all across the arts  Right Round Rochdale (2)

all across the arts with Steve Cooke

MOZART MUSIC: Made in Manchester at The Stoller Hall

Oh, what a magical night! Led by those Mozart magicians Gábor Takács-Nagy and Jean-Efflam Bavouzet ,Manchester Camerata conjured up the soundworld of Mozart’s later operas and two of his most epic piano concertos.

Musical Director, Gabor Takács-Nagy (left) set up the performance with his engaging and informative introductory remarks before leading the Camerata in vibrant renditions of the overtures to Cosi Fan Tutti and La Clemenza di Tito.

Then on came the Yamaha Grand Piano followed by Jean-Efflam Bavouzet for Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 27 in B-Flat major. Thought to be Mozart’s last piano concerto written at the end of his life and performed by the composer himself at a concert in March 1791 months before he became ill and died.

The performance was met by rapturous appreciation as we reluctantly shuffled out for an interval, hungry for more.

The second half opened with the overture to The Magic Flute, the Camerata being scheduled to record Mozart Overture the following day for Chandos as part of their Mozart Made In Manchester project. I for one can’t wait to hear the outcome.

The Yamaha returned to be stunningly deployed by Efflam Bavouzet in a thrilling rendition of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 26 in D Major. Nicknamed “Coronation” from his playing of the work at the time of the coronation of Leopold II as Holy Roman Emperor in October 1790 in Frankfurt am Main.

There is a very unusual feature to this concerto as Gábor Takács-Nagy and Jean-Efflam Bavouzet explained to us in their engaging manner. Mozart did not write any notes for the piano’s left hand, large stretches of the solo part simply have nothing at all for the left hand, including the opening solo and the whole of the second movement. There is in fact no other Mozart piano concerto of which so much of the solo part was left unfinished by the composer.

Wow! What a right-hand Jean-Efflam Bavouzet possesses and how lucky we were to be treated to this fitting climax to a thoroughly magical evening.

Manchester Camerata and The Stoller Hall magnificently continued their ambitious shared project to perform and record Mozart’s complete piano concertos and opera overtures for the first time in Manchester. The partnership between Camerata’s innovative Music Director, Gábor Takács-Nagy, and pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, augmented by the energy and talent of Manchester Camerata – dubbed “probably Britain’s most adventurous orchestra” – and the young players at their sides should be experienced by as many people as possible. If you get the chance don’t miss it!




a brand new British musical at Greenwich Theatre

I recently caught up with AATA and VIBE friend and supporter Bill Ward who told me how excited he is about his upcoming role in a new British Musical, Are You As Nervous As I Am?

If you are in London during early October and you fancy a theatre experience Off-West End, then I thoroughly recommend a visit to Greenwich Theatre to enjoy and support this brand-new production

With book by Simon Spencer, music by Leighton James House and lyrics by Shaun McKenna, the story follows the journey of two sisters – Peggy and Janet – in their search for happiness. Fighting against their mother’s dysfunctional behaviour, they are forced apart to pursue lives away from their home in Wales.

Peggy sings, however, she is never propelled by a drive to become famous but instead to break unhealthy childhood patterns, find independence and build the loving family she always wanted. Janet struggles with her own demons, striving for the courage and support to live a truer and more honest life.

Set against the background of a century in flux, when the sisters connect, they are gradually empowered to positively transform their lives

1st – 23rd October 2022

Bill Ward (right) is a multi-award-winning actor and photographer, born and raised in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England. An actor for over 20 years, he has performed in over 30 Television shows and Films, and over 50 Plays since turning professional in 2000.

He is probably best known for his work on two of the country’s leading Soaps, Coronation Street (Charlie Stubbs) and Emmerdale (James Barton), in which he appeared for over 700 episodes, and for which he won numerous awards (Inc Best Exit and Best Storyline, and nominated Best Actor, at the British Soap Awards). His leaving episode on Coronation Street in January 2007 was the third most watched TV Programme on British Television that year.

UK Landscape Photographer of the Year 2015, Best Seascape at Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year 2020 and a judge for UK Landscape Photographer of the Year 2022. He is an Ambassador for Pentax Cameras, a tour leader for Light and Land, a regular writer and contributor to the worldwide ICM Photography Magazine, and gives photography talks throughout Europe and North America.

You can follow his work on Instagram @billwardphotography, and on his website at

THE BOOK THIEF:World premiere at Bolton Octagon

Coming to the Octagon Theatre Bolton this autumn, the musical adaptation of The Book Thief.

This beloved book is brought to life with a script by award- winning author Jodi Picoult.

The music and lyrics are by Elyssa Samsel and Kate Anderson [Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, Walt Disney Animation].

Adapted from Markus Zusak’s worldwide best-selling novel, this hauntingly beautiful tale set in 1930s Nazi-Germany follows courageous young orphan Liesel as she enters a dangerous game of book thievery.

The production boasts an all star cast (left) will be directed by the Octagon’s Artistic Director Lotte Wakeham (One Man Two Guvnors, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Peter Pan, Octagon Theatre) and choreographed by Tom Jackson Greaves (Amélie, Criterion Theatre; Rent, Hope Mill Theatre), with musical direction and orchestrations by Matthew Malone (Coming to England, Birmingham Rep; Peter Pan, Octagon Theatre) and design from Good Teeth aka James Perkins and Victoria Smart.

Co-writer Jodi Picoult comments, ‘The Book Thief, as a novel, is a blockbuster that has sold over 20 million copies and deeply moved readers all over the world. Having the chance to bring it to life three-dimensionally in a world premiere musical at the Octagon is a dream for us! The story of a foster child in Nazi Germany — who learns the power words have to both hurt and to heal — feels painfully relevant today. We hope that Liesel’s journey will inspire audiences to take a stand in the face of adversity, and to be agents of change in an increasingly divided world.’

Octagon Artistic Director and director of The Book Thief, Lotte Wakeham added, ‘I am absolutely thrilled to be opening our new season with this world premiere brand new musical adaptation of one of my all-time favourite books. Over the last couple of years, we’ve been busy workshopping the show and I cannot wait for audiences to finally see it! It’s an incredibly relevant, moving story and I’m so happy to be staging it in our wonderful, newly refurbished theatre. I am delighted that we can now announce the brilliant creative team who will be working with me on the production – they are all incredibly talented individuals who have already brought so many fantastic and imaginative ideas to the process. I’m confident that we’re going to create a beautiful and timeless piece of musical theatre.’

Standard tickets from £15.

Purchase is available from the box office on 01204 520661

or by booking online at 4

Octagon Theatre, Howell Croft South, Bolton BL1 1SB

Sidetracks And Detours


by Norman Warwick

Rochdale Town hall is a magnificent building that overlooks a large expanse of the town centre known as The Butts. BBC News has reported this week that a major art-led renovation of the town hall is about to place it back in the heart of its community. Over the last fifty years the hall has not only delivered council business but, until falling into some disuse a few years ago, has also been the venue for some major community arts events. I have fond, is somewhat fraught, memories of reading poetry from the stage in The Grand Hall, where the acoustics ripped the words from my lips and turned them into silence, leaving a vast audience thinking I was miming to a soundtrack that hadn´t started ! On one particular Burns Night event, attended by all the Lord Mayors and Lady Mayoresses and several other dignitaries of Greater Manchester, I and a dozen practitioners from the writing group I facilitated in the Borough overcame that acoustic difficulty by stomping around that same Hall proclaiming I Will Walk Five Hundred Miles until, finally, the gold-chained audience joined in our chanting conga line.By then they had drank enough to be convinced we were reciting a lesser known piece by Burns himself.

Now I hear that artists are to help create “inspiring” unique artworks reflecting the communities in Rochdale as part of the major restoration of the town hall, the council has said.

Three artists and four artist collectives will work with school pupils, students and community groups on their commissions.

The council said the art would tell stories representing the town, helping make it a building for everyone, as part of an £8.9m refurbishment.

photo bright hall Several rooms in the building will feature the artworks, including the new Bright Hall, the Small Exchange and the Mayor’s Parlour. They are likely to include new installations and stained glass, along with audio stories.

Workshops are being held for the artists and collectives to co-create bespoke pieces of art with local school children and students and community groups.

The council said the workshops were designed to bring contemporary ideas and tell the stories that represent the town.

Rochdale Town Hall (shown on our cover and at the top of the page) was designed by Victorian architect William H Crossland and opened on 27 September 1871. Its basement has been used as a jail and a nightclub and the building has also hosted sets for TV shows Peaky Blinders and Coronation Street, and the biopic film of Tolkien.

Councillor Janet Emsley, cabinet member for equalities, safety and reform, said: “This group of seven artists and collectives we have put together will work with the community to deliver inspiring art to be enjoyed by all visitors to the town hall when it reopens in late summer 2023.

“Without doubt they will represent the borough and serve to document the town hall for generations to come,” she added.

photo sally gilford

The seven artists and groups involved are:

•Alison Greyer, who specialises in textiles, pattern design, printmaking and mosaics

•Beggars Belief, which specialises in art, theatre and filmmaking

•Breaking Barriers, which will be producing audio, film and photography

•Louise Watson, who specialises in glass

•MayWild Studio, which specialise in a mixture of visual and traditional crafts

•Salford Slow Fashion, which works with textiles, pigment and print


•Sally Gilford, (see photo) who specialises in print and textiles


by Norman Warwick

We are pleased to announce that Rossendale Male Voice Choir, are one of six choirs in Lancashire to be in the final of Lancashire Choir of the Year 2022. This special competition will take place at Charter Theatre Preston on the 24th of November.

The judging panel on the night will consist of Jeff Borradaile (choral director and teacher), Jane Irwin (professional soloist), Tyndale Thomas (songwriter and arranger), and County Councillor Phillippa Williamson (leader of Lancashire County Council).

The six choirs to make the list are:-

Blackpool Male Voice Choir

Clitheroe Parish Church Amateur Operatic Dramatic Society (CPCAODS) Show Choir

Red Rosettes Show Choir

Lancaster Royal Grammar School Choir

Aughton Male Voice Choir

Rossendale Male Voice Choir

Sidetracks and Detours are certain that all the choirs will do their areas proud. We wish them luck.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.