News & Forthcoming Highlights

It’s All Going On In Warrington so we’ve listed some forthcoming highlights below

Young and old explore ‘what matters’ in new exhibition to promote health and wellbeing

Dolly creates a masterpiece for the exhibition. © Laura Robinson

Children and older people have come together in a unique project which illustrates how creativity can aid health, happiness and wellbeing.

What Matters?, a new exhibition at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery, is a thought-provoking collection of artwork created by children from BloomingArt’s after school classes and members of the Art in Life group for over 55s, many of whom have experienced feeling isolated through various reasons.

The paintings are heartfelt depictions of what matters most to those who created them and cover a variety of themes including family and our environment.

Gail Stubbings, founder of BloomingArt which is mainly based at The Warrington Club in Bold Street, explained how important the classes are to those who take part.

“Some of the Art in Life members have been quite isolated; one hadn’t left their home in years before they joined and others have suffered from issues like anxiety or agoraphobia.

“The Art in Life group is like a family, they get so much from the classes; it’s provided them with interchangeable skills and a new beginning.

“At the very least it’s somewhere to chat and make new friends, and that goes for the children in the after school classes too; they get the opportunity to explore and develop their creativity and express themselves through art.”

Members of the two groups, who ranged in age from six to 90, came together for a special launch event on Friday and were delighted to see their work on display at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery.

BloomingArt founder Gail Stubbings and Dan Wheatley from Mid Orford Residents’ Association. © Laura Robinson

Gail added: “There were a lot of proud faces and even some happy tears; it means a lot to them all that people will get to see their work on display at a proper art gallery.

“Creating What Matters? has been a lovely experience, a really worthwhile project.

“The children learnt from the Art in Life members and the older people got a lot from the energy and enthusiasm of the children.”

Art in Life, which meets weekly at Orford Community Hub, was initially funded by Cheshire Community Foundation and this year has been supported by Warrington Borough Council; Gail thanked Dan Wheatley from Mid Orford Residents’ Association for having the vision which led to her delivering the project.

Derek Dick, outreach and engagement manager at Culture Warrington, added: “The work on display in this exhibition is proof that encouraging residents to engage in art can improve health and wellbeing in the community.

“By exploring their inner artist and using the canvas as a tool for expression, interesting and personal art has been produced by those who took part.

“It’s important that venues like Warrington Museum & Art Gallery showcase work by local residents as well as professional artists; I hope What Matters? is an inspiration to all those who see it.”

For more information about BloomingArt’s classes call Gail Stubbings on 07758124582, email or, or visit

Listings information
Exhibition title: What Matters?
Dates: Until Saturday 6 May
Times: All day
Admission: Free
Location: Warrington Museum & Art Gallery, Museum Street, Warrington, WA1 1JB

Warrington Volunteer Festival – Count me in!

Warrington’s first ‘Volunteer Festival’ is just around the corner – and local people of all ages are being urged to come along to discover more about the wide variety of opportunities available.

It’s all happening on Thursday 27 April at the Pyramid on Palmyra Square, from 4pm-8pm (last entry 7.45pm), hosted by Warrington Voluntary Action in association with Warrington Borough Council, LiveWire and Culture Warrington.

The free, drop-in event is open to everyone, from parents to retirees, part timers to full timers, young people and families. A variety of local organisations will be showcasing the range of options available, including sports and leisure, community and health, arts and culture, animals and the environment and everything in between.

Alison Cullen, Chief Executive at Warrington Voluntary Action, said: “Volunteering can make a big difference in your local community. If you want to make a positive change but don’t know where to start, this event is for you – there’s a volunteer opportunity to suit everyone.

“There are an estimated 44,000 volunteers currently active across the borough and together they make this a caring, vibrant and fun place to be. Do your bit and join the volunteers of Warrington!”

Graham Cheers volunteers his time to organise Warrington’s junior parkrun, he said: “I would never have classed myself as a confident person before but now I feel that my confidence has grown – especially with public speaking. I have become more known within my community and really enjoy getting involved in projects to help children get more active.”

The event marks the launch of Count me in – a new Warrington-wide campaign aimed at making the borough an even better place to live, work, visit and do business.

Registration for the event can be completed online at Further information is available from Warrington Voluntary Action by emailing or calling 01925 246 880.

Classic Hollywood movie genre ‘film noir’ comes to life at Warrington’s libraries

The classic Hollywood movie genre ‘film noir’ is coming to Warrington’s libraries in May with a touring photographic exhibition, special film screenings and a display on the history of cinema in the town.

Paint it Black, a joint project between Warrington photographer Paul Jackson and partners Culture Warrington, LiveWire and Warrington Borough Council, will explore the dark and mysterious world of film noir, a genre of American crime thrillers such as The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity and The Killers.

An exhibition of photographs inspired by these highly stylised black and white films, which are so evocative of mystery and intrigue with their dimly-lit nightscapes and smoky silhouettes, will go on tour, spending a week at five of the town’s libraries – Warrington Central, Penketh, Culcheth, Stockton Heath and Padgate.

The retro images will be accompanied by special screenings of classic film noir movies and promotion of the “hardboiled” American crime fiction novels which inspired them.

Warrington Noir, an exhibition exploring the history of cinema in Warrington during the 1940s and 1950s, will also run at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery to coincide with the film noir celebration, and will feature images and memorabilia from the period.

Paul, of Unit 8 Photography, said he was excited about the opportunity to promote the town’s library offer.

“I love our libraries and want to help promote what a great range of services and activities they have on offer,” he explained. “I am also quite a fan of old black and white films so Paint it Black provides an opportunity to explore both interests, and to have fun while hopefully doing something worthwhile.

“This is a really exciting project and a fantastic advert for the town and its people.”

Models, make-up artists, hair stylists, set and costume designers, and production assistants who live or work in the Warrington area are needed to help recreate some of the most memorable and iconic scenes from this truly unique period of filmmaking in 24 photos. No previous experience is required.

Paul added: “There’s a wealth of talent in our town which deserves to be recognised.

“You don’t have to be a professional to take part; community cohesion is the key so I want to hear from those who have never done anything like this before as well as those with experience.

“We’re after models with all sorts of looks and volunteers with a variety of skills to star in the exhibition.”

Warrington’s best known and most iconic buildings, including the Town Hall, Central Library, Pyramid & Parr Hall, Walton Hall and Warrington Museum & Art Gallery, will provide stunning backdrops to some of the images with portrait shots being taken in Paul’s studio at Pyramid arts centre.

All participants will be invited to the grand opening night of the touring exhibition and be given copies of the shots they contributed to; an ideal addition to any portfolio and a lasting memory of taking part in such a unique project.

Derek Dick, outreach and engagement manager at Culture Warrington, hopes the project will help raise the profile of the town’s libraries.

He said: “Paint it Black is designed to encourage people into Warrington’s libraries, to showcase their unique offer and highlight their importance as community hubs.

“It’s also a really unique multi-media project which will explore an important and influential period in film history.

“We hope as many Warrington residents as possible can get involved, whether that’s through helping to create the images going on display or coming along to see the exhibition and enjoying the film screenings.”

St Rocco’s Hospice has volunteered to provide costumes and Culture Warrington staff are helping to source props to make the shots as authentic as possible. There is also the opportunity for local businesses to sponsor the project.

To contribute, or apply for a place, email Paul on, message him at or call 07515 337975.

Tickets can be bought at any of Warrington’s libraries or at

Listings information
Exhibition title: Paint it Black touring photographic exhibition
Dates & locations:
29 April-4 May – Central Library
5-11 May – Penketh Library
12-18 May – Culcheth Library
19-25 May – Stockton Heath Library
26 May-2 June – Padgate Library
Times: see library’s opening times
Admission: Free

Exhibition title: Paint it Black film screenings
Dates & locations:
4 May – Central Library – The Maltese Falcon (1941)
11 May – Penketh Library – Double Indemnity (1944)
18 May – Culcheth Library – The Killers (1946)
25 May – Stockton Heath Library – The Big Heat (1953)
1 June – Padgate Library – Touch of Evil (1958)
Times: films start at 7.30pm
Admission: £3

Exhibition title: Warrington Noir
Dates: 29 April – 1 July
Times: All day
Admission: Free
Location: Warrington Museum & Art Gallery, Museum Street, Warrington, WA1 1JB

Swedish artist exhibits striking work about courage in the face of difficult times

A talented Swedish artist on a six-month work placement in Warrington is displaying striking artwork about never losing courage.

Lars Fredriksson is an abstract painter from Malmö in southern Sweden whose work has been exhibited in his home country, Berlin and now Warrington Museum & Art Gallery.

He has spent the last six months in the town and the exhibition, Boundlessness, features work inspired by his time here.

“The English hospitality shown has impressed me and I enjoy being a part of a different culture and society,” he said.

“You learn and develop a lot from that and you find new sources of inspiration.”

An industrial engineer, Lars arrived in Warrington in September as project manager for Swedish company Duni, which has a site in Preston Brook. But in his spare time his passion is art.

The 33-year-old has been drawing, painting and creating all his life, achieving his first exhibition about 10 years ago; he is now serious about developing his art in the future.

Lars said: “The drive cannot be explained; it is more of a need to express yourself and just like an author tells his or her story by writing, a painter tells his or her story by painting it.

“Boundlessness is about never losing courage and to choose life even if circumstances are very difficult.

“The exhibition at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery means a lot to me both emotionally and professionally. I also very much like the museum itself and the historical part.”

Lars specialises in abstract work in charcoal and spray-paint and is planning another exhibition in Manchester during the summer.

“I see my artistry as a journey and I would like this journey to continue taking my art to new places,” he added.

Derek Dick, outreach and engagement manager at Culture Warrington, said: “Boundlessness is a fascinating visual document of Lars’ time in Warrington.

“It’s great to be able to exhibit work by a talented international artist like Lars; the exhibition is a striking and colourful addition to our collection.”

For more information about Lars and his work visit

Listings information
Exhibition title: Boundlessness
Dates: until Saturday 22 April
Times: All day
Admission: Free
Location: Warrington Museum & Art Gallery

Young people at heart of two fascinating exhibitions at Pyramid

Young people from across Warrington have inspired and created two fascinating exhibitions currently on display at Pyramid arts centre.

Us and Them and Way Back When started as a Heritage Lottery-funded history project inspired by the building on Museum Street currently occupied by the Relationships Centre.

This detailed exhibition was created by young people who use the centre; they researched previous inhabitants of the building, which dates back to 1877, as well as some of the neighbouring addresses.

The group explored the lives and experiences of Warrington’s teenagers over the past 130 years, comparing the support systems of the past with those available today.

Future Forecast features striking artwork produced by students on the UAL Extended Diploma class at Carmel College in St Helens.

The exhibits on display explore the students’ interpretation of ‘the future’ through a variety of art specialisms including photography, textiles, animation and graphics.

One student’s work documents personal stories which illustrate the contrast between rich and poor, and the theme of homelessness.

Another explores over-population through the depiction of a fictional city of the future while a third explores the evolution of the English language.

Both exhibitions run until Saturday 4 March.

Listings information
Exhibition title: Us and Them and Way Back When
Dates: Until Saturday 4 March
Times: All day
Admission: Free
Location: Pyramid arts centre, Cultural Quarter, Palmyra Square South, Warrington, WA1 1BL

Listings information
Exhibition title: Future Forecast
Dates: Until Saturday 4 March
Times: All day
Admission: Free
Location: Pyramid arts centre, Cultural Quarter, Palmyra Square South, Warrington, WA1 1BL

Residents’ memories needed for Great Sankey Neighbourhood Hub

52'15_6 GS School Fancy Dress circa 1935The people of Warrington are being urged to dig out old photos and share stories to feature in a new health and wellbeing facility.

Culture Warrington’s archives team are on the hunt for pictures which could be the final piece in the jigsaw of west Warrington’s history to be displayed in the new Great Sankey Neighbourhood Hub – one of the region’s first dementia-friendly facilities.

The charity has received a grant from Arts Council England, which has been allocated through Museum Development North West, to work with the community to display the memorable pictures and pieces of art throughout the building to assist with navigation.

The hub will provide health and wellbeing facilities including a fitness suite, two swimming pools, studios, library, health space and spa for residents living in the area which has Warrington’s fastest ageing population.

With construction of the new facility now well underway, Culture Warrington is asking residents to remember the rich history of the area that the new hub will serve.

Heritage manager at Culture Warrington, Janice Hayes, said: “We’ve scoured the official records in our collections of west Warrington and we have some huge gaps we need your help filling.

Visual External entrance 2“We have old maps of the area to help build up a great picture of life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries but very little to tell the story of the area from the late 1940s to today.

“We believe you can help us fill in these gaps, although you may not even realise your stories and photos are of interest to others.

“We’d really like your help and would love to talk to you about your memories.”

It is hoped the images will help the team illustrate the growth of the suburbs and housing estates and a new way of life in the areas surrounding Great Sankey.

The invite is being extended to anyone who was a pioneer of the new districts like Hood Manor, Barrow Hall or Westbrook, as well as residents of Sankey, Penketh or Burtonwood who have seen these areas of Warrington change over the decades.

The team would also like to hear from residents with images from the Coronation parties in 1953 and Silver Jubilee parties in 1977 for example.

Information and images about the opening of new buildings and schools are also welcome, as are stories about moving to the area from elsewhere. Posters, leaflets, adverts and parish magazines which record an event taking place could also be invaluable.

To get involved, please contact Philip Jeffs, archives and heritage officer at Culture Warrington by writing to him at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery, Central Library & Museum, Cultural Quarter, Warrington, WA1 1JB, call 01925 443023 or email

Older people visit Pyramid to see their memories and life experiences on display through art

Slippers 1

A group of older people visited Pyramid arts centre today to see a project they put their memories and life experiences into.

Slippers in the Rain is a unique art project created by collaboration between older Lymm residents, local artist Helena Edwards and Culture Warrington.

The group took part in workshops to discuss their thoughts and feelings before using them as inspiration for striking works of art, now displayed in the Slippers in the Rain exhibition at Pyramid arts centre.

Memories of the hardships of wartime and the pleasures of dancing are also featured.

Residents from the Lymm care homes involved, Cheshire Grange and Keate House, were delighted to visit Pyramid and see their hard work displayed in the art gallery.

77-year-old Joseph Newton, from Keate House, said: “It’s fantastic to come along and see the display.

“Art takes your mind off things and gives you something to enjoy. I like building and painting model planes as well so I was happy to get involved with this.”

Margaret Clough, 76, who lives at Cheshire Grange, added: “I think it’s marvellous that our art is on display. I’m very proud.”

Named after a line in Jenny Joseph’s popular poem Warning, about positive ageing, the display features a variety of work produced by residents aged between 60 and over 90.

The colourful illustrations capture the spirit of that poem; of taking delight in the freedoms that can come with advancing age.

Artist Helena said: “Many older people are forced to give up hobbies they have enjoyed because of failing health, which leads to isolation.

“I believe that painting can be a positive outlet for creativity and provide a sense of companionship, regardless of whether people feel they are ‘artistic’.”

Creativity, she said, can help people face challenges like loneliness and failing health, to celebrate and share memories, and to respond to the world around them.

The Slippers in the Rain display, which ends on Saturday 28 January, is accompanied by a comments book featuring reviews such as “beautiful”, “moving” and “colourful and expressive”.

Greetings cards featuring Lilies of the Field are also available to buy for a donation of £1.50 to Lymm Baptist Church.

Great Sankey Neighbourhood Hub Memories Project

Mrs Hilda Gleave and Mrs Ann Clarke at Fox Street Silver Jubilee Party, Sankey Bridges, 1977

Mrs Hilda Gleave and Mrs Ann Clarke at Fox Street Silver Jubilee Party, Sankey Bridges, 1977

Here in the archives at Warrington Museum, we are undertaking a new project. With construction of the Great Sankey Neighbourhood Hub well underway, we thought that this would be the perfect time to look back at the rich history of the area the new hub will serve.

We’ve scoured the official records in our collections of West Warrington and we have some huge gaps we need YOUR help in filling. We have old maps, documents and photographs of the area to help build up a great picture of life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but very little to tell the story of the area from the late 1940s to today. This recent history would help us tell the story of a moment in the history of Warrington. They show the growth of suburbs and housing estates and a new way of life.

We believe you can help us fill in these gaps although you may not even realise your stories and photos are of interest to others but we’d really like your help!

Here’s how:-

  • Were you one of the pioneers of the new districts like Hood Manor, Barrow Hall or Westbrook? Are you one of the residents of Sankey, Penketh or Burtonwood who has seen this area of Warrington change almost beyond recognition from the 1960s?
  • Did you take part in a Coronation party in 1953, or a Silver jubilee party in 1977, did you attend the opening of a new building, or were you one of the first students in a new school? Did you move to the area from somewhere else, and if so why did you choose Warrington?
  • Do you have any pictures of the area from the 1950s that you would be willing to let us scan and keep a copy of?
  • Do you have any posters or leaflets, adverts or parish magazines that record an event taking place that we could make a copy of?
  • Or do you have a memory of an event that took place that we could record you talking about?

We’d love to talk to you about any of these things or anything else you remember about the area. If you would like to share your memories, or would like to learn how to record other people’s memories and help us in that way, please contact me at the details given below.

Philip Jeffs
Archives and Heritage Officer
Culture Warrington,
Warrington Museum & Art Gallery,
Cultural Quarter,

Telephone:  01925 443023


Miss UK 1969 (Sheena Drummond) opens an extension at penketh Co-op in 1970, shown here with staff member William Smith

Miss UK 1969 (Sheena Drummond) opens an extension at penketh Co-op in 1970, shown here with staff member William Smith

£300,000 grant to support culture in Warrington and Cheshire

parr-hall-stageCheshire has received funding from Arts Council England and Visit England to enable it to be recognised as a true cultural destination which is on a par with other major counties and cities including London, Liverpool and Stratford.

The three unitary authorities in the county, Warrington, Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester, will share a £300,000 grant to enable them to work strategically with the tourism sector under the ‘cultural destination’ banner.

With all three boroughs enjoying increasing popularity and a strengthening visitor economy, the successful bid for funding is seen as an injection of faith and confidence in the county’s cultural and tourism industries.

Cllr Tony Higgins, executive member of culture, leisure and communities at Warrington Borough Council, said: “This is great news for Warrington and the wider sub region. I’m delighted that Arts Council England and Visit England have demonstrated their confidence in our cultural potential in this way.

cllr-tony-higgins“We are making great strides in improving our cultural offer here and this funding will help us to make Warrington an even more attractive destination for visitors and residents alike.

“I’ll be looking for us to use this funding to improve the range and variety of events on offer in our borough and to deliver a cultural programme which connects with all of our communities.”

All three authorities were able to prove they had the partnership capacity to meet several criteria.

These included an increase in the numbers and range of people experiencing the arts and culture in local destinations to boost the visitor economy, increased income leading to greater sustainability and resilience for culture and tourism businesses, repositioning of culture as a prominent part of the visitor offer and a commitment from public and private sector partners to continue working in partnership to support cultural tourism.

The bid document set out a number of objectives to strengthen and develop the cultural and visitor offer across the county.

Cheshire East will be the lead accountable body and chair of a consortium to drive forward the development of a cultural and tourism strategy, while Marketing Cheshire will be the destination management organisation tasked with undertaking management of the consortium, delivering agreed activity between partners and the development of branding.

Core partners include Warrington Borough Council, Culture Warrington, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Storyhouse, Cheshire Rural Touring Arts, Tatton Park and the National Trust. There is also a wider group of delivery partners, including cultural organisations, venues and tourism destinations.

Maureen Banner, chair of Culture Warrington, said: “We are delighted to have received this accolade from Visit England and Arts Council England, and it is fantastic that Warrington is being recognised as a cultural destination.

“The funding will enable us to work more closely with our partners across the county to support the cultural events programme here in Warrington including the annual Contemporary Arts Festival.”

The consortium will determine the annual events programme and how to support venues and organisations to benefit from the wider programme of cultural and tourism activity.

Older people use art to share memories and life experiences


Older people have been exploring and sharing their memories and life experiences through a unique art project.

The group, who all live in Lymm, took part in workshops to discuss their thoughts and feelings before using them as inspiration for striking works of art, now displayed in the Slippers in the Rain exhibition at Pyramid arts centre.

Named after Jenny Joseph’s popular poem Warning, about positive ageing, the display features a variety of work produced by residents aged between 60 and over 90.

The colourful illustrations capture the spirit of that poem; of taking delight in the freedoms that can come with advancing age.

The residents, some of whom live independently and some in care homes, gathered together for workshops with local artist Helena Edwards and enjoyed contributing towards collaborative collages or producing their own unique masterpieces.

Helena said: “Many older people are forced to give up hobbies they have enjoyed because of failing health, which leads to isolation.

“I believe that painting can be a positive outlet for creativity and provide a sense of companionship, regardless of whether people feel they are ‘artistic’.”

Creativity, she said, can help people face challenges like loneliness and failing health, to celebrate and share memories, and to respond to the world around them.

Inspiration for the artwork also came from residents’ memories of the hardships of wartime and the pleasures of dancing.

Lilies of the Field was created at an event at Lymm Baptist Church for older people who are living independently in the community while the other artists live in residential care homes such as Keate House and Cheshire Grange.

Helena added: “I am hoping that the current exhibition will become a regular event and include a much wider range of older artists. I am sure many care homes and day centres across Warrington will be doing similar work and it would be great to share our ideas.

“It is also very encouraging for older people to know their efforts are appreciated: we have had some lovely feedback on this exhibition.”

Derek Dick, outreach and engagement manager, explained Culture Warrington’s mission to showcase the positive and creative aspect of the older people’s community.

He said: “We wanted to challenge the negative stereotypes of ageing and living in residential care, and show that older people have a wealth of experience and wisdom which is often very inspiring.

“I hope the group are proud of their achievements and enjoyed expressing themselves artistically, and that others will be encouraged to do the same.”

The Slippers in the Rain display is accompanied by a comments book which already features reviews describing the work as “beautiful”, “moving” and “colourful and expressive”.

Greetings cards featuring Lilies of the Field are available to buy for a donation of £1.50 to Lymm Baptist Church.

Warrington climbs 24 places overall in this year’s RSA Heritage Index

Warrington has taken action over the last year to improve its heritage according to the Royal Society of Arts’ (RSA) Heritage Index.


Last year, the town was ranked bottom in the index’s assets category. This year, the RSA has assessed that Warrington’s heritage assets are worthy of climbing 21 places, while its increased heritage activities propel it 81 places up the activities rankings.


Reflecting this progress, this year the town climbed 24 places overall to be ranked the 296th best area in the Heritage Index compared to its overall ranking of 320 last year out of the 325 areas assessed.


Warrington was also ranked outside the bottom ten in all categories of the index, which is produced in partnership with the Heritage Lottery Fund.


The RSA has applauded the work of the council and charitable trust, Culture Warrington who have worked in partnership to take positive steps to improve access to heritage across the borough.


The author of the 2016 Heritage Index, RSA associate director, Jonathan Schifferes, said: “We were impressed last year when Warrington citizens rallied around to understand how local heritage could be better recognised – and celebrated. Culture Warrington and other local partners haven’t failed to fulfil their ambition to see the borough do better.


“Heritage connects people to the places they live. Our research shows that the links between heritage and identity are strongest in places where local people are involved in heritage – and we are encouraged that many in Warrington seem to be taking this approach.”


Cllr Tony Higgins, executive member of culture, leisure and communities at Warrington Borough Council, added: “Everybody who lives and works in Warrington knows we have a cultural and heritage offer that grows stronger by the day. It’s fantastic that this is reflected in this year’s RSA Heritage Index.


“Over the last year we have worked closely with our partners, Culture Warrington to develop an active programme of events and activities which highlight our heritage and culture. This has included working with organisations across Warrington to expand our Heritage Open Days, opening up 11 historic venues across the town for residents to explore.


“We have also supported the publishing of a new book which highlights 50 of Warrington’s iconic buildings and we are looking to identify funding for people to nominate other buildings in Warrington which could be celebrated.


“2017 is set to be very exciting for Warrington, as we celebrate our 170th anniversary with a range of special events, including a Heritage Matters Conference. We can take the confidence gained from our new index placing into next year and continue to build on it in the future.”


The annual index combines more than 100 data sets with a range of indicators including nature reserves, heritage open days, archaeological groups, blue plaques and pubs that have been given protection as community assets.


As well as inherited physical assets, the index measures new forms of heritage activity like community initiatives and volunteering.


Maureen Banner, chair of Culture Warrington, said: “It is fantastic that the hard work carried out by Culture Warrington and Warrington Borough Council over the last year to showcase the town’s heritage has been recognised by the RSA.


“As well as a hosting numerous heritage events over the last 12 months, we have worked with an artist and young carers in Warrington to design and install a huge mural on the side of one of Warrington’s most iconic buildings. This illustrates the town’s industrial heritage, iconic structures and infamous stories.


“As we look forward to 2017, we are also exploring a variety of funding options to make heritage more digitally available and are developing an exciting programme of activity to celebrate the 170th anniversary of the borough.”


Analysis of this year’s index reveals that places which do most with their heritage have a higher quality of life than areas which have low levels of activity.


After launching last year, the index has since been adopted as an official performance measure by the government in the recent Culture White Paper.

Culture Warrington Perception Survey

Culture Warrington Customer Survey

Please take a minute of your time to complete our Culture Warrington perception survey. We value your feedback and the information gathered from this short questionnaire will be used to enhance our service and the customer experience. Click on the link below to complete the survey:

This survey has now closed. Thank you to everyone who completed the survey.

The survey answers are anonymous but if you would like to be entered into a free prize draw for the chance to win a family ticket to the pantomime Aladdin at Parr Hall in January, please complete your contact details.

Behind the Scenes Tour of the Archives at Warrington Museum

Museum LogoBehind the Scenes Tour of the Archives at Warrington Museum
Date/Time: Tuesday 22 November and Thursday 24 November, 10am – 11.30am.
Ticket Price: Free for all Culture Warrington Members and £2 for non members
Basic History of Warrington through Maps
Date/Time: Saturday 26 November, 10am – 11.30am
Ticket Price: Free event but booking is essential

After a very successful tour of the Archives as part of the Heritage Open Days, we are opening the Archives again as part of Explore Your Archive Week.

We will be holding a tour and short talk on Tuesday 22 November, 10am – 11.30am and Thursday 24 November, 10am – 11.30am. The Tours are free for all Culture Warrington Members and £2 for non members.

Have you ever wondered what lies behind the locked doors in the Searchroom at Warrington’s archives? Have you ever requested a document and heard the receding footsteps, clanking locks and creaking doors? Or are you just curious what an archive is and how it is looked after? If so, why not attend our Behind the Scenes Tour of Warrington’s Archives. You will get to see some of our strong rooms and store-rooms and to see some of the items we look after. You will see how we retrieve requested items and how we make sure they go back in the right place. Please be aware that there will be three or four steps to climb on the tour, but staff will be present to help you if necessary. Book your place on this behind the scenes tour of the archives at Warrington Museum. Places are limited, so we advise you to book early.

Tuesday 22 November 2016 – Behind the Scenes Tour of the Archives at Warrington Museum – Ticket Price: £2 (Free for Culture Warrington Members) – Book now

Thursday 24 Nov 2016 – Behind the Scenes Tour of the Archives at Warrington Museum – Ticket Price: £2 (Free for Culture Warrington Members) – Book now

map-723x1024Basic History of Warrington through Maps

Saturday 26 November 2016 – Free admission – Book your free place online
(Places are limited, so we advise you to book early)

This session will show you some of the changes Warrington has undergone throughout the years as evidenced through its changing appearance on historic maps. Some features remain to this day, some are long gone.
Why not learn a little about Warrington’s past and see some of our more popular maps? Join us for this free event on Saturday 26 November.

Young carers design Pyramid mural to celebrate town’s heritage

Children as young as eight who act as carers for their loved ones have seen their favourite images of Warrington’s heritage and culture spray-painted onto the side of one of the town’s most iconic buildings.

The youngsters meet regularly through Wired Young Carers for support and respite from their caring responsibilities and the sessions give them a chance to just “be kids” for a while.

About a dozen of these children, aged 8-15, have been channelling their creative energy into a new externally-funded project called Reflection of Warrington, a huge street art mural, to adorn the gable end wall of Pyramid arts centre at the corner of Museum Street and Winmarleigh Street.

Kat Lamey, young carer’s coordinator for Wired Young Carers, said the children were “really excited” about taking part in such a positive project which the whole town and its visitors will be able to enjoy.

She said: “The young carers involved had never taken part in anything like this before so were very excited about the project. They thoroughly enjoyed learning some of the more unusual facts about Warrington’s history.

“This has been a fantastic opportunity for them to be creative, learn new skills, make friends and work with a professional street artist.

“Young carers often take on responsibilities way beyond their years and can miss out on opportunities as a result, so to have their work displayed on such an eye-catching building in their home town will be an incredible achievement for this very special group of young people.

“It’s something they can be proud of.”


The young carers took part in workshops organised by the mural project co-ordinators Spearfish Arts, a company which produces and facilitates projects like this around the region, where they learned about the town’s history and came up with ideas on what they wanted the artwork to feature.

Then renowned illustrator Will Barras, recommended by Spearfish Arts’ organiser Andrew Casserley as “a well-respected and well-known artist”, designed the mural which is now taking shape at Pyramid.

Will added: “This is one of the biggest murals I’ve done and it’s quite a big responsibility so it’s great that it’s been driven by the young people of Warrington.

“Working with the young carers has been brilliant because they’re so enthusiastic; doing stuff like this all the time you can take it for granted but it’s not something they would usually get to do so I hope it’s given them something to be proud of.

“And hopefully the rest of Warrington will like it too!”

The group decided on a diverse mixture of images including iconic structures such as the Golden Gates and the Barley Mow, famous faces like Jonathan Blackburne, the Lord of the Manor of Warrington famous for growing the North West’s first pineapple at Orford Hall, and the Mad Hatter’s tea party scene from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

Scenes illustrating the town’s industrial heritage will also be featured alongside a depiction of the ill-fated RMS Tayleur which was built in Warrington.

The mural started to take shape at the Culture Warrington venue on Wednesday 26 October and the young carers came along to help Will paint on Friday 28.

Culture Warrington’s outreach and engagement manager Derek Dick was pleased to see the project coming to fruition.

He said: “Reflection of Warrington has given the children from Wired Young Carers a chance to become directly involved in the heritage of their home town and seeing their contribution to the work on such an iconic Warrington building will no doubt boost their confidence and sense of pride in their own abilities.

“This is one of a series of projects which Culture Warrington has undergone with youth groups and young people to raise their understanding and knowledge of their local history and heritage.


“Another recent project involved working with the girls’ group from Warrington Youth Club who became the latest guest curators of Warrington Museum’s Cabinet of Curiosities.”

A planning application for installing the mural was approved by Warrington Borough Council at the end of September and Historic England had no objections in principle.

A spokesperson for Historic England said: “We welcome Culture Warrington’s plans for a heritage mural on the Grade II listed former county court, which is a key building in Warrington’s Palmyra Square.

“We are excited by the potential for the mural to better engage local people in their heritage and are looking forward to seeing the end result.”

Invitation to Culture Warrington AGM


Culture Warrington warmly invites you to the fourth AGM which will be held at Pyramid Arts Centre on Thursday 10 November. The doors will open at 6.30pm for a 7pm start. It is expected that the AGM will be closed at approx. 7.45pm.

A full agenda for the evening will be posted on this page soon.

If you would like to attend the AGM, please RSVP before Thursday 3 November by emailing or by leaving a message at 01925 444282.

Open competition winners announced at packed festival launch

bex-ilsley-with-her-winning-entry-your-cities-will-shine-foreverThe winners of the Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival (WCAF) Open competitions were announced at a packed event to mark the launch on Friday.

Bex Ilsley won the open art competition with Your Cities Will Shine Forever featuring a wall-mounted installation and a virtual reality app viewed through a headset.

The piece is a self-portrait which also explores the predicament of living between the physical and virtual.

Bex said: “I am delighted to have won at the Open exhibition; it was totally unexpected and really took me by surprise.

“This type of opportunity is vital for artists at the beginning of their careers and I am beyond grateful because funding and awards are the only way I have to continue practicing at this stage.

“I’m buzzing to have my first solo show thanks to the WCAF judges and those at the Warrington museum. I will aim to do something out of this world.”

The runner-up was Peter Davis with his self-portrait entitled Face Furniture, an incredibly lifelike acrylic on board painting which caught the eye from across the room.peter-davis-with-his-runner-up-entry-face-furniture

The work explores the relationship between Peter’s glasses and his identity; they are how he sees the world and how the world sees him.

“For many years I have looked on in awe at the quality of work on show at the Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival,” he said. “But this is the first time I’ve entered the competition.

“Being chosen as a prize-winner by such eminent judges as Paulette Terry Brien and Laurence Lane from The International 3 is really incredible.”

The photography winner was Steve Deer’s The Birds which captured a dog-walker on a beach with the sky above filled with birds.

He said: “It’s great news and a huge surprise to win WCAF16 with my image The Birds, particularly as I was runner-up last year and the standards are so high.steve-deer-the-birds

“It was a lucky ‘grab’ shot taken on West Kirby beach as wading birds were disturbed by a dog-walker; I was just in the right place at the right time and was fortunate enough to have my camera to hand.”

Second place went to Emma Shaw for The Boathouse, a landscape shot of a wooden building on a lakeshore with a misty mountain backdrop.

The photo was taken in Tasmania but Emma was happy to receive feedback that it evoked thoughts of Wales and Scotland.

She said: “Above all it made the viewer want to visit the location; travelling is my passion, to discover innovative natural history subjects to share with others.

“I have to confess that I had no expectation of winning a prize. I’m proud to take the second prize, it has definitely encouraged me to attempt more photo competitions to gain recognition in the digital world and further my career.

“My photography is an important part of my life; I particularly enjoy the weekly photography class with Creative Remedies at Pyramid.”

The winner of the first young person’s prize, made possible thanks to sponsorship from Warrington Collegiate, was Rain Egan whose Untitled captured a low sun over a quiet train station.

Derek Dick, outreach and engagement manager, judged the entries along with Paulette Terry Brien and Laurence Lane, directors of The International 3 art agents and gallery in Manchester.

He said: “We were really pleased to receive 360 entries, that’s about 100 more than in previous years, and the quality of the work was outstanding.

“The standard gets better and better every year and it was genuinely really difficult to choose the winners; there were so many excellent entries in the running.

“We hope to develop the young person’s prize in future years as I think it’s really important to nurture fresh talent.”

The winners each received £250 and a solo exhibition next year while the runners-up won a £100 cash prize.

The announcements were made in Warrington Museum & Art Gallery at the launch of the festival which drew in a crowd of over 370.

Visitors took part in a cultural crawl from The Gallery at Bank Quay House where the photography entries are on display, via Pyramid arts centre which features the work of Womanstanley and Matt Stokes, and on to the museum and art gallery where the art entries are exhibited alongside an installation by Clair Le Couteur.

Maureen Banner, Culture Warrington board chair, added: “This was a wonderful evening to celebrate the launch of Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival, one of the main highlights in the Culture Warrington calendar.

“It was brilliant to see so many people at the event keen to celebrate the best in Warrington’s contemporary arts and it was an honor to award the winners with their well-deserved prizes.

“The standard of work entered in the art and photography competitions was very impressive and I don’t envy those who had to choose between them.”

The exhibitions are free to visit and available to view until Saturday 29 October.

Young artists promote message of inclusion at Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival

womanstanley-5-smAn arts collective determined to make art more accessible and inclusive have unveiled two new exhibitions as part of Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival.

Womanstanley was founded by Sophie New from Warrington and Roxy Ball from Wigan who met at Leeds College of Art, and is based on a shared passion for bringing pop-up style art collective exhibitions to the North West.

Sophie, 26, said: “As an artist myself, I had felt there wasn’t a creative platform in Warrington that included me; I had also witnessed the despair of artists residing in the town who felt excluded or felt the town was lacking in creative energy, with people often leaving in search of something and taking their talents elsewhere.

“It is important to move with the times, make something happen, get up and build something.”

And build something they did. Womanstanley has flourished and there can now be up to 40 artists taking part in exhibitions.

The name Womanstanley derives from a quote by Hilda Ogden in Coronation Street when she and her husband Stanley kiss. He asks “what’s that lipstick taste of?” and she says “woman Stanley, woman!”

Sophie and Roxy liked the way the words rolled off the tongue and the link to their North West roots, as well as the use of humour.

“I feel it’s important to be approachable and down to earth when forming a group that can only exist with the commitment of other artists,” Sophie added. “The fact that the word is half ‘woman’ and half a typically male name is also kind of cool. It illustrates nicely that everyone’s welcome.”

The Coronation Street theme continues with the names of Womanstanley’s two exhibitions, Betty’s Hot Pot and The Making of Muriel, which are available to visit now at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery and Pyramid respectively, until the close of the festival on Saturday 29 October.

Betty’s Hot Pot is a retrospective of the group’s work previously displayed at each of the three annual exhibitions, brought together in one collection for the first time.

Items include a handmade banner from the first ever Womanstanley exhibition by Abbi Hughes, Roxy Ball’s Hilda Ogden monoprint – a lucky charm at every show, photographs, posters and stills from their events, and plenty of new pieces which have never been seen in public before.

Muriel is an exhibition, due to go on display in Leeds next month, which will re-consider what ‘home’ really means in housing-crisis Britain. Methods and techniques will range from painting and embroidery to installation, sculpture and performance.

The Making of Muriel invites visitors to Pyramid to witness the artists creating work for the Muriel exhibition and encourages them to engage with members through an ‘open studio’ style exhibition.

The group has hosted exhibitions in a variety of places from friends’ apartments to Warrington Sports Club and Sophie admitted Womanstanley had never been part of anything like Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival.

“Having the work hung in the museum and gallery is a turning point for us. It means we are being taken seriously by Culture Warrington and that is something we’re very happy about. We have a lot to give the town and for this to be recognised is very important.

“Having the open studios in the Pyramid for The Making of Muriel is also really exciting because many of us do not have access to studio space so being able to work alongside each other as we create something collaborative is really special.

“We’re excited about being exposed to new audiences who may not have heard of Womanstanley and maybe getting a few new members in the process. We’re constantly looking at how we can make new creative relationships and we hope this exhibition will enable that.”

What’s on at this year’s Contemporary Arts Festival

Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival ready to launch

media-launchWarrington Contemporary Arts Festival will launch on Friday 30 September with the announcement of the open competition winners and a ‘cultural crawl’ tour of the venues.

This exciting event will give the public the chance to catch a first glimpse of entries to the contemporary opens in art and photography, displayed at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery and The Gallery at Bank Quay House respectively, as well as the inaugural Warrington Collegiate Young Person’s Prize.

Artists aged 18 and under were invited to take part in this new category for the first time, thanks to kind sponsorship by the college, and the winners will be awarded a £150 prize at the launch.

Derek Dick, outreach and engagement manager for Culture Warrington, said: “We’re really pleased to be including young artists in such a direct way in this year’s Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival, and that’s thanks to Warrington Collegiate.

“We’re really passionate about making the festival as inclusive as possible and hopefully adding this new young person’s prize will encourage other budding artists and photographers to come along to the 2016 events and share their own work in future years.”

Warrington Collegiate is also sponsoring the work of internationally-recognised artist Matt Stokes who is exhibiting two moving-image works at the festival – Dance Swine Dance and Long After Tonight – which explore music subcultures and the way these provide a sense of collectivity, shaping and influencing people’s lives and identities.

Dance Swine Dance is a looped animation, projected at 16 Sankey Street from the festival launch until 28 October, which brings to life popular dance styles from the past 100 years.

And Long After Tonight, to be screened at Pyramid over the same period, features footage from a specially-organised Northern Soul event held in the nave of a Dundee church. The images of the dancers, surrounded by beautiful and ornate religious artefacts, create a connection between the location and the activity as expressions of faith, commitment and shared purpose.

Other highlights include a film screening of The Violators, the directorial debut of Warrington-born author Helen Walsh, best known for novels including The Lemon Grove, Once Upon a Time in England, and Brass.

This powerful and engaging drama, which follows a teenage girl who is rehoused on a sink estate after testifying against her abusive dad, has already garnered critical acclaim.

21,000 Miles of Rail is a theatre performance by Hannah Butterfield who attempts to unpack the rules of talking on trains and test the possibilities of chance encounters with strangers, and Third Angel’s 600 People, somewhere between stand-up comedy and an astrophysics lecture, asks if there are extra-terrestrials in our galaxy and explores what it means to be human.

Artist, researcher and composer Clair Le Couteur will ‘remix’ Warrington Museum & Art Gallery through photography and sculpture, and the members of art collective Womanstanley are taking part in two exhibitions including The Making of Muriel which explores the notion of home, reconsidering what the word really means in Britain under a housing crisis.

Maureen Banner, chair of the Culture Warrington board, said: “I’m delighted about the exhibitions and events taking place at the sixth annual Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival.

“The launch night promises to be a great occasion to mark the opening of the month-long festival which celebrates the best of contemporary art, and I’m very excited to find out who’s won this year’s open competitions.”

The event on Friday 30 September begins at 6pm in The Gallery at Bank Quay House followed by a trail around the exhibitions and venues which are part of this year’s festival.

The open competition winners will be announced at 8pm in Warrington Museum & Art Gallery where speeches will also take place. Light refreshments will be available.

For further information and a complete guide to the festival, visit the official website

Icons of the 80s and Starsailor bring 4000 music fans to Warrington

nik-kershaw-sfMore than 4000 music fans descended on Warrington Town Centre this weekend to attend two incredible concerts which marked the opening weekend of this year’s Warrington Festival.

On Friday (16 September) Go West, Nik Kershaw and special guests, T’Pau came together as the Icons of the 80s for one special concert experience on Warrington’s Bank Park.

T’Pau opened the show playing some new material and their biggest hits; Heart and Soul and China in Your Hand, which spent five weeks at number one back in 1987.

Go West and Nik Kershaw came together to play an amalgamated set of their own hits including We Close Our Eyes and I Won’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me and also a number of rock and indie covers.

The crowd went wild for the 80s legends with many gig goers wearing leg warmers and tutus and waving neon glow sticks.

On Saturday (17 September), Warrington paid an official tribute to local band, Viola Beach who tragically lost their lives while on tour in Sweden earlier this year.

Starsailor, along with 13 regional artists, came together for an all-day music event on Bank Park.

Starsailor, who were performing their first outdoor headline set in Warrington, paid their own tribute to the band by performing one of their tracks, Swings and Waterslides.

carol-decker-from-tpauThe gig also included sets from Manchester indie four-piece, The Rainband who appeared at Glastonbury in June, PSYBLINGS, who played the Viola Beach celebration event at Parr Hall with The Coral and Courteeners earlier this year, and Ellie Dibben who was a support act at last year’s Warrington Festival alongside Viola Beach.

An exclusive video tribute to Viola Beach was also shown as part of the event with unseen footage of the band performing some of the tracks from their posthumous album, Viola Beach, which went to number one last month.

These two events launched a two week celebration of culture, sport and entertainment across the town which lasts until 2 October.

Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival line-up announced

WCAF16WEBThe line-up for this year’s eagerly-anticipated Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival has been confirmed and there’s something to suit all tastes.

Whether you like film, theatre, art or photography, there are plenty of events to choose from during WCAF16 which takes place over a four-week period from Friday 30 September to Saturday 29 October.

Now in its sixth year, the festival provides an opportunity for the people of Warrington and further afield to engage with and experience the best in contemporary art and the 2016 programme includes live performances, exhibitions, talks and tours as well as the flagship art and photography open exhibitions.

Derek Dick, outreach and engagement manager, said: “We’ve got some really engaging events and exhibitions taking place as part of the 2016 Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival, which has built on the success of previous years.

“The festival brings together elements of film, theatre, art and photography in an eclectic mix which showcases the creative talent of local, regional, national and international artists.

“We’re also going to have live art performances and pop-up interventions by Warrington Collegiate and Edge Hill University to name a few.

“I’m really excited by what we’ve got planned, I hope the people of Warrington will be too!”

Among the highlights is a film screening of The Violators, the directorial debut of Warrington-born author Helen Walsh, best known for novels including The Lemon Grove, Once Upon a Time in England and Brass.

This powerful and engaging drama, which follows a teenage girl who is rehoused on a sink estate after testifying against her abusive dad, has already garnered critical acclaim.

21,000 Miles of Rail is a theatre performance by Hannah Butterfield who attempts to unpack the rules of talking on trains and test the possibilities of chance encounters with strangers, and Third Angel’s 600 People, somewhere between stand-up comedy and an astrophysics lecture, asks if there are extra-terrestrials in our galaxy and explores what it means to be human.

Artist and film-maker Matt Stokes will be presenting Dance Swine Dance and These are the Days as he explores musical subcultures and the way music provides a sense of collectiveness while artist, researcher and composer Clair Le Couteur will ‘remix’ Warrington Museum & Art Gallery through photography and sculpture.

Maureen Banner, chair of Culture Warrington, said: “There are so many interesting and exciting events taking place as part of this year’s Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival I can’t wait for it to get started.
“I hope the line-up will generate a real buzz about the town and people will take this opportunity to celebrate the best in contemporary art.”

The deadline for entry to the open competitions in art and photography has been extended to Friday 2 September.

For more information on the varied line-up or to enter the open competitions visit

New stage play of Twopence to Cross the Mersey heading for Warrington

TwopenceFriday 28 October – Saturday 29 October, 2.30pm and 7.30pm, £18-£24
Parr Hall, Tickets £18-£24
Buy tickets online

A new stage play about the life of acclaimed author Helen Forrester is heading to Warrington this autumn.

Twopence to Cross the Mersey comes to Parr Hall on Friday 28 October and Saturday 29 October for three performances including a matinee. Tickets are on sale now.

The seven-venue tour across the North West and North Wales follows the hugely successful premiere of the new stage play – an adaptation of the book by the same name – which wowed audiences at four Merseyside theatres last spring.

Now, due to popular demand, the play is returning with a new and extended tour for autumn 2016.

Twopence tells the true story of a young girl and her formerly-wealthy family as they are suddenly thrown into poverty during the Great Depression of the 1930s and forced to survive in the slums among the streetwise working class.

Leaving behind the nannies, servants and comfortable middle-class life in the South West of England, they uproot their shattered lives and choose Liverpool as the place to start again to rebuild their dreams and fortune.

Unbeknown to them however, a terrible shock awaits them.

The new version of this dramatic, moving and heart-warming tale is staged by Pulse Records Ltd in collaboration with producer and stage writer Rob Fennah and producer Bill Elms, joined by director Bob Eaton.

Rob worked closely with Helen on the original stage production which she lived long enough to see for herself.

He said: “I got to know Helen very well during the last 20 years of her life and during the writing of the original script she would often send faxes and letters of encouragement together with all sorts of additional information that didn’t appear in her books.

“Helen and I often talked about a touring production of Twopence to Cross the Mersey so I am really pleased to finally see it happen.

“I had always visualised Twopence as a straight play and was thrilled when audiences and reviewers alike gave the new adaptation a big thumbs up.

“We’re excited and delighted to take the play on the road so greater numbers of Helen’s readers can see her most famous book come to life as a stage play and we cannot wait to bring the show to Warrington’s Parr Hall with a very strong cast who will do justice to Helen’s story.”

The new stage adaptation is fully endorsed by the Helen Forrester estate and has the blessing of her son Robert Bhatia who saw the play for himself last spring.

He added: “The play is great. I saw it last year and Maria Lovelady was utterly convincing as my mother.”

The play features an eight-strong ensemble cast including Emma Dears (Judy & Liza, Les Miserables) as Mother, Christopher Jordan (Moving On, Coronation Street) as Father, Maria Lovelady as Helen, and Tom Cawte (Witless, The Lone Pine Club) as Alan.

Eithne Browne (Brookside, Brick Up The Mersey Tunnel), Jake Abraham (Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Game of Thrones), Roy Carruthers (Night Collar, Tales from Haunted Liverpool), and Phil Hearne (Good Golly Miss Molly, Blood Brothers) all take on lead roles, as well as supplementary characters throughout.

Heritage Open Days will be bigger and better than ever before

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Visitors to this year’s Heritage Open Days in Warrington will be treated to more behind the scenes sneak peaks and special events than ever before.

Culture Warrington, with assistance from Warrington Civic Society, is leading the town’s participation in England’s largest heritage festival which is designed to give the public a chance to celebrate their community’s history and culture.

11 venues across the town centre, including Warrington Town Hall, Warrington Wolves’ Halliwell Jones Stadium and St Elphin’s Church, are taking part in the annual festival which runs from Thursday 8 September to Sunday 11 September.

Michelle Hill, collections and archives manager, said: “The Heritage Open Days festival gives the public the chance to explore the town’s hidden places and its culture and heritage.

“This is the first year Warrington has had such a large and coordinated offer from a diverse range of heritage partners and I’m really excited to see the event become bigger and better than ever before.

“This year we’ve got everything from costumed tours and visits behind the scenes to organ recitals and corn dolly-making demonstrations.”

Among the huge array of events on offer at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery are a time travel day complete with Stormtroopers and Daleks, workshops on how to date family photos, and the launch of a fascinating new Cabinet of Curiosities display, curated by young women from Warrington Youth Club, which explores the issues they face day to day.

Historic buildings such as The Friends Meeting House, The Warrington Club and St Mary’s Shrine Church will also be throwing open their doors to provide a rare opportunity to explore inside.

Other highlights include an open day at The Museum of Policing in Cheshire, a talk by local author Gill Hoffs on her book about historic shipwrecks, one being the Tayleur which was built at Bank Quay, and access to The British Deaf History Society’s museum and archive.

Mrs Hill added: “This event is also a great opportunity for us to show the amount of hard work that volunteers and groups at these venues carry out every year.

“Collaborating in this national campaign gives Warrington a high profile opportunity to engage people with the town’s rich heritage.”

Visit the Heritage Open Days event page for a complete list of activities

Culture Warrington members learn about museum’s most weird and wonderful

Culture Warrington first members eventVisitors who have signed up to Culture Warrington’s new membership scheme have been treated to their first exclusive members-only event.

Weird and Wonderful Warrington, held at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery on Saturday 6 August, gave members the chance to meet collections officer Craig Sherwood and hear him talk about the more extraordinary and rare items in the collection.

Visitors were treated to some fascinating stories behind popular exhibits including the mysterious Fiji mermaids, which it turns out are neither mermaids nor from Fiji.

Craig showcased some of the more rarely-seen objects in the collection such as the scold’s bridle, a pig’s heart used by a white witch, a fork used in cannibal feasts and the leg bone of a Moa, an extinct 12-foot tall flightless bird from New Zealand.

Members were also treated to the fascinating stories behind some of the more unassuming exhibits such as a 300-year-old statue of Buddha which was used to smuggle gems into India.

Craig Sherwood, collections officer, said: “I was first drawn to Warrington Museum by the fascinating collections.

“We’re learning more about the collection all the time and some of the history behind our exhibits is only now coming to light.

“For example, our Fiji mermaids have been popular exhibits for years but we’ve only recently realised how rare our two-headed example is.

“Every object tells a story and this has been a great opportunity to share a selection of them with our members.”

To become a Culture Warrington member and receive great discounts and special offers, including access to exclusive members-only events like this, sign up by popping in to Pyramid, Parr Hall or the museum and art gallery, calling 01925 442345, or visiting

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Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival exhibitions now open to entries

625108_wcaf16Artists and photographers are now being invited to enter this year’s Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival open exhibitions.

Competitors living or working within a 50-mile radius of the town can submit up to three works, submissions are now open online and the deadline for entries is Friday 26 August, ahead of the festival itself which launches on Friday 30 September and runs until Saturday 29 October.

Now in its sixth year, the month-long festival provides an opportunity for people to engage with and experience contemporary art and the 2016 programme includes live performances, exhibitions, talks and tours, including the flagship art and photography open exhibitions.

For both exhibitions, the first prize is £250 plus a solo exhibition in 2017, while second prize is £100.

Building on the success of previous years, the Contemporary Open will be hosted by Warrington Museum & Art Gallery while the Photography Open will be on show in The Gallery at Bank Quay House.

Visit for more information or to submit an entry before the deadline on Friday 26 August.

Young carers given chance to be kids with special crafty events

IMG_1500Children as young as five who act as carers for their loved ones are being given the chance to “be kids” with a series of fun activities at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery.

The Culture Warrington venue is hosting four activity sessions for members of Wired Young Carers with the aim of giving them a break from the huge responsibility that rests on their young shoulders.

Mike Roberts, visitor services officer, explained how the museum team had invited the youngsters, aged between five and 11, to sessions before and were keen to continue supporting them in the future.

He said: “The group used to come along of their own accord but when we learned how difficult their lives can be we thought let’s do something different just for them.

“Children like these care for parents who have a range of issues, including physical disabilities.

“Each of them has taken on that responsibility and they deserve our admiration and support.

“It’s not just the fact they’re dealing with it at home but they often also get picked on at school because of it.

“Coming here is a chance for them to feel a bit special, these sessions are designed just for them, and they’re around other children who are going through the same thing.”

This summer’s sessions have been inspired by the museum’s Around the World exhibition which tells the story of Victorian explorers who left the safe confines of the British Isles to travel the seas in search of new land and adventure.

The activities cover themes such as On the Trail of a Yeti and A Headhunting Expedition and feature challenges only to be undertaken by the pluckiest of children!

Mr Roberts added: “These children have had to become very mature for their age and we wanted to channel that confidence so the activities include an element of performance as well as encouraging them to make something they can take home with them.

“For example, for On the Trail of the Yeti they designed their own traps and then hunted one of the team (the yeti) around the museum.

“The children are very enthusiastic and seem to really enjoy their time here.

“They’re such a great group of young people who have a lot going on in their lives: if we can take them away from that for a few hours and give them a chance to just be kids, that’s really worthwhile.”

Free family craft activities at Bank Park Pavilion

Crafts1Culture Warrington is delighted to announce the launch of a new programme of family craft activities at Bank Park Pavilion.

Youngsters are invited to come along to the Pavilion on the first Saturday of each month, starting on Saturday 6 August, to try their hand at a whole host of exciting activities.

From making safari masks and Samurai helmets to creating tropical aquariums, there will be something to suit every child.

And as the seasons change the activities will take inspiration from the winter calendar as little ones will be able to make fireworks pictures and Christmas decorations.

Culture Warrington and LiveWire took over management of Bank Park earlier this year and these new sessions are part of a wider plan to make the most of the wonderful space on offer.

Other activities on offer this summer include The Beach, a free to use space which offers visitors the chance to enjoy all the fun of the seaside without leaving town, and pop-up sports activities for the whole family including touch rugby, bowls and table tennis.

The Pavilion’s Café Revive provides drinks and snacks for when it’s time for a rest.

Culture Warrington members given exclusive access behind closed doors

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Visitors who have signed up to Culture Warrington’s new membership scheme are being treated to their first exclusive members-only event.

Weird and Wonderful Warrington, being held at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery on Saturday 6 August, will see collections officer Craig Sherwood talk about the more extraordinary and rare items in the collection.

Members will be told the fascinating stories behind popular exhibits including the mysterious feejee mermaids, cannibal forks and the infamous scold’s bridal, a method of punishment used to torture and publicly humiliate women.

To attend this special free event, which is ideal for visitors of all ages, simply sign up as a member by popping in to Pyramid, Parr Hall or the museum and art gallery, calling 01925 442345, or visiting

Teenage artist draws on cancer battle for inspiration

Holly_1416 small19-year-old Holly Hamer is determined not to be known as ‘the girl with cancer’ because she also happens to be a very talented artist.

Holly, from Grappenhall, has turned her battle with a rare condition called rhabdomyosarcoma into inspiration for a remarkable collection of paintings and drawings which are now on display at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery.

Looking from the Inside Out explores how Holly is dealing with aspects of her illness including how her body has changed, her lack of control over the illness and what could be considered as her acceptance of it.

Holly said: “It feels so surreal to have my work up on display and it’s a pretty wonderful feeling.

“This body of work is very personal to me so it’s slightly nerve-racking for people to be seeing it but it’s mainly exciting to get my work out there.”

While undergoing treatment the determined teenager continued with her education, successfully completing an AS level in art at Sir John Deane’s College in Northwich.

And her passion for creativity has been spurred on, rather than diminished, by her illness.

“I feel as though this [cancer] is a significant event that makes you go through so much pain and lack of control, and that is something worth expressing because those feelings are so raw and human.

“Creating pieces of artwork of different things I went through is what helped me get through everything because it was a way for me to work through all of these feelings and make me understand it more.”

Although unable to work or study at the moment, Holly’s ambition is to become a full-time professional artist.

“I’ve always been creative and enjoyed drawing,” she added, “but it’s only the past couple of years that I’ve really got into it.

“It’s ever since I was diagnosed and wanted to fill my time with something I enjoyed that I’ve felt a passion to create.

“I do want to be a professional artist. If I could spend my days painting and drawing and put my heart and soul into each piece, and make a living out of it, that would be the dream.”

Looking from the Inside Out is supported by CLIC Sargent, a charity which provides vital emotional, practical and financial support to young cancer patients and their families during and after treatment.

Holly credits James George, a CLIC Sargent social worker she was supported by at The Christie hospital, for helping her deal with her illness and aiding her to explore her emotions and experiences through art.

He was so impressed by the teenager’s talent that he encouraged her to approach Derek Dick, outreach and engagement manager for Warrington Museum & Art Gallery, with some of her work which ultimately clinched the young artist her first ever solo exhibition.

Mr Dick said: “Holly’s maturity is clear in the way she uses art as a vehicle for expressing her emotions.

“When I first met Holly I made it clear she was only offered the show because of the quality of her work and not because of her cancer.

“Her artwork is both strong and emotional and it deserves to be seen in its own right.”

Holly Hamer - I am more than this

Football hero nominates Culture Warrington for FA grant

Group 2Sporting hero Roger Hunt has nominated Culture Warrington for a Football Association grant to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the England World Cup win.

The Warrington legend put the charity forward to benefit from £1,966 as part of The FA’s ’66 for 66’ programme set up to mark the anniversary of the 1966 success, which Roger helped bring about as a member of the winning team.

To commemorate the year when England ruled the footballing world, The FA is making 66 awards of £1,966 to projects throughout the country via county FAs to grassroots football clubs or centrally by The FA to causes such as charities which the players of 1966 support.

Roger Hunt said: “I enjoy helping Culture Warrington whenever I can and I was only too happy to nominate the charity for a ‘66 for 66’ grant.

“I thought it would be a nice way to acknowledge the charity’s interest in the anniversary of the 1966 England team’s win which is celebrated in the museum’s They Think it’s all Over exhibition.”
The donation will be used to fund a project in partnership with Warrington Youth Club that helps explore issues which young people, particularly young women, face in Warrington today.

The project will enable girls from the club to become honorary curators of the museum and use their own ideas to select different pieces from the in-house collection which explore the themes of women in history, body image and mental health.

Their selections will be displayed in the museum’s Cabinet of Curiosities gallery, a space designed to celebrate the richness of the museum’s collections and encourage visitors to think about Warrington, its people and how they are connected to the museum.

Maureen Banner, chair of the board for Culture Warrington, said: “I am thrilled and proud that Roger thought of us in this way and I’d like to thank him for his continued support and loyalty to his roots.

“The team here at Culture Warrington were very touched by his kindness, particularly as we are not a sporting establishment, and we’re excited about putting this money to good use on behalf of the community.

“This grant of nearly £2,000 will be well-spent in partnership with Warrington Youth Club on a project to give girls the chance to become honorary curators at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery.

“I hope they will really enjoy taking part.”

The official anniversary of one of England’s greatest sporting achievements, the winning of the World Cup, will be celebrated on Saturday 30 July and Warrington Museum & Art Gallery is inviting the public to mark the occasion with a visit to the They Think it’s all Over exhibition.

Photo, left to right, Emma Hutchinson, Managing Director; Michelle Hill, Collections and Archives Manager; Gemma Johnson, Cultural Director; Roger Hunt; and Maureen Banner, Chair of the Board.

FA logo

Icons of the 80s join Warrington Festival line up

Icons of the 80s WebBank Park, Warrington, Friday 16 September 2016
Tickets and information: Tickets are priced at £15 each

Go West, Nik Kershaw and special guests, T’Pau will come together for one concert on the opening night of Warrington Festival 2016.

The three legendary 80s stars are set to join forces for a truly incredible concert experience on Warrington’s Bank Park on Friday 16 September.

Their appearance will kick off a two week celebration of culture, sport and entertainment across the town.

With millions of albums sales and iconic hits such as We Close Our Eyes, Call Me, Wouldn’t It Be Good, The Riddle, I Won’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me, Heart and Soul and the classic China in Your Hand, this authentic eighties triple header is not to be missed.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Go West’s first hit single We Close Our Eyes. Other hits followed including Call Me, Goodbye Girl and Don’t Look Down, Faithful, and the smash hit theme song from the film Pretty Woman, King of Wishful Thinking.

Nik Kershaw first achieved chart success in 1984 with Wouldn’t It Be Good?, followed by other classics such as Won’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me, and The Riddle. A prolific writer for other artists, Nik also penned the number one single The One and Only for Chesney Hawkes.

T’Pau’s first single Heart and Soul was released in 1987 and initially found success in the US after being featured in a Pepe Jeans commercial, before charting in the UK. Their biggest hit China in Your Hand hit the top spot in the UK later that year, and stayed at number one for five weeks.

Tickets go on sale on Monday 18 July at 9am

Visit the official Warrington Festival website for more festival information and updates.


Warrington Festival banner

Starsailor to headline Warrington Festival

Starsailor WebBank Park, Warrington, Saturday 17 September 2016
Tickets are priced at £10 each

Warrington Festival is pleased to announce Starsailor as the latest band to be confirmed for this year’s line-up.

The gig is part of a series of events to celebrate sport, culture and entertainment across Warrington.

It will be the band’s first outdoor headline event in Warrington and their first appearance in the town since they released their greatest hits album last year.

The band was formed at Wigan and Leigh Music College by music students James Walsh (vocals/guitar), James Stelfox (bass), and Ben Byrne (drums). Later saw the arrival of keyboardist Barry Westhead, who cemented their sound.

Starsailor’s initial run of success saw both their ‘Love is Here’ debut album and the 2003 follow-up ‘Silence is Easy’ hit number two in the charts and netted them a total of three million album sales before a hiatus in 2009.

Frontman, James Walsh, said: “It’s been over 15 years since the band first formed and the songs still mean something to people. They still sing the words passionately back at us at gig and we hear stories of how songs have sound tracked key moments in their lives.”

Since their reformation, the band has played on the main stage at the Isle of Wight festival, supported Manchester indie band, James and toured North America with Embrace.

Starsailor will headline the festival following a full day of performances from local artists in tribute to Warrington’s Viola Beach and their manager, who died in a car crash earlier this year.

Tickets go on sale on Monday 18 July at 9am

We have a second important line-up announcement for Warrington Festival coming at 10am this morning (Thursday 14 July)

Visit the official Warrington Festival website for all your festival information.

Warrington Festival banner

Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival winner unveils first solo exhibition

Katie WebKatie Murray, the winner of last year’s Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival (WCAF) open art competition, is proud to display her first solo exhibition.

Expressions of a Dawn Chorus is a collection of pen on paper drawings building on the piece by the same name which won Katie the title in 2015.

Her work is inspired by her experiences in different environments, from witnessing the dawn chorus to the sounds of a still forest or the suburbs.

By wearing a blindfold and reacting to the sounds around her, the work is a direct response to the moment.

Katie is delighted to have built on the success of her WCAF win by earning her own solo exhibition, which is open to the public now.

She said: “Since I won last year I have been making lots more work and feel good about the outcomes. This is my first solo show and it’s really exciting.”

Katie’s job as an outdoor educator, currently in Hong Kong, provides her with the inspiration she needs to expand her body of work and improve her skills.

“I spend so much time in the outdoors, hiking and climbing in the mountains and kayaking on the sea for work and pleasure that I wanted to create some artwork as a reflection of my experiences.

“This all began while listening to the dawn chorus one morning: I started making marks on a small sketch pad and it went from there.

“My ambition is to continue enjoying making artwork and to get more opportunities to exhibit,” she added.
Derek Dick, outreach and engagement manager, said: “Katie’s work impressed judges at last year’s festival so we were delighted to offer her a solo exhibition which builds on that success here at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery.

“This year’s Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival returns in October and we are again inviting artists of all ages and abilities, professional or amateur, to enter for the opportunity to win a solo exhibition.”

Entries for the open competitions in art and photography can be submitted from Friday 29 July until Friday 26 August at

Katie Murray 13

Warrington town centre to have its own beach this summer

bank park pavilion3If you fancy building sandcastles or lounging in a deck chair you won’t have to travel to the coast this summer as Warrington’s Bank Park is set to get its own man-made beach.

 LiveWire in partnership with W Chadwick and Sons will bring the seaside to the town centre with deck chairs, face painting and a family funfair just some of the many activities available.

The Beach at Bank Park is free to use and will be open every day from 1-5pm from Saturday 23 July until Sunday 21 August.

It will be officially opened by Emmerdale star, Joe Warren-Platt who plays Jacob Gallagher in the soap. A Punch and Judy show will also be on offer to mark the official opening and provide a Victorian beach feel.

This is the first large scale event at Bank Park since leisure and cultural organisations, LiveWire and Culture Warrington took over the management of the park and its pavilion earlier this year.

The beach opening times will coincide with LiveWire’s weekly activity programme at the park which offers pop-up sports activities for children and families including touch rugby, bowls and table tennis.

After building sandcastles and catching some rays on the deckchairs, families will have the chance to refuel at Café Revive in the pavilion with cold drinks, hot food and snacks available.

Walter Chadwick, from W Chadwick and Sons, said: “We’re really excited to be bringing Warrington’s first propose built beach to the town centre.

“The activities will allow families to enjoy the seaside without leaving Warrington this summer and with free access to the beach, this is not to be missed.”

Masters students explore art as therapy in new exhibition

Abstract 2 by Rachel RobertsA group of students are displaying work which explores the use of art as a form of therapy in a new exhibition at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery.

As students on the MA Art Therapy course at The University of Chester, the group have created a diverse range of paintings which delve into their own psyches as they learn about the therapeutic benefits of art as a form of psychotherapy.

Art therapy uses visual art media as its primary mode of communication, allowing those dealing with mental health problems, learning difficulties, neurological conditions and addictions for example, to express and explore feelings which can be confusing and difficult to communicate verbally.

The course requires final year students, who come from a variety of backgrounds including teaching, nursing and social work, to try art therapy first hand in order to help them understand, once qualified, what their clients may experience.

Derek Dick, outreach and engagement manager, said: “Art has long been known to have therapeutic properties and you can understand why when you see the work these students have created.

“Many of them described the programme as ‘life-changing’ and you can tell they’ve really delved deep to discover the feelings and emotions which have inspired this collection.

“The work on show illustrates well their experience of training as well as their personal development: it makes for a really striking and interesting exhibition.”

Holly Hamer’s exhibition Looking from the Inside Out, which is also currently on display at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery, is another great example of the use of art as therapy: the 19-year-old explores the effects of her cancer diagnosis through her paintings and drawings.Split in Two by Alison Stevenson-Dodd

Exhibition to celebrate Warrington’s past festivals and events

3-11 Walking Day Buttermarket Street Red Riding hoodsCulture Warrington is calling on residents to share their stories and photographs of historic festivals in the town as part of a new exhibition.

Twenty years on from when the town hosted the first ever V Festival in Latchford, the exhibition is set to showcase the many outdoor events that have brought the people of Warrington together.

Pulp, Cast and Supergrass performed in Victoria Park as part of the 1996 festival, and the town has also played host to its fair share of cultural festivals including Culture Fest, Cropover and Party in the Park during the early 2000s.

Warrington Music Festival also brought the Happy Mondays, Scouting for Girls and Reverend and the Makers to the town in recent years.

The collection of images and stories will go on show in September as part of this year’s Warrington Festival.

Derek Dick, outreach and engagement manager at Culture Warrington, said: “We want to hear about your memories of all the wonderful events and celebrations that have taken place in Warrington.

“It may be of a parade, a street party, or a member of your family taking part as the May Queen or even the Temperance Queen. All images are welcome, old and new.”
The exhibition is part of a jam-packed programme of events which take place across the town between 16 September and 2 October as part of the second Warrington Festival.

This year’s festival will also once again host a headline music event and the English Half Marathon and 10K race and will this year bring a whole host of new events to the town including an adventure film festival and a charity football contest.

If you have any images or stories that you’d like to be part of the exhibition, please send them to by 12 August 2016.

Football legend helps Culture Warrington launch new membership scheme

Roger Hunt 3Warrington’s own football legend Roger Hunt MBE is helping Culture Warrington launch its new membership scheme which supports fundraising for the charity.

The 1966 World Cup-winning England team member is proud to be the first person to sign up to the scheme which offers discounts on some tickets and access to exclusive members-only events.

Other benefits include priority booking for selected Pyramid & Parr Hall events, no booking fees and a regular newsletter, as well as a membership badge and free gift – a stylish and useful shopper bag.

Roger Hunt said: “I’m proud to be the first person to become a Culture Warrington member.

“I’m excited about the benefits membership will give me and delighted to know I will be helping to fund all the great events, exhibitions and outreach work Culture Warrington organises.

“I really believe in what the charity does for the town and the wider community and I’m keen to see that work continue.

“I’d strongly urge anyone who enjoys a good show or a family trip to the museum to sign up now so we can all carry on making the most of these great experiences for many years to come.”

The membership scheme is an exciting new idea from the Culture Warrington team which aims to bring the charity’s offer to a wider audience while rewarding existing visitors.

In addition, every new member will be helping to raise vital funding to safeguard the future of Pyramid & Parr Hall, Warrington Museum & Art Gallery, and our outdoor events such as Warrington Festival and Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival.

In 2012, these venues left the management of Warrington Borough Council and a charitable trust, Culture Warrington, was formed.

RogerHuntmembershipAs a result, there is now an increased emphasis on fundraising so the charity can continue celebrating culture in Warrington and develop plans for the future; plans which include an innovative new Heritage Hub to explore the town’s rich history and an exciting new gallery to bring the best of contemporary art to the town.

Maureen Banner, chair of the board for Culture Warrington, said: “As a team we aim to make the town a thriving centre of cultural activity and you can help us continue this mission by joining our membership scheme.

“You will receive some great benefits as well as having played an important role in securing what we are confident will be an exciting future.

“We want to continue celebrating culture in Warrington through the arts and heritage, and as a result enrich the lives of our visitors and the wider community.

“We can do this better with your support – so why not sign up to become a member today.”

Membership costs £15 per person or £25 for two people living at the same address and there are plenty of ways to sign up: pop in to one of Culture Warrington’s venues, call 01925 442345 or visit

The scheme will officially launch on Friday 1 July at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery from 6-8pm to coincide with the opening of three new exhibitions which are all great examples of what the team at Culture Warrington is passionate about.

Artists inspired by Pyramid architecture to create interactive exhibition

ManifoldTalented artists are making the most of Pyramid’s striking architecture for a new interactive exhibition.

Manifold, which means ‘many’ and ‘of different types’, is a collaborative exhibition by five multi-disciplinary artists who met at the University of Central Lancashire – Matthew Birchall, Tao Lashley-Burnley, Magda Stawarska-Beavan, Dan Wilkinson and Tracy Hill – who are interested in exploring the human relationship with place through their art.

Matthew Birchall and Tao Lashley-Burnley specialise in projection mapping and have installed a 24-hour projection which appears around the building becoming more obvious as the sun goes down: it will even be visible to passers-by after dark with the intention of drawing them in to have a look.

Manchester-born Tao explained how the pair captured images of buildings and spaces from around Warrington to be displayed on the walls in Pyramid.

Matt, who’s based in Preston, said: “We’ve been experimenting with projection mapping for a while but Pyramid is a completely different space: it’s a real test of the technology because there’s so much light here, we’re more used to projections which work at night.”

Dan Wilkinson, also from Preston, has created an interactive installation of sonic sculptures which visitors are encouraged to move around and explore; a series of domes which emit sound, producing different pitches and acoustics depending on where a person’s body is positioned.

He said: “It’s about breaking down that invisible barrier which you have at most galleries which prevents you from touching and says how you must behave.

“With my installation you are an active part of the exhibition, you are the focal point.”

Magda Stawarska-Beavan, who lives in Chorley, uses recorded sound, played out of two radios, to explore how sound gives us a sense of orientation and embeds itself in our memories of a certain place or location.

And Tracy Hill, who lives in Warrington, uses the location of Pyramid to link the town and wider communities by re-imagining the journeys once taken on foot between them, through descriptive passages from archive literature and public rights of way records.

The artists have been inspired by the unusual workspace Pyramid offers to create experimental installations which test how relationships and experience are intertwined with architecture, and suggest an alternative view of urban living and our interaction with it.

Manifold challenges visitors to become participants by inviting the public to interact with the artwork, which uses sound and vision, on a physical level.

Derek Dick, outreach and engagement manager, said: “Pyramid is an unusual workspace for artists and we wanted to encourage them to experiment with that.

“The public’s involvement will affect the art itself: visitors’ interaction will shape the work and ensure it keeps on evolving so we need people to approach these unique installations with a curiosity about how they work.

“In this way, we hope it will encourage people to come back more than once as the exhibition will gradually change over the three months.

“We really hope Manifold will allow the public to look at and explore Pyramid’s space, and Warrington itself, in a fresh way.”

The Manifold artists will be hosting the next bi-monthly Arts Hub, a networking event for amateur and professional artists, at Pyramid on Wednesday 6 July from 7-9pm, where they will share their thoughts on the exhibition.

Art student “yarn bombs” Queens Gardens

Warrington’s Queens Gardens was transformed into a woolly wonderland today as part of an art student’s final year project

YarnBombing1-lowWarrington Collegiate student Laura McFadden, who is in her final year of a foundation art course, has spent every spare minute in recent weeks knitting pieces to cover tree trunks, benches and grass in an activity known as “yarn bombing”.

The colourful makeover, carried out with permission from Warrington Borough Council and help from Culture Warrington’s outreach development officer James Goodison, included stuffed toys reclining on the benches, jellyfish and pears dangling from the trees and pom-pom flowers adorning the grass.

29-year-old Laura, who has two young children and holds down a job as well as studying full time, admitted the project had been hard work but very worthwhile.

Speaking on the day she said: “I was doing a lot of theory for my finals at the time and felt the need to do something more enjoyable as well.

“I saw a quote by Pablo Picasso saying ‘every child is an artist, the problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up’ and it made me realise I just wanted to have fun.
“I was also really interested in guerrilla art and thought yarn bombing would be great: hopefully it will make people happy.”

This was the first time Laura has been involved in a project like this and she said she would be delighted to make it a regular event in the future.

“This is just a pop-up, one day event but I’d love to do it again as more of a community event, whether that’s with community groups or children.

“It’d be great for people to learn how to do it and get involved in decorating their surroundings.

“Knitting and crotchet is a really relaxing thing to do, it really chills you out so it’s been fun, even if I have had to do it on the bus sometimes just to make sure everything was finished on time.

“It’s been great to see it all take shape today and I hope people will enjoy seeing it and interacting with the garden in a new way.”

Derek Dick, outreach and engagement manager, said: “It’s been really nice to see Queens Gardens, already a lovely spot in the town, being brightened up by Laura’s yarn bombing.

“As well as being a great idea for her final year project, I hope it encourages the public to appreciate and engage with the green space in a new way.”


Culture Warrington and LiveWire launch volunteer drive

PyramidWebCulture Warrington and LiveWire are holding an event next month to recruit new volunteers to be part of some of the town’s biggest events and health and wellbeing activities.

The two companies have recently revamped their existing volunteer schemes, and have identified lots of new opportunities for people to get involved with leisure, library, health and cultural activities in the town.

The event, which is being held on Saturday 4 June between 10am-2pm at Pyramid arts centre, will give budding volunteers the chance to find out more about the specific volunteer roles on offer.

Culture Warrington is giving those interested in arts, entertainment or heritage the opportunity to work across a variety of departments including; sales and marketing, events, heritage, outreach, research or cataloguing.

Meanwhile, LiveWire is offering volunteers the chance to get involved with sports engagement, community wellbeing and library activities.

Sharon Sinnott, HR officer at LiveWire and Culture Warrington, said: “Volunteering at LiveWire or Culture Warrington will not only give local people the chance to get involved with some of the biggest events in Warrington, it will also provide the opportunity to gain new skills which will be a welcome boost to CVs.”

Over the last year, both LiveWire and Culture Warrington have supported more than 170 volunteers to take part in many different events including Warrington Festival, Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival, the LiveWire Mile and the Summer Reading Challenge.

Some of the volunteers who have worked with Culture Warrington and LiveWire in the past have even gone on to secure permanent employment with the companies.

Carenza Foxall from Longford started volunteering with the LiveWire leisure team four years ago and due to the commitment, initiative and ability she showed during her time as a volunteer, she has now been employed by LiveWire as a lifeguard.

Hannah White began volunteering at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery after university. Her volunteering role, which gave her experience working with a huge range of collections, has supported her to secure positions at museums across the North West and she’s now back at Warrington Museum undertaking the permanent role of Collections Assistant.

Hannah, said: “Upon leaving university, I had decided to pursue a career working in museums, but due to the competitive nature of this industry I knew that I needed to acquire the transferable skills required to gain my first job, and volunteering with Culture Warrington enabled me to do this.”

The new volunteer offer is being launched during Volunteers’ Week – a national celebration of the contribution that millions of volunteers across the country make every year.

LiveWire and Culture Warrington to launch new offer from Bank Park

bank park pavilion WebLeisure and cultural organisations, LiveWire and Culture Warrington are moving into the town centre next month to take over the management of Bank Park and its new pavilion.

The companies have been asked to manage the facilities on behalf of Warrington Borough Council who invested £1.3 million last year to upgrade the existing pavilion building and provide two all-weather bowling greens.

LiveWire will run a weekly programme of activity from the park which will begin on Tuesday 31 May and run throughout the summer until Sunday 2 October 2016, with more activities on offer during the summer holidays.

The programme will provide a mixture of children’s activities as well as some adult-only and family events.

Culture Warrington will run cultural and heritage events from the pavilion including a monthly craft activity on the first Saturday of every month.

The wider park will also be used to host a number of events during Warrington Festival later this year including the headline weekend from 16-18 September.

A café will also be run from the pavilion which will be open during events and activities.

Emma Hutchinson, managing director of LiveWire and Culture Warrington, said:
“We’re really excited to be taking on the management of Bank Park and its pavilion. The facilities are in a fantastic location and provide great opportunities for us to host many more events from the heart of the town.”

Cllr Tony Higgins, Warrington Borough Council executive board member for culture, leisure and community, said: “Our £1.3 million investment in Bank Park was part of a programme to regenerate our green spaces and bring people back to the town centre. We are very proud of the work the council has put in to make this an attractive and useful space and hope that Warrington people of all ages will enjoy the park for many years to come.”Bank Park Pavilion playground

Chance to travel the world without leaving Warrington

North America case
The four corners of the world can be explored from the comfort of Warrington Museum & Art Gallery this summer thanks to a new exhibition.

Around the World, which is now open to the public until Saturday 10 September, is a colourful display showcasing a wide range of artefacts, taxidermy and paintings from the museum’s collections.

There are also specially-produced cartoons telling the story of a fictitious Victorian explorer Stanley Herringbone who travels the globe, sharing his adventures and discoveries along the way.

The free exhibition, loosely inspired by Jules Verne’s classic novel Around the World in Eighty Days, is produced by Culture Warrington’s outreach and engagement team, including Roger Jeffery, Hannah White and Mike Roberts.

Roger, exhibition and interpretation officer, said: “We decided to make an exhibition showcasing the museum’s collections, with a narrative thread running through the show.

“Our Victorian character, inspired by famous explorers, decides to travel to all seven continents of the world; unlike in Vern’s novel there is no time limit or bet, he simply wants to explore.

“But Stanley’s a bit of a buffoon and not everything is quite as he expects.”

The exhibition also tells the story of some of the real Victorian explorers including the great David Livingstone and Richard Burton.

They were among the first to hack through the jungle and squelch through swamps into unknown terrain while Victorian society was voraciously reading accounts of their expeditions in the newspapers.

Derek Dick, outreach and engagement manager, said: “Visitors can learn more about these adventures through Stanley, who was so captivated by stories of shrunken heads and cannibal tribes he packed his bags, determined to discover the truth of these tales for himself.

“Armed with a map, a compass, an assortment of scientific instruments and a rather impressive moustache he set forth around the world to seek out the weird and the wonderful.

“This is an engaging and imaginative exhibition which we hope will fascinate and entertain the whole family with items depicting expeditions to far-flung corners of the world like Antarctica and South America.”

Antarctica case

1966 World Cup memorabilia in Warrington to mark 50th anniversary

A fascinating collection of 1966 World Cup memorabilia is going on display at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery

Old Trafford posterKeen collector Neil Perkins has kindly given the venue permission to showcase dozens of items he has gathered over the years to mark the 50th anniversary of the historic match in the display, They Think it’s All Over, which goes on show in May.

The Warrington 53-year-old, who watched England beat Germany with his dad when he was four, has a varied hoard including autographs, rare tickets to World Cup Willie souvenirs, original posters and a Wembley tournament flag.

Neil began collecting these rare and unusual items in about 2001 when he discovered eBay, having previously picked up a few items in collectors’ fairs and vintage shops.

Visitors to Warrington Museum & Art Gallery will also be able to view an evocative photo album containing images of the 1966 Brazilian team’s stay at Lymm Hotel, largely taken by Roger Allen the very proud hotel manager at the time.

Earlier this year Lymm Heritage Centre group hosted a four-day display, which attracted national media interest, about the South American players’ visit and have kindly shared their resources and information for the display.

Ice bucketNeil, a Leeds United fan, admitted he could not quite remember the match itself but watched it with his dad while on holiday in Torquay – the TV in the hotel lounge broke just as Germany equalised.

He said: “Although we had some luck, a home advantage and a couple of decisions in our favour, the team was a very well-organised and strong unit with several world class players and a determined manager.

“I’m really happy to see my collection on display at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery.”

Michelle Hill, collections and archives manager at Culture Warrington, said: “This is a really fascinating collection which we’re delighted to be showcasing at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery.

“2016 is a big year in the world of football, with the 50th anniversary of that wonderful 1966 World Cup victory and the Euro 2016 tournament coming up, and it’s great we can celebrate a connection to that here in Warrington.”

Listings information:
Exhibition title: They Think it’s all Over
Dates: 14 May – 1 October 2016
Admission: Free
Warrington Museum & Art Gallery, Museum Street, Warrington, WA1 1JB

Museums at Night: Rotten Luck

Join us on Friday 13 May 2016 for a special free event and watch Warrington Museum come to life.

Culture Warrington and Blackwood Events present Rotten Luck – a spooky journey of corruption, torture and torment set in a dark and mysterious period in Warrington’s past.

There are three performances times to choose from, and a limited number of free tickets are available via Pyramid & Parr Hall box office.

Performance times:

  • 5:45 – 6:30pm
  • 6:30 – 7:15pm
  • 7:15 – 8pm

The ticket grants you access to the Rotten Luck performance as well as a haunting short film scored live by experimental electronica musicians.

This special scary event is part of Culture24’s Museums at Night programme.

Guests under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. The recommended age for this event is 12+

Purchase tickets online

Museums at Night is a biannual UK-wide festival co-ordinated by Culture24.



Oldest touring photo exhibition makes bold statement in Warrington


Image: © Lise Ulrich. Queen of the Deep Blue Sea

Striking and evocative images by international photographers are giving visitors an insight to life in the far-flung corners of the world.

The collection, on display at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery now until April 30, depicts all walks of life: from intimate portraits of skin-heads to beauty queens via an Inuit and members of an Indonesian tribe, as well as stunning shots of the natural and manmade worlds in China, Slovenia and New York to name a few.

This touring exhibition, which has already called at the Royal Albert Hall in London, is The Royal Photographic Society’s 158th International Print Exhibition: it is the world’s oldest and longest-running exhibition of its kind, having been held almost every year since the society was founded in 1853.

The competition this year received nearly 5,000 entries from students, amateurs and professionals in 56 countries worldwide and the winning images reflect the diversity of those submitted.

Gold was given to Jan Klos from Poland who entered a bold image from his Photographic Guide to the Pubs of East London collection which captures a ‘family portrait’ of staff at the gay-friendly Nelson’s Head in Shoreditch.

The under 30s gold prize went to the UK’s David Severn for his portrait of Miss Mansfield 2013-2014 which he captured as part of his exploration of former coalfield areas.

Silver was awarded to Frank Machalowski from Germany for his striking black and white photograph of a rhino in German woodland which challenges the viewer to question what they see.

Lithuanian photographer Tadao Cern’s image of two elderly ladies sunbathing on a beach, entitled Comfort Zone 1, was awarded bronze. It formed part of his exploration of how people’s surroundings affect their behaviour.

Derek Dick, outreach and engagement manager at Culture Warrington, said: “It is great to be included in The Royal Photographic Society’s tour and the exhibition really adds to the displays we are already showcasing here; some amazing photography.

“The striking and evocative images give an insight into the issues which are inspiring photographers around the world today.”


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Header image: © Lise Ulrich. Queen of the Deep Blue Sea (detail)

Hot Bed Press coming to Warrington Museum & Art Gallery

Hot Bed Press will be setting up a print workshop in Warrington Museum & Art Gallery complete with an etching press, inking plates, rollers and inks during Easter.

This special Easter School is run to coincide with the 158th Royal Society of Photographers exhibition and presents a unique slant on the art of the photograph. Each workshop is a short taster to the possibilities of marrying photography with printmaking. You will come away with a handful of prints and a thirst for more.

Tutor: Jeni Nuttall
Saturday 2 April 2016, 10am-1pm Learn the art of monoprinting straight from photographs to create unique prints which have a photographic quality and vibrancy created by building up layers of colour. This quick and simple method of printing can even be done in your own home and is often used by illustrators to give character to images.

Photographic Gum Arabic Printing
Tutor: Jeni Nuttall
Wednesday 6 April 2016, 10am-1pm Take a straightforward black and white photocopy and transform it into a printing plate through a saturation of gum arabic solution. The photocopy can be inked-up with a roller just like a photo-litho. The resulting print has a grainy and earthy quality. You can overprint and other colour on top and play around with the image-making. More fun with a photocopy than you ever thought possible.

Tutor: Lois Gilbert
Saturday 9 April 2016, 10am – 1pm Print like Robert Rauschenberg and Edouardo Paolozzi. You will be shown how to screen flat colour as a base using simple paper stencils and then overprint photo-screen images on top. Juxtapose image next to image to create the Rauschenberg look. Layering up makes the final print look complex and full of intrigue.

Photopolymer Printing
Tutor: Martin Kochany
Wednesday 13 April 2016, 10am-1pm Using specially coated thin steel plates and a portable light box you will be shown how to create beautiful prints with the look of a photogravure full of depth and tone. The art of inking and wiping a plate and printing them through an etching plate onto damped paper is a skill in itself. You will get the bug and want to do more.

Photo-Book Arts

Tutor: Elizabeth Willow
Saturday 16 April 2016, 10am-1pm Turn your photographs into a work of art. Special folding and stitching can help turn either your own or found photographs into a unique memento. No ordinary photo album, this is photography in book arts form. These skills and techniques can be taken on after the course to bring new life into old photographs and set a whole new narrative.

Cost per workshop: £30.00, or £110 for all 5 workshops. Places strictly limited to 8 people per workshop. Booking directly through Hot Bed Press. Contact 0161 743 3111 or e-mail

Part of LitFest 2016

BBC Big Band brings the sound of the big divas to Warrington

Sunday 13 March 2016, 7.30pm, £24
Parr Hall, Palmyra Square South, Warrington, WA1 1BL
Tickets and information 01925 442345
Claire Martin  1

Warrington’s Parr Hall will be filled with the sounds of the greatest leading ladies in big band history as the acclaimed BBC Big Band arrives on Sunday 13 March.

Joined by multi-award winning jazz vocalist, Claire Martin OBE, this renowned band will perform the classic hits of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Peggy Lee and many others. This evening of feel-good music and glamour will see audiences dance the night away to grandiose renditions of That Old Black Magic, Fever, Too Darn Hot, and many more.

BBC Big Band is widely regarded as one of the best jazz orchestras in the country, having been a regular feature on BBC radio for nearly half-a-decade. In that time they have performed with some of the greatest jazz artists in history, such as Tony Bennett, Michael Bublé, Ray Charles, and Amy Winehouse.

BBC - main group WebJoining them on the stage of Parr Hall is the legendary singer Claire Martin OBE, who is considered one of the finest jazz vocalists on the planet. Having won awards at the British Jazz Awards seven times, audiences will be guaranteed a night of unforgettable music. In 2011, she was rewarded for services to jazz when she was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.

Don’t miss out on this fantastic night out with some of the greatest jazz artists in the country.
Buy tickets online from Pyramid & Parr Hall

Royal Photographic Society exhibits in Warrington

A new exhibition which showcases the work of members of The Royal Photographic Society (RPS) opened at Warrington’s Pyramid arts centre this weekend.

This exhibition is the first for the North West region of the society and aims to showcase the talent of local photographers. The RPS is a membership organisation founded in 1853. It has approximately 11,000 members, more than 700 of which are based in the region.
RPS judges have carefully selected 50 photographs to appear in the exhibition including still life, landscape and portrait images. They awarded gold, silver and bronze medals to the top three photographs and announced the winners at the exhibition’s launch on Saturday (13 February).

Jon Allanson, from Cheadle won gold prize for his image, Old Boats in Mist. Jon is a very active member of the RPS North West and is also a member of the Lancashire and Cheshire Photographic Union.

The silver prize went to Anthony Black from Rossendale for his image, Multicultural Tube. The semi-retired Deputy Head Teacher said winning the silver medal has given him encouragement to feel that he is making progress with his photography.

BrianSmethurstARPSWigan photographer, Brian Smethurst took home the bronze prize for his image, Monk at Angkor Wat. He says he photographs just about anything which captures his imagination, but particularly enjoys travel photography.

The judging panel consisted of well-respected photographer Ian Cartwright, a who runs his own company, Dr Ron M Callender who is a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and Nina Agnew from the North West region of the Royal Photographic Society who has also helped organise the exhibition with the support of Dr Afzal Ansary who is also a fellow from the Royal Photographic Society.

Judge Nina Agnew, said: “The standard of the entries was particularly high and we found it tough to make the final selection. We would like to thank all the people that entered and Culture Warrington for their support with the exhibition.”

To coincide with the RPS exhibition, the Hot Bed Press is running a Photographic Printmaking Easter School during the Easter holidays, complete with an etching press, inking plates, rollers and inks. Each workshop is a short taster to the possibilities of marrying photography with printmaking.

Derek Dick, Outreach and Engagement Manager at Culture Warrington, said: “The exhibition highlights the breadth of photographic talent across the region and it is hoped that it will also encourage others to get involved.”

The Royal Photographic Society North West Print Exhibition runs at Pyramid’s Gallery and Atrium space until 30 April 2016.

Viola Beach

Warrington band Viola Beach – Jack Dakin, Kris Leonard, Tomas Lowe, River Reeves and their manager Craig Tarry – tragically passed away on Saturday 13th of February following a road accident in Stockholm, Sweden.VB-Web-300x211

They were a truly great team of young men and about to the take on the world together. The four piece recently put out their second single ‘Boys That Sing’ on the 22nd of January on Communion Records.

All proceeds made from the single will be donated from Communion Records to the band and Craig’s families.

Here is some footage recorded of the band at a recent concert at London venue Koko. An amazing group:

A statement on behalf of Culture Warrington in response to the tragic news about Viola Beach:

“We are deeply saddened and shocked to hear the news about the passing of Warrington’s Viola Beach and their manager in a tragic road accident in Sweden.

“Our thoughts and condolences go out to the families and friends of the members of the band at this very sad time.”

Communion Records: Viola Beach had only recently come into the Communion family, and had everything going for them – great songs, passion, talent, drive… everything that a band should have. To sit down with the band was to sit down with a group of guys whose band you wanted to be in, and to be in the presence of a band who knew just what it would take to make it. This is why the band had been in Sweden, rather than sit back and wait for it to happen to them, Kris, River, Jack and Tom were determined to go out into the world and play every show they could until the world was singing along with them, and now that dream has been sadly taken away from all of us. Equally, Craig, their manager was possessed by a passion to help the band achieve everything they wanted to, and to speak with Craig about Viola Beach, and music in general was an absolute pleasure – you knew he was doing it all for the right reasons. Everyone here at Communion is in a state of total shock and sorrow, and our thoughts go out to the families and friends of Craig and the band.
viola beach web
Mark Bennett, United Talent agency: ‘From your first gig to your last and many in between I was so lucky to be there and I will be forever grateful for you lightning up my life with your infectious, beautiful and joyful behaviour. Craig Tarry could be seen at every gig, head bobbing and just simply and purely loving the music. I must of called him more than anyone in the last 6 months, even Thursday we must of spoke 8/9 times. You started as a colleague and you ended as a good mate. I will miss you dearly’.

Ian Grimble, Producer: ‘I first became aware of Viola Beach through their single “Swings & Waterslides” and was very taken by the energy and vibrancy that jumped out of the speakers.

Upon meeting them for the first time, along with Craig their manager, I could soon see why, their exuberance and determination to scream out to the world was overwhelming. This combined with undoubted talent and an incredible work ethic for ones so young made every long hour in the studio from then on very rewarding indeed.

It is with great sadness that we will not be able to see them grow from the spark that they are now, into the raging fire that they so desperately desired to become.

They were a young band who wrote about what they knew, a legacy for new young bands I hope.

“And she told me that she loves a boy who knows how to sing, so I learned how to sing”

And how they sang.

My thoughts are with their friends and family right now’.

Rich Perry, Radio Plugger: ‘This is the saddest news. Purely from a people perspective, we’ve lost 5 great humans.

From a professional perspective, rarely have I’m been as sure of a band & manager who felt destined for the big time.

Craig, Kris, Riv, Jack & Tom you were my friends. It’s an honour to have spent time with you doing what we all love. RIP’

Conrad Murray – SJM: ‘We are devastated by the tragic loss of the lives of Craig, Jack, Kris, Tom & River. They were a truly talented bunch of young men on the cusp of something very special and it was always a pleasure and a genuine thrill to be in their presence’.

Jack – SJM: ‘We have lost an incredible group of talented young men. Individually brilliant, together even better. Humbled to have shared time with them and I know how proud the town of Warrington has been to produce such shining stars’.

New Managing Director set to shape Warrington’s leisure and culture

The new Managing Director of LiveWire and Culture Warrington has Emma Hutchinson Photo 1spoken about her plans to shape the leisure and cultural offer in Warrington.

36-year-old Emma Hutchinson took up the post this week following the retirement of Jan Souness, who led the companies from their formation in 2012.

She said: “I am very excited and immensely proud to be taking on this role which will lead both companies through their new business plans.

“LiveWire and Culture Warrington have made a huge difference to the people of Warrington over the last four years and have put the town on the map in terms of its leisure and cultural offerings.

“I look forward to building on the great work carried out by Jan Souness and embracing exciting new opportunities that lie ahead.”

Emma brings with her a wealth of experience in the two sectors and both companies. She held the post of Cultural Director at Culture Warrington during most of 2015 and has also played an integral part in the development of the two companies.

The Business Studies graduate joined the Senior Management Team as Business Development Director in May 2012 when the organisations were formed following the transfer of the services from Warrington Borough Council.

She has contributed fully to the high level of success experienced across both companies over the years by leading, planning and managing all business development activities.

She added: “This is an exciting time for both LiveWire and Culture Warrington with a range of different projects in the pipeline which will expand our delivery across the town.

“LiveWire has plans to develop a number of neighbourhood hubs in different areas. They will provide an integrated offer of leisure, library and lifestyle services all under one roof, a model which we’ve seen has already proved to be very successful in Orford and Woolston.

“Culture Warrington has ambitious plans to create a Heritage Hub in the existing Warrington Central Library building when the lending library expands its offer into the heart of the town centre later this year. Not only will the Heritage Hub provide more opportunities for residents to explore the history of the town, it will also act as a base for outreach activities that we plan to deliver in local communities as well as linking to LiveWire hubs in individual neighbourhoods.”

Emma will continue to work closely with retired managing director Jan Souness, who has taken on the part-time position of Transformation Projects Strategic Advisor to provide strategic support on key projects two days a week.

Culture Warrington Membership Scheme Consultation Questionnaire

Culture Warrington Membership Scheme Consultation Questionnaire

CW logo

Do you have a passion for heritage, the arts or entertainment in Warrington?

If so why not become a regular supporter of Culture Warrington by joining our proposed new membership scheme or becoming a volunteer. We’ll have more details of both schemes early in 2016 but for now we’d like your views on the membership offer.

Click here to complete the questionnaire

Please take just a minute to complete our very short 3 question survey as part of a consultation process for a Culture Warrington Membership Scheme.

Thank you for your feedback.

Warrington Museum gears up for Museum Selfie Day

IMG_0533Warrington Museum & Art Gallery are inviting visitors to take selfies in front of their favourite collections on Wednesday 20 January 2016 as museums and galleries across the world take part in the international Museum Selfie Day.

The Internet event, which is now in its third year, invites visitors, curators, and museum staff to snap a photo of themselves in front of their favourite exhibition and share it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Visitors at Warrington Museum can take a snap in front of the Shadow Catchers exhibition which explores Warrington’s past through the lenses of local photographers. They can also use other exhibitions in residence including Goodbye Mr Smiths, Made in Warrington: Steel, Stitch and Soap or Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as a backdrop to capture a selfie.

Last year’s event proved to be popular with major galleries all over the world taking to social media to share their best selfies including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Natural History Museum in London.

Derek Dick, Outreach and Engagement Manager at Culture Warrington, said:
“Museum Selfie Day is a fantastic opportunity for visitors to come and see our new exciting exhibitions and also take a snap of themselves in front of some of the museum’s best-loved collections – everyone has their favourite.”

You can share your image on 20 January using the hashtag #MuseumSelfie

Warrington young carers tell of hidden lives

IMG_0460Four young carers from Warrington are part of a nationwide, ground-breaking portrait exhibition called Hidden showing at Pyramid arts centre throughout January.

Hidden captures, for the first time, the hidden lives and hardships – as well as hopes and resilience – faced by hundreds of thousands of young carers as young as seven, up and down the country.

Culture Warrington is helping to bring the exhibition– part of the Young Carers in Focus project led by The Children’s Society – to the town to raise awareness about the issue locally.

The most recent census data shows that there are around 1,200 young carers in Cheshire, but this figure is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg as countless more remain hidden from view.

A young carer is any child under 18 who provides regular care or emotional support to a family member who is physically or mentally ill, disabled or misuses substances.

Warrington resident and young carer Emily Harris, 16, said: “I’m excited about having my portrait in my home town as other young carers can see what they can do with their caring role.”

The Children’s Society – alongside Rethink Mental Illness, The Fatherhood Institute, DigitalMe and the YMCA – has brought together 24 young carers from across the country for the photo exhibition. DJ and presenter Jo Whiley, a former young carer, is one of three celebrities who have had their portrait taken.IMG_0470

Max Alexander, award-winning photographer and former young carer who photographed the exhibition, revealed: “I wanted to show the contribution young carers make to society. I wanted to show them as determined and resolute individuals, but vulnerable too. Their hidden stories then reveal themselves in their words.”

The Care Act and Children and Families Act both came into effect in April 2015, heralding the biggest overhaul of social care in 60 years. But The Children’s Society is urging local authorities to make sure they have enough resources to offer support for families where an adult or child has a physical disability, mental health issue or substance misuse problem.

Jan Souness, Managing Director of Culture Warrington, said: “Culture Warrington is proud to be showcasing this exhibition at Warrington’s Pyramid, in partnership with The Children’s Society. It is important that we provide a platform in Warrington to showcase the lives of these incredible young people.”

IMG_0462The Children’s Society Chief Executive Matthew Reed wants the exhibition to wake visitors up to the reality of life for the country’s young carers. He said: “Hidden raises awareness about the lives of young carers and their families across Cheshire and the rest of England. The Children’s Society is working to make sure that their stories are no longer hidden from view and they receive the support they need to enjoy their childhoods and fulfil their potential.”

Chair Peter Ainsworth, Chair of the Big Lottery which funded the exhibition, says: “The Children’s Society shows the huge challenges that young carers face and the significant personal cost of their caring responsibilities. We are incredibly proud to be supporting the Young Carers in Focus partnership and the amazing Hidden exhibition which brings these issues to light, gives young carers a voice, and ensure they have the support they need.’

The exhibition is on at Pyramid until 29 January.

Magical lantern parade lights up Warrington

Lantern1WEBWarrington was aglow with hundreds of lights for the town’s annual Lantern Parade yesterday (Thursday 10 December).

People of all ages, from right across the town, snaked through the streets each carrying a lovingly-crafted lantern. The theme of this year’s parade was Dick Whittington to coincide with Parr Hall’s festive pantomime.

As part of this year’s event The Liverpool Lantern Company wowed participants and spectators with magnificent larger-than-life animal lanterns.

The parade set off from Queens Gardens at 6:45pm and embarked on a magical softly-lit winter tour of the town centre concluding at Golden Square’s Christmas Village where there was a selection of Christmas stalls.

The stalls were brimming with festive activities for the whole family including, Christmas Carol singers, food and warm drinks.

The event, which was funded by Warrington Borough Council and provided by Culture Warrington, is part of a multitude of Christmas events across Warrington this year.

lantern2WEBWarrington Golden Square shopping centre director, Ian Cox, said: “It was a really special occasion with all those lanterns weaving through the town centre into Golden Square and finishing in the Christmas Village, where we had performers to entertain the crowds with some seasonal cheer.

A lot of people took the opportunity to do a bit of Christmas shopping which all made for a really lovely festive atmosphere.”

Cllr Kate Hannon, executive board member for leisure, community and culture, said: “Investing in our Christmas events programme gives us opportunities to support the council’s wider objectives and compliment other events that are taking place.

Not only do we want to provide events for all to enjoy, but we want to attract more residents and visitors into the town to boost the local economy and see what else we have to offer.”

Sponsors required to help enhance Warrington’s cultural offer

WarrFestivalweb1Culture Warrington is presenting a unique opportunity for businesses to help make a difference to the diverse cultural offer in Warrington.

Culture Warrington is now offering a range of sponsorship packages that offer local businesses a variety of branding opportunities across a huge selection of projects.

Experiencing the arts and culture can improve wellbeing and transform the quality of life for individuals and communities and sponsors are invited to play a role in enhancing Warrington’s cultural offer.

From supporting a young up-and-coming artist through to ensuring the elderly can take part in local arts activities, there are a wide range of customisable opportunities to suit any budget.

WarrFestWEB2Sponsors can support the creation of a unique piece of work which tells the story of Warrington and enables people to understand the rich heritage of the town and the businesses within it.

They could also help bring art to Warrington’s communities, enabling the production of touring offers that target specific areas and create greater accessibility to the arts.

There is also the option for businesses to promote alongside Culture Warrington’s Christmas programme including the annual Pantomime at Parr Hall, which more than 4000 people attend every year.

To find out more about the multiple sponsorship opportunities on offer please call 01925 442884.

Warrington’s new exhibition of historic photographs brings the town’s past to life

shadow catchers web 2Warrington Museum & Arts Gallery officially launched their new exhibition last night (2 December) which explores Warrington and its residents through the lenses of local photographers.

The Shadow Catchers exhibition reflects Warrington’s changing townscape through pictures that are documented in the Museum’s historic collections dating back to the infancy of this art form in the 1850s. It steps back to the days before the selfie when our ancestors visited a photographer’s studio.

Photographers have sometimes been called Shadow Catchers because of a superstition that taking a person’s image also captures their soul.

From the early days of photography in the 1850s, Warrington’s amateur and professional photographers have captured the story of the town and its inhabitants.

From the faded sepia prints of the time to the crisp digital images of the present day, the images on display guide visitors around Warrington’s vanished heritage and allow them to come face-to-face with their ancestors.

shadow catchers web 1The collection on display will be accompanied by a newly published book by Janice Hayes, titled Warrington’s Photographers, and a programme of gallery events with an opportunity for visitors to capture images for the Museum’s family album.

Janice Hayes, Collections Heritage and Archives Manager at Culture Warrington and author of Warrington’s Photographers, said: “Too often history seems to be about great people and not those considered as ordinary or every day. This exhibition represents the story of Warrington and its residents. It allows those looking at the images to step back in time and look around the town and it also encourages them to begin to imagine the back stories of those captured in the images. I believe everybody can see something in the pictures on display that connects them with their own past and that is what makes this exhibition one to come and view for yourself.”

Crowds flock to Warrington town centre to witness laser light show

Laser Show 2015 2WEBThe relentless wind and rain over the weekend didn’t deter thousands of people making their way to Warrington town centre to witness this year’s intergalactic themed laser show.

The Lights in the Sky Laser performance attracted more than 3,000 spectators spanning generations.

Laser light patterns illuminated the skyline above Warrington’s Guardians, reflecting within the water fountain below, and were set to a soundtrack of battling intergalactic spaceships and the eerie unexplainable sounds of space.

This year’s stunning light display was funded by Warrington Borough Council, delivered by Culture Warrington and was part of Warrington Market’s sci-fi Christmas- a traditional Christmas Market with an intergalactic twist.

There are a multitude of Christmas events across Warrington being provided by the council and Culture Warrington this festive season. Stand-out events include the Lantern Parade, Warrington Christmas Markets and Parr Hall’s pantomime Dick Whittington.

Laser Show 2015 1 WEBCllr Kate Hannon, executive board member for leisure, community and culture, said: “Events for the Christmas programme have been carefully selected to provide opportunities to support the council’s wider objectives and compliment other events that are taking place. Our aim is to provide exciting and enjoyable events that attract more residents and visitors to the town which will boost the local economy. The challenge is to have the maximum impact with limited resources and we hope we are achieving this with our festive events.”

Take part in the decoration of Pyramid’s Christmas tree

BaubleArt enthusiasts of all ages are invited to a bauble decorating workshop at Pyramid this December to help dress the art centre’s eight foot Christmas tree.

This workshop, which is run by Blooming Art in partnership with Culture Warrington, will take place on Saturday 5 December from 10:30am until 1:30pm and is part of the BBC’s Get Creative – a year-long celebration of British arts, culture and creativity.

Gail Stubbings, founder of Blooming Art Classes Warrington, will lead the workshop in which local residents are welcome to drop in to Pyramid where they will be given the tools and opportunity to express themselves through the decoration of Christmas baubles.

Get Creative aims to boost creativity in the UK, as well as celebrating the millions of people already doing something artistic and creative every day. Culture Warrington is joining hundreds of organisations nationwide to become a Get Creative Champion.

Derek Dick, Exhibitions and Services Manager at Culture Warrington, said: ‘It’s fantastic that we are able champion a national campaign that celebrates arts, culture and creativity. With the range of activities on offer at Culture Warrington venues I can confidently say there is something to take part in creatively for all the family.”

Gail Stubbings, owner of Blooming Art Classes Warrington, said: “I am extremely excited to be working in partnership with Culture Warrington to offer a drop-in art workshop for the community. I would encourage everyone to drop in and get creative this summer by putting their artistic skills to the test.”

Campaign for Warrington Heritage Hub is launched as library offer is set to expand into town centre

Warrington Museum medium 01 026LiveWire and Culture Warrington are working together to expand their offers of library and heritage services in Warrington as they campaign for a £4-5 million Heritage Hub to be built in the existing Warrington Central Library building.

The sister organisations today revealed their plans to bring a Heritage Hub to Warrington by 2019 as Central Library looks to increase participation and its offer by expanding the lending library from the Grade II listed building it currently shares with Warrington Museum & Art Gallery on Museum Street, into the heart of the town centre next year.

Jan Souness, managing director of LiveWire and Culture Warrington, said, “LiveWire and Culture Warrington both share the same aim of improving the wellbeing of residents in Warrington and we believe that through expanding our library offer and providing more opportunities for people to explore their heritage and culture, we will be able to offer a greater number of activities that improve wellbeing.

“Expanding our library into a central town centre location will allow LiveWire to bring its library offer into the 21st century, providing a modern, exciting and interactive environment for users so they can use the library space differently and for longer.”

A new library venue will also allow the organisation to provide a larger digital offer to reflect the digital age and remain relevant in the future. The new building will be easier for users to access as it is closer to transport links and would be able to offer have longer opening hours.

Plans for a Heritage Hub would add to the existing offer already provided by Culture Warrington, giving residents more opportunities to access their heritage and the history of the town. It will also serve as a base for outreach activities that the organisation plans to deliver in local communities as well as linking to LiveWire hubs across the town.

New gallery space would also be developed in the hub and learning spaces would be created which could be used by local schools to teach young people about Warrington’s rich history.

Janice Hayes, collections heritage and archives manager at Culture Warrington, said, “A major part of Culture Warrington’s 2016-2020 Business Plan is to take culture and heritage out into different communities in order to improve the wellbeing of residents in the town and create pride in the town’s rich heritage.

“A Heritage Hub would not only provide opportunities for Warrington residents to access their heritage and history in the town centre but provide space for local groups who want to help add to the town’s heritage records.”

Culture Warrington, with its proven track record of securing funding, will apply to the Heritage Lottery Fund and other grant making organisations next year to fund the £4-5 million project and if their application successful, work will begin to create the Heritage Hub in early 2018.

Cllr Kate Hannon, executive member of leisure, community and culture at Warrington Borough Council, supported the plans, “These planned new developments will be a major boost for the town and will further help us meet our objective of ensuring Warrington residents lead healthy and happy lifestyles.

“A town centre library with an up-to-date offer will engage with families and young people who can combine their trip to the town centre with an easily accessible visit to a modern library which provides the latest digital technology. Furthermore, a Heritage Hub that acts as a base for activities delivered across different neighbourhoods will help build strong, active and resilient communities.”

Finn Youth make hometown debut at Pyramid in Warrington

riviera nightmare pressWeb
This Saturday Warrington’s Pyramid will see Warrington’s youth theatre group Finn Youth Productions make their hometown debut as part of the Community Showcase, performing a piece entitled ‘Letters from a Riviera Nightmare’, featuring aspeech from their recent hit at Manchester’s Royal Exchange.

Established by Padgate’s Luke Gilfedder in 2011, the Warrington group have achieved a string of high-profile successes in the theatre world including ‘Trash’ on London’s West End, premieres at London’s Lyric Hammersmith & Brockley Jack Theatre and a trio of shows at the Manchester Royal Exchange including ‘That’s Jam’ and this months ‘What Art Means To 2015’. The group have also managed 2 whole theatre seasons at their base Pownall Hall Theatre in Wilmslow, integrating such classics as Billy Liar with innovative productions of plays by authors as wide ranging as George Bernard Shaw, Norman Mailer, Graham Greene and August Strindberg.

Luke G F Youth press soloWebThe prolific output of the group gained plaudits from Ex-National Theatre Director Sir Nicholas Hytner (director of such famous plays as Miss Saigon, The History Boys and One Man, Two Guvnors), who Luke spoke alongside at the 2012 Hugh Oldham Lectures at Manchester Grammar School.

Despite a hectic four years in the business Finn Youth have never yet performed a show in Warrington, and they are delighted that the Community Showcase has provided the opportunity to perform at The Pyramid.
Luke Gilfedder said “One of the only regrets of the Finn Youth group is that in four years we have not brought a show yetLuke G & Danielle R press imageWeb to Warrington – we thank the Pyramid & the Community Showcase for giving us this platform and we are all looking forward greatly to the show!”

‘Letters from a Riviera Nightmare’ will be written by Luke Gilfedder, and performed by Finn Youth members Angus Macalister and Danielle Roseler.

80s legends turn out for Mr Smiths exhibition launch

Stars of 1980s popular dance TV show The Hit Man and Her, which was filmed at Mr Smiths in Warrington, turned out for the official launch of an peter Waterman Mr Smiths Webexhibition celebrating the iconic club on Friday (20 November).

Music mogul and the Hitman himself Pete Waterman, along with well-loved Hit Man and Her dancers Fitz, Bov, Wiggy and Spike, now a member of boyband 911, attended the 80s themed event to celebrate the opening of the Goodbye Mr Smiths exhibition at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery.

The exhibition is a response to the community reaction following the fire and demolition of the infamous building that housed the iconic nightclub. It follows the building’s story from the Art Deco Ritz and ABC cinemas to its heyday as Mr Smiths nightclub and its sudden dramatic destruction in April 2015.

The launch was attended by more than 150 people who shared their memories of the club, which attracted people from all over the North West in the 80s and 90s. They were treated to a special performance from DJ Steven Davidson who played old skool tunes and Mr Smiths favourites to entertain the visitors.

A collection of photographs, objects and memories, including oral history interviews with well-known local characters such as Stan the Man and Hitman and Her dancer, Wiggy, pay a nostalgic tribute to the well-loved local landmark.

Pete Waterman, from The Hit Man and Her, said:
“You forget everything that happened at Mr Smiths until you see it on the wall in the exhibition, I’ve seen pictures of me here that I’ve never seen before. It’s amazing to hear people still talk about Mr Smiths with such affection.”

Michelle Hill, curator of the exhibition, said:
“Thanks to everyone who attended the Goodbye Mr Smiths launch event at the museum. It was a fantastic night with people really getting into the party spirit and feeling nostalgic, judging by the amount of photographs and memories that were added to our memory boards.”

The Mr Smiths Exhibition is on at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery until Saturday 20 February

New Managing Director of LiveWire and Culture Warrington appointed

LiveWire and Culture Warrington have appointed a new joint Managing Director following the announcement of the retirement of current MD, Jan Souness last month.CW logo

Emma Hutchinson has been chosen by the two organisation’s boards to lead and direct the neighbourhood wellbeing and cultural organisations following an internal appointment process.

The 36-year-old, who is currently covering the role of Cultural Director at Culture Warrington, will take up the new post in February 2016 when Jan steps down.

Emma has played an integral part in the development of the two companies, joining the Senior Management Team as Business Development Director in May 2012 when the organisations were formed following the transferring of the services from Warrington Borough Council.

She has contributed fully to the high level of success experienced across both companies over the past three years by leading, planning and managing all business development activities.

The new Managing Director will now lead the teams through their new business plans which have a real focus on providing more opportunities that improve the wellbeing of residents in Warrington. She’ll also work alongside both boards to develop new facilities and provide activities across the town’s neighbourhoods.

Maureen Banner, Chair of Culture Warrington, said: “The Culture Warrington board of directors are delighted to have appointed Emma as our new managing director. We believe that given her previous experience and extensive knowledge of both organisations, she is a great fit for this role.”

Alan Yates, Chair of LiveWire, said: “LiveWire’s board is looking forward to working more closely with Emma. She is a great leader and has already provided a good strategic direction for the implementation of business infrastructure which has achieved growth across both companies.”

A Business Studies graduate from the University of Salford in 2001, Emma has held roles at a number of North West councils; leading teams across sports, education and children’s services.

Before joining LiveWire and Culture Warrington, she held the role of Development and Capacity Lead for five to 19 year-olds at Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council, managing the third sector quality assurance and workforce development planning programme across the borough.

As announced last month, current Managing Director, Jan Souness will still play an active role in both organisations after her retirement, taking on the part-time position of Transformation Projects Strategic Advisor, where she will provide strategic support on key projects.

Emma, added: “I am delighted to have been appointed to this new role and look forward to working alongside both boards and as well as continuing to work closely with Jan Souness in her new projects support role.

The next few years are going to be very exciting for both organisations with a wealth of new projects in the pipeline and I look forward to leading the strong and dynamic teams to deliver these important initiatives”

All That Glitters is Gold for the Dick Whittington Pantomime Launch!

Dick Whittington

Dick Whittington Panto Cast 2016 (Photo Credit Michelle Smith)

Dick Whittington Panto Cast 2016 (Photo Credit Michelle Smith)

Saturday 2 January 2016 – Sunday 10 January 2016
Ticket prices £12.50/ £10.50/ Family Ticket £40

Warrington welcomed the cast of Parr Hall’s pantomime Dick Whittington last week as they followed Dick’s dream and went in search of streets paved with gold- striking lucky at Warrington’s iconic Golden Gates and the town centre light switch on.

Tony Peers Productions returns to Parr Hall this festive season with Dick Whittington, running from Saturday 2 until Sunday 10 January 2016. The rags-to-riches story tells the tale of one man and his cat as they embark on a quest to become Mayor of London, whilst featuring all the traditional pantomime ingredients including; sensational songs, dazzling dance routines, magnificent slapstick comedy and bags of audience participation.

The 2016 pantomime cast includes Double Trouble comedy act Damian Elliott & Tom Rolfe, who will take on the roles of Captain and Mate. This comic duo has comedy mentors of the highest calibre in the form of Damian’s uncles, The Chuckle brothers.

Rebecca Draper takes on the title role of Dick Whittington fresh from filming her part in ITV’s Stand By Your Man and Wirral born Ellie Carroll will star as Alice in this version of the classic tale.

Parr Hall pantomime veteran Phil Beck returns as the Dame and David Kustard brings to life the character of King Rat in his Mother’s home town.

Finally, after appearing in last year’s pantomime, local dancers from the Felicia Burns School of Dance will once again add festive sparkle to the show.

Tickets on sale now – Book online

School & Youth Group Magical Lantern Parade Competition – Win Tickets to Panto!

School & Youth Group Magical Lantern Parade Competition – Win Tickets to Panto!

Shine as part of Warrington’s most popular family event, Warrington Lantern Parade, when it returns on Thursday 10 December.

This year Culture Warrington is encouraging local schools and youth groups to compete in the creation of a large lantern structure.

Lanterns can be made from any material but essentially it should consist of canes and tissue paper so the lantern can be illuminated with specific Lantern Paradelights (provided on the day). Structures that don’t need illuminating are welcome and can be anything Christmas themed. Explore your festive imagination. All designs are welcome.

There are a few restrictions in place. The lantern must be able to be carried, the lantern must not use a naked flame, it can’t have sharp edges and, finally, it must be able to fit comfortably through the automatic doors in the Golden Square (no higher than 6ft and no wider than 3ft).

The winning lantern will receive FREE TICKETS this year’s Parr Hall Pantomime, Dick Whittington in January!

What are you waiting for? To get involved please send the name of your group, the lead contact and the type of lantern you are hoping to create. Then it’s just a matter of building the lantern and bringing it along to the parade. Your lantern will need to be completed by Monday 30 November.

IMG_7971For tips and hints on how to construct your lantern you can speak to the Cultural Engagement Team by emailing

The parade sets off from Queens Gardens at 6:45pm on Thursday 10 December and will embark on a magical softly-lit winter tour of the town centre concluding at Warrington Christmas Markets, located in Old Market Square.

The markets will be brimming with festive activities for the whole family including, Christmas Carol singers, food and warm drinks.

The Lantern Parade is the perfect festive experience for all the family so, make sure you design your magical lantern and join the parade.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Children takeover for the day at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery

Children takeover for the day at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery

Young people will be given the chance to play their part running Warrington Museum & Art Gallery on Friday 20 November, as they take over the building for one-day-only as part of a national event.

Takeover Day 2015 will see students from Latchford St. James Primary School take on crucial tasks to help run the Museum,Museum web including leading guided tours, selecting objects and writing labels for displays and safely packing away important artefacts. Lucky students will also be given the chance to step into the shoes of Museum staff including the Collections Officer, Education Officer and Visitor Services Officer.

Supported by Charity Kid in Museums, Takeover Day is an annual event where museums, archives, galleries, historic sites and arts organisations are taken over by children who are given meaningful, powerful and decision-making roles. More than 5000 children throughout England will take part in this year’s event.

Derek Dick, Exhibition and Services Manager of Culture Warrington, said: “We are extremely excited to be part of Takeover Day 2015. The day will let local children be right at the heart of what we do.”

“We hope that Takeover Day will inspire families to make arts and heritage a regular part of family life”

Warrington’s Laser Show returns to the town centre

Warrington’s Laser Show returns to the town centre

Intergalactic inspired Laser ShowLaser-Show
Saturday 28 November
4.30pm, 5pm and 5.30pm, Free
Guardians, Warrington Town Centre, WA1 1UZ

Warrington’s laser show returns to the town centre with a brand new intergalactic theme for 2015.

Three separate performances will take place on Saturday 28 November at 4:30pm, 5pm and 5:30pm, where laser light patterns will illuminate the skyline above Warrington’s Guardians, reflecting within the water fountain below.

This year’s stunning light display, which is funded by Warrington Borough Council and is delivered by Culture Warrington, will be set to a soundtrack of battling intergalactic spaceships and the eerie unexplainable sounds of space.

The event is part of Warrington Market’s sci-fi Christmas- a traditional Christmas market with an intergalactic twist.

Last year’s The Lights in the Sky Laser performance attracted more than 3,000 spectators spanning generations. This year it is expected to achieve an even greater engagement with local families.

The event is part of a multitude of Christmas events across Warrington being provided by the council and Culture Warrington. Other stand-out events include the Lantern Parade, Warrington Christmas Markets and Parr Hall’s pantomime Dick Whittington.

Warrington Market

Head of LiveWire and Culture Warrington to retire

js2015After a forty year career in public service and more than three years heading up Warrington’s leisure, cultural and wellbeing offer, Jan Souness has today announced her retirement from her role as Managing Director of both LiveWire and Culture Warrington.

Jan was responsible for leading the teams who created the organisations in 2012 – LiveWire to look after leisure, libraries and lifestyles and Culture Warrington to be responsible for arts, heritage and events when the services were transferred from Warrington Borough Council.

Using her knowledge and expertise from her role as an Assistant Director responsible for the services in the town, she led the successful transfer of 500 staff into the new not-for-profit organisations and opened Orford Jubilee Neighbourhood Hub during LiveWire’s first month of operation, a development acknowledged as one of the leading 2012 Olympic Legacy projects.

Jan will still play an active role in both organisations by taking on the part-time position of Transformation Projects Strategic Advisor, where she will provide strategic support on key projects over the next 12 months, including the Great Sankey Neighbourhood Hub and Heritage Centre.

The Board of both organisations will shortly commence the recruitment of the new MD.

Jan Souness, Managing Director of LiveWire and Culture Warrington, said:
“LiveWire and Culture Warrington have grown and developed immensely since their formation in 2012, and I believe now is the right time for me to step down from my leadership role. My new role will enable me to concentrate solely on key projects over the next 12 months, providing the necessary strategic advice to drive them forward.

Through the hard work of our staff and the Board, LiveWire and Culture Warrington have gone from strength-to-strength and I am incredibly proud of the work we have done together over the last three years which has enabled residents in Warrington to improve their wellbeing and lead happier and healthier lifestyles.”

During her 12 year career in Warrington, Jan also led on the development of the council’s Customer Contact and Neighbourhood Services, the Sport and Active Warrington Strategy, Cultural Strategy and Library Modernisation. She also chaired the team who developed the very successful bid which led to Warrington being chosen as a host town for the Rugby League World Cup in 2013.

Before she came to Warrington in the early 2000s, Jan held posts spanning most council departments including Social Services, Housing and Corporate in local authorities in Knowsley and her native Liverpool, where she started her career in 1974.

Alan Yates, Chair of LiveWire, said:
“It has been a pleasure to work so closely with Jan for the last three years and to see her passion to improve people’s wellbeing ignited in both LiveWire and Culture Warrington. I have the upmost respect for the work she has carried out and her leadership of the teams to ensure both organisations are thriving and dynamic. I look forward to working alongside both the new Managing Director and Jan in her new projects role.”

Maureen Banner, Chair of Culture Warrington, said:
“I’ve witnessed first-hand the hard work and commitment Jan has dedicated to both organisations from the start. Her leadership of the teams who have worked hard to develop LiveWire and Culture Warrington has been tremendous and is profound in the strong legacy and the new leadership team she leaves behind her.”

Work for us – Latest Culture Warrington Job vacancies

Culture Warrington offers a variety of exciting roles working for a vibrant organisation. It’s a great place to work and, with so many different roles, there are a wide range of options . All roles within the Culture Warrington team are demanding and we need people who are willing to work hard to ensure our customer’s expectations are exceeded.

Due to the wide range of roles, we have staff on a variety of contracts from full time to flexible casual staff as well as unpaid volunteers.

Culture Warrington employs approximately 75 staff and welcome applications from everyone, valuing diversity in our workforce.

Apart from the excitement of being part of the Culture Warrington team, we offer our colleagues various benefits, including training and development,  stakeholder pension scheme and increased holidays after five years service.

Our teams cover a wide variety of posts which include roles in the following areas:

  • Collections Management
  • Curating
  • Conserving collections
  • Fundraising
  • Programming
  • Arts Development
  • Interpretation
  • Education
Venue & Event Management
  • Marketing, Publicity and Audience Development
  • Sales & Information (Box Office)
General Administration – HR, Finance, PA
  • Site Management
  • Technical Management & technical support
  • Bar & Catering Staff
  • Management/Supervisory roles

Job Vacancies

Our current vacancies are listed below. Please download the Person Specification and Job Description for further details. Thank you for showing an interest in working for Culture Warrington.

Events and Programming Officer 

Pay Range Grade 6 – £21,530 – £24,472

Full Time 9 months fixed term contract starting November 2015 (Maternity cover)

Closing date: 9:00am Friday 23rd October 2015

Culture Warrington is an organisation incorporating Pyramid & Parr Hall and Warrington Museum & Art Gallery. The venues play host to a variety of high profile events, conferences and concerts, from Jimmy Carr to The Stone Roses.

A highly organised and proficient Events and Programming Officer is required to support the Venue and Events Manager with the development of Culture Warrington’s artistic programme and to assist with management of Culture Warrington venues. This includes the booking of artists and event resources whilst ensuring all health and safety and licensing legislation is adhered to.

You will have a thorough understanding of the commercial theatre business, excellent knowledge of the industry and a good network of contacts.  You will also have the ability to manage events within our venues and at outdoor sites across the town

The role will include evening / weekend work as required to meet the needs of the venues.

For further details please see the Job Description and Person Specification.

To apply please complete an Application Form and return it to  by 9:00 am Friday 23rd October 2015.

Events and Programming Officer Job Description and Person Specification

Application Form

Making a big difference in Warrington!

Culture Warrington Charitable Trust Seeks new Trustees:

  • With a passion for Arts, Culture & Heritage
  • Should be articulate, lively and enthusiastic
  • With flexibility and imagination
  • Dynamism and energy

Creating a sense of wellbeing and improving health through engaging with people in many different ways we are looking for individuals with specific knowledge in the following areas:

  • Health and wellbeing
  • Partnership working and regeneration
  • Outreach – taking the agenda out to the community
  • Creative Industries

If you would like further information about becoming a Trustee, download the Culture Warrington Trustee Recruitment Pack and you can also download a copy of the Culture Warrington Business Plan and the Culture Warrington Annual Report 2015

Download an application form – Application Form for role of Trustee

Return the short application with your CV to People Solutions at Culture Warrington by e mail or by post to People Solutions Orford Jubilee Neighbourhood Hub, Jubilee Way, Warrington WA2 8HE by 6th November 2015.

There will be a shortlisted candidate briefing on the evening of Wednesday 18th November 2015 at the Pyramid Arts Centre.

Interviews are to be held on the evening of Monday 23rd November 2015.

Please feel free to contact Sharon Sinnott on 01925 625330 if you have any questions relating Trustee positions.


Culture Warrington works in partnership with Warrington Collegiate to offer a range of apprenticeship opportunities. check back to keep up to date with new opportunities.

Volunteering with Culture Warrington

Volunteering can be a rewarding and enjoyable pastime, and can provide you with an opportunity to develop new skills, knowledge and experience. Wherever possible Culture Warrington volunteers will have their expenses covered. All volunteers must be aged over 16 and be willing to undergo a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) enhanced check.

Some examples of Volunteer Opportunities are as follows:

  • Arts Development – help to deliver our holiday programmes and outreach activities
  • Venue Management / Visitor Services Assistants – assist in managing events and buildings
  • Marketing Assistants – provide support with promotional activity
  • Collections Researchers – support the interpretation of collections

To learn more about Culture Warrington’s volunteer programmes please contact or call 01925 442884.

Culture Warrington AGM

We hope you can join us for the Annual General Meeting of Culture Warrington on Tuesday 13 October at Pyramid from 7.00pm. The AGM will be held in the main exhibition hall at Pyramid.

The agenda for the evening is as follows:

7pm start

Welcome – Jan Souness

Quorate / Apologies – Natasha Kirsten

Minutes of the Previous AGM – Maureen Banner

Finance / Accounts – Alistair Howcroft, Jonathan Maine, Andrea Newberry

Appointment of Auditors – Maureen Banner

Director Resignations, Reappointments & Appointments – Maureen Banner

Annual Report / DVD – Maureen Banner

Preview of 2016 – Emma Hutchinson

Close and Thanks – Maureen Banner


£16m neighbourhood hub for west Warrington gets go-ahead

Plans to build a state-of-the-art integrated facility to provide leisure, health and cultural services in Great Sankey, Warrington have been approved.

Great Sankey Neighbourhood Hub

LiveWire’s proposal to transform the existing Great Sankey Leisure Centre into a neighbourhood hub was given the go-ahead at Warrington Borough Council’s planning committee meeting last night (Wednesday 5 August). Councillors voted unanimously in favour of the plans.

The dementia friendly facility will include a fitness suite, swimming pools, sports hall, tennis courts, 3G pitch, GP surgeries, library, cafe and health and wellbeing facilities including a spa. Construction on the first stage of the development will start later this year with phase 1 of the project set to open in Autumn 2016.

The £16 million project will revamp the existing centre to provide residents with a one-stop-shop for all their Great Sankey Hub Aerial Shotleisure, health and wellbeing and cultural needs. Services will be delivered by LiveWire, Warrington Borough Council, Culture Warrington, the NHS, Warrington Clinical Commissioning Group and Health Plus.

More than 700 local residents took part in consultation exercises and in excess of 60 of their suggestions have been incorporated into the design of the hub. The building designs have been made dementia friendly to support local need.

To find out more information about the development, and to keep up to date with the latest news, visit

Culture Warrington to take part in BBC arts campaign

Culture Warrington to take part in BBC arts campaign

Thursday 13 August 2015, Free Admission
Drop in between 11am – 3pm
Pyramid, Palmyra Square, Warrington WA1 1BL
01925 442345

Warrington’s Pyramid will hold a glass bottle decoration workshop as part of the BBC’s Get Creative – a year-long celebration of British arts, culture and creativity.
Get Creative aims to boost creativity in the UK, as well as celebrating the millions of people already doing something artistic and creative every day. Culture Warrington is joining hundreds of organisations nationwide to become a Get Creative Champion.
The workshop organised by Blooming Art in partnership with Culture Warrington, will take place on Thursday 13 August from 11am until 3pm at Pyramid.

Gail Stubbings, founder of Blooming Art Classes Warrington, will lead the workshop in which art enthusiasts of all ages are welcome to drop in to Pyramid where they will be given the tools and opportunity to express themselves through the decoration of glass bottles.
The Get Creative campaign was launched on 19 February 2015 by BBC Arts in partnership with cultural movement What Next? and leading arts and cultural organisations across the country, including Culture at King’s, Voluntary Arts, 64 Million Artists, Fun Palaces, Cultural Learning Alliance and Arts Council England

Derek Dick, Exhibitions and Services Manager at Culture Warrington, said: ‘It’s fantastic that we are able champion a national campaign that celebrates arts, culture and creativity. With the range of activities on offer during the summer at Culture Warrington venues, I can confidently say there something to take part in creatively for all the family.”

Gail Stubbings, owner of Blooming Art Classes Warrington, said: “I am extremely excited to be working in partnership with Culture Warrington to offer a drop in art workshop to the community. I would encourage everyone to drop in and get creative this summer by putting their artistic skills to the test.”

Get Creative will also have its digital home on BBC Arts online and through the use of #bbcgetcreative on social media sites. Visit for more details.

Culture Warrington Customer Feedback Survey

Customer Feedback Survey

Give us a few minutes of your time and you could win £50!

At Culture Warrington, we value feeback from our customers in order to evaluate and enhance our performance.  We would be grateful if you could take a few minutes to complete the relevant Customer Feedback Survey(s) below and proivde us with your opinions.

The surveys are completed anonymously but if you would like to be entered into the free prize draw, please complete your details at the end of the survey.  One lucky winner for each survey will receive a £50 gift voucher to spend on tickets at Pyramid & Parr Hall and Warrington Museum & Art Gallery.

Please complete this survey if you have attended any previous events at
Pyramid & Parr Hall or Warrington Museum & Art Gallery  

Culture Warrington Customer Survey

Please complete this survey if you have never attended any previous events at 
Pyramid & Parr Hall or Warrington Museum & Art Gallery

Culture Warrington Non-Customer Survey


Please complete this survey if you are completing the survey on behalf of your business

Culture Warrington Business2Business Survey


Culture Camp (School Holiday Activities)

Culture Camp


Zap! Bam! And Pow! your way through Summer at Culture Camp

Tuesday – Thursday 18-20 and 25-27 August.

Ages 7-14 years

Give your child the opportunity to reveal their hidden superpowers and discover skills they never knew they had at this year’s Superhero inspired Culture Camp. During the three day session they will work together to create their own action packed production that will feature music, song, dance and their own artwork. They will even get to perform their mini masterpiece on the final afternoon to family and friends. The three days of fun and excitement include –

• Writing their own lyrics and theme tune and playing along with musical instruments

• Creating a character with special super hero powers and an impressive costume (will their character fly or have super human strength or both!)

• Writing an original fun script for the production, with a focus on addressing some more serious issues such as recycling or cyberbullying

• Creating a storyboard and learning about direction

• Designing props, creating exciting costumes and learning their superhero’s signature moves!
Our sessions link with the curriculum as we aim to make learning fun. Our mission is to create lasting memories and a summer that your child won’t forger (and we promise to tire them out!)

The sessions start at 9.30am – 4.30pm

That sounds great, so how much does it cost?

£45 for the full three days (please provide them with lunch)

Each extra sibling costs £30

or take it day-by-day and pay £16.50 (but we do recommend coming for the full three days and they get to take part in the production from start to finish!)

Select your preferred dates and book now!


Culture Camp – Tuesday 18 August – Thursday 20 August – Book Now 

Culture Camp – Tuesday 25 August – Thursday 27 August – Book Now 


Are you planning to attend this event?
Let us know what you thought by providing
a review on Tripadvisor for our venue.


Commemorative display for the Bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo

Battle of Waterloo by William Sadler II

Battle of Waterloo by William Sadler II

The 18th June 2015 marks the 200th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Waterloo. This was the final battle of the long running Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) fought between the French Empire and their European opponents. It brought over 20 years of conflict in Europe to an end and left a lasting legacy on the world.

After nearly 11 hours of fighting, French armies led by Napoleon were defeated by coalition armies under the Duke of Wellington and General Blücher. It marked the end of the Emperor Napoleon’s final bid for power, the so-called ‘100 Days’ and was the final chapter in what was a remarkable career.

To help commemorate this event the Museum has put together a display of collection items from both the Museum and archives. It is located in the ‘under stairs’ area off the main Large Art Gallery and is one of many events that are being held by a range of organisations in the UK throughout 2015.

The display supports the ‘Waterloo 200’ Project which is the official body recognised by the UK government to support the commemoration. ‘Waterloo 200’ is supporting a range of activities, from a service of commemoration at St Paul’s Cathedral to the restoration of Hougoumont Chateau on the Waterloo battlefield in Belgium.

Further information about the range of commemorative events and activities taking place can be found on the National Army Museum website.

Mr Smith’s: Your Memories Wanted…

Mr Smith's pictured in the 1980s. Image (C) Warrington Museum & Art Gallery

Mr Smith’s pictured in the 1980s. Image (C) Warrington Museum & Art Gallery

Did you enjoy a film at the Ritz or ABC cinema, dance the night away at Mr Smith’s nightclub or were you a part of the audience for ‘The Hitman and Her’?  Do you have any memories, photos or items related to Mr Smith’s, the ABC or the Ritz cinemas that you can share with us? Warrington Museum & Art Gallery is developing an exhibition to commemorate and celebrate the iconic Mr Smith’s building and we need your help.

If you can help us please call into the Museum and leave your contact details with our Front of House team or contact Michelle Hill at the Museum on 01925-443536 or

Town’s young people dance and play tribute to Warrington’s role in World War 1

In Window on Warrington, young dancers aged 3 to 23 work together to make a moving tribute to the town’s part in World War 1.  They will be performing at Peninsula Barracks, Orford, base to the 75th Engineer Regiment, on Sunday 26 April.

The dancers will be part of three performances at 12.30pm, 2pm and 3.30pm in a 40 minute piece as part of a unique project that pays testament to the role of the town in World War I (1914 – 1919).  The performers in the 150+ strong ensemble include dancers drawn from Warrington and beyond, featuring, Fusion and Fused groups, Velocity, Edge Hill University and Edge FWD boys dance group, and Chorley Boys. . Tickets are free.  Places are limited and can be booked via the Wolves Foundation

There will be a final performance at the Halliwell Jones Stadium  Saturday 20 June where 500 dancers will perform together as a culmination, following earlier stages of the project at the barracks in February and Warrington Museum & Art Gallery in November 2014.

Tickets are FREE and are available here.


Janey Moran, Cultural Engagement Manager for Culture Warrington, comments:

“This project in partnership with Warrington Wolves Foundation, funded by Arts Council England and LiveWire Warrington, is a legacy from the Rugby League World Cup 2013.  Alongside the profile and experience it gives to all the dancers involved, it gives young male dancers – still under represented in dance – the opportunity to grow their skills and horizons as they will work beside more experienced male contemporary dancers as role models.”  

“For everyone involved, the project has been a unique opportunity to perform on a large scale and to create work that responds to a specific place in the unique environment of the barracks.  It’s a project that makes big demands on younger dancers as they learn their craft.  It’s all about making a visual high impact and working in formations – very much like the drills that soldiers did in World War I and the armed forces do to this day.”  

Glazebrooks, Rylands, Politics and Medicine

Philip Jeffs resumes his Glazebrooks-Rylands family history blog…

I am back to writing the Glazebrook-Rylands blog after a bit of a gap, so look out for more interesting snippets about the family in the coming weeks.

In the blog so far I have talked to you about some of the oddities in the collection and how certain items can reveal entire stories. Hopefully you have gained an idea of some of the ways in which this collection could be used by researchers and how it sheds light on many aspects of the life of Warrington and one of its foremost families of the 19th Century.

We are now ready to start on part two of our little project. The collection is sorted and catalogued, its strengths in terms of the town’s history are clear. The next phase is to focus in on two aspects of the collection and to create an online gallery for them.

If you’ve been following the blog, you will know that the collections cover over 200 years and touch on every aspect of the family’s lives. You may also have noticed that I do get enthusiastic over most things in the collection, so choosing two themes to focus on was not an easy task.

Despite this, there were two subjects which came up time and time again throughout the collection, subjects which seemed to occupy every member of the family for most of their lifetimes. To do justice to the Glazebrooks and the Rylands, there could only really be two subjects to pick, Politics and Medicine.

Both of these subjects have been touched upon briefly in the blog already, you may remember the entry “Patten Forever, Huzza!” on politics, or “The Dangers of Smoking” on health. But, with an online presence I can look at these subjects in some detail, and share that detail with you.

Given the current maelstrom of politics surrounding the upcoming General Election, politics seemed the right choice to start with.

From the collection, we can get a fascinating picture of politics in Warrington throughout the 19th Century, but the true strength of the collection lies in electioneering material. Pushing pamphlets through letter boxes is no new thing it seems, and nor are the machinations of modern spin doctors. Through the eyes of this one family we get to see every political tactic going being used to ply voters in Warrington.

We even get to see the best (or at least most underhand) tactics of both sides in these campaigns. The Glazebrooks were, by and large, ardent Tories, whilst the Rylands were vociferous Liberals. The Glazebrooks were also largely High Church, Church of England, whilst the Rylands were devout nonconformists. It must have made for some interesting meals around the dinner table when various members of the family were supporting, or even standing for, opposite parties in the same election and attending separate church services that condemned each other’s very existence.

I am aware that in this blog entry I have been talking a lot about what the project will involve and not sharing an interesting item with you as I normally would, so below I have copied a letter from Thomas Kirkland Glazebrook to his sister Martha Rylands, which gives an idea of this occasionally strained situation.

Transcript of letter from Thomas to Martha:

Dear Martha,

I was yesterday informed by John you were instructing the children at Flag Lane – Hitherto I have interfered very little with your dissenting frenzy, but this is too much – It is a disgrace to your friends & particularly to the memory of our late dear father. – Whilst the clergy and other of our establishment are befriending your mama you are flying in the face of all them and educating enemies to the church – For such they are, let them be called by what softer name they may. I hope you will take this in its proper light – My conduct will be regulated by yours – A perseverance will alienate your brother.

TK Glazebrook.

Thomas’s letters to his sister are usually very loving, even a little bit saccharine, but perhaps once religion and politics get involved tempers start to fray.

The father of Thomas and Martha was the Reverend James Glazebrook of St. James Latchford and St. John the Baptist, Belton in Leicestershire. We see here a reference to the disputes between the two types of church and the two branches of the family.

One of the big political arguments of the 1830s and 1840s was around whether the Church of England should control education in the country. As you will see from the online gallery when it is completed, the Church of England and the state were seen by many as inseparable entities throughout the 19th century. Religion and politics became, in many cases, one and the same thing. A challenge to the Church was seen as a challenge to the government, a challenge to law and order.

It is easy to side with Martha wholeheartedly here, running a Sunday school for the children of the chapel is hardly a despicable sin, but we must also remember that people like Thomas had lived through the terrors of the French Revolution and the horror of the Napoleonic wars. The threat of a collapsing society was a very real one to many of them, and the horrors of what could happen held a very visceral fear.

This cartoon from Punch shows a fight between the Church of England, shown here as a country squire, and the non-conformists, shown here as a puritan. The men are fighting over who gets to educate the two cowering children (image courtesy of


Easter at Culture Warrington

Culture Club is a holiday programme in Warrington for children aged 3-12 and brought to you by Culture Warrington in partnership with Warrington Wolves Foundation. Every school holiday we provide specially themed activities at both Warrington Museum & Art Gallery and Pyramid arts centre.

Here’s what’s on this Easter…

Please note the Museum is closed on Good Friday and Easter Monday

Free Craft Activities at the Museum

Join us at the Museum for our free craft activities for kids! The fun starts at 10am and last admission is at 2:45pm. Suitable for ages 3-12, no booking required.

Tuesday 7 April
Bunny Bums

Thursday 9 April
Easter ‘Bunny’ting

Tuesday 14 April
King and Queen of Heart Crowns

Thursday 16 April
Spring Painting

Culture Camp at Pyramid

*** NEW *** Culture Camp consists of three days of arts, craft, dance, music and drama. Create props, write a script, make music, choreograph a dance routine and perform an original piece at the end of the week! The Camp is Tuesday 7 – Thursday 9 April and Tuesday 14 – Thursday 16 April and costs £40 per child (special Easter price) plus £25 per additional sibling (or £15 per child per day). Each day begins at 9:30am and finishes at 4:30pm. All our tutors are professional artists and we pride ourselves on offering fun, creative and safe workshops at Pyramid arts centre. Booking required – more info here.

Wolf Print Wednesday at Pyramid

Workshops exclusively for children aged 5+ with additional needs. Dance, drama, arts and crafts, drumming and storytelling. Full day: 10am-2pm; £8 per child. Half day: 10-11:30am or 12:30-2pm; £3 per child. Booking required – more info here.

Explore a virtual exhibition in our new app

A new app has been released which features a virtual tour of Warrington Museum & Art Gallery. The app is called HAPPI and it is available for both iOS and Android. It is the result of a collaboration between Warrington and its twin town in Germany, Hilden, and it is available in both English and German.

Lewis Carroll introduces the English language version, while Wilhelm Fabry introduces the German version. The app features a virtual exhibition loosely inspired by the real life Cabinet of Curiousites gallery in Warrington Museum & Art Gallery, as well as the historic Haus auf der Bech in Hilden. Inside you’ll find films and music produced by students from Warrington, Halton and Hilden exploring their town’s histories… including a truly terrifying film about the haunting of the Museum!

To download the free HAPPI app, follow these links:

Download for iOS

Download for Android

HAPPI was produced as part of the Warrington-Hilden Comenius-Regio Project 2013-5 and programme partners include Warrington Borough Council, Culture Warrington, Stadtverwaltung Hilden, Warrington Youth Service, Accent Music Education Hub, Score Creative Education, Warrington Collegiate, The Heath School Runcorn, Draw & Code, Joe Grainger and Priestley College.

Bewsey takes its place in history

Bewsey Local History Group

With the help of a Heritage Lottery Fund’s All Our Stories Grant and the support of Culture Warrington’s Museum staff, Bewsey Local History Group have been researching Bewsey’s unique story.

Members of the group have lived in the area for most of their lives and are very proud of their community. They have seen great changes in Bewsey as its industries disappeared, along with familiar landmarks. They have been saddened to see Bewsey described as a problem neighbourhood compared to other more desirable areas of the town. For all its faults they feel that Bewsey is still a good place and they were determined to see Bewsey take its rightful place in the town’s history.

The project culminated in the publication of the group’s book last year, Bewsey Takes its Place in History.

However that certainly wasn’t the end of the group’s activities! You can find out more about what they have been working on here and on Historypin.


ANNOUNCEMENT: Sarah Millican


We’re delighted to announce SARAH MILLICAN will bring her brand new ‘Outsider’ tour to Parr Hall on Tuesday 8 December 2015!

Tickets are priced at £25 and are on sale from 9am this Friday (27 March) via Box Office in person, over the phone: 01925 442345 and online:

Sarah Millican: Outsider

In the past when you put Sarah Millican outside, she asked things like: ‘Why? Where is the taxi? Do I need a cardie?’ and said things like: ‘There’ll be wasps. I’ve nothing to sit on. Is that poo? Can we go home?’

But things have changed. Now she has outside slippers. She can tell a chaffinch from a tit (hey). But she still can’t tell if it’s an owl or her husband’s asthma.

Sarah Millican is venturing outside. Bring a cardie.

“To watch Sarah Millican is to watch a box of comedy fireworks going off” The Independent


De Profundis: From the Depths – exhibition review

Pete Regan was born in 1986, in Madrid, Spain into ‘una familia numerosa’ (a family of four or more children). His parents worked for a drug rehab charity, and this gave him and his siblings an understanding and affinity for outsiders and people on the margins of society.

This affinity with the marginalised has fed into Pete’s work – making him particularly sensitive and aware of the hardships we negotiate as human beings, the difficult tightrope that is living.
Publicised by mental health campaign Time to Change is De Profundis: From the Depths, Pete Regan’s current exhibition at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery (7 February – 2 May 2015). Pete offers a visual, aural and inspiring installation of his journey through cyclothymia, considered a milder form of bipolar disorder. The cumulative effect of a slideshow interspersed with sound, neon lighting, mirrors and photography offer fragmentary glimpses into the fluctuation of moods and the cyclical aspect of depression. The overall effect of the exhibition is of reflection and solitude, a secular yet seemingly spiritual or transcendent place.

With De Profundis: From the Depths Pete sets out to capture the breadth and depth of human experience. By his own admission, this exhibition was aimed at ‘my younger self’. As a younger man, Pete spent months in bed isolated by the darkest of depressions. In the depths of this turbulent, and seemingly inescapable numbness, Pete was given a camera and began exploring the world and finding beauty again despite the bleakest of moods.

Monastic voices reverberate through the corridor as one enters De Profundis. Images are scattered across the wall, sprouting volcano-like amid neon-tubes of lighting (red, yellow and blue). Sound, lighting and image combine to give the viewer a truly felt experience. A feeling not unlike entering the darkness of a cinema to re-emerge transformed and having to face the weather again (both inner and outer). It’s a feast for the senses, but somehow the cumulative effect is not of sensory overload.

Pete’s careful use of colour is strategic and helps to represent the gamut of human emotion. Crucially the black and white is not just that – but the deepest black. Pete also plays with the positive/negative duality of photography by offering us the whitest of white pictures – ghost-like, cold, almost eerie. Also on display are swathes of colour – but not just colour – colour in all its neon, glaring, night-infused garish glory. The neon tubes of lighting – are a reflection of this primary palette, building up the mood and tension of the whole exhibition. In this way, his thematic approach to colour reminds me of Vincent Gallo’s Buffalo 66, whose palette of muted Buffalo colours (red, blue and white) infuse his film only adding to the sense of melancholy.

The people in the images are transformed by this strange, other-worldly light and colour. A woman with a 1920s haircut is profiled and bathed in the deepest of reds. A young man with an intriguing, but slightly menacing smile is given the bluest of neon tinges to inhabit in. Faceless people gather in underpasses and at lonely bars. Empty tables protest that no-one dines at them. The re-entering into the world is not necessarily smooth, and Pete’s vision attests to this. The quieter, interior pictures reflect a starker reality of our inner worlds, perhaps peaceful, but a trapped peace.
Religious motifs appear in the pictures – suggestive of burden and heaviness. The use of the positive is redolent of another iconic sequence in Easy Rider, of the cemetery. Even though these alterations in mood are not drug-induced, they are suggestive of altered states.

(C) Tony Culpin

This allusive build-up of the artist’s own journey is also present in his films which are shown in conjunction with music varying in mood and pace. In a slideshow of the artist’s childhood, wonderfully accompanied by guitar music, by Liam Morgan there are again hints of the religious – a first-communion, the ancient glory of Roman ruins savaged by a bleak sun. This accentuation of tradition and statues is carefully echoed throughout the exhibition. The use of the circle in the slideshow is also a motif in the circular pictures of the seasons. These repetitions and reverberations help to create a ripple effect of circularity, thus given a sense of a completeness in the exhibition and lending the work a very structured, cohesive nature. In another video piece the viewer is invited to contemplate the gentle breeze of the wind, slowly swaying the top of trees. The effect is soothing, almost like the visual equivalent of mindfulness. It is also reminiscent of the opening of Gus van Sant’s Elephant which gives it darker overtones and hints at Pete’s strong pull to the cinematic as an artist.

(C) Tony Culpin

Almost signalling the exit, a neon yellow sign that reads ‘Hope’ is situated next to a black and white image taken in New York. The image stands out as it has a more photojournalistic feel to it than the other more oblique works on display. In the foreground a taxi exhorts us with these maxims ‘EVERY DAY COUNTS’ and ‘RESPECT YOURSELF… LIVE WELL’. In the chaos of the background – smoke, high-rise blocks and harsh sunlight – it could be difficult to live up to these exhortations, but somehow the photograph seems strangely hopeful. This reviewer’s reaction is of slight anxiety – how can I make every day count? – and yet this is the strength of the exhibition as a whole – it allows you to feel, and it gives a validity to these emotions, a dignity.

(C) Pete Regan

So often, art is applauded for its lack of sentimentality, particularly in these irony-ridden times. There is no fake sentimentality here, just unadorned feeling. De Profundis does away with this dreaded fear of feeling. One of the most dehumanising aspects of depression is the feeling of not being able to connect with others. In this exhibition, Pete connects to that which is human in everyone – woe, darkness, pain, joy, exuberance, hopelessness, hope. His photographic pilgrimage and the restorative power of walking and finding these places is truly potent.

Oscar Wilde in De Profundis, a letter written to his lover while incarcerated, said: “To regret one’s own experiences is to arrest one’s own development. To deny one’s own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one’s own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul.”

Pete Regan bravely confronts his experiences in an affecting and impassioned exhibition, and in doing so makes a stark and powerful contribution in combatting the stigma around mental distress.

Eli Regan
07581 548 454

Vacancy: Digital Marketing Coordinator

Digital Marketing Coordinator

Permanent – Full Time (37 Hours)
Salary: £24,892-£28,127

Location: Pyramid and Parr Hall

If you’re a driven, ambitious and experienced digital marketer who is ready to take ownership for digital marketing results at a unique and exciting organisation – this might just be the job for you.

Culture Warrington is seeking a motivated Digital Marketing Coordinator to grow its marketing team. This is a unique opportunity for you to join a team which, not only, is at the heart of culture in the North West, but is actively investing in updating and upgrading our online marketing presence, brand identity and marketing reach. We have a strong and fun team, and ambitious plans for the next five years, and our Digital Marketing Coordinator will play a key role in the development of our business.

You will have a proactive approach to radically improving the digital marketing for our company, which includes Pyramid Arts Centre, Parr Hall concert venue and Warrington Museum and Art Gallery. You’ll be able to find gaps, spot opportunities and make real improvements to our digital marketing. You’ll be able to think strategically, make long term improvements and balance this with the day-to-day execution of marketing in a fast paced events environment. You’ll be a results driven self-starter with a strong understanding of all things digital including SEO/SEM, social media, targeted email marketing, CRM, website optimisation and online advertising and online reputation management.

In return we’ll give you guidance and support while trusting you to make the decisions to enhance our marketing offer. We’ll help you develop your marketing and career skills and give you the opportunity to work in a vibrant, ever-changing arts and entertainment environment promoting a wealth of varied and exciting products.

If you’re the kind of person who loves to take on a challenge and make a real impact – you’ll love this role.

If you’ve got the skills to help us take our digital marketing to the next level, send your CV and a cover letter explaining why you think you’re the person for this role to



Job description here.

Person specification here.


Vacancy: Senior Press & Publicity Advisor

Grade: Scale 8 £28,922 – £32,072

Location: Warrington, Pyramid & Parr Hall (2 Days) Orford Jubilee Hub (3 Days)

Permanent Full Time (37 Hours per week)

Closing date: Thursday 19th March 2015

If you’re a driven, ambitious and experienced press and communications professional who is ready to take ownership for communications and press for two varied and exciting businesses – this could be the job for you.

Sister organisations, LiveWire and Culture Warrington are seeking a Senior Press & Publicity advisor to oversee the strategy and delivery for press, publicity and communications over both businesses.

You will have a proactive approach to radically improving the brand awareness and brand reputation for both companies. You’ll be able to find gaps, spot opportunities, and significantly increase press reach. You’ll be able to think strategically, manage sensitive information, both positive and negative and you’ll be confident working closely with our senior management team and policy team to advise on managing media relations and internal communications. You’ll have a proven track record in generating national and international press coverage.

You’ll be a results driven self-starter with a strong understanding of communications and managing brand reputation. You’ll be able to train, motivate and enthuse others to increase understanding of your field throughout both businesses.

In return you’ll be given guidance, support, and empowerment to make decisions to enhance the reach of both businesses. Support will be provided to develop your marketing and career skills alongside the opportunity to work in a vibrant, ever-changing environment promoting a wealth of varied and exciting products. If you’re the kind of person who loves to take on a challenge and make a real impact – you’ll love this role.

If you’ve got the skills to help us take our press, publicity and communications to the next level, please apply by completing the application form and returning to the following mail box:  by Thursday 19th March 2015.



Job description here.

Person specification here.

Application form here.



Just Confirmed: Simon Weston, The Stylistics and Magic of Motown…

…not all in the same show, although what a show that would be!


We’re delighted to get your weekend off to a flying start with the announcement of three amazing shows coming to you in 2105:
Simon Weston – Sunday 6 September, 7.30pm, Pyramid, £14.50 / £13
Voted Britain’s most heroic figure in 2014, the truly inspirational Simon Weston is heading to Pyramid with his ”My Life, My Story’ tour this September.

Tickets and more info here.


The Stylistics – Wednesday 11 November, 7.30pm, Parr Hall, £23
Firm favourites, The Stylistics, return to Parr Hall for another night of spectacular soul.

Tickets and more info here.


Magic of Motown – Saturday 12 December, 8pm, Parr Hall, £23.50 / £21.50
We’re delighted to confirm another firm favourite of Parr Hall patrons is returning for December 2015.

Tickets and more info here.


 Tickets on sale now!


Now Recruiting: Press & Publicity Officer

Love the arts? Passionate about press and PR? If so, we’ve got the perfect job for you!

Culture Warrington is now recruiting for a talented Press and Publicity Officer…


Press and Publicity Officer


Grade Grade 5 £18,376 – £20,849

Location: Pyramid and Parr Hall

Closing date: Thursday, 12th March 2015

Ref: CW/004/14

Culture Warrington is seeking a motivated Press and Publicity Officer to join its marketing team. You will have a keen and proactive approach to securing positive press and PR coverage for our company, which includes Pyramid Arts centre, Parr Hall concert venue and Warrington Museum and Art Gallery. This is a unique opportunity for you to join a team, which is at the heart of culture in the North West. From maintaining and developing new press contacts, creating press releases and setting up photo opportunities, to building partnerships, and copywriting our promotional material, you will be creative, deadline-hungry and keen to explore innovative PR methods to keep Culture Warrington on the map. You will be responsible for leading on public relations for the hundreds of events, cultural engagement activities, education projects and exhibitions that we host at our venues throughout the year, as well as working on high profile campaigns to increase awareness of our events and festivals. Arts and Entertainment experience essential.

We work and play hard. If this sounds like you, visit for further information and details about how to apply for this great opportunity.

Please visit to download an application form, job description and person specification.

Completed applications are to be returned to by the closing date of Thursday, 12th March 2015.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Al Murray Gig Tonight (21 Feb) Postponed


Due to unforeseen circumstances, it is with regret that the Al Murray performance tonight (Sat 21 Feb) has been postponed until 14 May.

Al would like to pass on the following message:


“Ladies and gents, I’m afraid I have lost my voice. I caught a cold earlier in the week and it’s got the better of me. I don’t want to do a show where I can’t give 100% and right now I’m on about 30. We will reschedule tonight’s show for 14 May and hope you can make the new date. Thanks for your understanding, Al”.

If you are a ticket holder, a member of the Sales & Information Team will be in touch with you in due course to discuss the options available to you.


Box Office at Pyramid is open as normal until 2pm today – 01925 442345.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Local artist launches mental health exhibition

A brand new exhibition exploring mental health issues is launching at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery in February.

The display is called De Profundis: From the Depths and will explore how the arts can help people who are suffering with depression.

The exhibition will be open between 7 Febuary – 2 May 2015 and will comprise of a range of arts including photography, video art and light installations. It will become a space for people to slow down and reflect.

Pete Regan, who organised the exhibition, is a local artist who has worked in the arts for health field for the past 5 years. The display has stemmed from his passion for photography and filmmaking combined with his personal interest in mental health. Pete also works for Creative Remedies based in Warrington.

Creative Remedies is a programme of arts activities, supported by Warrington Borough Council, that aim to improve the health and wellbeing of Warrington residents over the age of 18 with mental health needs. Activities in the Creative Remedies programme include performing arts, music groups and digital photography. They are all free of charge with equipment and tutors provided.

Included in the exhibition will be practical information on how to access help in the community from information on counselling services, mental health organisations and art based projects.

Pete said: “I can’t wait for the opening of this unique exhibition. I see every day how the arts can improve people’s lives and this exhibition can help provide a distraction from day-to-day problems.

“Thankfully, from the depths of depression I was given a camera, and this piece of equipment has, over the years, transformed my life. Beauty can be found in the unlikeliest of places and the camera has helped me to see beauty and purpose in life again.

“My hope is that this project will raise awareness of mental health issues and go some way to tackling the associated stigma.”

Executive board member for health, wellbeing and adult services, Cllr Pat Wright, said: “We can all experience unhappiness now and again, but people experiencing depression often have intense emotions of anxiety, hopelessness and negativity.

“It’s great to see such a unique take on providing support and raising awareness on such an important issue and I would like to thank Pete for his fantastic efforts.

“As a council, we’re committed to providing support on mental health to our residents and we’re proud to be backing Pete.”

Derek Dick, exhibitions and services manager at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery, said: “Pete’s enthusiasm and positivity about how the arts can help those living with depression has been an inspiration to many.

“This exhibition, through the use of photography, film and music, takes you on a sensory journey from the chaos of depression through to acceptance and eventually hope. This is a very positive exhibition that highlights that even through the darkest days there is always hope.”

The exhibition officially launches on Saturday 7 February 2015, 2pm-4pm – all are welcome to attend. The exhibition continues until 2 May 2015.

Every picture tells a story – send us your creative writing!

Can you come up with stories about the people in these portraits for our new exhibition?

In this new display of portraits from the Museum’s collection, the names of the subjects are all hidden or unknown. We have asked creative writing students from Priestley College to think about who the people might be and write a stories and poems. You can see some of their responses in the exhibition itself, on show until 21 March 2015 at the Museum.

But now it’s over to you! Can you come up with a piece of creative writing inspired by any of these pictures? It could be a story, a poem, a series of imagined tweets or even an autopsy report… anything you can think of! You can use the captions in the pictures below as a starting point or completely ignore them, just make sure it’s clear which picture you’re writing about.

Email your stories to and we’ll post the results on the website or even in the exhibition itself…

A Festive Night Out Yule Not Regret


Christmas party season is upon us once more, but if it fills you with dread and memories of embarrassing moments you’d rather forget, you should change the way you do things this year!


Why not get the gang together and head down to Pyramid and Parr Hall this December for some slightly more sophisticated fun?  There won’t be dancing on the tables; there won’t be teeny glasses filled with luminous liquids with a ‘zillion percent’ alcohol content, and more to the point, there won’t be any regrets the following day.

The range and quality of entertainment we have for you this next few weeks, is almost obscene.  Whether it’s ice-cool festival favourites ‘Embrace’ on 2nd December, sizzling hot ‘Magic of Motown’ on 6th, or the mesmerising master of the acoustic guitar ‘Peter Price’ on 5th December, you are sure to get top points from your friends for showing them a new way to party.

If it’s pure laughs you’re after, get the mini-bus to drop you and your friends at the Comedy Store on 6th December.  We have the brightest new talents coming through on our stage and they’re always a touch cheeky and up for a bit of audience participation.  And there are bars at both venues, but strictly no trendy wine-bar prices – what’s not to love?

And here’s one last suggestion for you.  If your party can’t make up their minds between comedy and music, give them both, with The Houghton Weavers on 12 December.  What a stroke of festive genius; their very motto is “Keep Folk Smiling”, and they do just that, with everything from jokes and antidotes, to raucous folk songs and beautiful ballads.  There’s something in there for everybody.

Go on, get the gang together and head down to Pyramid and Parr Hall and have a Christmas night out you’ll remember for all the right reasons.


 Pyramid & Parr Hall Listings Information


Tuesday 2 Dec 2014, 7:30pm


Parr Hall

 Peter Price

Friday 5 Dec 2014, 7:30pm



 Magic of Motown

Saturday 6 Dec 2014, 8:00pm


Parr Hall

 Comedy Store

Saturday 6 Dec 2014, 8:00pm



 Houghton Weavers

Friday 12 Dec 2014, 7:30pm



Tickets and Information:  01925 442345



Having difficulty completing your online booking?

If you are encountering any problems when trying to purchase tickets please call Box Office on 01925 442345, who will complete your transaction over the phone.

Alternatively, email us at with a contact telephone number and we’ll call you back.

Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

The Full-On Fox Tour

Boom Boom – Basil Brush Tour to Hit Warrington

 Sunday 26 April 2015, 11am and 2:30pm, £12 / £10 / £38 Family, Parr Hall, Warrington.

Tickets and information 01925 442345.

There’s nothing like a bit of cheeky banter and the master of cheeky banter, Basil Brush, is coming to Warrington’s Parr Hall next April with his very own brand of charm and irreverence.

Basil Brush is a star with an outstanding ability to entertain and make people of all ages laugh out loud.  He’s naughty, quick-witted, scheming and foxy, we know that much, but he’s also charming and affectionate.

Basil has entertained children and grown-ups alike for over 50 years and with staying-power like that it’s only right and proper that we should pay homage to him in his new ‘Full On Fox Tour 2015’.  The BBC’s Bafta-nominated Basil Brush Show has been seen by millions of viewers all over the globe, from its inception in 1968 right through to today, and was voted best TV comedy show.

Now, Britain’s most loveable fox is back on the road and he fetches his TV chum Mr Stephen (aka Chris Pizzey) along for the ride.  Together they will take you on a hilarious roller-coaster of laughs, storytelling and song in a brand new ‘live’ stage show packed with fun and excitement.

Poor Mr Stephen can hardly get a word in for being continually interrupted by naughty uncontrollable Basil!!  This is an action-packed show for the whole family….some things you just never grow out of.  Boom Boom!!!

 Pyramid & Parr Hall Listings Information

The Full On Fox Tour

Sunday 26 April 2015, 11am and 2:30pm.  Tickets: £12/ £10 / £38 Family

Tickets and Information:  01925 442345



Up Close and Personal With The Legendary Joan Armatrading

Friday 10 October, 7:30pm, £27.50, Parr Hall, Warrington.

Tickets and information 01925 442345.

 In what could be her last ever major tour, Joan Armatrading brings her unique solo show to Parr Hall, Warrington, promising fans an interactive experience that will stay with them for ever.

 Over her 42 years of touring, Joan has never before done a solo world tour.  But as this could be her last major tour, she has decided that now is the perfect time.  Three times Grammy-nominated, Brit Award nominee and Ivor Novella winner, Joan is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s leading singer, songwriter and guitarists.

The performance will include songs that span her entire career to date, including Love and Affection, Willow, Drop the Pilot and Me, Myself and I.  Joan says “These concerts will be me, solo on stage playing the guitar, piano and singing….a special lively interactive one to one experience; a unique memory for both myself and the audience” .

Tom Stade …Intelligent Comedy

Nothing Staid About Tom Stade

Nothing Staid about Stade

Wednesday 1 October, 8:00pm, £16 / £14, Pyramid, Warrington.
Tickets and information 01925 442345.

Master of Comedy, Tom Stade is taking the spotlight at Pyramid, Warrington this October, with his unique take on life, its choices and decisions.

Following his ever-popular TV appearances on BBC One’s Live at The Apollo and Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, as well as Channel 4’s Comedy Gala, Tom also sold out at the Melbourne and Edinburgh Comedy Festivals.

Now he brings his exuberant and spellbinding talent to Warrington, to ponder the timeless questions and continue his assault on the global comedy scene. This is incisive comedy with a good sprinkling of Stade’s expertly-crafted mayhem. A real Rock ‘n’ Roll comedian.

Pyramid & Parr Hall Listings Information
Tom Stade
Pyramid, Warrington
Wednesday 1 October, 8:00pm. Tickets: £16/ £14
Tickets and Information: 01925 442345

For a Barrel of Laughs…

It’s Got To Be The Comedy Store

Saturday 1 November, 8:00pm, £14, Pyramid, Warrington.
Tickets and information 01925 442345.

If you’re a comedy thrill-seeker and love the unique feel of live stand-up, make sure you get down to Pyramid in Warrington’s Cultural Quarter this October, for plenty of laughs from some of the most popular comedians in the country.

That’s right….Comedy Store is back, bigger and better than ever, with performances that will have you shaking in your seats with belly-laughs galore!

The Comedy Store comedians can be a cheeky crowd and enjoy a bit of good-humoured banter with the audience, so if you’re up for a laugh make sure you call up early to bag front row seats.

The comedy season is in full swing and Comedy Store will run the first Saturday of each month from now through to December. These shows sell out, so snap up your tickets now and have your fun quota guaranteed from now until Christmas!

Pyramid & Parr Hall Listings Information
Comedy Store
Saturday 1 November, 8:00pm. Tickets: £14
Tickets and Information: 01925 442345

The Elvis Years

There’s a Guy down there at Parr Hall ….Swears He’s Elvis!

Sunday 12 October, 7.30pm, £19.50/ £18, Parr Hall, Warrington
Tickets and information: 01925 442345

You ready to rock ’n’ roll?
Donna Presley hailed him as “The best Elvis since Elvis!” and he’s here at Parr Hall, Warrington this October with the knockout musical show ‘The Elvis Years’.
Led by legendary producer, musical director and Ivor Novello award-winner David Mackay, this really is as close as you can get to The King. The UK’s Number One Elvis show is an outstanding concert production of the West End musical Jailhouse Rock featuring original star Mario Kombou and his incredible band.
‘Images of the King’ World Champion Mario delivers a tour de force performance in this spectacular show packed with over 50 of Elvis’s greatest hits, from the early days of Sun Studios and That’s Alright Mama, through the Hollywood years of GI Blues and It’s Now or Never, the ‘68 TV special with All Shook Up, culminating in the legendary Las Vegas concert, with In The Ghetto, Suspicious Minds and American Trilogy.

Ready to Rock??

Pyramid & Parr Hall Listings Information
The Elvis Years
Parr Hall, Warrington
Sunday 12 October, 7.30pm
Tickets: £19.50 / £18
01925 442345

Starsailor Coming Home

Starsailor Coming ‘Home’ to Play Parr Hall

Sailing back to Warrington…..

Thursday 18 December, 7:00pm, £17.50, Parr Hall.
Tickets available 19th September. Tel: 01925 442345.

There’ll be Fever in Parr Hall, Warrington this December as top Indie band Starsailor return to their home ground with a string of hits for the Good Souls of the North. Taken from their hit albums ‘Love is Here’, ‘Silence is Easy’, ‘On the Outside’ and ‘All the Plans’, there will be epic songs about loves lost and lessons learned.

Back from Los Angeles and raring to go; “We’re back and playing better than ever”, says drummer Ben Byrne. Fresh from festival season, and supporting ‘James’ on tour, the boys are making time for the home-fans in the North, where the band was formed.

With accolades to their name as impressive as ‘Britain’s Best New Band’ and ‘Brightest New Hope’ award, they have a solid recording pedigree and in 2009 they were named Hard Rock’s ‘Philanthropic Artist of the Year’.

Starsailor have enjoyed more than their fair share of prestigious gigs, supporting the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Police, The Killers and U2, and have sold over 3 million albums worldwide. 2014 is the year they have chosen to hit the music scene hard once again, and we are ecstatic to welcome them to Parr Hall. It’s like Christmas has come early this year!

Pyramid & Parr Hall Listings Information

Thursday 18 December, 7:00pm. Tickets: £17.50
Tickets and Information: 01925 442345

Explore Warrington’s World War I story

Explore Warrington’s World War I story at Warrington Library and Warrington Museum in this free event on 1 November 2014.

Need some help finding out about your family’s World War I history?

  • Then drop into the Local Studies library (on the ground floor) between 10am and 1pm for some expert advice.

Could you add to the official record of Warrington at War? Have you uncovered the stories of those who worked in wartime industries, in the hospitals or other hidden roles?

  • Then drop into Gallery 4 on the first floor of the Museum between 12noon and 3pm
  • You can also bring photography or documents for identification, but please do not bring weapons, grenades or any other kids of arms kept as family souvenirs!
  • Staff will arrange to copy your photographs or artefacts to add your information to Warrington’s Story and Cheshire’s Great War stories, a project commemorating the centenary of the Great War.
  • You can also discover some of the stories behind the Museum’s new World War I exhibition ‘It’ll All Be Over By Christmas’, including the secret histories of the Bewsey Local History Group uncovered from the Pearson and Knowles war memorial

Warrington Business Breakfast – Thursday 30 October

The Changing Face of Warrington

Warrington businesses are invited to come along to a Business Breakfast at Pyramid on Thursday 30 October (8:30am – 10:30am), to find out more about The Changing Face of Warrington.

Local Businesses are invited to the networking event, which is led by Councillor Mike Hannon, Deputy Leader of Warrington Borough Council, and will feature various guest speakers.

Participants will hear about the physical changes taking place in the town centre as well as planned events and programmes of activity for the coming year.  We will update you regarding:

–          2013 How did we do?

–          Warrington Town Centre; What’s next?

–          People, place, promise: our legacy

So come along, enjoy breakfast on us, and take the opportunity to network with fellow Warrington business people.  Find out how the plans for the future of Warrington town centre will impact on your business, and how the Face of Warrington be changing for the better.

The Business Breakfast is FREE but has a limited capacity, so click here to reserve your place.

Rehanging the Large Art Gallery and getting ready for WCAF2014!

We’re currently rotating some of the paintings and sculptures in the large art gallery, ready for the opening of the 2014 Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival on 3 October. Old favourites by Luke Fildes, Henry Woods, John Warrington Wood, and Frank Brangwyn will be joined by artists including George Sheffield, Oswald Garside and Brian Adam Douglas (see pictures below).

For the duration of the Festival (3 October – 1 November) the gallery will also feature a large ceramic jam jar and lid created by Turner Prize winning contemporary artist Grayson Perry CBE. The piece was specially made for Kenneth Perkins in 1993 when he retired after 47 years as managing director of Harry Fairclough Limited, a well-know Warrington building firm who’s company chairman, Mark Fairclough, is the artist’s father-in-law. Previously in a private collection, this is the first time the jar has been on display to the public.

WCAF2014 showcases the creative talent of local, regional, national and international artists and there will be installations, exhibitions, art interventions and all kinds of exiting events across the Cultural Quarter and the Town Centre. Join us on the launch night on 3 October where you’ll get an exclusive preview of the Festival across all three main sites and find out the winners of this year’s Open Exhibitions.

At the museum, look out for Part One of the Open exhibition (Part Two is at the Gallery at Bank Quay House and the Photography Open is at Pyramid). Elsewhere in the Museum, The Manchester Salon’s ‘IN A FLUX’ which responds to the Museum’s collections and structures of display. On 11 October artist Laura Mansfield will give a free talk about the Museum’s very rare Roman Actor’s mask, in connection with her current publication project Fas – Rituals for a Future Unknown.

Sceptical about contemporary art? Wondering what all the fuss is about? Join former British Museum curator Anna Harnden for a free lecture at Pyramid on 16 October. Starting with the birth of conceptual art in the early 20th century, guests will be guided through the art movements of the past 120 years. The lecture will look at artist Grayson Perry as well as critics and major influencers including global history and politics that have shaped the face of art today.

For the full programme of events, see the WCAF2014 website.

Warrington-Voices Sound Installation: Send us your voice memos

Warrington-Voices is a site-specific Sound Installation by Esther Ainsworth e_s_t, for Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival 2014.

Field recordings, collected in the town and surrounding area in the lead up to the festival, culminate in a sound composition which responds to the unique environment of Warrington, exploring the spirit of place and capturing the rhythms of the way the town moves and lives.

The project seeks participation from the local community in the creation of the work by contributing sound recordings of their locations and experiences of Warrington via voice memo on mobile phone or by emailing sound clips.

Recordings can be sent to Esther using the email or mobile phone number below:

Text Voice Memos: +44 7775 722888
Email Sound Clips:

The recordings contributed by the public prior to the installation will be added and layered into the final work.

The idea explores the capability of sound to deepen and strengthen connections within communities, considering the physical and virtual networks between the people and places of Warrington.

The work will be installed beneath the entrance outside Parr Hall throughout the festival from the 3 October – 1 November 2014. During the festival, the public will still be able to continue to submit sound recordings, which will then be used as part of a final performance at the close of the festival.

More information about this project can be found at: (coming soon)

Esther Ainsworth is a Sound Artist trained in Fine Art and Digital Media. Her work investigates soundscapes in specific environments, usually taking the form of installation and performance.