Liverpool's centre for the contemporary arts

Donate now

About us

Book Tickets

Tickets & Information

0151 702 5324 |

Stay up to date

About us

Bluecoat is Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts, the oldest in the UK. Our landmark building, located in the heart of the city centre, is home to a year-round programme of exhibitions, music, dance, literature, live art and heritage events.

Bluecoat also provides a base for around thirty artists, collectives, small arts organisations and craftspeople. Bluecoat receives around 700,000 visits annually from a diverse range of visitors. We seek to create exceptional arts experiences, engaging the broadest possible audience with exciting contemporary work and the creators behind it in ways that allow the public’s enjoyment of the building to blend seamlessly with the arts, heritage, retail and hospitality on offer.

2017 was the 300th anniversary of our distinctive Grade One listed building, the oldest in Liverpool city centre. The tercentenary celebrations have provided us with a unique opportunity to share our rich heritage, to engage with new artists, audiences and stakeholders, and in dialogue, to create an inspirational vision for Bluecoat’s future.

Bluecoat: a brief history

Bluecoat is Liverpool’s oldest central building, founded in the early 1700s as the Blue Coat Hospital, a charity school for orphans. It was established by the Anglican Church and a wealthy merchant, Bryan Blundell. Like many of the school’s trustees and subscribers, Blundell profited from the transatlantic slave trade and goods that it enabled such as cotton, sugar and tobacco. He and his family dedicated their lives to the school, which still exists today. Since the 1980s, Bluecoat has explored its building’s colonial legacies through exhibitions and performances by artists from diverse backgrounds. For more information on this, visit our archive website

Following the school’s departure to a new home in the suburbs, a group of artists moved into the vacant building in 1907 and the space has been synonymous with art and artists ever since, playing a major part in Liverpool’s cultural life. In 1927 it was constituted as the UK’s first arts centre. Bluecoat expanded and flourished from the 1960s onwards with a regular public programme of exhibitions, music, live art and dance. A working community of artists has always been present, with creative businesses and small arts organisations added to the mix over the years. In 2008, Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture, Bluecoat reopened after a 3-year capital redevelopment that included significant improvements to physical access, as well as the creation of a new arts wing.

Our Mission:

We are committed to the values of equality, diversity and sustainability, and drive our work through being creative, inclusive and supportive.

  • Support diverse artists to develop their practice at all stages of their careers, to engage with audiences and to communicate the power and value of art to as broad a spectrum of people as possible.
  • Preserve, reveal and interpret the multifaceted story of our historic building, making it accessible to a range of audiences through activities, exhibitions, events and digital content in appropriate formats.
  • Help people find a meaningful place for the arts in their lives, creating safe and inclusive spaces for everyone to engage as audiences and participants.
  • Develop increasingly sustainable facilities that will generate income and support from a range of sources to support local and international artists and arts participants.


About the Bluecoat

Bluecoat is Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts, the oldest in the UK. Our landmark building, located in the ...

Opening hours

View our current opening hours

Tickets & Information

0151 702 5324 |

Who's blogging?

Sadia Pineda Hameed: The Song of My Life

published by The Bluecoat

Tweets from @theBluecoat


Please use this form to tell us about your experience of our website.

There was an error with your details, please try entering them again.

Stay up to date

Subscribe to the Bluecoat free mailing list and we'll send you all the details of our new events

Log In

There was an error with your details, please try entering them again.