The Lost Carnival is coming

We talk to organiser and Director of Wild Rumpus, Sarah Bird


I’ve been a fan of the Just So Festival for quite some time now, so when I heard that it’s little sister The Lost Carnival was coming to Burrs Country Park (Bury, 22/23/24/25 May 2015) I gave an enormous squeal!

We spoke to Sarah Bird, Co-Director of Wild Rumpus, the company behind these family festivals which can only be described as imagination explosions, to find out just how it all began. Sarah is pictured below (left) with Co-Director and friend Rowan Hoban.



Wild Rumpus


Standing on the verge of The Lost Carnival – taking place in Bury over the bank holiday weekend – it’s quite something to think that the partnership that has become so important to mine and Rowan’s lives only came into being  a few short years ago.

As we wander round the Burrs Country Park site where the event is all set to take place, telling the story of a once great carnival which strangely and mysteriously disappeared in 1915, and filled with incredible acrobatics, Balkan gypsy music,  mechanical contraptions and astounding sideshows – our initial playground conversations seem a lifetime ago.


lost carnival billboard


School mums and book groups


Our kids were at the same school, we were in the same book club, occasionally had lunch with the same group of mums, but we didn’t know each other that well when we decided to team up and set up a weekend camping arts festival for families.

It went something along the lines of:

Sarah ‘I’ve had an idea for a festival, where it’s all about families, playing, singing, dancing and creating together’

Rowan ‘Come on then, let’s do it.’

Sarah ‘Really?’

Rowan ‘Really. Here, I’ve already set up the website!’

Sarah  ‘Really? That was quick!’


Wild Rumpus


Wild Rumpus


The perfect mix of cautious and ambitious


We were incredibly naïve but also (it turned out later) the perfect mix of cautious and ambitious, practical and creative.

Our first venture, the Just So Festival, began small and has since become an annual extravaganza attracting thousands of families into the wild spaces of their dreams.




Lost Carnival


Lost Carnival


It wasn’t long before we took the big leap of faith that all such adventures seem to require, giving up our day jobs as bookshop manager and science co-ordinator at MMU. Our lives became ever more intertwined, running a marathon together, if only to allow us more time to hatch up our plans.


Never let your imagination get the better of you


If nothing else I’d say the lesson of our partnership is that you should never feel afraid to let your imagination get the better of you.

One of the things we said to the audience at the very first festival was that it would be what they made it, they needed to bring their singing voices, their dancing feet, their stories and their capacity for wonder. We wanted them to feel like it was their festival and from the get go they wowed us, they dressed up, they played, climbed, sang and danced their socks off.


Pendulum 1


The Lost Carnival


We are saying the same thing again with The Lost Carnival. Yes, we’ve worked our hardest and dreamed our wildest dreams in order to provide something special for them to turn up and enjoy, the real excitement, though, is the prospect that they will not only just turn up, but will do so determined to fully enter the extraordinary spirit of the event.

The Lost Carnival will appear in Burrs Country Park in Bury on the evenings of 22/23/24/25 May 2015. The carnival will be open from 4-9pm, with the audience entering on timed tickets.

Tickets cost £10 per person (under 3s go free). Carnival goers should dress for the weather, and wear sturdy shoes. Tickets are available at

See what else Wild Rumpus are planning including details of the 2015  Just So Festival and an incredible opportunity to release your inner wild thing at the Whitworth in Manchester in June


Competition time




We’ve got a family ticket to give away for The Lost Carnival, for the evening of Friday 22nd May for two adults and as many kids as you have (that are yours!). The event runs from 4pm – 9pm.


The Lost Carnival


All we want to know is if you ran away to join the circus, what would you be and why?

Pop it in the comments box below – but only one comment per person please.

Will it be Lion Tamer, Trapeze Artist or something different altogether.

So don’t be shy – tell us what you’d be?

Good luck!


Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)


Photographs: Wild Rumpus


By taking part in this competition you are agreeing to 4Manchester Womens Terms & Conditions for competitions and prize draws.


Competition closing date: 9pm Sunday 17th May 2015.

The winner will be the first name selected at random from all respondents. No purchase necessary. No cash alternative. The Editor’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Closing date is 9pm Sunday 17th May 2015. The winner will be notified immediately. Only one entry per person. UK entries only. No automated entries. Supporting ThePrizeFinder – UK Competitions, loquax and  Competitions Time. If you are the lucky winner, your contact details will be forwarded to the providers of the prize, strictly for the purpose of fulfilling the prize and not for any other purpose.
Please note: Should you be notified as the winner, and you do not respond within 24 hours of our notification, we reserve the right to re-draw the winner.











Manchester International Festival

MIF15 launches an exciting programe of familiar faces and new commissions (2nd – 19th July 2015)


While the Manchester International Festival has been on my radar, I’ve never really engaged with it, assuming that it was for those with better groomed beards.

And I’ve always found out about things way too late – only to discover that the tickets have all gone. Not that I’ve known many names in the programme. I’ve smiled and nodded and then had to go away and Google, feeling like a most uncultured numpty.

All of which have conspired to make me believe that the Manchester International Festival was intimidating and not for people like me.


MIF15 launch


So this year I bit the bullet and got myself on the guest list for the 2015 programme launch event.


Ten years old and counting


However, just as I finally make it to the party, Alex Poots, the festival’s founding CEO and artistic director announces his move to a new role in New York.

Although he says that he leaves our city with a heavy heart, he’s leaving an incredible legacy – an internationally renowned festival which brings art lovers from right around the world to Manchester.

It’s a festival which will soon find a new home in the newly announced multi-million pound  Factory which is due to be built on the Old Granada Studios site.

Running thought the programme, it’s full of exciting new collaborations which push the boundaries to their extremes.

With the lights dimmed and ambient tunes turned up, the anticipation was palpable. By the end of the presentation I was sold!



There is something for everyone in the MIF15 programme, and my advice is would be – if you don’t recognise some of the names, just go with it anyway, try something different and trust that Alex Poots has found something spectacular.

Across a range of Manchester venues, in an attempt to counter criticism that the festival is elitist, it’s allocated 10% of tickets to low waged people (under £14,000) with a Manchester postcode. Performances from Mancunians also weave through their way through many of the commissioned pieces. is a new musical inspired by Alice in Wonderland, adapted to modern day. Poots was looking for a project which would lure back festival favourite Damon Albarn, which was both English and eccentric, but which would translate internationally.

A collaboration with The National Theatre and with War Horse’s set designer, this new musical is a modern story of a modern family with an  internet addiction to the computer game While all the usual characters will be there – some will live in the real world, while others will lie in the audio visual world within cyber space.


Albarn describes it as an “electro musical”. It sounds amazing! will be performed at The Palance Theatre (29th June – 12th July)

To find out more and to book tickets click here



High Tea in Wonderland


Continuing the ‘Alice’ theme, acclaimed chef Mary-Ellen McTague will create a magical food event behind the scenes at Manchester Museum.


High tea in wonderland


High Tea in Wonderland can be found at Manchester Museum on Sundays 5th,12th and 19th July.

To find out more and to book tickets click here



The Skriker at The Royal Exchange


Festival and Manchester theatre royalty, Maxine Peake and Sarah Frankcom will be bringing The Skriker to the Royal Exchange. This play, which was last seen in the UK 20 years ago centres around a shape shifting fairy which hovers between fairytale and nightmare. Described as the earth’s last cry, it promises to be a production which makes enormous demands on it’s performers and on it’s audience.


Skriker MIF15.

The Skriker will be performed at The Royal Exchange (1st – 18th July)

To find out more and to book tickets click here



Björk one-off gig at Castlefield


Björk is coming back to the festival to preview her new album in a spectacular gig at the Castlefield Arena (8,000 capacity).



The concert is on Sunday 5th July.

For more information and to book tickets, click here



Tree of Codes – new contemporary ballet


A new ballet by acclaimed choreographer Wayne McGregor has been commissioned for the festival – with a kicking sound track by producer and remix artist Jamie XX. Soloists and dances from The Paris Opera Ballet (arguably the best in the world) will perform alongside Wayne’s own dance company and will feature Marie-Agnès Gillot ….. the French Darcey Bussell.

Tree of Codes will be performed at The Opera House (2nd – 10th July)

For more information and to book tickets, click here



Arvo Pärt and Gerhard Richter collaboration


Acclaimed visual artist Gerhard Richter and Arvo Pärt (the most performed living composer in the world) have made work inspired by and dedicated to each other.

Several years in the planning, these works will be united for the first time at The Whitworth art gallery (five paintings and choral music) and accompanied by an evening of Pärt’s music performed by Manchester Camerata at The Bridgewater Hall.

The Whitworth (9th – 19th July). For more information (free event) click here

Manchester Camerata at The Bridgewater Hall (12th July). For more information and to book tickets click here



The Tale of Mr Tumble


Families and children will be treated to The Tale of Mr Tumble at Manchester’s Opera House. It’s hoped that this new production will spark a life long love of theatre in children.

Following a long tradition of vaudeville performers (think Charlie Chaplin), CBeebies’ Justin Fletcher will be introducing us to many new members of his family. The show will also feature 400 Manchester children (including those with special educational needs) in a massive Makaton / sign language choir.


Mr Tumble

The Tale of Mr Tumble will be performed at Manchester’s Opera House (11th – 19th July).

For more information and to book tickets, click here



Ed Atkins – Performance Capture


Manchester Art Gallery will host three rooms dedicated to computer-generated moving image work. Performers from the festival will don motion action suits which will collectively be distilled into one avatar, thus documenting the festival in an extremely innovative way.

This is a free performance at Manchester Art Gallery (4th – 19th July). For more information, click here


The Immortal by Mark Simpson


Prepare to be spooked! Mark Simpson is one of Britain’s brightest young composers, winning both BBC Young Musician and Young Composer of the Year.

The Immortal, which will be performed at The Bridgewater Hall by the BBC Philharmonic, explores obsession with death inspired by notes from 19th century seanses. The programme, which will be the premier of his first large scale commission, will be completed by Mozart’s Requiem.

The Immortal will be performed at The Bridgewater Hall (4th July). For more information and to book tickets, click here



Neck of the Woods


Turner Prize-winning artist Douglas Gordon and celebrated pianist Hélène Grimaud will create a portrait of a wolf in a collision of visual art, music and threatre at new arts centre HOME – with words provided by Charlotte Rampling.


Neck of Woods


For more information and to book tickets (10th – 18th July), click here



Mercury Prize winner FKA twigs


FKA twigs will be making her MIF debut with a residency at Old Granada Studios, making seven short films over the week, with audiences invited to observe the process.


FKA twigs


For more information and to book tickets (9th – 15th July), click here



FlexN Manchester


Flying in from Brooklyn especially for the festival launch, Reggie ‘Roc’ Gray and three of FlexN dancers certainly made a statement. If you are FlexN you’ll be bone breaking, pausing, flexing and generally leaving your audience wondering how on earth a body can make shapes that just don’t seem normal. It was breath taking!




Ten dancers from Manchester will visit the FlexN team in Brooklyn to share styles and ideas – bringing them back to Old Granada Studios for a very special performance for the Manchester International Festival.

For more information and to book tickets (11th – 12th July), click here



The Age of Starlight


Festival Director Alex Poots described this as his riskiest ever commission as the piece of technology at the heart of it is still in the process of being created. The Age of Starlight will be a world first show about the origin of the universe, bought to life by incredible new cinematic technology. This 21st century planetarium will use glasses which bring CGI images into your field of vision.

The collaborative team includes Prof Brian Cox – the project will be announced and presented at this year’s festival with a full premier of the finished article in 2016.

Google are apparently investing gazillions into this technology which is predicted to eventually find itself on over 1 billion mobile hand sets.

You saw it here first!




For more information, click here



Festival Square in Albert Square


There will be 18 days of free entertainment in Albert Square. 125,000 people visited last year from all walks of life. There will be a BBC studio on site, music, DJ’s, Heathcotes restaurant and a variety of street food.

If you’ve got a comedy itch that needs scratching, then Festival Square is also the place to head with a full programme of fun and frivolity including late night cabarets and a comedy reworking of Dostoyevsky’s The Crocodile!


Festival Square MIF


For more information, a full programme and to book tickets click here



Club Culture


Traditional show closer – Yellow, will once again be rocking Festival Square with Hacienda DJ Dave Haslam and guests (18th July). For more information and to book tickets click here

However, for it’s 10th anniversary and to close the show this year, there will be two nights of clubbing at Mayfield Depot with the Warehouse project (17th -18th July). For more information and to book tickets, click here


So it’s something for everyone, with both familiar and new faces bringing some really exciting collaborations to Manchester – consolidating our fine city as a major international arts hub.


Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)


Photographs: Alison Staples, MIF






SEED coming to MCDC

Construction is underway for a new architectural installation at Manchester Craft & Design Centre


Following a design competition, Manchester Craft & Design Centre (MCDC), working with RIBA North West and its Members, are currently transforming the exhibition space in the iconic former fishmarket in Manchester’s creative Northern Quarter.

A plywood structure called SEED is being designed and constructed using digital production methods, a first for an installation of this size at MCDC. The structure is being pre-fabricated using laser-cutting techniques at Fab Lab Manchester.



SEED being made at Fab Lab


SEED being made at Fab Lab


Family-friendly launch event


The components are being made this week, with construction of the pavilion taking place in the week leading up to the free family-friendly launch event on 21st February 2pm – 5pm.

The exhibition will then run until 10th May 2015, with free entry during MCDC’s usual opening hours.


About SEED


The winning design – SEED, was designed by James Donegan (pictured above at Fab Lab this week), a student at Manchester School of Architecture. James’ elegant, contemporary design is inspired by the mathematical patterns found in nature.




SEED strains up towards the light of MCDC’s glass roof as a budding flower would, responding to the change of seasons which will take place during the period of the exhibition.

For more information visit


Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)


Photographs: Fab Lab Manchester, Manchester Craft & Design Centre






Chinese New Year 2015

What’s on – celebrating the year of the Ram


Last year over 90,000 people experienced Manchester’s Chinese New Year.

In 2015, the city of Manchester will be welcoming the Year of the Ram with even bigger and brighter celebrations (Thursday 19th to Sunday 22nd February).

Thousands of lanterns, a spectacular light show and explosive art will animate the city centre, alongside street food, music and martial arts and the ever popular Dragon Parade and fireworks finale.


Manchester Chinese New Year


Thousands of red Chinese lanterns will adorn the city’s shopping streets again this year in the weeks leading up to the celebrations, with buildings and shops illuminated in red and gold during the weekend itself.


Highlights this year include:


Chinese Food Market – St Ann’s Square


Food is one of the fundamental aspects of Chinese New Year. St Ann’s Square will be hosting a Chinese food market from 19th – 22nd February featuring some of the finest food directly from Chinatown including Yang Sing, I am Pho and Pearl City.

Guests can relax in the sumptuous red-draped marquee and soak up the atmosphere with traditional music and décor.


Dim Sum Yang Sing


Dragon Parade & Fireworks – Albert Square & Chinatown


At midday on Sunday 22nd February, Albert Square will come alive with martial arts and dance displays followed by the Dragon’s dramatic appearance at 12.30pm outside the Town Hall.


Chinese New Year Manchester


From 1pm follow the magnificent Dragon Parade through the city’s streets to Chinatown’s NCP car park where it will be greeted with firecrackers.

In Chinatown, you’ll find traditional lion dancers, martial arts displays, spectacular Chinese acrobatics, arts and crafts, workshops and a funfair with over 20 rides on Charlotte Street – culminating in the spectacular fireworks finale at 6pm.

From 11am – 5pm, Chinatown and Albert Square will host over 60 stalls offering a variety of gifts, arts and crafts and a mouthwatering variety of delicious food.




To mark the new year tradition of the giving and receiving of red envelopes, Manchester shoppers will have the chance to win a share of £10,000*.

Head to St Ann’s Square on Thursday 19th February to collect your special red envelope, containing a share of the huge prize to spend in one of eight city centre shops including Manchester Arndale, Harvey Nichols, House of Fraser, Selfridges, Boots and Cath Kidston.

*prize value from gift vouchers and experiences redeemable in specified stores only. Terms and conditions will apply. Envelopes will be handed out from Thursday 19th as long as stocks last.

City centre retailers will also be welcoming the new year with special events, promotions and offers.

Participating stores include Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Manchester Arndale, House of Fraser, Jigsaw, The White Company, Jack Wills, L’Occitane, Clarks, Agent Provocateur, LK Bennett, Office and Cath Kidston.


Arts and Culture


From Thursday 19th – Saturday 21st February, St Ann’s Church will provide the backdrop to a spectacular series of large-scale light, art and film projections each evening from 6pm – 10pm.

These will include:

  • Sun Xun: Stately Shadows –  to celebrate the major solo exhibition currently in residence at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA), three of Sun Xun’s animated films including ‘What happened in the year of the dragon’ will be projected onto the side of the church.
  • A taster of Cai Guo-Qiang’s ‘Unmanned Work’ installation – a forty-five metre long, four metre high gunpowder drawing and the first exhibition in the Whitworth Gallery’s new landscape gallery. The projection will provide a glimpse into the making of Guo-Qiang’s work alongside a time-lapse of his completed work being installed and exhibited at the gallery. ‘Unmanned Nature’ opens at Whitworth Art Gallery on the 14th February 2015.
  • Thousands of lanterns and an 80 ft snake gliding in and around the church as part of an unmissable light art show using the latest projection mapping technology.


Chinese lanterns


Chinese lanterns


Join Manchester Art Gallery to celebrate Chinese New Year 2015 with traditional Chinese dance, music and storytelling on Sunday 22nd February from 12pm-4pm.  There will also be a drop-in creative workshop; ‘Chop Chop, Stick Sticks’! where you can customise your own wooden chopsticks.


The Chinese Film Forum UK will be showing The Golden Era (CBTA) (Huang Jin Shi Dai) on Monday 16th February at 5:30pm at Manchester’s Cornerhouse.




In St Ann’s Square, a variety of family workshops are being hosted by the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA) and Manchester Confucius Institute with contemporary themes including Bangin’ Paper Fireworks with artist Naomi Kashiwagi and Be Ewe with artist Pui Lee.

There will also be workshops using a variety of traditional Chinese arts. Workshops will run from Thursday 19th – Sunday 22nd February from 12pm – 3:30pm, visit for the full schedule.


The streets of Manchester will also serve as a stage for The Legend of Nian: A Circus Caravan – a travelling theatre performance of the mythical Chinese tale. Carriage performers will transform into colourful outfits and eye-catching masks, combining modern street dance with traditional martial arts and movement. Head to St Ann’s Square for a fantastic fire and light show.

Performances will take place daily from Thursday 19th – Saturday 21st February between 12pm – 4pm and will roam from New Cathedral St, Market St, King St, St Ann’s Square and Exchange Square. The fire and light show will take place daily between 5.30pm – 8pm.

On Friday 20th February, Manchester Arndale will play host to Tai Chi demonstrations including 30 minute public classes at 2pm and 3pm.

Jin Long Chinese Martial Arts Academy will also deliver a number of traditional Chinese performances across the city centre, from northern lion dance to Kung Fu and jar juggling between 12pm – 3:30pm at Manchester Arndale and across Market Street, St Ann’s Square, New Cathedral Street and King Street.


Chinese dragon


For updates on all of Manchester’s Chinese New Year activity, please visit: or follow @CNY_MCR on Twitter using the hashtag #chinesenewyearMCR.


Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)


Photographs: McAvoy Photography, Chinese New Year Manchester



Whitworth Opening Programme

Reopening its doors on 14th February 2015


How we’ve missed The Whitworth Gallery during it’s extensive refurbishment. And we are beyond excited about its opening weekend (14th -15th February).


The Whitworth


The Whitworth will reopen as an extended gallery in a park, with new exhibition spaces and greatly enhanced visitor facilities that redefine its role for the 21st century.

The extended display areas reach into the landscape, with new and recently acquired sculpture on display in the gallery grounds and in a new art garden and orchard designed by painterly garden designer Sarah Price.


The Whitworth


The Whitworth


What’s on ……


Cornelia Parker

14 February – 31 May 2015
The Whitworth programme will open with a major solo exhibition from one of Britain’s most acclaimed contemporary artists, Cornelia Parker whose work invites viewers to witness the transformation of ordinary objects into compelling and extraordinary art.

This extensive presentation will feature a wide range of work made during Parker’s career, including her signature piece Cold Dark Matter; An Exploded View, (1991) alongside an important new commission and recent additions to her ongoing series of Bullet, Poison and Antidote, and Explosion Drawings.


Cornelia Parker, Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View



Cai Guo-Qiang

14 February – 21 June 2015

Cai Guo-Qiang is a leading Chinese-born contemporary artist, known for his remarkable projects using gunpowder, including the firework displays for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

His installation Unmanned Nature (2008), a forty-five metre long, four metre high gunpowder drawing, will be the first artwork shown in the Whitworth’s new Landscape Gallery. This will also be the first showing of the installation anywhere in the world outside the Japanese city of Hiroshima.

Unmanned Nature was commissioned by the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art in 2008, and it was shown in an exhibition marking his designation as the recipient of the Seventh Hiroshima Art Prize. The prize is awarded every three years to an artist who has made the greatest contribution to peace in the field of art.


Cai Guo-Qiang unmanned nature


New Acquisitions

14 February – 16 August 2015
This exhibition will celebrate the recent major gift by The Karpidas Foundation of 90 contemporary works of art to the Whitworth.

The exhibition will include pieces by Richard Patterson, Paul Noble, Dorothy Cross, Anna Barriball, Laure Prouvost and Richard Forster.

In addition, photography will feature strongly in the exhibition, with works by Gillian Wearing, Wolfgang Tillmans, Liz Deschenes, Luke Fowler, Lisa Oppenheim and Josh Brand.

A further group of paintings presented by The Karpidas Foundation will be displayed overlooking Whitworth Park. These will include works by major British artists Michael Craig-Martin, Dexter Dalwood, Keith Coventry and Gary Hume alongside recent paintings by young New York-based artists Matt Connors and Richard Aldrich.


dexter dalwood neverland


Several sculptures that form part of the gift will be permanently installed in the Whitworth grounds and park, with works by Nathan Coley, Christine Borland, Simon Periton, Emily Young, Nate Lowman and Nico Vascellari.




14 February – 22 November 2015

A show about the lives and the relationships between the artists, collectors and curators who made the Whitworth.

Collections are created by people: the people who acquired and then presented collections to the institution; the curators and others who select and assemble works for public viewing; and, not the least, the people who feature in the works themselves.

This exhibition space will be animated by some of these people and explore the relationships between them, from Francis Bacon’s portrait of his friend Lucian Freud to a self- portrait of Adolf Wölfli made in a mental asylum near Berne, and Sir Stanley Spencer’s drawing of Margaret Pilkington, honorary director of the Whitworth for over 20 years and the first female director of a major UK gallery.



lucien freud


Other works include recent acquisitions by contemporary artists Mary Kelly and Cecily Brown, as well as key works from the Musgrave Kinley Outsider Collection, held at the Whitworth.


Johnnie Shand Kydd

14 February – 21 February 2016
As an emerging photographer, Shand Kydd became known for capturing the incipient community of YBAs (Young British Artists) during the 1990s. He created hundreds of now iconic black and white images of his artist friends and has continued to track the progress of figures such as Sarah Lucas, Tracey Emin, Gilbert and George and Damien Hirst.

This selection of works from Shand Kydd’s extensive and varied portfolio focuses on his yearly trips to the Greek island of Hydra at the invitation of the art collector and Whitworth patron, Pauline Karpidas.



14 February – 31 May 2015

The Whitworth is home to an internationally renowned collection of British watercolours. The greatest benefactor to this collection was John Edward Taylor, who was the owner of the Manchester Guardian (now The Guardian), and his gifts to the Whitworth epitomize how money from industrial and commercial ventures was transformed into cultural wealth, a vital force in both the history of the Whitworth and the city of Manchester.

Highlights from Taylor’s collection will be on display, including works by three of the best exponents of watercolour: 22 works by J. M. W. Turner, seven by William Blake and four by John Robert Cozens.


turner watercolour


For more information about The Whitworth and forthcoming exhibitions visit



Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)



Photographs: The Whitworth




2014 Family Arts Festival

The arts stage a take over this half term


The Lowry are working with top attractions to bring the arts alive for families across Salford and Trafford in some rather unexpected places – from shopping centres and ice rinks to haunted houses and giant fish tanks.


Family Arts Festival

The Lowry have partnered with major local attractions, including Media City UK, Ordsall Hall, Sea Life Centre Manchester, Lowry Outlet, Manchester United Museum and LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre to take the arts across Salford and Trafford .

The week of family-friendly pop-up performances, activities and workshops is part of the national 2014 Family Arts Festival (17th October – 2nd November) which aims to bring a wide variety of high quality arts activities, from theatre and literature to film and circus, to families across the UK.

The fun starts with a big Salford STOMP!. The global phenomenon take their signature style of dance, percussion and comedy out onto the piazza at MediaCity UK for a pop-up performance at 12 noon on Tue 28 October. They will then take to the ice on MediaCity UK’s newly opened Ice Rink (open to the public from Mon 27th October – Wed 24th December), before returning to the stage for the opening night of their five-day run at The Lowry (Tue 28th October – Sat 1st Nov).

The Big Family Play Date, on Sat 1st November, sees venues packing-up and popping-up in the most unexpected places with activities from 10am – 5pm.  The cast of acclaimed new laugh out loud comedy Peter Pan Goes Wrong head to intu Trafford Centre, before their run at The Lowry this Christmas, for a shambolic photo-shoot at Sea Life Centre Manchester which might just see them sleeping with the fishes.

Best-loved children’s books come to life, with music, drama and audience participation at the Lowry Outlet (Sat 1st November) with interactive readings of Michael Rosen’s We’re Going on a Bear Hunt! and Emily Brown and The Thing, with the cast of the stage show which runs at The Lowry from Tue 28th October – Sun 2nd November.

Julia Fawcett, chief executive of The Lowry, said: “As the largest arts venue in Greater Manchester, The Lowry is delighted to present this year’s Family Arts Festival. We are looking forward to working with neighbouring attractions and services across Salford and Trafford to bring the arts to life. I hope that families will enjoy making a day – or a week – of exploring the huge variety of exciting and interactive activities on offer.”

For full listings of all Salford and Trafford Family Arts Festival events, visit:


Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)


Photographs: The Lowry







Cultural What’s On May 2014

What’s on in Manchester – theatre, music, cinema and arts


Lorna McBride


Stepping swiftly into May, we’ve got some top cultural tit-bits for you to enjoy in Manchester this month.

Regular guest blogger Lorna is back on the blog today with her monthly look ahead at what’s coming up at the theatre and cinema, and the music and arts we’ve got to look forward to.





Jimmy Carr, The Lowry

Acid tongued comedian and 8 out of 10 Cats presenter Jimmy Carr comes to The Lowry on Saturday 24th May.

Carr pulls no punches in his stand up and you’re bound to wince as many times as you spit your drink out laughing. A must see on the comedy front, just make sure you don’t sit ANYWHERE near the front or do so at your own risk of becoming part of the show.

For more information visit


Britannia Waves The Rules, Royal Exchange Theatre

The World Premiere of a Bruntwood Prize winning play, Britannia Waves The Rules, comes to the Royal Exchange Theatre between 27th May and 7th June.

Carl doesn’t fit in at home. He doesn’t fit in anywhere. When he signs up for the army, he sees it as a chance to escape the grim reality of life in his hometown. But the army takes him to Afghanistan. And when he comes home, it’s not as a war hero but as a changed man.

For more information visit


Britannia Royal Exchange


Cirque Du Soleil: Dralion, Phones4U Arena

One to book ahead for, I feel like everyone should get to see at least one show by Cirque Du Soleil in their lifetime. Dralion comes to Manchester between 11th and 15th June in a spectacular of acrobatics and costumes that could be high definition if they were on tv.

Dralion draws it’s inspiration from Eastern philosophy and it’s never ending quest for harmony between humans and nature, in it’s first ever UK arena tour.

For more information visit





Tracks, now showing cinema wide

The unbelievable and actually true story of Aussie woman Robyn Davidson (Mia Wasikowska) who abandoned civilisation to embark on a impossible 2000 mile trek across the deserts of Australia in 1977.

Robyn travels alone accompanied only by a few camels and a dog for company, aside from the occasional visit by a National Geographic photographer called Rick (played by Adam Driver, of Girls fame).




Transcendence, now showing cinema wide

As if a film starring Johnny Depp is not reason enough to go and see it, Transcendence is a mind bending sci fi thriller about a scientist whose consciousness is uploaded – in a world where technology is fast replacing natural evolution.

The directorial debut of ‘Inception’ director Christopher Nolan’s regular cinematographer Wally Pfister, also starring an excellent supporting cast including Cillian Murphy and Morgan Freeman.




X-Men: Days of Future Past, in cinemas 22nd May

Original X-Men director Bryan Singer returns to the helm for this mind-bending, time-hopping adventure, seeing the ultimate X-Men cast (including Michael Fassbender, Ian McKellan, Patrick Stewart, Jennifer Lawrence and more) unite to fight a spectacular war for survival across two time periods.

It is 2023 and mutants are on the verge of extinction, hunted by giant robotic sentinels. Magneto (Ian McKellen) and Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) hatch a last desperate plan. They send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back to 1973 on a make-or-break mission.






Echo and the Bunnymen, The Ritz

Echo and the Bunnymen bring their dark, swirling fusion of gloomy post-punk and Doors inspired psychdelia to Manchester on Wednesday 14th May ahead of the release of their new album Meteroites.

The band hail from Liverpool and had hits in the 80s and 90s with Killing Moon and Nothing Lasts Forever.

For more information visit


Echo & the Bunnymen


Katy Perry, Phones4U Arena

Pop starlet extraordinaire Katy Perry will be kicking off the first leg of her Prismatic world tour in the UK and will be bringing it to Manchester on Tuesday 20th and Friday 24th May, to showcase her latest number one album Prism.

Expect spectacular costumes and staging, with Perry herself describing the show as “a feast for your eyes”. 

For more information visit


Kings Of Leon, Phones4U Arena

Heads up to grab tickets before they go…American rockers Kings of Leon ride into Manchester on Wednesday 18th June on the back of their sixth studio album, Mechanical Bull.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past decade or so you’ll be thrilled to hear back catalogue classics Molly’s Chambers and Sex On Fire performed alongside recent hits Supersoaker and Temple.

For more information visit



Art and Exhibitions


From the War of Nature, Manchester Museum

Boxing hares, burrowing parasites, baby birds and prowling wolves are just some of the characters appearing in this story of predation, competition, co-operation and collaboration in Manchester Museum’s current exhibition.

The exhibition reveals that living things resolve conflict in many, often unexpected, ways and aims to challenge the perception that war is an inevitable outcome of conflict. From the War of Nature coincides with the nationwide commemoration of the start of World War I.

For more information visit


Reactions14: Second Breath with English National Ballet, IWM North

For one night only on Saturday 17th May the English National Ballet perform Second Breath, choreographed by internationally acclaimed British choreographer Russell Maliphant,within IWM North’s cavernous Main Exhibition Space.

Part of Museums at Night, the evening will also include music by Manchester’s own Vintage 78DJs and more.

For more information visit


Collider, MOSI

A look into the world’s greatest science experiment opens at MOSI on the 23rd May. Buried deep under the border between Switzerland and France is CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.  This immersive exhibition blends theatre, video and sound art with real artefacts from CERN, recreating a visit to the famous particle physics laboratory.

Discover how studying the subatomic world can point the way to a fuller understanding of our universe.

For more information visit




Have fun exploring our city of culture this month. If there is anything that you think should be added please leave a comment in the box below.


Lorna x


Photographs: The Royal Exchange Theatre, The Ritz, MOSI


Other articles by Lorna

Cultural preview – March 2014

Cultural preview – February 2014

Cultural preview – December 2013

Review of War Horse at The Lowry

Pantomimes and children’s shows this Christmas

Cultural preview – November 2013

Cultural preview – October 2013

Review of Glamorous Amorous – The Ladyboys of Bangkok






Manchester After Hours

Northern Quarter After Dark


Manchester After Hours (15th May 2014) is our city’s take on the annual Museums at Night celebrations. It’s a one night nocturnal festival of culture and creativity which will showcase the best of our creative city in unique and unexpected ways. You can read the full event programme here.


Manchester After Hours


Northern Quarter After Dark is part of the Manchester After Hours Festival.

“On this night the areas arts venues and galleries, shops and restaurants, pubs and bars will be mixing it up in one big cultural mash-up.

“Pick your way around the evocative streets taking in the outdoor art, unusual sights and sounds as you go, to venues like Manchester Craft and Design Centre, Matt & Phreds, The Bay Horse, Common, Twenty Twenty Two, Madlab and The Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art for an exciting programme of late night events.” – Creative Tourist


Northern Quarter After-Dark – Events


Below is a list of some of the upcoming events for NQ After Dark, however more events are being announced all the time. So keep your eyes peeled on the sites below and make sure you SAVE THE DATE! *

*Please note this information is for the Northern Quarter activity only*

Twitter: @nqafterdark




Photographic Grids @ Northern Quarter/Red Eye

Redeye is working with photographer Dave Allen to construct a photographic grid of the Northern Quarter. Map grid references will be laid over the Northern Quarter and on the night of Northern Quarter After Dark, members of the public will be invited to photograph the locations at these grid references.

The images will be submitted to Redeye on the night to be projected outdoors, in a public location of the Northern Quarter.

Times: 6pm-11pm

FREE Entry

For more information please visit:


ONST:IG @ Hyper Island

Hyper Island, school in Digital Media, invites you to an open art night where we experiment with interactive and digital art. The participant artists will collaborate with Hyper Island Digital Media students on a theme, aiming at solve a problem related to Manchester, linking the physical world and the digital world together.

Time: 6-9pm

For more information visit:


The Voice Currency – Make your Mark with Tash Willcocks

Watch the talented Tash Willcocks in a live demo of her interactive wall installation in the current exhibition called The Voice Currency at CFCCA.

Start time: 6pm

For more information


Constant Sleepless Night @ The Penthouse

The Penthouse is the place to get your heads and hands dirty with ideas and new beginnings which fly from our rooftops directly into the city around us and beyond.

Constant Sleepless Night is an evening exhibition and live soundtrack by artists Rosanne Robertson and Debbie Sharp.

Start time: 7pm

Admission - Suggested Donation £3

For more information visit:


Tactile Illusions Vs Sonic Delusions @ MCDC

Ever wondered what happens when MCDC’s doors close to the public each day? Photographer Tristan Poyser spied on our exhibition ‘Tactile Illusions’ one evening, capturing exclusive animation footage of Elizabeth Jane Winstanley’s work at play.

This animation will be showcased exclusively for MCDC’s After Hours event.

MCDC will also be celebrating with an evening of experimental audiovisual performance with North West collective 0point3recurring, Tactile Illusions Vs Sonic Delusions; will explore the relationships between both physical objects and the spaces in which they inhabit.

Throughout the night they will turn the former Victorian fish market building into an innovative performance space, using the exhibitions sculptural items and artists descriptions to creating a unique live immersive composition.

Performance time: 8pm – 10pm

FREE Event

For more information visit:


Live Printing @ Fred Aldous

Fred Aldous will be holding an evening of live printing using our analogue Photobooths and Risograph printer. Enlarge, distort and experiment with your photobooth portrait and join our wall of Fred Aldous mug shots. From photobooth to risograph print in under 10 minutes!

Time: 6-8.30pm

FREE Event

For more information visit:


Matt Pyke @ The Football Museum

As part of this year’s Museums At Night, the National Football Museum will host media artist Matt Pyke for one evening only, whose digital agency Universal Everything are creating a giant sculptural projection that will react to the voices and sounds made by our visitors.

Visitors will be invited to speak, shout, sing or whisper into a microphone and the video sculpture will transform, recolour and react – the stronger the chant the bigger the reward. Groups of football fans are welcome to come along and see how their favourite terrace chants translate into visual art.

Time: 6-11pm

FREE Event

For more information:


Live Street Art & Live Brass Band @ Terrace

Manchester’s finest street artists will be battling it out, all accompanied by a hip-hop style brass band, from the RNCM, with Manchester’s infamous Bedos m.c-ing.

Time: Exhibition open all day / Live art & music to commence from 6/7pm

FREE Event

For more information please visit:


Comme Ca Art @ Matt & Phreds

CCA will be showcasing works by some of the artists they currently represent. This includes, painting, photography, sculpture and print making. Some of the artists will be present during the evening to talk about their work and the practice of being an artist. Artworks will be available to purchase.

Time: 6pm-9pm

FREE Event

For more information visit:


Manchester Spins @ The Bay Horse

The Bay Horse is a quirky local pub with an emphasis on music and art. We hold exhibitions regularly giving local artists the opportunity to showcase their work.

For Museums at Night there are two very exciting exhibitions; Manchester Spins featuring vinyl sleeve design by legendary graphic designer Trevor Johnson; and our veryown stylist Nicky Rybka Goldsmith with his photographic portfolio on show for the first time!

Prints are available to purchase at both exhibitions, with £5 from every sale going to our chosen charity Forever Manchester.

Times: 12-11pm

FREE Event

For more information visit:


Stop Making Sense @ Common

Composition: A new installation exploring the relationship between sound and image by Aliyah Hussain and John Powell-Jones.

Yes Blythe uses cassette tapes and guitar pedals to create dark soundscapes; cavernous drones with underlying melodies.

Time: 9-11pm

FREE Event

For more information visit:


No Good Beatniks Live at Matt & Phreds @ Matt & Phreds

No Good Beatniks are a collective of like minded musicians who operate as a Jam Band with the focus on Dirty Grooves and Distorted Jazz. They play broken beats with a dance floor vintage/analogue equipment and classic instruments.

Time: Happy Hour 6-8pm / Gig starts 9-12pm

FREE Event

For more information visit:


Piercing Brightness screening @ Passion Academy

Passion studios will be presenting a screening of Piercing Brightness starring Sam Edwards. Piercing Brightness is a science fiction feature film directed by internationally acclaimed artist Shezad Dawood.

The film utilises science fiction to address issues of time, memory and belonging.

Time: 7pm

Free Event.For complimentary tickets

For more information please visit: 


Unit X Federation House

Manchester School of Art’s students have worked in partnership with staff and partner organisations to create a range of creative and exciting art installations, exhibitions, films, designs and projections in new and unusual locations.

Unit ‘X’ is an innovative way of teaching, bringing students from different disciplines together to work with museums, galleries, companies, public sector, communities and creative professionals.

Time: 6-9pm

For more information visit:


Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)




Ukrainian Love Letter

A personal story from one of Manchester’s Ukrainian community


What’s happening in Ukraine at the moment seems hard to believe. Quoted by some as the most serious stand off in Europe since the end of the Cold War we’re in the midst of a major international situation.

It’s hard to get beyond the shocking images of burning barricades, black smoke and bloodshed in Kiev’s Independence Square. It’s like Les Mis meets an apocalypse.

Manchester has a large Ukrainian community who I’m sure are going through a thousand torments. They will also be devastated that the world is seeing a fractured war zone – rather than the culturally rich and beautiful country they know.

I first met Myro (Myrodoodles) last Spring when she exhibited at one of my events. A talented artist who is inspired by Ukrainian folk art – she is unique. I wanted to hear how she was getting on – having read this, I thought you would too!





Over to you Myro ……

My name is Myroslava and although you can tell from my accent that I am Manchester born and bred, the nine-letter name suggests different, right?

My heritage is Ukrainian and still going strong after two generations of living in England. My grandfathers, like millions of other Europeans, had to find somewhere new to live after the war made it too dangerous to go home to their families.

They chose England, married women who were also far from home and settled down to a new life – Ukrainian communities were formed all over the country to keep the rich heritage alive 2000 miles away from home.

Like my parents before me, I was brought up in the heart of the Manchester Ukrainian community which is based in Cheetham Hill. On Saturdays I went to Ukrainian school to learn the language; during the week I sang in choirs and learned beautiful folk dancing; in the summer I went to Ukrainian camp to spend two weeks with other Ukrainian kids from all over the country.

Now I am older, I weave my Ukrainian heritage through my illustration work – I am inspired by the beautiful costumes of folk dance and the magical culture that breathes through Ukraine.

I had the privilege of visting Kyiv, the capital, in 2009 to dance there at a festival with my Ukrainian dance group, Podilya, which is based in Manchester. For many of us it was our first trip, and a chance to see the land we’d heard about all our lives was magical.


Trip to Ukraine


When the world opened its eyes one morning in January to see that peaceful protests in Maidan Nezalezhnosty (Independence Square) in Kyiv had turned violent, my heart broke like those of many other Ukrainians all over the world. I remembered being on that square with my friends in happier times, being proud to be Ukrainian – seeing it covered in ash, rubble and blood was soul-destroying.

Pray for Ukraine folk art


The situation is getting worse every day for Ukraine, with threats of invasion from Putin and his army.

It’s hard to watch images on the news every morning, but I want to remind people from all over the world that Ukraine is more than a pawn in a game between East and West, more than a potential war zone.

It is a beautiful, magical land, with a rich history and a culture that never fails to enchant me.

The people are hard-working and proud of their nation, wherever they were born and whichever language they speak.

They just want to live in a country which is peaceful, democratic and fair – don’t we all?

Whatever happens in Ukraine, I will continue to share the beauty of my heritage through my work – the brightness, the intricacy and the spirit that manages to come through every piece.



Myrodoodles Ukrainian folk art


Please keep the wonderful country of my ancestors in your thoughts and prayers – they may be thousands of miles away, but the past few months of trials and tribulations have taught us all that hope can travel far.


Myro x



Photographs: Hannah Rose Photography, Myrodoodles







International Women’s Day 2014

A guide to what’s happening in Manchester


International Women's Day 2014


As the home of the Suffragette movement, Manchester is once again embracing with gusto International Women’s Day (IWD) – Saturday 8th March 2014.

This year the international theme is Inspiring Change.


What’s happening for IWD in Manchester?


Well firstly replace ‘day’ with ‘month’ as there is lots going on the run up to and after the big day.

To help you plan you celebration of feminine fabulousness, we thought a round up of what’s on might be useful. Please do leave a comment in the box below if we’ve missed anything out.

Early women's rights movementWhatever you do and where ever you do it, don’t forget to remember the brave and strong women that have gone before us.

Those who paved our way and opened the door. Without them we wouldn’t have the opportunities we have today.

Remember too those women in other countries who are oppressed, stifled, terrorised and don’t have the opportunity to reach their full potential. And remember the women in our own country and our own city who are struggling.

Have a look at the events below, get involved, see how you can help and continue the tradition of awesome Manchester Women!


Manchester City Council


Manchester City Council hosts the IWD Steering Group. This year the Steering Group has agreed a theme of Women as Peacemakers.

IWD Events


With the 100th anniversary of the start of the 1st World war, IWD 2014 is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the role that women have played and continue to play in conflict resolution and peace building.

As part of the IWD celebrations, Manchester City Council will host the 2nd Manchester International Women’s Day Awards on Friday 7th March 2014.



This event recognises unsung women who make an important contribution in the city and provides role models for Manchester’s women and girls.

For a comprehensive list of community events and guided walks compiled by Manchester City Council – click here



We are Warp and Weft – Stature Exhibition


24th February – 9th March 2014

Ground Floor, Manchester Town Hall, Albert Square.

Of the 640 listed statues in the UK, only 15% are of women and most of those are statues of monarchs or mythological characters.

Apart from Queen Victoria’s statue, Manchester’s municipal statues still only celebrate the achievement of historical men.

Eight women from Greater Manchester with diverse backgrounds and achievements have been chosen – all of whom deserve recognition.


Stature Flyer


Check out the crocheted masks on the ground floor of Manchester Town Hall and learn about some amazing local women.

For more information visit



Imperial War Museum North


IWM North, Trafford Wharf Road, Trafford Park, M17 1TZ

A Closer Look: International Women’s Day

1st – 31st March, 3.30pm Daily

Discover the personal stories of inspirational women in a 20 minute walk and talk around IWM North. Explore the roles of women during times of conflict and peace keeping, from the Women’s International League in the First World War, to peaceful protesters at Greenham Common.


GP Lewis photograph from IWM archive. Women, Industry and WWI


Nancy’s Land Army Adventure 

Every Sunday in March, 1pm

Meet Nancy and hear her tales of life in the Land Army in the Second World War. Learn about her experiences away from home and making new friends. In this interactive family friendly session visitors can choose what happens, and so each story telling session will be different.


Open Studio: International Women’s Day

Saturday 8th March, 11am – 12.30pm and 2 – 3.30pm

Sunday 9th March, 11am – 12.30pm and 2 – 3.30pm

For more information visit



Manchester Guided Walking Tours


Woman who made Manchester guided walk

Friday 7th March 1pm – 3.30pm

People’s History Museum, Left Bank, Spinningfields, M3 3ER

Hear the stories of Manchester women whose influence past and present has make the city great.


Girl Power – Manchester Style

Saturday 8th March, 11.30am

Meet at the Manchester Visitor Information Centre

Manchester women have not always conformed to societies ideal!


For more information visit



One Day After Peace – film screening and Q&A


Saturday 8th March, 7.30pm

Cross Street Chapel, Cross Street, M2 1NL

Manchester’s first event screening of the multi-award winning documentary One Day After Peace – followed by a Q&A with the film’s lead, Robi Damelin.


One Day After Peace

For more information visit



Wonder Women – Radical Manchester

wonder women radical manchester


The list of arts events cited as part of the month long Wonder Women – Radical Manchester 2014 celebration is comprehensive to say the least.

From gender swapping, time travelling Orlando at the Royal Exchange to Joana Vasconcelos’ Time Machine Exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery and Vanishing for the Vote at The People’s History Museum (where women refused to be recorded in the 1911 census) the offering is massive.

Creative Tourist have produced a really good overview of events on throughout the month. Hat’s off to them for some serious collating!

For more information visit



Three Minute Theatre


As usual 3MT – the little theatre on the ground floor of Afflecks Palace, will be celebrating women in theatre with a jam packed week of performances.

Pulse Productions Presents: Wednesday 5th – Thursday 6th March

Pulse Productions Presents New 3, 6 and 9 minute plays by female writers.



For Books’ Sake – ‘Women of Peace’: Saturday 8th March 1pm – 4pm

Women of Peace will feature local women using fiction and non-fiction readings to extol women’s often ignored role as peacemakers.

Women In Performance – Saturday 8th March, 7.30pm


A festival celebrating women in the discipline of performance art.

For more information visit


Manchester City Football Club


This year MCFC are sponsoring the Manchester International Women’s Day Awards at the Town Hall.

As part of this sponsorship, the Club are offering the chance for female footballers aged 16-18 to win a pair of tickets to attend the awards ceremony on Friday 7th March.

MCFC will also back a prize for ‘Women in Sport and Leisure’, which will be awarded to an individual who has excelled in the field of sports or sports promotion, community-based leisure or parks.

For more information visit


Forever Manchester


Forever Manchester will be holding an International Women’s Day Dinner and Networking Event on Wednesday 12th March at Olive Restaurant. For more information visit


Manchester Craft and Design Centre


Tessellate is an event designed for International Women’s Day. The community group ArtAnon will be presenting an exciting origami display created by the public, at Manchester Craft and Design Centre on Saturday 8th March, 6pm – 9pm.

For more information visit


Red Flag Walks


Find out more about Manchester’s campaigning past with historical Red Flag Walks as part of the month long Wonder Woman Festival.


Red Flag History Walks


Manchester First in the Fight. Votes for Women 1866-1928

Sunday 16th March, 11am – meet at Friends Meeting House, Mount Street


There is no such city as Manchester. Manchester in Fiction

Saturday 22 March, 11am – meet at Friends Meeting House, Mount Street


Radical Salford

Sunday 23 March, 11am – meet outside Black Lion pub


Radical Ashton-under-Lyne

Sunday 30 March, 11am – meet at Town Hall steps, Market Square.


For more information visit



What have we missed?


There will, without a shadow of a doubt be more events and celebrations going on in Manchester for International Women’s Day. If you’ve got an event you’d like to share, please leave a comment in the box below and tell us all about it.


I feel really lucky to be a woman in Manchester – March 8th 2014 is our time to celebrate!


Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)


Photographs: IWD, Manchester City Council, Warp & Weft, Alison Staples, One Day After Peace, Three Minute Theatre, Wonder Women – Radical Manchester, Red Flag Walks









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