There was a packed audience at Touchstones last night (Thursday, 11 October 2018) for the launch of Rochdale Literature and Ideas Festival.
The preview evening included 2 live theatre performances and guest speakers looking ahead to the 8 day celebration of arts and culture which runs until Monday, 22 October 2018.
The evening included the premier of 'A Different Story of Rochdale' – by local playwright Danny Lamb, winner of this year's local young writers' competition. Danny has been mentored by award-winning playwright Nicola Schofield, developing his draft into a powerful 30-minute piece of theatre. M6 Theatre Company will tour the piece to local schools over the coming months.
Louis Tweedale, Rochdale's Member of Youth Parliament spoke during the evening about festival highlights to look forward to this year and gave a flavour of how the festival is engaging with younger audiences with the Young Producers scheme.
'firmly established on the borough's cultural calendar'
Rochdale Youth Theatre presented their topical new piece 'Streaks' which looks at the pressures of social media on young people's mental health.
Opening the launch, Councillor Janet Emsley, our Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Community and Culture said there's a lot to look forward to this year:
"This festival is one of the most eagerly awaited weeks on our calendar and for our sixth year we've another exceptional line up. As well as events that will make you think there's lots of entertainment and as well as the well-known names there are some innovative gems in the programme too, so do explore and try something a bit different."
Our Leader Allen Brett said:
"This festival is now firmly established on the borough's cultural calendar, attracting local, national and international names to Rochdale as well as visitors from right across the region and beyond. I'm pleased to see such a strong line up of established and emerging talent for 2018. From brilliant writers to comedians, poets, playwrights, broadcasters and artists as well as children's events, you've no excuse for not getting along to this festival."
The audience at the launch event were quick to praise the evening, taking to social media with comments including "Well done Danny. Really warm funny human script, ace direction by Caroline Kennedy and 2 superb performances!", "If this is a flavour of what's to come it's gonna be great" and "Tremendous."
From Monday, 15 October 2018 until Monday, 22 October 2018, the festival will feature drama, comedy, poetry, spoken word, visual arts and children's shows, plus a Generation Z programme for 14 to 25 year olds.
15 venues will stage performances from star names including BBC presenter and triathlete Louise Minchin, actress, author and presenter Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE, writer and broadcaster Stuart Maconie and women's rights activist Dr Helen Pankhurst, who is the great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst and granddaughter of Sylvia Pankhurst, who were both leaders in the British suffragette movement.
Shows featuring poet Simon Armitage CBE and author Gervase Phinn are amongst those to have already sold out. Wine bar Vicolo del Vino hosts a free night of top stand-up comedy with 4 of the best comedians in the region on stage for 'Mirth and More' on Sunday, 21 October 2018.