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Friday 30 January 2015 7.00-10.30pm

LiveFriday: January 2015

Heaven & Hell
Friday 30 January, 7–10.30 pm
Free Admission, All Welcome!

Inspired by William Blake’s epic and revolutionary text 'The Marriage of Heaven and Hell', this special LiveFriday will bring the visionary artist and writer to life through a programme of live music, performances, illusions, workshops and talks.

William Blake was a true visionary whose work has inspired music, art, literature, graphic novels and film. Meet angels and demons, take a trip from the hellish museum crypts to the heavenly rooftop bar, and discover more about this extraordinary and mysterious man.

Admission to LiveFriday is free.

Our William Blake: Apprentice & Master exhibition will be open late (last entry 9pm), and the Rooftop Dining Room and Crypt Café will be open all evening.


Follow this link to download the programme.

Confirmed Events and Activities


‘Schola Cantorum’ will be singing choral arrangements of Blake’s poems by composers ranging from Vaughan Williams to Tavener and Parry. ‘Sofar Sounds’ will present an intimate gig, with local bands including ‘Balloon Ascents’ and ‘The Balkan Wanderers’ premiering their unique arrangements of Blake’s ‘The Tyger’ and ‘London’. Meanwhile ‘The Beatroots’ will provide some heavenly jazz a cappella, and elsewhere visitors can discover how Blake has inspired modern musicians such as Bob Dylan and Patti Smith from a silent radio station played through wireless headphones.

Illusions, Visions & Perception

Visit a special ‘LottoLab’ installation and discover the limits of human perception through a series of multi-sensory illusions. A wandering magician will also be demonstrating the boundaries between reality and imagination!

Theatre & Performance

The museum’s underworldly crypts will play host to a shadow puppetry theatre, in an exploration of Blake’s assertion that ‘imagination is the real and eternal world of which this vegetable universe is but a faint shadow’. ‘Armchair Puppets’ will be on hand to teach visitors how to design puppets inspired by monsters in Blake’s art. And a shadow-cutting artist will provide on-the-spot silhouette portraits for you to take home.

You might also stumble upon ‘The Oxford Imps’ presenting demonically funny improvised comedy, or actress Ruth Rosen performing her Blake inspired monologue ‘Man Without a Mask’. The Oxford University Dramatic Society will offer recitals of Blake’s poems in the exhibition, as well as a performance of Alan Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’.


Have a go at illustrating poetry and learn how to mirror-write, a skill Blake developed for his revolutionary printing method. A Blake treasure hunt will take families on a trip through the collections, and a range of games such as William Blake Top Trumps will offer entertainment for all ages.

Talks and Tours

John Dunning, curator of the recent graphic novel exhibition at the British Library, will provide insight into Blake’s crucial influence on the genre, alongside short introductions to Blake in film, Blake and the Gothic, and the neuroscience behind hallucinations, presented by Oxford’s finest academics. ‘The Architectural Association’ will also showcase a series of designs inspired by Blake’s mythical city of Golgonooza.


Late night opening of the William Blake: Apprentice & Master exhibition (last entry 9pm).