The Lost Carnival – Review

Step inside this imaginative and wonderful world


Over 100 years ago, this darkly strange circus disappeared, only to reappear last month in all it’s weirdly compelling glory in Burrs Country Park in Bury.

I can only assume that during the intervening century they’ve been spinning though the galaxy in a huge intergalactic big top, rubbing shoulders with Red Dwarf and the Tardis!


The Lost Carnival image credit credit Brett Harkness


The Lost Carnival is an immersive, spectacular experience that invites you to step into a world unlike any other.

From 22nd – 25th May 2015, The Lost Carnival treated visitors to a magical extravaganza. There were mermaids, a strong man, mind reader, ring master, acrobats and bearded lady to name but a few.

As we transitioned through the big top into the imagination of organisers Wild Rumpus (who are also behind The Just So Festival), we discovered that our mission was to collectively generate energy on an hourly basis. Thankfully no static bikes were involved in the making of this show – instead the aim was to harness the power of communal singing!




When we emerged from the big top into the carnival there was plenty to keep us busy. Mask making, mermaid chatting, the fabulous band Rum Buffalo and a banquet of street food meant that the time just flew by.

The programme of live music, acrobatics, dancing ladies and swinging balls meant that there was always something going on, without feeling over faced.

Our four year old daughter particularly loved getting dressed up – face painted like Pierrot she looked adorable. I on the other hand looked more like a cross between Heath Ledger’s Joker and Kizz! I got some interesting looks on the M60!

She also loved chatting with the mermaids (“They weren’t real though mummy, I could see their feet”), playing games with the strong man, the music and just the overall spectacle.




Us grown ups loved all of the above – plus Ginger’s Comfort Emporium’s mint and fennel ice cream, which was spectacular!

We were blessed with great weather which contributed to a fantastic event which we thoroughly enjoyed. And although our tickets were complementary, I would have happily paid the £10 ticket price and felt like I’d got good value for money. Under 3′s go free.

My only query would be about the timing of The Lost Carnival. Starting at 4.00pm and running through until 9.30pm, it didn’t quite work for us. As a family event and with a 4 year old we’d have preferred it to start earlier. When I asked the organisers for the rational, their answer was:

“We like being outside on warm summers evenings, we like the transition from daytime through dusk to dark and staying up beyond bedtimes, not sticking to the routines and the excitement that brings with it.  

“I appreciate it’s not for everyone but we find it works for us and hopefully for those who can’t manage to hang on until the end we hope they’ve had a really exciting and brilliant experience before they have to call it a day”.

Coming at the end of term, with a tired little girl we didn’t manage to make it to the end. Hopefully next year will be a different kettle of fish. We can’t wait to see where and when The Lost Carnival lands next year.

For more information about The Lost Carnival visit


Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)


Photographs: Brett Harkness

Disclosure: Although our tickets were free, this does not ensure a positive review. We did genuinely love the event and look forward to it’s return.




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 Duck Race 2015

Ducking Good Friday fun


I love the Manchester Duck Race! The day when thousands of little yellow ducks are launched into the River Irwell just behind Spinningfields, jostling for position as they go.


Duck Race Banner


The last time I went the wind was blowing in the wrong direction, so the flock decided to swim upstream, which wasn’t at all part of the plan!



Manchester Duck Race


As usual, this year’s Duck Race will take place Good Friday (April 3rd). The race itself will start at 2pm.

There will be a whole host of activity set to take place across Spinningfields, to entertain families.

Now in its sixth year, it costs just £1 to enter a racing duck. Ducks can be bought online or on the day, with all proceeds going to local children’s charity Brainwave.

There will be six winners of the family race on the day:

1st prize: £150 Duck and Cover clothing voucher

2nd prize: Meal for four at Carluccios

3rd prize: Meal for four at Scene

4th prize: Tickets for a family of four to the Opera house

5th prize: Tickets for a Coronation Street tour for four

6th prize: BUMPER PACKAGE bouquet from David Wayman, meal platter from Nandos and a £10 voucher from Hey Little Cupcake.


Corporate race


The day also includes a corporate race, in which businesses sponsor and decorate foot high rubber ducks. All of which makes for quite a spectacle!



Decorated ducks on water at MCR Duck Race


Manchester Duck Race


A giant inflatable duck, sponsored by Duck and Cover clothing, will also take up residence on Hardman Boulevard, and there will be a number of additional activities including a hook a duck, cups and saucers, a safari train ride, chair-o-planes and a number of inflatables such as a bouncy castle and slide.

As well as the numerous restaurants on site, there will be several food vans selling the likes of candy floss, ice cream and hot food.

Bitter Twisted will be providing a VIP bar on the day as well as a bar for the general public on Crown Square, with a percentage of the proceeds donated to Brainwave.

For more information about the Manchester Duck Race, click here.


Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)


Photographs: Spinningfields, Alison Staples







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






Scarecrow Festival at Tatton

Family half term fun


If you’re looking for something fun to do this half term (14th – 22nd February 2015), then head over to Tatton Park gardens for their scarecrow festival.

We had loads of fun with our quiz sheet following the trail in the walled kitchen garden, tracking down eight special scarecrows representing fairies, elves, nymphs,  sprites, trolls and the like.


Fairy scarecrow





Nymph scarecrow



The gardens were looking gorgeous as usual yesterday (Sunday 15th February). Venture across the lawns and there are many more (up to 30) straw and sack creations to be spotted.



I took a particular shine to this old fellow with his banjo.


Banjo scarecrow


There are also some lovely craft activities – we made our own fairies!


Making fairies


I’ve got a nasty feeling however that our lovely day out may back fire on me, as I told my four year old daughter that when the sun goes down and the grounds begin to get dark, the scarecrows come to life and walk across the lawns. I’m thoroughly expecting to be woken in the night with nightmares – they could be hers, they could be mine. It’s anyone’s guess.

For more information about the Tatton Park Scarecrow Festival click here.


Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)


Photographs: Alison Staples




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






What’s On February Half Term

Family friendly ideas to keep the kids entertained and you sane!


Once again we’ve had a look at what’s happening in and around Manchester during the half term holidays. This list doesn’t include everything, so please do add things in the comments box.

It’s a bit quick and dirty, but will hopefully give you some ideas and signpost you to relevant places for more information.


Museum of Science and Industry

Steam, Sweat and Sewers – a programme of special half term activities running 14th – 22nd February. For more information visit


steam, sweat & sewers MOSI


Imperial War Museum

War at Sea – creative sessions and story telling, weekdays throughout February and daily in half term (14th – 22nd February). For more information visit


The Manchester Museum

Living Worlds – drop in sessions. Create paper butterflies and other animals to take away (16th – 20th February). For more information visit


Jodrell Bank Discover Centre

Solar System hands on activities – try some science experiments for yourself (16th – 20th February). For more information visit


People’s History Museum

Election Craft Table (14th – 22nd February), Little PHM Under The Rainbow (15th February) and Hands on History (18th February) – crafts and interactive story telling. For more information visit


Manchester Art Gallery

Holiday Workshops – Mini Worlds (17th – 20th February). For more information visit


Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

Book Art Workshop and Storytelling (18th February). For more information visit


Ordsall Hall

Half Term Fun – Create a Coat of Arms; ‘Feed Me’ Fly Traps; Fabric Design; Valentines Quiz; Egg Box Garden. For calendar and more information visit


Salford Museum and Art Gallery

Half Term Fun – Make and Take: Dog Tags; Salford at War Quiz; Chinese Dragon Puppets. For calendar and more information visit


The Lowry

Half Term Little Artists and Little Actors - Little artists can celebrate The Lowry’s performance of I Believe in Unicorns by making their own galloping unicorns,  while little actors can celebrate The Lowry’s sing-a-long-a-Frozen with an interactive workshop (both run 16th – 20th February). For more information visit


Craft activities, the Lowry


National Football Museum

Facepainting, Story telling and Half Term Skills Sessions – check calander for more information


Stockley Farm

Reopens on February 14th and is open all half term week, so amongst other things you can learn all about lambing. For more information visit


Red House Farm

Pizza Making Fun – Morning and afternoon classes plus all the usual attractions (16th – 20th February). For more information visit


Delamere Forest

Gruffalo Child Trail – 1.5Km trail in search of the Gruffalo child. Open until 28th February. For more information visit


The Gruffalo Child Trail


Tatton Park

Scarecrow Festival – Hunt for scarecrows around the house and gardens and make your own (14th – 22nd February). For more information visit


Quarry Bank Mill

Wild Animals – Make a wild animal teller you can take outside to identify animals and their poo! (16th – 20th February). For more information visit


Lyme Park

Xplorer Orienteering – use a simple map to find the markers and complete the challenge (9th – 18th February). For more information visit


Chinese New Year Celebrations

Celebrating the Year of the Ram (19th – 22nd February). For more information visit


Manchester Chinese New Year


Peppa Pig: The Golden Boots

Vue Cinemas – all your favourite episodes with a new special one! (14th – 19th February). For more information visit


Goldilocks and the Three Bears

The Waterside Arts Centre (14th – 18th February). For more information visit


Frozen Sing-a-Long

The Waterside Arts Centre – Let It Go etc. Bring your Elsa dress! (19th February). For more information visit


Your local library for story time, its dry, clean and free. Find a library near you.


Happy holidays,


Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)


Photographs: MOSI, The Lowry, Delamere Forest, Chinese New Year Manchester






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




Family friendly Jan-Feb 2015

On the look out for family fun


Family Friendly


Read on to find out about the exciting family events for January and February, bought to us by our friends at Family Friendly North West.


Free family activities at IWM North


Grandmother & Grandaughter


IWM North, The Quays, Manchester

Every Saturday and Sunday throughout January 2015

FREE entry, all ages

Discover this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day theme Keeping The Memory Alive by decorating a fabric square with your favourite memory, to add to IWM North’s patchwork Memories quilt.

Join in with storytelling every weekend at:

10.30am: Hear about a group of shapes who learn to get along despite their differences.


1.30pm: Meet Nancy and hear her tales of life in the Land Army in the Second World War. Learn about her wartime experiences away from home and making new friends, especially with a timid horse called Rufus.

For more information please visit


The Tiger Who Came To Tea


The Tiger Who Came To Tea


The Lowry, Salford

Friday 23rd & Saturday 24th January 2015

Tickets: £15.00

Suitable for ages 3+

The doorbell rings just as Sophie and her mummy are sitting down to tea. Who could it possibly be?

Following a smash-hit West End season, the tea-guzzling tiger is back on the road in this delightful family show, packed with oodles of magic, sing-a-long songs and clumsy chaos!


A stunning stage adaptation of Judith Kerr’s much loved picture book. This is the classic tale of teatime mayhem!


For more information and to book visit

or call 0843 208 6000


Siberia Big Saturday at Manchester Museum




Manchester Museum, Oxford Rd

Saturday 24th January 2015, 11am – 4pm

Drop-in, FREE*, suitable for all ages

Visit the Museum’s Siberia: At the Edge of the World exhibition.


Discover more about the culture and unique nature of this vast, mysterious land; one and a half times bigger than Europe. Enjoy activities for all the family, from traditional music and arts to a guided tour of the exhibition. Meet curators and see objects from the Museum’s stores.

If you can’t wait until the Museum opens at 10am, you can come along to the Museum’s Early Opening for Early Birds – enjoy self-led tours of the Siberia: At the Edge of the World exhibition, object handling and craft activities. (Just the temporary exhibition will be open at 9am – you can explore the rest of the Museum from 10am).

Suitable for families with children under 5s and their older siblings.

For more information visit


I Believe in Unicorns


I belive in unicorns


The Lowry, Salford

Thursday 19th – Sunday 22nd February 2015

Tickets: £15.00

Captivating theatre this half-term!

Tomas didn’t like books or stories. Stories were just for “Little Snotties”.

He was happier clambering in the mountains like a goat or tobogganing with his Dad. That was until the Unicorn Lady came to town and reeled him in with her irresistible magic tales.


But then disaster struck and put everything that mattered most in Tomas’s life in terrible danger….I Believe in Unicorns is a spellbinding and moving story by one of our greatest storytellers.

For more information and to book visit

or call 0843 208 6000


The Cat In The Hat


The Cat In The Hat


Palace Theatre, Oxford Road, Manchester

Tuesday 7th – Wednesday 8th April 2015

Tickets: £11.90 – £13.90

Suitable for ages 3+

From the moment his tall, red and white striped hat appears around the door, Sally and her brother know that The Cat in the Hat is the funniest, most mischievous cat they have ever met.


With the trickiest of tricks and craziest of ideas, he turns a rainy afternoon into an amazing adventure. But what will mum find when she gets home?

Based on the much loved book by Dr Seuss, The Cat in the Hat is a lively and engaging first theatre experience for young children aged 3+.

For more information and to book visit or call 0844 871 3019


Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)




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