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Liverpool celebrates the 50th birthday of “Sgt. Pepper’s” with a programme of cultural events

Liverpool, the city which became the site of one of the 20th century’s defining musical movements, is celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ cult album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

From 25 May – 16 June, a programme curated by Sean Doran and Liam Browne and presented by the City of Liverpool will unfold across locations across the city. The programme will be comprised of 13 major commissions from artists inspired by each of the album’s 13 tracks. Frank Cottrell Boyce, Mark Morris Dance Group, DJ Spooky, Judy Chicago, Meow Meow, Jeremy Deller, Christophe Berthonneau + Groupe F will collaborate with Liverpool-based cultural organisations, among them Tate, Metal, Milapfest, Hurricane Films and 20 Stories High, made possible by the support of Arts Council’s Ambition for Excellence programme which is funded by the National Lottery.

Among the packed roster of events, Mark Morris Dance Group will be performing new dance work Pepperland, Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller will be “examin[ing] the nature of friendship and self-sacrifice, not just with those we know but also between strangers” across two public art commissions and American feminist art pioneer Judy Chicago will be creating her largest ever mural on the disused Grain Silo in Liverpool Docks.

The programme’s co-curators Sean Doran and Liam Browne say “these 13 commissions invite artists not only to respond to the genius of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper album but also crucially to collaborate and take inspiration from the city of Liverpool as a world stage with an unrivalled creative community. We were delighted to receive Sir Paul McCartney’s blessing for our thinking and style of approach to Sgt. Pepper at 50 and honoured to have been asked to work with the city in this way.”

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The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967 edition), vinyl album inset

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The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967 edition), vinyl album cover

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Press launch of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band at Brian Epstein’s house at 24 Chapel St. Belgravia, London 19 May 1967. The Beatles left to right: Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, and George Harrison. Courtesy of Liverpool Echo.

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Press launch of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band at Brian Epstein’s house at 24 Chapel St. Belgravia London 19 May 1967. Back row left to right: Ringo Starr, George Harrison. Front row: Paul McCartney and John Lennon. Courtesy of Liverpool Echo.

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Cristiano Corte: Jeremy Deller

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Donald Woodman: Judy Chicago

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John Cage’s first Musicircus, 1967. Courtesy of John Cage Trust.