MANRIQUE: the musical + plus music from elsewhere


at Jameos Del Agua, a theatre he designed

and more music besides

reviews by Norman Warwick

contributions all across the arts from Steve Cooke

We previewed CÉSAR MANRIQUE, the musical. on these pages last month, BOTH Lanzarote Information and on my own daily blog at Sidetracks And Detours, so I hope all our readers obtained tickets and saw the production which ran from Thursday 11th May through to concluding with two performances on Sunday 14th May.  

Readers of my weekly column here, or at my daily blog, will know that having lived on the island now for eight years, my wife and I see the late Manrique (left), not only as a great artist but also as a great visionary and pioneer in so many spheres. We became aware of him, as nearly every tourist does, on our first visit to the island and we marvelled at his windmills of all moving parts and some of his great artistic / architectural  designs at The Cactus Garden, Cic El Almacen and the incredible underground theatre in the caves at Jameos del Agua where, in fact, we saw this musical.

Over the years we have become as enthralled by the late artist as are the indigenous people of the island. We have come to realise that Cesar, like Da Vinci with his flying machines, was a visionary who saw that tourists would love the blues and views Lanzarote offers by the bucketful, and he knew that modern high speed aeroplanes of the tour operators would bring them here,… .if only we had an airport !

In Field Of Dreams fashion Manrique brought it to fruition, seemingly by following the film´s own advice  to  ´build it and they will come.´ As the airport was being built so he was re-building or at least re-shaping, Lanzarote into a tourist destination of integrity: true to its own self. Witness the traditional all white, one storey houses, the handful of CACT tourist designated sites that recall the history and predict the future of what the born-here inhabitants don´t seem to mind me calling our island of Lanzarote.

Perhaps Manrique´s greatest achievement was of somehow capturing and preserving the Lanzarotan traits that had seen its people endure and overcome the volcanic eruptions that poured layer upon hard-setting and unyielding layer of lava.

This musical recounted the life and work of the legendary artist and committed ecologist César Manrique (Lanzarote, 1919-1992).

With a captivating theatrical script and catchy songs, this show payed tribute to Manrique’s legacy on the centenary of his birth. It also highlighted his importance in contemporary Canary culture and his pioneering vision in social and environmental planning, turning his native island into an example to follow worldwide. Featuring 40 artists, this large-format musical took the audience on a journey through the different locations in which Manrique developed his work, from here on his native island of Lanzarote, to Madrid and New York, and back again.

CÉSAR MANRIQUE, the musical, is a production made in the Canary Islands that will leave an indelible mark on your heart.

The opening scene shows a ten year old child picking up pebbles, shells and other flotsam and jetsam on the beach at F amara as his parents speak to fishermen and to the workers who lived  there. It is a lovely and revealing scene as we see young Manrique intently watching the actions and movements of the workers and examining his found items and exploring their shape and studying their colours, and examining to see what they were and how had been formed and shaped. The scene gives a clue that Cesar would have stayed by the shoreline all day had his parents let him. It was obvious in this scene that he liked people, and was liked by people. We see some of his sense of mischief but also some of that curiosity that was surely an ingredient of his greatness as an artist.

Throughout the play we follow the course of Manrique´s life, We see much of his sense of humour and camaraderie with the peers of his art world. We see moments of inspiration, seemingly out of nowhere and we see his ability to galvanise action in both an artistic sense and in social intervention. We see him at high points of his life in Madrid, and in Seville and we see him at times of historic importance and unrest such as the Franco  era on Spain. We see Manrique´s great vision as he created Mirador Del Rio, and then tragically, we saw how his life ended, the horror of the creash being ingeniously represented rather than shown here, and we see the mourning and the applause for a life well-lived.

The ensemble cast deliver this entire story perfectly and seamlessly. It is a busy performance full of songs, whether reflective, or prophetic. The songs are folk-lorish in some cases, but also imitate the Euro-pop that was increasingly heard on Lanzarote as the tourists brought their music when visiting and subsequently as a new generation of island musicians adapted the music of Lanzarote to those Euro-pop traits to their own Spanish, Canarian, Lanzarotan and Latin American sounds. I swear we even had a Bo Diddley beat in one particular song and, too, a sample from an opera in another.

The music and vocals  were beautifully and excellently performed in both solo and ensemble deliveries, and I never thought I´d hear myself say this, but there are potential hits here, given enough exposure (of which more later)

It is not to denigrate any of the cast or the producers or writers in any way, though, when I say the stars of the show were the scenery, props and the lighting. The lit back-drops and the versatility of a couple of props that were easily moveable but which so much changed the scene from a bedsit to a beach or from a studio to a street scene are beyond my descriptions. Amazing effects created corners and slopes and cliffs and shorelines in a stunning manner.

And also taking a bow should be the lighting crew who captured not only the carnage of the car crash that cost Manrique his life but also the brightness of his colours, his clear visions and even his shades of doubt. Of course, this theatre that Manrique designed lends itself to subtle but ingenious lighting effects, and all this combined to make this my greatest experience in a theatre since seeing a Welsh National Opera production of Under Milk Wood in the nineteen seventies at The Mayfair Theatre in London.

Dee and I agreed as we talked on the way home from Jameos Del Agua that the show, with the support that is given to Lloyd Webber productions for example, would surely grace the West End in the UK or Broadway in the States, We had heard members of the audience leaving the theatre, speaking of being reminded of the Eva Peron crowd scenes in Evita, and I had been put in mind, too, of musicals such as Cabaret and West Side Story. Whether a translation to English would benefit Manrique: The Musical I cannot say, but I guess it would broaden its appeal.

There is no need to sign major name stars. The cast is already perfect. This is a musical deserving of a major showcase tour, a cd of its soundtrack  and a film that then captures all that. Seriously this could became a huge hit.

Meanwhile, though, there has also been much to admire on the UK music scene. We are grateful to all the following contributors, for the news items below.

Graham Marshall, Rochdale Music Society:

English Folk Expo:

Jazz In Reading:

Steve Cooke: all across the arts:

The Stoller Hall from Fran@The Stoller


for Rochdale Music Society, May 2023

reviewed by Graham Marshall

Clare Hammond has played for the Rochdale Music Society on two previous occasions and each time left an abiding impression of being a pianist of consummate artistry and skill. This third occasion was just as satisfying! She came with a programme making great demands on the performer in some of the early twentieth century’s most spectacular works for piano, preceded by some engaging insights into less spectacular, but equally enjoyable and aesthetically rewarding, music by two comparatively unknown female composers of the early nineteenth century. A delightful and spectacular combination.

The concert began with what was an eye-opening series of twelve of the Etudes written in 1820 by the French composer Hélène de Montgeroult, whom Clare has been prominent in making known to the concert-goers in recent years. With good cause, since this music is, as Clare’s beautifully controlled performance revealed, equal to Chopin’s in every way – melodically, harmonically, texturally and structurally. Next came Clara Schumann’s Scherzo No. 2 in C minor, a work combining passionate intensity and graceful tenderness which was given a powerfully persuasive performance. The rest of the first half of the concert was devoted to Beethoven’s Sonata No. 8 Op. 13, known as the ‘Pathétique’. The dark fantasy and warm lyricism of this music was well and truly on display as Clare’s finger magic worked its way through its ground-breaking dramatic structure in a finely detailed performance.

The second half of the concert began with some of the most difficult music a concert pianist could choose to tackle, the five pieces making up the set entitled ‘Miroirs’ (Mirrors) by Ravel. These were written in the middle of the ‘noughties’ of the twentieth century by a composer, who at that time numbered himself among a group of Parisian artists calling themselves ‘the hooligans’ (Les Apaches), and whose vision was open to musical landscapes and seascapes of extravagantly futuristic impact. When played as a set by a pianist as accomplished as Clare Hammond their effect can be, and was indeed on this occasion, of enormous aesthetic sensation and satisfaction. In particular her account of No. 3, ‘Une barque sur l’océan’ (a little boat in the midst of an immense sea’) had moments when it felt as though the rippling of waves against the sides of the boat were reassuringly calm, and moments of when it felt as though a tsunami was engulfing the audience on the shore as well as the boat struggling to keep afloat. It was something of a brilliant stroke of programming that the next music was such a contrast to what had just been achieved and what was yet to come. It was ‘Deep river’, one of the numerous Negro melody arrangements of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, a London-born composer of mixed race who was quite a celebrity in the late 19th century. Nothing spectacular, nothing superficial, this gave both pianist and audience a few moments of soulful reflection in no way distorted by mirrors!

To end the concert Clare played three of the pieces that go to make up ‘Iberia’ by Albeniz, the Spanish composer who had undoubted influence on Ravel and other composers often described as ‘impressionist’. These were a very high note on which to end an evening of high notes! As the challenging textures and scandalously evocative rhythms and melodies of the final piece, ‘Triana’, died away the audience made clear its enthusiastic appreciation of the remarkable sharing of musical experience it had enjoyed. Clare returned to the piano and played as an encore, and to everyone’s delight, another of the Etudes of Montgeroult.

What a privilege it had been to have seen and heard such a concert.

We are grateful to English Folk Expo
for allowing us to share the following information

ON THE MOVE with English Folk Expo

Meanwhile, over in the UK the vibrancy in the Official Folk Albums Chart continues with thirteen new entries for April with yet again a new number 1.

Discovered on Youtube aged just 12, Billy Marten‘s ‘Drop Cherries’ (Fiction) is straight in at number 1 and sees a return to the light touch and folk inspired sounds of her 2016 debut.

The Young’uns ‘Tiny Notes (Hudson), new in at number 5, takes it’s name from messages tied to the railings of a bridge in Sunderland and includes a song written for 3 Dads Walking, the three fathers who united through the mutual loss of their daughters to suicide.  If you would like to donate to the 3 Dads Walking suicide prevention fundraiser you can do so here.

Isle of Skye piper Brighde Chaimbeul’s second album ‘Carry Them With Us’ (Glitterbeat) arrives in the chart at number 7. At The Barrier says of the album, ‘Ancient music has seemed seldom so avant-garde’.

Close on her heels at number 8 is Nashville-based, Romford-born singer-songwriter and pedal steel guitarist Spencer Cullum with ‘Spencer Cullum’s Coin Collection 2’ (Full Time Hobby), arriving in at number 9. Song Bar describes it as, ‘charming, gorgeous, with a flavour of another place and era’.

New in at 9 is Blackmore’s Night ‘Shadow Of The Moon – 25th Anniversary’ (Ear Music) which marks a quarter century since Deep Purple and Rainbow member Richie Blackmore joined forces with Candice Night for their debut album. This new version was converted in HD audio and fully remixed.

Number 10 this month is Scot Alasdair Roberts with ‘Grief In the Kitchen And Mirth In The Hall’ (Drag City). Folk Radio UK says, ‘every moment of Grief In The Kitchen sings with the taut realisation that we can learn a great deal from the past mistakes’.

Other new entries in this month’s chart are Josienne Clark‘s ‘Onliness’ (Corduroy Punk) at 14, Craig Gould’s ‘Songs From The Campfire’ (Craig Gould) at 16 and Reg Meuross’s ‘Stolen From God’ (Hatsongs) at 21. O’Hooley & Tidow’s new studio album ‘Cloudheads’ (No Masters Cooperative) is new at 24 and ‘Aspirin Sun’ (Bella Union) by Emma Tricca arrives in at 26.  Lucy Farrell’s ‘We Are Only Sound’ (Hudson) is at 36 and our last new entry is ‘Flow Country’ (Braw Sailin) by Westward Light at 40.

Congratulations to all charting artists. ***To receive chart graphics to celebrate your success please contact

To view the full Official Folk Albums Chart chart click here.  To watch to Official Folk Chart Show again, click here or the image below. 

The Official Folk Albums Chart is compiled by The Official Chart Company and produced by English Folk Expo. The Official Folk Albums Chart Show is presented by Folk On Foot with the support of English Folk Expo.

More artist names have been announced for the English Folk Expo and Manchester Folk Festival programme for 19th-21st October 2023.  Performing in venues across Manchester’s Northern Quarter, the following artists have just been added to the line-up:

Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly – Singer-songwriter Sam Duckworth took his stage moniker from a Retro Games magazine headline, so the story goes. He was signed to Atlantic Records in 2006 and is an activist who has collaborated with artists including Billy Bragg, Lily Allen, Nitin Sawhney and Baba Maal.

Ríoghnach Connolly & Honeyfeet – A BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Folk Singer of the Year, Ríoghnach Connolly, along with her companion players, Honeyfeet, collectively drive a broad terrain of musical textures from esoteric protest songs to floor-thumping dance rhythms.

Martin Carthy: A Special Evening of Song & Conversation with Jon Wilks – An extra-special chance to hear master craftsman Martin Carthy (right) perform and reminisce about his illustrious career in folk music to date, with musical interludes and conversation with his talented friend, musician and journalist, Jon Wilks.

Lady Nade – Americana UK Nominated Artist of The Year 2023 Lady Nade is continuing her rise as a multi-award winning, eclectic folk and Americana singer-songwriter. 

Sam Lee – Sam is an acclaimed, award-winning inventive singer, a folk song collector, conservationist and promoter of live events as founder/director of The Nest Collective.

Ward Knutur Townes – The band of three singer-songwriters was formed during Lockdown through the Global Music Match project. Their highly anticipated debut album is due for release in October ’23.

Rosie Hood Band – Led by BBC Radio 2 Horizon Award nominee Rosie, alongside Nicola Beazley, Robyn Wallace and Rosie Butler-Hall, the Rosie Hood Band combine outstanding musicianship and a deep understanding of tradition.

Philippa Zawe – This Yorkshire-based singer-songwriter of Ugandan heritage has had her music described as, ‘audio self-care at its finest’ (Two Story Melody).

Iona Lane – With intricate guitar playing and the hypnotic tones of a shruti box, Iona’s voice has been captivating audiences up and down the country. Her debut album, ‘Hallival’. reached 37 in the Official Folk Albums Chart.

Bryony Griffith & Alice Jones – Hailing from West Yorkshire, both are long-time purveyors of English folk music, united by a fascination with local folk song collections inspired by the Yorkshire landscape, language and industry.
Mishra – Formed in 2018 as a creative partnership between Kate Griffin and Ford Collier, Mishra explores the boundaries around UK folk music and Indian classical music. They will perform with their full band line-up and special guest Deepa Shakthi.

Industry and, this year for the first time, artists, can register for English Folk Expo here.  Early Bird delegate passes are available at £160 + VAT.  The pass gives access to all private industry delegate events and all Manchester Folk Festival performances.

We move smoothly, now, from folk to jazz.

Ian Shaw
The Magic of Joni Mitchell

Bishop’s Court Farm

Dorchester on Thames OX10 7HP

Sunday 21 May
Doors 6pm | Show 7 – 9pm | £20

Above are all the details you need to know to be able to reserve a place at the fourth show in an exciting series of contemporary jazz evenings at Bishop’s Court Farm

‘Shaw captures the poetry in Joni’s songs with an eye-watering vocal range. If you’re into jazz but not Joni, don’t be put off.’ BBC Music

One of the finest voices in British jazz, Ian Shaw (right, has collaborated with an array of legendary stars including Quincy Jones and Van Morrison.

Multi award-winning singer and pianist Ian Shaw performs a powerful solo show celebrating one of the greatest songwriters of all time. He was the first male artist to record an entire album of Joni Mitchell’s songs (Drawn To All Things), gaining plaudits and new fans the world over. This unique show reflects the wit, emotion and storytelling of Mitchell’s rich songbook.

With a warm and instantly recognisable style all his own, Ian Shaw has won numerous awards and released a string of critically acclaimed albums. Dubbed ‘one of the UK’s most musical jazz vocalists’ by the Guardian, Shaw has performed on some of the world’s most prestigious stages – from New York’s Jazz At The Lincoln Center to London’s Ronnie Scott’s.
 Drinks will be available to purchase on the evening.
Doors: 6pm, show 7 – 9pm.

Bishop’s Court Farm, 91 High St, Dorchester on Thames OX10 7HP 

Book tickets here – £20

Future Snug Sessions

Sunday 4 June

Ciyo Brown’s Acoustic Soul Sessions featuring Geraldine Reid
Sunday 18 June

Claire Martin OBE with Rob Barron (piano)

The Great American Songbook

Sunday 2 July

The Ray Charles Project – The Jeremy Sassoon Quintet
Sunday 16 July

The Music Of Bill Evans Featuring The Paul Edis Trio with Special Guest Noa Lev
Information here


jir logog 

Jazz in Reading stages regular events with top-class bands at Reading’s Progress Theatre. See the current programme here

We list jazz events in Reading and the wider area at no charge – simply submit your gig details. We also offer an affordable service to further promote events – such as the one above – by email: details here.

Jazz in Reading, using its extensive contacts in the jazz world, is in an excellent position to help you find the right band for your wedding, party or other special occasion.

Jazz at Progress

brought to you by Jazz in Reading

Friday 2 June 2023

Alex Clarke Quartet

Alex Clarke alto & tenor saxophones

Dave Newton** piano
Dave Green bass

Clark Tracey drums

A finalist in the BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year 2020, winner of the Rising Star category in the 2019 British Jazz Awards, nominee in the Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2021 & ’22 and a star of the 2022 Swanage Jazz Festival, Alex Clarke (left) is one of the most melodic and versatile young saxophonists emerging on the British jazz scene.

With a Rolls Royce’ rhythm section in support, Alex will be presenting a mixture of innovative arrangements of standards, original compositions and music by the likes of Phil Woods and Paquito D’Rivera in an authentic homage to the art of straight-ahead bebop.

 Praised for her extensive repertoire list and intelligent ear for harmony, Alex Clarke brings a youthful, intuitive approach which sounds authentic in a variety of musical settings from New Orleans to bebop. Her sound is steeped in the tradition of jazz; her deep respect for the heritage of the music can be heard in a swinging, melodic approach reminiscent of Scott Hamilton and Lester Young, with strong influences of Phil Woods and Cannonball Adderley.

 Alex released her debut album “Mirage”in 2018 and followed up in 2022 with her quartet album, “Only A Year”, featuring the immaculate rhythm section of Dave Newton, Dave Green and Clark Tracey, three of the most experienced and accomplished musicians to grace the UK and International jazz scenes. 

As well as leading her own projects, Alex has performed alongside many notable names, such as Gilad Atzmon, Greg Abate, Bruce Adams and Art Themen and recorded an album with The TJ Johnson Band, entitled Songs from the Jazz Country”. She has recorded for projects ranging from folk to Northern soul, including recent sessions at the prestigious Abbey Road Studios.

 A  confident multi-instrumentalist – saxophones, flute and clarinet – and reader, Alex is experienced at working in pit bands for musical theatre productions and, as an educator, she has worked at Warwick School for three years, as well as tutoring on workshops and Summer Schools across the country.
“The music is really good and I know you will enjoy it” – Scott Hamilton


We regret that Dave Newton will be unable to appear as listed.

On this occasion Alex’s Quartet will feature Rob Barron, a wonderfully gifted and versatile pianist who has played all over the world and with American visiting artists such as Al Jarreau,  Benny Golson and Phil Woods. He is a regular member of Ronnie Scott’s Orchestra and a first call session musician who has played on many film and TV soundtracks including The Great Gatsby and Peaky Blinders.

Appearing at The Manchester Music Festival later this year will be The Emerson String Quartet. The ensemble has maintained its status as one of the world’s premier chamber music ensembles for more than four decades. The Quartet has made more than 30 acclaimed recordings and has been honored with nine GRAMMYs® (including two for Best Classical Album), three Gramophone Awards, the Avery Fisher Prize, and Musical America’s “Ensemble of the Year” award.

Join Manchester Music Festival in welcoming the Emerson String Quartet to the Arkell Pavilion stage on June 29, 2023 for our Season Opener Mainstage Chamber Concert.  This performance, which is the only Vermont stop on their world-wide farewell tour, is one you won’t want to miss.

The Emerson String Quartet demonstrates in words and music their unique democratic nature in how they develop programs, rehearse, and explore options for interpretation. They also demonstrate a clear love for ensemble playing and the value each member brings to the music and the group. In the end, they all agree: “The music is the boss.”


JASDEEP SINGH DEGUN Thursday 8 June, 7.30pmStandard £25, U18/Students £5.50
Fresh from his stint as composer-in-residence for Opera North, sitar virtuoso Jasdeep Singh Degun (right) comes to Manchester to perform a compelling blend of Indian tradition and the modern rhythmic ambience of western classical music.

Written with the guidance of acclaimed contemporary composer Nitin Sawhney, his music ranges from high-wire sitar solos to ravishingly orchestrated cinematic excursions, backed by an eight-piece ensemble of musicians drawn from across the UK’s classical and jazz scenes.
we are grateful to Steve Cooke of aata for allowing us to share this information below with our readers

All Across The Arts Preview: with Steve Cooke (left)


Coronation Street’s Christine Mackie takes title role in all female and non-binary production of the iconic Shakespearean tragedy.

HER Productions, Unseemly Women and Girl Gang Manchester have announced the casting of Christine Mackie – Coronation Street’s much-loved Dr Gaddas – in the title role of their joint Shakespearian production, Lear. Playing at Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester this will mark the companies’ fifth, all female and non-binary joint Shakespearian production.

Directed by Kayleigh Hawkins, Christine Mackie will take a fresh and boundary-less approach to the iconic tragedy of the ageing monarch who, before dividing up their vast kingdom between their daughters, asks them to prove which loves them best. This Lear will explore the monarch colliding with the working class; the very people they have abandoned and let down. A world where systems are breaking down and a plush corporate boardroom can fall into ruin and disarray.

Of her forthcoming role Christine commented: “I am so very excited about playing Lear in this all female and non-binary production; it is the most accessible and human story; the language is just beautiful, and it is full of fantastic characters. Lear’s journey is pretty daunting; from supreme leader to someone who learns to feel ‘what wretches feel’ and as a mother of daughters myself, I’m fascinated by Lear’s family relationships… honestly, I cannot wait to start working with this fantastic cast and creative team on this extraordinary play. To be doing so in the North West is also a real delight.”

Christine Mackie (right) is perhaps best known for playing Coronation Street’s genial GP Dr Gaddas – a role she has played for over nine years since 2014 diagnosing and treating most of Weatherfield, from Roy to Rita, Peter to Paul, Summer to Steve and even bad guy Pat Phelan!

Avid Downton Abbey viewers will also recognise her from series 2 and 3 as Mrs Bryant, whom she played over five episodes. Christine has performed both on screen and on stage in many other roles including The Grand, Banana, My Phone Genie, French and Saunders, Wire in the Blood, and Fat Friends. This marks her sixth Shakespearian role, having previously played Titania in MSND, Adrianna in Comedy of Errors, Elizabeth in Richard III, and Lady Macduff in Macbeth, twice!

In 2019, she received critical acclaim for writing her very first play – Best Girl – which she took to both the Greater Manchester and Edinburgh Fringe and in which her own daughter, actress Lois Mackie starred and last year her new play KIN premiered at the Dukes in Lancaster and will tour in 2024. Completing the cast and joining Mackie on stage are alice proctor as Edgar, Haylie Jones as Edmund, Gina Fillingham as Goneril, Teddy Oyediran as Regan, Ella Heywood as Cordelia, Fiona Scott as Gloucester, Adelina Lece-Bere as Kent, Phoebe Farrington as Fool, Emily Heyworth as Albany, Amy du Quesne as Cornwall and Nellie Fogarty as Oswald.

HER Productions, Unseemly Women and Girl Gang Manchester stage annual Shakespeare productions that are always female led to showcase local talent and highlight how an all-female and non-binary company is no boundary to creating universal work. These productions are ‘Unseemly’ by name and unseemly by nature. In 2022 they proudly began a. new partnership with Shakespeare North Playhouse, touring their productions to Prescot, as well as their wonderful resident home, at Hope Mill Theatre.

Hannah Ellis Ryan, HER Productions founder and Lear producer said: ‘Lear feels like the ‘next stage’ in every way possible. We are in the Cockpit theatre at SNP, we have the phenomenal Christine Mackie with us, and we are organically growing as a company every year. I really feel audiences are in for a very special treat with this sleek, Succession-style, version of Shakespeare which we also believe will be the first time Lear has been cast and staged with an all-female and non-binary cast.”

June 7-18. Hope Mill Theatre.

For more information visit the website here.

As we wander down our sidetracks and detours we often cross paths with my former colleague Steve Cooke heading in another direction all across the arts. He told us the above story, and several others that unfortunately we couldn´t reconcile with our timeframes. However, we can tell you that Steve also mentioned


An incredible mission to reach the moon by Starchitects (left), saying the new show from Motionhouse is a joyful cosmic adventure.

With its mix of gravity-defying choreography and digital projections, Starchitects is a visual spectacle using the dance-circus fusion that the company is renowned for. As we join this magical adventure, Starchitects allows us to revisit the magic of our childhood imagination where anything is possible… when a cardboard box can be a train and a dressing up box is the start of countless thrilling adventures.

Full of fun and thrilling surprises, Starchitects has an easy-to-follow and humorous storyline, making it perfect for a fun and entertaining trip out with children, friends, or the whole family.

Running time: 55mins (no interval)

Suitable for 3 to 12 years

Tickets £15 (Concessions £11)

Thursday, June 1 to Saturday, June 3

HOME Theatre 1

For more information, visit the website here.

Want to meet the characters from Starchitects? Now’s your chance! Head to the foyer after each performance to meet your favourite characters from the show.

Starchitects Stay and Play

After the performance, join Motionhouse and go on a free fun-packed adventure of your own together! You’ll have the chance to play a range of games as featured in the show, using your imagination to go on your own daring mission to space.

Free; Friday, June 2, 4pm

Steve had more stories to tell us of things he had already seen and had yet to see. He told us about a recent meeting of the


with Ian Parkinson In the Chair

There was recently a session of Tim Bobbin Revisited presented by Alison Cooper and Jim Parker. Edwin Waugh Dialect Society meetings are held on the second Tuesday of every month (previously Wednesday) from October to June, commencing at 7.30pm at St Andrew’s Methodist and United Reformed Church, Rochdale (between Rochdale Leisure Centre and Aldi). There is free onsite parking.

Annual subscription is £5, but voluntary donations at each meeting help defray the cost of the room hire. Your first meeting is free.

Formed in 1938 by a group of Lancashire Dialect enthusiasts, the objects of the society are the maintaining and increasing of interest in Lancashire. At the meetings, members are entertained by a speaker or a performer.

Phone: 01706 826227

Time: 7.30pm start – 9pm

St Andrew’s Methodist and United Reformed Church, Entwistle Road, Rochdale OL16 2HZ

Steve also reminded us about the Wednesday Art Group.

The weekly Art Club will regularly explore a variety of topics using collage, drawing, painting, and mixed media drawing from Touchstones Rochdale’s current exhibitions and the borough’s collections. All materials will be provided.

The sessions are designed to reduce stress, build confidence, and meet others through creativity. Creative Health and Well Being Ltd is a not-for-profit organisation based in Rochdale. They run art sessions that are informal and relaxed whilst ensuring the topics are informative and help participants to build skills.

Cost: Free

Time: 11am

Touchstones Gallery Rochdale, The Esplanade, Rochdale OL16 1AQ

Steve Cooke was not yet done. He is forensic in his search for what is going on all across the arts in whatever part of the world he finds himself. He hadn´t yet left Rochdale on this particular morning but he had already told us plenty of tales we could share with our readers, too. Now he was informing us od a series of musical concerts that grows from strength to strength.

Toad Lane Concerts – Rochdale’s Weekly Music at Lunchtime

This week we have Music from The Nightingale Singers – 20+choir conductor Ken Greaves acc. J Edward Rigg. The concert series has been held at St Mary’s since 2001 and was granted the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2020… during the pandemic!

Running every Wednesday, Music at Lunchtime is a weekly live classical music concert series that has been going since the 1960s. The sessions were initially run at the old Rochdale Art Gallery by the local authority, but since May 2001 have been run by volunteer-enthusiasts and artistic director, Dr Joe Dawson.

Cost: £6

Phone: Dr Joe Dawson 01706 648872

Time: Doors open 12 noon, concert starts 12.30pm – 1.30pm

St Mary in the Baum, Toad Lane/St Mary’s Gate, Rochdale OL16 1DZ

Steve chatted on telling us about a concert he had seen by

THE BLACK DYKE BAND Thursday, May 11

Over 160 years old, Black Dyke is described as the most famous brass band in the world having toured Japan, USA, Australia, Europe and having performed with the likes of Elton John and The Beatles. Performing on The Pyramid Stage, Glastonbury in 2017, is testament that Black Dyke is no normal ‘brass band’ and appeals to a wide-ranging audience!

Come and hear for yourself what it’s like to experience the uplifting sounds of a ‘traditional’ brass band in the 21st century.


previewed by all across the arts correspondent,

Steve Cooke

Two exciting events have been announced as part of current Spring 2023 exhibitions at HOME

The HOME venue is presentIing two exciting events as part of current Spring 2023 exhibitions: Out of Memory: the films of Nick Jordan and Chris Paul Daniels In Conversation: Nick Jordan, Chris Paul Daniels and Parham Ghalamdar + Guests

Out of Memory: the films of Nick Jordan and Chris Paul Daniels Marina’s Cinema Tue 16 May 18:00

In Conversation: Nick Jordan, Chris Paul Daniels and Parham Ghalamdar + Guests Naziha Arebi, Derek Horton and Shezad Dawood Event Space

Sat 20 May 14:00

HOME is presenting two exciting events part of their current Spring exhibitions, including a screening of the films by Nick Jordan and Chris Paul Daniels, and an in conversation event with the three exhibiting artists and their guests Naziha Arebi, Derek Horton and Shezad Dawood.

The film event, Out of Memory, with Chris Paul Daniels and Nick Jordan will feature short films parallel to their respective exhibitions Is there anybody there? and Natural Interaction and will showcase work that both artists have made in Iceland. The screening will be followed by a Q&A, chaired by independent curator Jamie Allan, and offers the chanced to learn more about their hybrid forms of observational filmmaking.

The conversation event provides a unique opportunity to learn more about the exhibiting artists and their guests on their practices, the themes in their work, as well as hearing them discuss the inspirations behind the exhibitions and discuss issues raised in their work in dialog with their invited guest, before they come together for a panel discussion, followed by a drinks reception and the chance to speak to the artists.

photo Naziha Nick Jordan will be joined by BAFTA nominated British-Libyan artist and filmmaker Naziha Arebi. Working at the intersection of art and activism, Arebi has been platformed by MUBI, The Guardian, ARTE, Aljazeera, amongst others, and her work has been screened at global festivals such as TIFF, BFI, CPH:DOX and Sheffield DocFest. Adjacent to art and filmmaking, Naziha is a mentor, programmer and cultural facilitator with an interest in exploring creative sustainable solutions related to food sovereignty and land rights.

Chris Paul Daniels ) will be joined by artist, writer, critic, curator and co-founder of online magazines /seconds and Soanyway Derek Horton (right) He has a background in community-based arts education and projects and has taught art for many years in higher education, including being the Director of Research at Leeds Metropolitan University’s School of Contemporary Art and Graphic Design until 2008 and a Visiting Professor at The School of Art, Birmingham City University. Horton writes, mostly about art, in reviews, interviews and essays for books, catalogues and magazines and was part of a three-person collective that ran &Model gallery in Leeds from 2013 to 2017. Recently, as an independent research curator alongside the art historian Dr Alice Correia, supported by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, he co-curated the exhibition A Tall Order! Rochdale Art Gallery in the 1980s, for Touchstones Rochdale.

Parham Ghalamdar will be joined by multidisciplinary artist Shezad Dawood (left) who interweaves stories, realities and symbolism to create richly layered artworks, spanning painting, textiles, sculpture, film and digital media. Dawood is fascinated by ecologies and architecture and takes a philosophical approach to his work. Selected collections include Guggenheim; Arts Council Collection; Tate; UBS; LACMA, Los Angeles; National Gallery of Canada; Government Art Collection, UK; US Government Art Collection; The British Museum, London; Sharjah Art Foundation; Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Delhi; Rubin Museum of Art, New York; and Mathaf, Doha. His film works have been screened internationally, including at the ICA, London; MoMA, New York, Guggenheim, New York, and at various film festivals including CPH:DOX, Sharjah Biennial 14 (awarded Special Mention Jury Prize 2019); Oberhausen and Aesthetica (awarded Artist’s Film Prize 2015).

Natural Interaction by Nick Jordan (right) explores the interdependencies between social and ecological healthcare and wellbeing. Drawing upon Nick’s recent collaborations with ecologists, materials scientists, and healthcare professionals involved in medical genetics, the work interconnects the lived experience of rare health conditions with the reciprocal behaviours and symbiotic systems found in nature.

 Painting, An Unending is a solo show of new work by Parham Ghalamdar (left) that calls on Persian and Western art traditions, graffiti, internet and digital culture.In this exhibition, elements abstracted from a range of personal and cultural references such as Piero de la Francesca’s fresco Dream of Constantine, objects from American cowboy cartoons, or sci-fi references consumed during his childhood in Iran, are painted against bleak landscapes, creating often absurdly humorous epic scenes. Using an Artificial Intelligence tool as an extension of his sketchbook the results appear surprising and random, jumping from one epoch, or socio-political context, to another within the same canvas; exploring notions of identity politics, migration, freedom of movement, borders, community and belonging.

Is there anybody there? by Chris Paul Daniels (right) is an exhibition for which Chris Paul Daniels has sourced 70 different films from the North West Film Archive at Manchester Metropolitan University to create a monumental study of cultural traditions, procession and ceremony. Guided by the unseen presence of a disembodied voice, the artist’s fictional script is accompanied with an original musical score composed by Graham Massey (808 State, Massonix).

Natural Interaction, a solo exhibition by artist Nick Jordan. Featuring new films, prints, photographs, painting and sculptural works, the exhibition explores the interdependencies between social and ecological healthcare or wellbeing. Drawing upon the artist’s recent collaborations with ecologists, materials scientists, and healthcare professionals involved in medical genetics, the work interconnects the lived experience of rare health conditions with the reciprocal behaviours and symbiotic systems found in nature.

A new film trilogy (Rare Frequencies, Genetic Sequences and The Entangled Forest) captures the unique features of ecologically diverse habitats which sustain many rare or endangered species, playing a vital role in mitigating the impacts of climate change. Combined with audio conversations that reflect upon the importance of science and the lessons we can learn from nature, Jordan’s hybrid documentaries explore diverse landscapes and ecosystems, including restored peatlands, networks of mycelium, botanical gardens, urban woodlands and ancient forests; threading together themes of community and mutuality, resilience and renewal.

Rare Frequencies draws upon conversations with people impacted by rare diseases, as well as health practitioners involved in medical genetics and counselling. Jordan combines the discussions with footage he filmed at a restored peatland habitat on the edge of Manchester, which now hosts many rare species of wildlife.

Genetic Sequences continues the conversations with medical geneticists and psychologists, filmed in Vienna for the European Society of Human Genetics. The discussions reflect on interrelated issues such as global healthcare inequalities, access to vaccines, trust in science and hopes for the future. Shot in a single weekend, the film captures an urban topography, from public parks and city streets to the global plant collection of the University of Vienna’s Botanical Garden.

Completing Jordan’s trilogy of new films is The Entangled Forest, which explores the reciprocal, shared behaviours that exist between trees and fungi. Filmed from the heat of late summer to the frozen depths of winter, in diverse woodland habitats, the documentary features the voice of ecologist Suzanne Simard, and her ground-breaking research into the ‘biological neural network’ of forest ecosystems.

Each of the films feature an atmospheric and textural soundtrack score, recorded with traditional folk instruments, woodwind and analogue synths, composed by Otis Jordan (Rare Frequencies and Genetic Sequences) and Otis Jordan and Lord Mongo (The Entangled Forest).

Creating dialogue and interconnections with the films are a series of new works by the artist, including mushroom spore prints presented as a family tree, archival botanical drawings, a greenhouse, and a living micro habitat of native bog plants.

Painting, An Unending, a solo show of new work by Parham Ghalamdar is his largest institutional exhibition to date. Drawing on traditions of Persian and Western art, graffiti, internet and digital culture, elements abstracted from a range of personal and cultural references such as Piero de la Francesca’s fresco Dream of Constantine and objects from American cowboy cartoons or sci-fi refences consumed during his childhood in Iran, are painted against bleak landscapes creating often absurdly humorous epic scenes. Manipulating master’s paintings using an Artificial Intelligence tool, that functions as an extension of his sketchbook, the work jumps from one epoch, or socio-political context, to another within the same canvas; exploring notions of identity politics, migration, freedom of movement, borders, community and belonging.

The tent featured in Francesca’s 15 Cent. fresco Dream of Constantine is used as a trope throughout Painting, An Unending. Located in a church in Arezzo, Italy, the fresco depicts the night before the Battle of Milvern Bridge, fought between the Roman Emperors Constantine and Maxentius. Historicised as the event that marked the death of paganism and the birth of Christianity as the dominant religion for the empire and Europe, the work symbolises a significant turning point in social, cultural and political consciousness. As such, for Ghalamdar, the work signifies a moment of pause, an ‘in between state’; flickering between past and future; charged ambiguity or promise. Autobiographically, the work resonates as a state of transition, migration and shelter.

For Painting, An Unending, he has used an artificial intelligence tool that creates realistic images from text descriptions, as an extension of his sketchbook. Testing the AI generator’s capabilities in rendering the aesthetics of the classic masters into an image, he prompts it with social scenes or situations that due to his political beliefs or sexuality would be impossible in his homeland. The results appear surprising and random. Incorporating them into his work, he repaints and repeats the process endlessly. The work jumps from one epoch or socio/political order to another within the same canvas, exploring notions of identity politics, migration, freedom of movement, borders, community and belonging.

The repetition and production of his work can be seen as a liberating process of catharsis; reconciliation or reckoning with his past, coming of age in an authoritarian regime. In a country where imported western culture was readily consumed, yet laws on the production of culture in Iran are consistently ambiguous, redefined or banned, Ghalamdar pushes the limitations of the medium of painting through AI image synthesis, navigating the tensions and traversing between self-expression and authorship; authenticity and censorship.

Is there anybody there? a solo show by artist filmmaker, Chris Paul Daniels responds to place, merging communal memory with experimental observation and fictional narration. For this exhibition, Daniels has sourced 70 different films from the North West Film Archive at Manchester Metropolitan University, editing them together to create a monumental study of cultural traditions, procession and ceremony. Guided by the unseen presence of a disembodied voice, the artist’s fictional script and original musical score composed by Graham Massey (808 State, Massonix), reanimate past archival footage whilst addressing how film can be authored and mediated.

Original footage from across the North West has been shot by enthusiasts in their homes, on the street, by local film societies or professional productions, on media ranging from super 8 or 16mm film to analogue and digital video. The films feature elaborate costumes of popular and imaginary figures, people performing puppetry or magic tricks, competitive weightlifting, high wire acrobatics, community arts performances, or parades such as Whit walks, pageants and pride marches from as early as 1901 to the present day.

Edited together to create a continuous flowing choreography, Is there anybody there? explores notions of individual and collective archival memory, how it is created, by whom, (posing questions around who had the means to access the camera) and consequently whose stories, identities or cultures may be missing.

Daniels uses the archival footage as a malleable material to be sculpted, fragmented, collapsing and disrupting the chronology of time, dancing from one era or location to another. The composition of image, script and score are developed intuitively and in dialogue, both informing the other as the narrative evolves. The single voice narration meanders from benignly descriptive, speculative, teasing the viewer with visual jokes, to declaratory or conveying allusions to being summoned, and through the conflation with moving image, the film takes on a sentient presence.

In this film, archival footage normally presented as evidence, becomes mere speculation; a metaphor for the uncanny or past lives. Fascinated by the slippages between what is real and what is not, the artist explores how historical events morph between legend, myth or folklore, or how endlessly performed rituals can become estranged out of time. The precarity of the narrative of history is exposed through fictions told by an unreliable narrator and proposes new stories to make sense of our lives for a parallel present or a projected future

Credits and biographies:

Natural Interaction is curated by Clarissa Corfe.

Rare Frequencies produced for the Whitworth Group’s RARE/D podcast series, Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine, supported by Economic and Social Research Council and EURORDIS Rare Diseases Europe.

Genetic Sequences was commissioned by European Society of Human Genetics, with support from the University of Manchester and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.

The Entangled Forest was supported by UK Research & Innovation and The University of Manchester. Commissioned by HOME.

Earth House Hold is made with the cooperation of The Research Foundation for the State University of New York, University at Buffalo, School of Public Health and Health Professions.

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The primary sources for  this piece were written for by various writers and wherever possible the original writers have been attributed in the body of our text

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For a more comprehensive outline of our attribution policy see our for reference only post on 7th April entitled Aspirations And Attributions

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