Corrie star joins line up for the Wrap Party

We’re thrilled to say that comedian, TV presenter (Channel 5’s Celebs On The Farm and ITV1’s Zoe Ball On Saturday & Sunday) and Coronation Street actor Stephen Bailey will be joining the glittering line up for the Royal Wrap Party on Thursday 13th December.

Stephen has a friendly and open brand of gossipy humour that has made him one of the most sought after acts in UK comedy today. He recently supported Katherine Ryan and Jenny Eclair on their UK tours and will embark on his own brand new solo tour in spring 2019.

The Royal Wrap Party is our FREE (tickets required) thank you to all the communities and people who’ve joined us on the 150 journey. Hosted and curated by our inimitable Party Political Artists in Residence (and Television Award nominated!) Eggs Collective.

The night will also feature performances from St Helens’ own Kitty O’Shea and a drum troupe from OLC Productions. There will be competitions, crown making with Manchester’s Mighty Heart, an interactive stall with visual artist Amy Pennington and a well stocked bar, plus a disco with dance floor classics from DJ MissBaxter2U.

As Eggs Collective put it, “We’ve had such a fantastic year in St Helens as Party Political Artists in Residence. We’ve met brilliant, creative people in our high street pop up shop, danced through the streets to celebrate the Unsung Heroes of the borough in the St Helens Day Citizens’ Parade, been thoroughly out-karaoked and even persuaded a hall full of dignitaries to play the kazoo. The Royal Wrap Party feels like the perfect way to end the year: a fabulous party packed with comedy, music and prizes, with a generous dash of glitter thrown in for good measure.”

Strap on your dancing shoes, St Helens – we’ll see you there!

Book tickets here. 

TORCH Cast and Crew Announced

TORCH is a brand new production by ANU, directed by Louise Lowe and commissioned by the “Helen” Partnership formed of Heart of Glass, idle women and ANU. Find out more about TORCH here.

TORCH is an all female production across cast, creatives, tech teams and collaborators. The team has a total of 193 years of experience between them and for all but one of them, this is their first time working on an all female production.

We’re delighted to introduce you to:


Nandi Bhebhe

Nandi Bhebhe is a London born Southern African and trained at the Liverpool institute of Performing Arts.

Nandis credits include Episodes of Blackness with Vocab Dance company, A Season in the Congo at The Young Vic, Bill T. Jones Fela! at the National Theatre and on Broadway, Gwilym Golds music video ‘Triumph’,  White Out with Barrowland Ballet, Wayne McGregors EVERYbody Campaign with Alesandra Seutin, ‘Wrath’ for Channel 4s Random Acts, A Midsummer Nights Dream and Twefth Night at The Shakespeares Globe, Kneehigh Theatres 946 and The Tin Drum, A Monster Calls at The Old Vic and most recently ‘Boy Breaking Glass’ with Vocab Dance at Sadlers Wells Theatre.

Nandi has also co-directed works with artist Phoebe Davies as Bhebhe&Davies. Theses include ‘Creases’, a commissioned work for the Tate Modern, and short film ‘A Navigation’. Bhebhe&Davies also ran the Arts Admin Summer programme coaching 10 young artists to create short video works to camera, centered around the deconstructions and shifts of power.


Etta Fusi

Etta is an actor originally from Hull, now based in Manchester. This is her third time working with ANU (SUNDER, ON CORPORATION STREET) and is thrilled to be joining them again. Some of her most recent credits include;’I AM BECAUSE WE ARE'(Contact Theatre) ‘D FOR DEXTER’ (BBC Radio 4) ‘MORNING’ (Studio of the North)’TWENTY-ONE POUNDS’ (Cheltenham Everyman)’A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE’ (Royal Exchange), ‘The Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass’ Dir. by Helena Kaut-Howson. Short Film ‘Leg. Arm. Head’ Dir. Scout Stuart and ‘Carnival of Souls’ a binaural audio experience Dir. by Bren O’Callaghan in association with Cornerhouse/HOME mcr.






Sonia Hughes

Sonia has been a writer, performer and artist collaborator for the past 19 years. She wrote What Is The City But The People? The opening event of Manchester International Festival 2017. She performed in ANU’s On Corporation Street. Collaborations have been with dancers, Jo Fong, Frauke Requardt, Darren Pritchard, Jane Mason, directors Mark Whitelaw, Sarah Frankcom, Mem Morrison, Max Webster, and visual artists  Humberto Velez and Jeremy Deller. She has been a long time collaborator with Quarantine as a writer on the award-winning Susan & Darren, the epic Summer. Autumn. Winter. Spring. and as a performer in Entitled and Wallflower.

Niamh McCann

Niamh McCann trained as an Actor at The Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London (2003-06). She began her career at the prestigious Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, returning for several seasons thereafter, and has worked consistently with some of the leading theatre companies in the U.K and Ireland. Some of which include – National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, The Lyceum Edinburgh, Gate Theatre Dublin, Rough Magic, Abbey Theatre and ANU Productions’ Laundry (2011) & Angel Meadow (2014), Sunder (2016), On Corporation Street (2016) & These Rooms (2016), The Sin Eaters (2017) & These Rooms LIFT Festival at Shoreditch Town Hall 2018. Niamh collaborates across disciplines and has been part of a number of significant works with prestigious international artists. Television credits include The Clinic (RTÉ) and Holby City (BBC) River City (BBC), Little Roy (CBBC). Film credits include John Crowley’s Bafta & Oscar Nominated Brooklyn, The Cured, Directed by David Freyne, recently premiered at TIFF & Audi Dublin Film Festival.

Gillian McCarthy

Gillian’s most recent credits are The Lost O’Casey, Judging Shaw, Hentown and Hornets Nest directed by Louise Lowe for ANU Productions, and Futureproof directed by Tom Creed for the Everyman Theatre and Project Arts Centre. Other theatre includes Traitor Project Arts Centre, The Sylvia Smock Alley Theatre, Waiting for Elvis Axis Theatre, The Plough and the Stars  The Abbey Theatre and Irish tour, Juno and The Paycock Abbey Theatre and Royal National Theatre, London co-production, The Playboy of the Western World Druid Theatre Company.

Sarah Morris

Sarah’s most recent credit includes The Lost O’Casey ANU  Productions co production with The Abbey theatre for Dublin Theatre Festival; Class (The Traverse theatre Edinburgh, Edinburgh Fringe First Winners, Dublin Theatre Festival, Galway Arts Festival); Tina’s Idea of Fun (Abbey Theatre); The Bells Of (Theatre Upstairs); Lady Play (Scene and Heard Festival); King Lear (Second Age Theatre Company).

Lir Academy productions include Tarry Flynn; The Living Quarters and Pornography. Television work includes Inspector Jury (Octagon Films for ZDF).



Sinéad Diskin

Sound Design

Sinéad Diskin is a Dublin based sound designer, composer and song writer from Mayo. She is a graduate of the SEEDS programme with Rough Magic Theatre Company and has a BA in music from Trinity College Dublin. She has studied piano to diploma level with the Royal Irish Academy of Music and also writes and performs solo work.

Recent theatre credits include: Home Theatre: Ireland (Dublin Theatre Festival 2018), Serious Money by Caryl Churchill (The Lir), Incantata (Galway International Arts Festival), The Snapper (Gate Theatre), Mr. Burns: A Post Electric Play (Rough Magic SEEDS Showcase), Rapids (Shaun Dunne and Talking Shop Ensemble), 24 Hour Plays (Abbey Theatre), Eggsistentialism (Joanne Ryan, Tiger Dublin Fringe, Edinburgh Fringe Festival), Love and Information & Pornography (The Lir), Spring Awakening (Smock Alley Theatre) and as assistant sound designer/composer: The Train (Rough Magic) Danse, Morob (The Emergency Room), Mainstream (Rosaleen McDonagh and Fishamble), Death at Intervals (Adapted by Kellie Hughes for Galway Arts Festival 2016).

Sinéad also worked as assistant to sound designer Fitz Patton on the recent broadway production of Three Tall Women.


Maree Kearns

Set and Lighting Design

2018 designs include Rathmines Road for Fishamble Theatre Company & the Abbey Theatre, Class for Inis Theatre (Edinburgh Fringe First 2018) and The Wizard of Oz at the Cork Opera House. Other work includes Maz and Bricks and Invitation to a Journey (CoisCéim/ Crash Ensemble coproduction), Giselle for Ballet Ireland   Annie the Musical & Prodijig the Revolution for Cork Opera House, Agnes, Pageant & Faun/ As You Are for CoisCéim Dance Theatre, Vampirella, Opera Briefs  2018, 2016 & 2014 for R.I.A.M,  Monsters, Dinosaurs & Ghosts at the Peacock, Desire under The Elms for Corn Exchange, These, Zoe’s Play & Far Away From Me at The Ark, Hamlet, King Lear , Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth & Dancing at Lughnasa for Second Age,  Moll & Anglo the Musical for Verdant Productions, Plasticine  for CorcaDorca, A Winter’s Tale, Three Winters, In the Next Room, Scenes from the Big Picture & Troilus and Cressida for the Lir, The Dead School  & Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme for Nomad Theatre Network (Irish Times Best Set Designer 2009).Maree is the MFA Stage Design Course Director in the Lir Academy of Dramatic Art in Dublin.


Niamh Lunny

Costume Designer

Niamh is the recipient of the 2018/19 Jerome Hynes Scholarship on the Clore Leadership Programme, supported by the Arts Council of Ireland, she designs costumes, sets and visual art. She has worked for ANU, Decadent Theatre Company, the Abbey Theatre, Fishamble Theatre Company, The Performance Corporation, Rough Magic, NAYD, Theatre Lovett and The Ark, among many other theatre, film, television and production companies. She has also worked collaboratively and independently on a diverse range of commissions from events to merchandise. Previous work with ANU includes The Lost O’Casey, These Rooms, Sin Eaters, Sunder, On Corporation Street, Glorious Madness, PALS, Angel Meadow,Vardo, Laundry, The Boys of Foley Street. Niamh is a graduate of Limerick College of Art and Design and was Head of Costume at the Abbey Theatre where she served on the Board of Directors from 2013-17. Her recent design work there includes Ulysses, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme, The Waste Ground Party (set & costume), Heartbreak House, (Nominated for an Irish Times award for Best Costume Design), Maeve’s house (Set and Costume), The Risen People, The House, Other work includes Mainstream(Set and Costume), Inside the GPO(Set and Costume design),Tiny Plays for Ireland 1 & 2, Shorts (Fishamble Theatre Company) The Dead (Set & Costume), Expedition,The Big House Festival, Beautiful Dreamers, Swampoodle, Slatterys Sago Saga, The Seven Deadly Sins and the short film A Life for the Performance Corporation. Rossums Universal Robots, Salt Mountain(NAYD) She spent four years as costume coordinator at the Samuel Beckett Centre in Trinity College Dublin.


Louise Lowe


As a theatre maker Louise makes site-specific and immersive art works within communities of space, place and interest. Since co-founding ANU in 2009, she has directed all of the company’s work to date, including: The Sin Eaters (Dublin Theatre Festival, Hentown (Dublin City Council Commission for Tenement museum),  These Rooms (Art:2016) in collaboration with CoisCeim for Dublin Theatre Festival, On Corporation Street (Home Manchester / Culture Ireland) and Sunder, Last Words and PALS in collaboration with the National Museum of Ireland, Winner of two Irish Times Theatre Awards 2015), Reflecting the Rising (RTE), Rebel Rebel (National and International Tour), Beautiful Dreamers (Limerick City of Culture), Vardo (Dublin Theatre Festival), Angel Meadow (Winner of two Awards at Manchester Theatre Awards including Best Production and Best Ensemble, Nominated for Best Director Award, UK National Theatre Awards / HOME Manchester), Thirteen (Winner of the Judges Special Award, Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards), Dublin Tenement Experience, The Boys of Foley Street (Dublin Theatre Festival, Dublin City Council Public Art Commission, Winner Best Theatrical Production of the Year Award ERICS, Nominated for two Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards including Best Director Award), Laundry (Dublin Theatre Festival 2011, Winner of Best Production Award, Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards, Nominated for Best Director Award Irish Times Theatre Awards), World’s End Lane (Dublin Theatre Festival 2011, Dublin Fringe 2010, Winner Best Off-site Production Award, Nominated Best Production Award and Best Director Award, Irish Times Theatre Awards), Fingal Ronan (Robert Wilson Watermill Center New York), Memory Deleted (Winner Best Production Award) and Basin (Dublin Fringe Festival 2009, Winner Irish Times Theatre Awards).

Other directing credits include: Test Dummy (Theatre Upstairs, Nominated Best New Play, Irish Times Theatre Awards), Deep (Cork Opera House), The End of the Road (Fishamble), Across the Lough (Performance Corporation), Secret City, Right Here Right Now, The Baths, Demeter Project: Cultural Olympiad Production (Prime Cut Productions), The Bell Room, Come Forward to Meet You and Evensong (Upstate),

At the LIR Academy (Trinity College Dublin) Louise teaches devising theatre.  She was awarded the Captain Cathal Ryan Scholarship Award and the International Artist Residency at the Robert Wilson Centre, New York.  She has currently been awarded an Arts Council England, Ambition for Excellence Award.

Louise trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (University of London) and Sam Beckett Centre, Trinity College, Dublin.

Lynnette Moran

Creative Producer

Lynnette Moran is an independent Arts Producer & Festival Director specialising in Live Art, Theatre, Visual Art and Digital platforms; with distinct experience of producing collaborative & socially engaged arts practice & public art commissions. In 2009 Lynnette established Live Collision, Ireland’s leading annual curated festival of Live Art and Ireland’s first independent Creative Producing House working with exceptional artists nationally & internationally.

Lynnette is Creative Producer with ANU productions & Louise Lowe since 2013, one of two core producers on all productions to date including The Lost O’Casey, Hawknest, Zero-Hour, Faultline, These Rooms (LIFT), Hentown, The Sin Eaters, These Rooms (DTF), Falling Out of Standing, On Corporation Street, Sunder, Into the Sun, Reflecting the Rising, Rebel Rebel, Beyond the Barricades, Glorious Madness, Pals – the Irish at Gallipoli, Vardo and Angel Meadow.

Lynnette was co-founder & Lead Producer for CAPP (Collaborative Art Partnership Programme), a four year transnational partnership across six countries and nine partner organisations co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. From 2009 – 2017 Lynnette was Associate Producer at Create, the national development agency for collaborative arts (IRL).

Live Collision has also produced the work of several independent artists and artworks outside of the festival which include Amanda Coogan’s Talk Real Fine, Just Like A Lady; You Told Me To Wash and Clean My Ears and Amanda Coogan, LONG NOW (Film Doc); Athletes of the Heart, Anna FurseAn Anatomy Act and I AM NOT A PIECE OF MEAT (Digital Artwork); The Prosperity Project by Jesse Jones (OPW commission). FAST TRACK TO DANCE is a shared audience development initiative between Live Collision and Dublin Dance Festival, as too is Open Studio a creative learning lab exploring performance, connectivity and young people.

Lynnette has directed over 25 works for theatre and gallery spaces, as well as for screen and digital media. Together with Kate Craddock they co-founded mouth to mouth, an international performance collective based in eight countries around the world, rehearsing and devising online before the performances took place in real time across multiple locations. Commissions included LIFT (London International Festival of Theatre, UK), Arnolfini (UK), Wunderbar Festival (UK), Absolut Fringe Festival (Ire); Northern Stage (UK), Dance City (UK), Whitechapel Gallery (UK), Culture Lab (UK), BScene (Switzerland), University of Victoria (Canada) and BAC (Battersea Arts Centre, UK).

Lynnette began her career in London, cutting her teeth with some of the UK’s leading arts organisations including LIFT and BAC (Battersea Arts Centre) from 2005 – 2009. She holds a BA Hons Degree in Fine Art, and an MA in Performance Art from Goldsmiths College, London.


BOOKING NOW: Artist Professional Development Workshops

Booking is now open for a series of six practical artist professional development sessions for artists working within socially engaged practice. Hosted by Heart of Glass in collaboration with Mark Devereux Projects, the sessions will take place in St Helens between November 2018 and April 2019. You can find out more about the programme and Mark Devereux Projects here, or follow the links below for details of each workshop and how to book.

  1. Planning your project
  2. Talking about your work
  3. Finding the right opportunity
  4. Funding and fundraising
  5. Working with contracts
  6. Collaboration in the field

Heart of Glass, Old Beecham’s Building, Water Street, St Helens, WA10 1PP

10am – 4pm

Season Ticket – all 6 sessions: £135 (£108 concessions: students, senior citizens & St Helens based artists)

Individual sessions: £25 per session (£10 concession for students, senior citizens and St Helens based artists)

Heart of Glass is proud to be based in St Helens and is keen to support the development of artists living and working in the St Helens Borough. All artists with a St Helens postcode are eligible for a concessionary ticket rate.



Watch the video: St Helens Day Citizens’ Parade

On 30th June 2018 the St Helens Citizens’ Day Parade made its marvellous way across the town centre in celebration of the everyday heroes who make our town such a wonderful place to be!

Featuring local community groups, the Mayor and Mayoress, musical performances and vintage vehicles from the North West Museum Of Road Transport, the parade was led by fantastic performance artists, Eggs Collective, to Church Square, where a mass-karaoke took place.

It was a day full of very special moments and now you can re-live it, thanks to this all singing, all dancing video created by the wonderful Philip MacDonald. Subtitles available.

We hope you enjoy!




Sound City on the Farm – book your free ticket now!

We’re excited to be collaborating with the UK’s leading independent festival for new music Sound City to bring a family fun filled day of music, entertainment, food and arts to the beautiful Inglenook Farm on Sunday 16th September, as part of the 150 year celebrations of St Helens. Book your tickets to Sound City on the Farm.



























The free event will take place as part of the 150th anniversary celebrations of the formation of the borough of St Helens. A year-long celebration of art, music, theatre, culture, cuisine, sport and community, that is undeniably St Helens.

Sound City of the Farm the latest adventure from the award-winning Sound City continuing its aim and passion for putting a spotlight firmly on the creative, music and artistic talent across the North West, with a focus on St Helens and surrounding areas.

Sound City On the Farm will be a one-day event, taking place in Inglenook Farm, St Helens from 12:00 – 19:30. Live music from the region’s most exciting emerging talent in the form of Sly Digs (Warrington), Scarlet (St Helens), The Racket (Widnes), Rival Bones (St Helens), Katie Mac (Knowsley), Mamatung (Liverpool) & Tracky (Ormskirk).

The Unusual Arts Sourcing Company will deliver an arts programme including life drawing, poetry, interactive audience participation acts, alongside the Artslab who will bring a crafts workshop to the site, creating musical instruments from recycled materials.

Entertainment and attractions for younger children, families with food, beverages and market stalls will keep all visitors happy as part of a mini festival experience to close the summer.

Free tickets for this event will be available from 10am, today (Tuesday 21st August) from Eventbrite. Limited to 450, please act quickly if you are hoping to attend as this event will reach capacity quickly!

“We’re delighted to work with Heart of Glass to celebrate the 150th anniversary of St Helens. At the heart of Sound City is the belief that the world’s best music comes from within 30 miles of where we are located in Liverpool. Discovering and unearthing the most exciting musical gems from around our great city region is what drives us and St Helens has nurtured world class talent and creativity, including Jacqui Abbott of world conquering group, The Beautiful South and Nick McCabe of critically acclaimed The Verve. It’s brilliant to work with Heart of Glass who share the same passion as us and to create a live music and entertainment event which celebrates the greatness of St Helens.”
Becky Ayres-Bewick, Sound City MD

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Sound City and Inglenook Farm on this unique event, and excited to work with such a diverse array of artists to make this day one to remember. We believe that art belongs everywhere, in taxi cabs, empty shops, disused factories, in our streets and on the farm! Art creates possibility, and a way to experience and view the world differently, which is something that Sound City have been doing for years, and so we’re delighted that this collaboration will be our first foray together into making sure that live music and live art play a part in shaping our borough in the future!”
Patrick Fox, Heart of Glass, Director


Announcing our autumn/winter season!

We’re thrilled to announce an exciting autumn/winter season of events and activities as part of the St Helens 150 celebrations. The programme, which runs from September – December, will round off a year of amazing events and artistic interventions !

This year’s headline events include: family friendly music event Sound City on the Farm, performances from St Helens son Frank Cottrell-Boyce, a brand new site specific production from multi award-winning theatre company ANU, a Northern premiere of veteran American performance troupe Split Britches’ Unexploded Ordnances, an extraordinary projection mapping experience from Simon McKeown, and a conversation with actress Maxine Peake.

We’re particularly excited to share the programme for this year’s Take Over Festival, in partnership with St.Helens Libraries through their Arts In Libraries programme Cultural Hubs. For eight thrilling weeks art, culture and pop-up performances will be igniting the streets and the spaces of St Helens. No location is off limits as we invite artists to showcase new and engaging work in libraries, shops, labour clubs and marketplaces.

St Helens 150’s edition of the festival examines the idea of identity. In a world where the only constant thing is change, what does that mean to our sense of self?

Tickets on sale from early September!

Watch this space!

Take Over Festival 2018 key highlights:

Son of St Helens and celebrated children’s writer, Frank Cottrell Boyce will deliver a series of readings and talks for children, families and everyone else.
11 and 13 October, Rainhill and Eccleston Libraries, FREE, booking required

Sound City on the Farm will see the festival decamp to the beautiful Inglenook Farm bringing with it a host of breakthrough Northwest bands, delicious food and drink and a host of family friendly activity.
16 September, 12pm – 7.30pm, Inglenook Farm, FREE, tickets on sale from 22nd August

Award-winning US performance troupe Split Britches will present a North of England debut of their show Unexploded Ordnances. Combining a Dr Strangelove-inspired performance with a daring forum for public conversation, Unexploded Ordnances (UXO) explores ageing, anxiety, hidden desires and how to look forward when the future is uncertain.
8 November, 7.30pm and location TBA

The critically lauded  Selina Thompson presents the multi-award winning Salt  – her visceral, vulnerable and beautiful one woman show retracing of the routes of the Transatlantic Slave Triangle – from the UK to Ghana to Jamaica, and back.
20 October, 7pm, Parr Library, £6, £5 (St Helens Library Card Holders, £3 (concessions)

A screening of Funny Cow, followed by a Q&A with the film’s lead actor Maxine Peake who stars as a mercurial female stand up in Adrian Shergold’s unflinching drama about the 70s northern club circuit.
12 November, 7pm, location TBA.

Digital specialist and DaDaFest Artist of the Year, Simon Mckeown is working with the local disabled community to present a fun, exciting and visually poetic spectacle inspired by the town. We Are Still Here will use the complex Victorian facade of St Helens Town Hall as its canvas. Featuring massive super-sized outdoor projectors, next-gen digital mapping software, and immersive soundscapes.
8 December, St Helens Town Hall, time TBA

Deaf artist Aaron Williamson will set up his new durational performance piece Stall of Warm Handshakes on market day. Inspired by the history of the greeting and in the context of Trump’s absurd, elaborate misuse of the handshake, Aaron will work with the public to objectify and explore the various techniques and meanings of handshaking.
Thursday 25th October, St Mary’s Square, time TBA.

And more to be announced!

Other exciting stuff happening this autumn:

Internationally acclaimed theatre company ANU present a brand new work for St Helens. TORCH will blur the edges between the real and imagined, tearing through St Helens town centre in a high octane, blistering unrelenting journey. Part of the Helen project.
Dates and locations in late November TBA

As part of the national Heritage Open Days artists Katie Musgrove and Alex Douglas are working closely with the local D/deaf community to explore how our identity, personality and sense of self is an exchange that relies on visual cues such as symbols, gestures and body language.

7-9 September, Deafness Resource Centre, times TBA

A brand new monthly night, I Heart Thursdays is a chance for audience to to meet artist, creatives to engage with communities. Expect talks, screenings, dinners and just about everything in between. The series kicks off with Heather Peak Morison, Studio Morison hosting a dinner with Dr Caroline Fuchs, The Design Museum, Munich as they discuss her new commission for St Helens, Bliss Park and her current commission in Munich, I’ll Be With You, Whatever. The second event will be a special scratch night of new performance work by some of the best local creative talent, curated and hosted by St Helens’ very own Kitty O’Shea.
Thursday 27 September and 25 October, exact time, location and tickets TBA

ART HERITAGE COMMISSION: Opportunity for a St Helens Borough Artist

To help celebrate 150 years of St Helens, Heart of Glass is seeking applications from artist/s, living or working in the St Helens borough. You should work in a socially responsive and collaborative way and be interested in developing a new commission that explores local heritage with St Helens communities.

We would like the commission to be part of the national Heritage Open Days programme that will take place between 6-9 September 2018. Heritage is an important part of St Helens culture. We are looking for proposals from any art form that explore history through contemporary art practice.

As part of the project, we are working closely with the Deafness Resource Centre (a charity for St Helens and Halton with the aim to provide specialist services for D/deaf people) and its community. We’re keen to capture the unique heritage of St Helens and its people and to mark the 90th year of St Helens & District Society for Deaf People that was founded in 1928.

Download the Artist Brief

How to apply
Please send a:

Deadline for applications
Friday 25 May 2018 (new extended date)

[Image courtesy of Deafness Resource Centre, ‘D/deaf members enjoying their Annual Tea Party’, 1930s, from their archives and featured in their publication ‘Deaf History 1928-2008’, 2016]



Today (2 March 2018), Heart of Glass has announced the launch of FIERCE AND URGENT CONVERSATIONS: The First International Triennial of Social and Collaborative Arts Practice, taking place in Autumn 2021 In St Helens, Merseyside.

FIERCE AND URGENT CONVERSATIONS will be a convening of work, debate, resources and publications for those who make, watch, research, study, teach, produce, present, write about and archive collaborative and social arts practice. This Triennial will consider how to present dialogical and relational work, create opportunities for the debate of the fierce and urgent questions of the day and move beyond rhetoric to create opportunities for action.

Heart of Glass, founded through the Creative People and Places programme in 2014 and an Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisation from 1 April 2018, has established itself as an agency for collaborative and social arts practice. It is the first organisation in England dedicated to the development and support of this practice across all art forms and leads on this with St Helens Council to support the Borough in its wider cultural ambitions to be a centre of excellence in this area.

This April 2018, Heart of Glass hosts its annual WITH FOR ABOUT conference to discuss and reflect on the questions facing collaborative and social art today, and more broadly reflect on the role of art and artists in society, and the nature and potential of collaborative art with and within community and social contexts. The conference will be the first in a series of action research tasks over the coming years with the aim of shaping and developing the Triennial.

For more information about WITH FOR ABOUT 2018, click HERE

Heart of Glass’ programme of events and commissions has brought International artists such as Mark Storor, Studio Morison, ANU Productions, Scottee and idle women to work with communities across the Borough, creating ambitious, radical and exciting art, whilst also nurturing and supporting local talent. With an internationally significant artistic programme, and a soon be launched criticality programme, Heart of Glass is acknowledged as a leader in this field – a potent catalyst for positive collaboration, a pro-active innovator and a pioneer in brokering the reciprocal relationship between contemporary arts and modern society, a champion for interdisciplinary, cross art-form and cross-sector collaborative practice, and a powerful and provocative conduit for new ideas.

Over the past four years, Heart of Glass, its partners and the people of St Helens have collectively accomplished a transformative step-change in the depth and quality of art and opportunities for artistic and cultural involvement across the borough of St Helens. This has led to a dramatic re-engagement of arts and culture in the civic life of St Helens, in its self-definition and its identity, as well as in its public realm and physical fabric, such that the civic leadership has publicly acknowledged – and is currently working with Heart of Glass to realise – the re-positioning of arts and culture as front and centre to its vision for the borough, to its regeneration and investment strategy, and to its plans for future growth.

For FIERCE AND URGENT CONVERSATIONS Heart of Glass are partnering with Create, the national development agency for collaborative arts in Ireland. Both organisations recognise that while collaborative ways of working are not new, it is the depth of relationship and connection which frames the new practice. The recent proliferation in this type of work has been influenced by the impact of globalisation, digitalisation, the economic crisis, austerity, increased pressure on local budgets and services, and the groundswell of grassroots movements and local activism.

FIERCE AND URGENT CONVERSATIONS sets out to present and critically examine how arts and cultural practice operating across multiple fields of knowledge and experience can influence and help shape our collective futures.

Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England: “Heart of Glass has done amazing work in attracting artists, communities and audiences to St Helens as one of our Creative People and Places projects and I’m delighted that it is joining our national portfolio in April. And it is great to see the Triennial being launched in St Helens – I’m sure it will attract artists and collaborations which will continue the excellent artistic and cultural offer in the region.”

Patrick Fox, Heart of Glass Director: “We’re delighted to be announcing this initiative, and as with all our projects, this will be artist, producer and community led, and will resonate across art form. Partners such as Create Ireland, Axisweb, idle women, Liverpool Biennial, Super Slow Way, Arnolfini, Open Eye Gallery and In Situ and colleagues across the Creative People and Places Network nationally and the Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme internationally (an EU funded initiative of which Heart of Glass is a member) will be critical to shaping this project. This is a collaborative undertaking, the door is open and we are keen to hear from other interested parties. As well as the partners listed, we will be widening this network and building momentum over the coming months and years to ensure we are diverse, representative and well placed to have fierce and urgent conversations. We believe some of the most exciting work in contemporary art exists within this field of practice, creating people and place driven work that is uniquely positioned to respond to the politics of our times.  We look forward to the collaborative process in crafting an essential and vital platform within the International collaborative and social arts practice landscape, and cementing St Helens as a destination at the forefront of critical practice and thinking.”

Ailbhe Murphy, Director of Create: “As Ireland’s development agency for collaborative arts, we are delighted to partner with Heart of Glass to realise this exciting and timely initiative. FIERCE AND URGENT CONVERSATIONS will generate necessary debate about the contemporary field of collaborative arts practice and will begin by asking, “what could a Triennial for collaborative and socially engaged arts practice look like?” As artists and arts and civil society organisations working in this field, how can we create the conditions to engage with multiple forms of cross-sectoral, interdisciplinary and embodied local and regional knowledge? How can we best consider, animate and legitimise those knowledge’s through meaningful exchange and practice? We look forward to working with Heart of Glass and additional partners including the Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme network on FIERCE AND URGENT CONVERSATIONS, which will act as a barometer for the compelling questions that animate our contemporary socio-political and cultural antagonisms.”

Heather Peak from Studio Morison (Artist): “I am delighted to be part of the Heart of Glass team and their future-plans. Something extraordinary is happening in St Helens, art and creativity is central, urgent and important to the health and well-being of this place and its people. It is becoming not only about what we make, but how we behave and ultimately how we can survive, process our increasingly difficult lives and ultimately prosper. Art is the most powerful action we can make, it speaks directly to us of our lives, our anxieties, our joy and our potential power. Artist’s know that the best way to solve a problem is just to begin, and here in St Helens we have begun a journey that will touch our personal, civic, work and home life, and ultimately allow us be in control of our futures.”

Councillor Gill Neal, St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health & Wellbeing: “Artistic and social collaboration on this scale is certainly something we have been interested in supporting especially with Heart of Glass’ continuing ambition to create exciting and unique art with, of and for our local communities in St Helens. This announcement cements St Helens’ position as a national centre for collaborative and social arts practice.”

Claire McColgan, Director of Culture Liverpool: “We are delighted to support Heart of Glass and St Helens in this exciting new development. Our work together across the City-Region over the coming years will further re-inforce the vital role that art and culture can play across our communities, and the work by Heart of Glass in St Helens over the past number of years has shown real leadership and vision, offering something unique to the region. This is a welcome and ambitious development and we look forward to working together to make it a huge success for the region.”

Rachel Anderson and Cis O’Boyle, Caretakers, idle women: “For years now socially engaged practitioners have spoken of the need to consolidate our knowledge and expertise, to articulate our practice from the ground where we work and to challenge the mis-understanding and mis-representation that leads to instrumentalisation by the Institution. Heart of Glass has been established to listen and activate these discussions here in the UK. What better place to create a new centre of practice than the North West and what better town than St Helens. FIERCE & URGENT CONVERSATIONS is the critical emergence of body of practitioners who create with passion, skill and rigour, we have been talking for many years, now is the time for our action. These are exciting times.”

Claire Doherty, Director, Arnolfini and former Director, Situations: “This new initiative represents a significant moment for contemporary culture in the UK which demonstrates that it’s time for a new generation of socially progressive and civically-dedicated arts organisations and initiatives to take the lead. Grown out of a complex and rich history of social practice, community arts, gallery education and place-based producing, such initiatives are offering an alternative to the cathedrals of culture. To say that we are working with Heart of Glass and Situations on the development of “Fierce and Urgent Questions” feels like exactly what an arts organisation should be committing its time to. That St. Helens presents such an exemplary mode of posing those questions – through locally impactful and internationally resonant new work is all the more thrilling. We can’t wait to get started.”

Sarah Fisher, Director of Open Eye Gallery: “Partnering Heart Of Glass in this significant and timely programme is a natural fit for Open Eye Gallery. Photography has become the most pervasive medium through which individuals and communities share their lives on a daily basis through social media. Open Eye Gallery is developing a national network on Socially Engaged Photography practice, building upon it’s recent 2 year Culture Shifts programme – which Heart of Glass partnered – which saw 10 photographers working with communities to co-author new cultural programmes across the city region. We will shortly announce a new MA Socially Engaged Photography Practice with University of Salford starting September 2018 and look forward to exploring our shared agenda through the ambitions of the Triennial programme.”

Dr. Alastair Roy and Professor Lynn Froggett, Psychosocial Research Unit, University of Central Lancashire: “Globally, collaborative social arts is a practice whose time has come – but one with an emergent knowledge base. In St Helens, the 10 year vision set out by Heart of Glass makes it ideally placed to lead research in this area and as a key academic partner, the University of Central Lancashire is working with them to build an open research platform that aims to build on the experience of the programme itself and an international network of practitioners and researchers. It addresses the pressing questions raised by art that engages with an expansive canvas of questions that have both local and international significance: on cultural citizenship, social justice, civic space and sustainability as well as the finer grained issues of well-being, relationship and intimacy. Heart of Glass is a thinking organisation ‘without walls’, strongly located in place. This paradox shapes its curiosity and its promise.”

Chrissie Tiller – Thinker, writer and teacher on social arts practice and Heart of Glass Associate: “In the four years I have worked with Heart of Glass I have been immeasurably impressed by their commitment to a more collaborative and social arts practice and its potential to ‘shift our sense of what is possible, unleash imaginations and model and experiment with new ways of being in the world.’  They have done this, not only by commissioning leading artists in the field to make exciting, challenging and brave work with the people of St Helens but also by creating important spaces for critical reflection.  Spaces that embrace difficult conversations, share new and different knowledges and welcome dissent in the struggle for greater social justice and cultural democracy.  I am delighted to be working with them on FIERCE AND URGENT CONVERSATIONS and can think of no better arts organisation than Heart of Glass or town than St Helens to be leading this exciting and timely initiative.”

Heart of Glass is an agency for collaborative and social arts practice based in St Helens, Merseyside. Made possible by an initial investment of £1.5 million from Arts Council England through the Creative People and Places programme, it is supported by a consortium of partners and collaborators.

Heart of Glass is made with, of and for St Helens. Its programme is rooted in collaborative practice and embodies the principle of partnership. Its core values, philosophy and approach as a project are founded on co- production with the community and the active participation of the collaborator, non-artist, audience and viewer in the creation of great art. People, both individually and within communities of place or interest, are central to both their thinking and practice.

FIERCE AND URGENT CONVERSATIONS: The First International Triennial of Social and Collaborative Arts Practice will take place in St Helens in Autumn 2021. While collaborative ways of working are not new, it is the depth of relationship and connection which frames a new practice.   In collaborative arts, non-arts participants can become both co-creator and new audience in an exciting area of practice that cuts across art-form and cuts across context, a practice with infinite potential. The recent proliferation in this type of work has been influenced by the impact of globalisation, digitalisation, the economic crisis, austerity, increased pressure on local budgets and services, and the groundswell of grassroots movements and local activism. Increasingly, artists are routinely working in a variety of settings, including health, education, regeneration, prison, science and tech contexts, with people of all age ranges, gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation, and presented in increasingly innovative public realm and ‘non-arts’ civic spaces, such as hospitals, prisons, schools and older people’s homes.

For further press information please contact Catharine Braithwaite on +44 (0)7947 644 110 or



Heart of Glass hosts the fifth Staging Post of the Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme (CAPP), an ambitious transnational cultural programme focusing on the dynamic area of collaborative arts across Europe.  

We are doing this by hosting a special edition of our With For About conference series.  

With For About aims to create a space to discuss and reflect on the fierce and urgent questions facing collaborative and social art today, and more broadly reflect on the role of art and artists in civil society, and the nature and potential of collaborative art with and within community and social contexts.

This April we invite you to join us for Making A Meal Of It, the third iteration of our conference series and this year, in association with CAPP, we are seeking to create a different type of ‘conference’ experience.

When and where is this happening?

Tuesday 17th April 2018, Town Hall, St Helens, UK 9.30am-9:30pm

Wednesday 18th April 2018, Tate Liverpool, UK 9.30am-1pm (Afternoon activities will continue at Tate Liverpool until 5pm and full details can be found below)

What do we want to have happen?

We want participants (who would normally be understood as conference delegates) to collectively create, serve, and eat a meal. We want to use this collective task as the basis of a shared discussion that addresses the issues we are concerned with: of documentation, knowledge sharing, building a lexicon, building an archive, supporting artists and workers. We want to collectively publish a document within the timeframe of the gathering.

Our collective task is:

To produce a dinner course, present it in a meaningful way; document the process and the event; contribute to discussion; submit a page for publication.

A support structure will be in place to help you realise the contribution you want to make. No pre-conference preparation is necessary. All your experience is useful.

Why are we doing this?

We want participants at this gathering to have a collective experience in space and time. We want to embody the values we expound. We want to reflect on a common task.

We wish to symbolically and actively ‘enact’ the principles we seek to discuss, to work together bringing different experiences and perspectives together through artistic endeavour.

Participants will explore the principles of collaboration through doing, and over the course of a day forge relationships, making a meal and creating meaning in the process. We will reflect on the experience we have embarked on together as a way to explore some of the urgent questions we encounter in our work. We will share the knowledge we uncover with the wider sector.


While a large number of conference places have been allocated to our Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme partners, Heart of Glass is delighted to be able to offer a limited number of places through OPEN CALL. Anyone interested in collaborative and social arts practice, or with experience of participating in the development or realisation of a collaborative project, is invited to apply. The conference is free to attend. 

Those wishing to apply should send the following information to, no later than 5pm on Wednesday 28th March 2018:

  • Name & contact details
  • Short biography (up to 250 words)
  • A short statement describing in what ways the opportunity to attend the conference will benefit your artistic and professional development (up to 350 words)

Please note a number of conference bursaries (up to £100 per individual) are available for artists and independent producers & curators to contribute towards travel, accommodation, subsistence, childcare and/or access costs. Priority will be given to those who would otherwise be unable to attend. Those wishing to apply should include (alongside the information outlined above), the following information:

  • Amount applied for (up to £100)
  • Brief explanation (2 – 3 sentences) of how the bursary will support attendance

All applicants will be notified week commencing 2nd April 2018.


For travel and accommodation information, please see our information document



Heart of Glass is a collaborative arts commissioning agency based in St Helens, Merseyside. Founded in 2014 by an initial investment of £1.5 million from Arts Council England through the Creative People and Places programme, we established as an independent entity in 2016.

Our programme is rooted in collaborative and social arts practice and embodies the principle of partnership. Our core value, philosophy and approach are founded on co-production with the community and the active participation of the collaborator, non-artist, audience and viewer, in the creation of ‘Great Art’. People both individually and within communities of place and interest, are central to both our thinking and our practice.

We support artists and communities to collaborate and realise ambitious contemporary artwork that reflects and responds to the politics of our times. We work across context and across art form.  Through our projects and initiatives, we create a space for dialogue, research and experimentation, placing art in direct interaction with all areas of life that form society.

All aspects of our work are informed by issues of difference and diversity, and our work is made with, of and for every community in which we work.

We have chosen to build our organisation and commissioning ethos around these philosophies. The politics of our times have presented us with an unprecedented moment of re-evaluation. Our communities, our values, our social structures are in flux due to a number of converging agendas. Collaborative art presents the opportunity to engage meaningfully with these agendas and draw audiences into work in new and exciting ways, allowing many to add their voices to commentary on these times.

We want St Helens to be a home for thought and practice and at the same time, to be part of an international conversation, leading, experimenting and convening discussion around the role of art and artists in our changing world. In many ways St Helens is every place, it is home to multiple and diverse communities of place and interest, with a strong sense of heritage and ambitions for the future. There are also marginalised, silenced, misunderstood, dominant, and niche communities, and we are committed to working with this diverse range of voices, supporting collaborations with artists from across all art forms to make ambitious new work that shakes, challenges and unearths.

We are interested in building communities of enquiry, in sharing skills and experience, and in placing art in direct interaction with all areas of life that form society. As we move forward, we will continue to work in partnership, we will build links, we will have reach and impact. We will question who gets to make art and where it gets made.


WITH FOR ABOUT formally closes at 1pm on April 18th and then you are invited to stay with us for an afternoon of activities at Tate Liverpool, as outlined below:

2.00pm – 4.00pm

You are invited to A Conversation on Place-making, as part of Engaging Places: Collaborative Praxis in Art and Architecture at Tate Exchange, presenting six leading Irish practitioners in the area of collaborative art and architecture. The practitioners are; artist Michelle Browne, curators Rosie Lynch and Eilís Lavelle from Callan Workhouse Union, artist / architect Blaithin Quinn, and architects Emmett Scanlon and Laurence Lord from Out.Post.Office. Their practices examine how socially engaged art and architectural practices critically engage in questions of spatial justice and influence how we create a sense of place and community in the built environment.

On Wednesday 18th Tate Exchange will host an informal conversation on the theme of ‘place-making’. This is part of a programme of activities across that week including open studio sessions, discussions and workshops, as a way of initiating further creative works. The practitioners will also be part of With For About: Making a Meal of It. Engaging Places: Collaborative Praxis in Art and Architecture is supported by Culture Ireland’s GB18: Promoting Irish Arts in Britain programme.

4.00pm- 5.00pm

An opportunity meet Brazilian Collective Opavivara! and discuss their practice as they begin to install their show Utupya  (April 27 – June 24)  in the fourth floor gallery at Tate Liverpool.



Tate Liverpool

27 April – 24 June 2018

Tate Liverpool is preparing a major new project with the Brazilian collective Opavivará for spring 2018, the collective’s first solo exhibition in a UK institution. Founded in 2005 in Rio de Janiero, Opavivará is an art collective who work together to develop actions and projects that provide collective experiences and change the way we understand public space. In their interventions, Opavivará are interested in bringing domestic environments and behaviours into the public domain. Echoing the ambition for active participation of pioneering Brazilian artists such as Hélio Oiticica (1937–1980), their projects aim not just for participants to interact with the work, but to be fundamental agents of the execution of the work itself.

For Tate Liverpool, Opavivará extend and develop their ongoing project ‘Utupya’, which conceives environments and situations to reflect on the hybrid, mixed nature of contemporary culture. A key touchstone is the 1928 Cannibalist Manifesto of the Brazilian poet and polemicist Oswald de Andrade 1890–1954), a text that asserts that a key aspect of Brazil’s history is its ‘cannibalising’ other cultures. Opavivará are interested in the evolution of hybrid cultures and in celebrating the potential that arrives when people from different cultural backgrounds come together. For them, the Brazilian Tupi or Tupy tribe are an emblem of cultural admixture and interweaving.

In the gallery, Opavivará will create a series of immersive environments, drawing on hybrid elements of Brazilian indigenous tradition and contemporary culture. Repurposing or converting pre-existing everyday objects, they adapt them to new social functions in an ad-hoc manner. In Rede Social, they create a multi-part hammock, a ‘social network’ that invites negotiation and cooperation between participants, accompanied by the sounds of traditional chocalho rattles. In Pajémirim, they invite visitors to concoct and share tea using medicinal herbs grown in Liverpool. In the central gallery space, Opavivará fuse ancient Brazilian dance rituals with contemporary music, creating an interactive sound system and inviting visitors to wear different sensorial props amongst a forest of traditionally inspired parasols.