sun looking likely to shine and all your favourite Baltic bars and restaurants joining in the event, it will be the perfect way to celebrate the end of exams!


Carmina Burana
Date: Saturday 12th May
Location: Liverpool Philharmonic
Price: FREE
Next Saturday, the Liverpool Philharmonic Choir will present a fantastic evening of Brahms, Pärt and Orff in a night set to ‘raise the roof’. According to the Liverpool Phil webpage, the ‘medieval priests who wrote the words to Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana certainly knew how to party’; expect catchy tunes, big sounds and a night of classical naughtiness. All for free!


Light Night
Date: Friday 18th May
Location: All around Liverpool
Price: FREE
Liverpool’s incredible open night of culture, art and music is back for another year AND WE COULD NOT BE HAPPIER. The event sees all of Liverpool’s incredible cultural institutions open their doors for one night to welcome in art installations, dance and movement pieces, choirs, and at most of them, get you to participate! We’ll be publishing a blog nearer the time with some of our best bits to look out for, but for now we would recommend looking into the performance of The Polar Bear Waltz in the John Lennon Building, the LightNight Ceilidh Fundraiser in St. George’s Hall (£3 charge for adults) and the celebration of Brazilian carnival culture at Liverpool Central Library.


City Social: Egon Schiele Opening Event
Date: Wednesday 23rd April
Location: Tate Liverpool
Price: FREE
One of our upcoming City Socials is an exclusive trip to attend the evening launch of Tate Liverpool’s new Egon Schiele exhibition; Life in Motion: Egon Schiele/Francesca Woodman. The Tate website writes that ‘both artists are known for their intimate and unapologetic portraits, which look beneath the surface to capture their subjects’ emotions’. Places for this event are limited so if you want to come along and get a first look at the works before anyone else, email We will have more info on timings in the next couple of weeks!


Baltic Weekender
Date: Friday 1st June to Sunday 3rd June
Location: Baltic Triangle Venues
Price: £10 to £40
Baltic Weekender has been set up by the guys behind Abandon Silence and 24 Kitchen Street, and with an amazing line up over what the event creators call the ‘ever sunny final weekend of the academic year’, it’s easy to see that this is the perfect end to a great year at uni. Tickets have unfortunately gone up since the first release and are now available online from £10 for the Sunday session to £40 for the Friday and Saturday nights, but if you like your music and getting your Stan Smiths dirty then this could be the celebration bash for you.


Africa Oye
Date: Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th June
Location: Sefton Park
Price: FREE
If you haven’t attended Africa Oye yet, you need to! Boasting the title of ‘the UK’s largest free celebration of African music’, the festival takes over the gorgeous, grassy Sefton Park with food, music and pure celebration. It always seems to be sunny over this brilliant weekend, and we can assure you that you’ll leave smiling from ear to ear.

STUDENT BLOG: Twilight Thursdays at the Anglican Cathedral


Christina Doctor, First Year, Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice

Although I am a student who was born and raised in Liverpool, and had previously visited the Anglican Cathedral, I’d never had the chance to go to the top of the tower until I noticed a City Social event from the LJMU Student Opps team. At around 500ft above sea level, Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral has spectacular 360 degree views over the city and the River Mersey. Twilight Thursdays is an awesome experience, as it gives you the rare chance to see Liverpool transform as the sun sets over the city.

Before heading off to the Cathedral, we met up in the John Foster Building for cups of tea & coffee and biscuits. This was a great way for people to be introduced and to get to know each other. As an icebreaker, we broke into small groups, and took part in a small quiz. What made it relevant to the theme of the City Social event was that it was based on different city skylines, and we had to try and recognise as many as possible in our groups.

For me, Twilight Thursday was awe-inspiring experience, as it changed my perspective on Liverpool. I used to think that I had seen most of Liverpool and – because I’ve been in the city my whole life – I thought I had seen and done all it had to offer, but this experience made me appreciate how beautiful and dynamic it actually is, even on a cloudy day. I envy anyone who gets to visit the Cathedral tower at twilight on a sunny day, as being able to watch the sunset over Liverpool would have been the only thing able to make my particular experience of Twilight Thursday even better.

I really enjoyed Twilight Thursday at the Anglican Cathedral, as it gave me the opportunity to do something I have never done before, as well as the chance to get to know Liverpool better. My favourite aspect of this City Social was the experience of making some amazing new friends.


As an LJMU student you can get your FREE tickets to see Liverpool at twilight from SAW central reception in the LJMU Aquinas building (Mount Pleasant Campus) from 10am – 3pm. Just bring your student ID along with you and you will be able to get your free LJMU pass (which includes a pass for a friend). Otherwise we will be out on campus next week between 11-13:30 – check out our weekly what’s on blog which is published on Sundays to find out where we will be on which day.