Thursday 20th December 2018

It’s a Wrap! Our 2018 round up!

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It’s a wrap!

On Thursday 13th December, we gathered with friends at The Citadel theatre in St Helens for a right good knees up to celebrate what has been an incredible 150th year for St Helens and for Heart of Glass. Our friends at Eggs Collective invited their friends along to entertain us, sing to us, and make crowns with us – it was a wonderful night!

And there was so much to celebrate! This year has been a remarkable year for St Helens, which was named the inaugural Borough of Culture for the Liverpool City Region in its 150th year. Over 60000 people have taken part in events across the year, which began with public art at the side of the Sankey canal, and continued with a parade to celebrate the borough’s unsung heroes in June and an army of volunteers building a giant cardboard castle in August. September saw the start of a jam packed Take Over Festival in partnership with St Helens Libraries and Cultural Hubs, which included literature events with Frank Cottrell Boyce, film screenings with Maxine Peake, St Helens debuts and the return of old friends, collaborations with brass bands and older members of our community. In November, the award winning theatre production TORCH by ANU and women of St Helens journeyed through St Helens over two weeks, and at the start of December we gathered at St Helens Town Hall for the finale of St Helens 150, which featured an animation premiere and a schools’ lantern trail, and we watched as the Town Hall was transformed by a large scale light projection created by artist Simon Mckeown and BuzzHub St Helens Coalition of Disabled People. 

What a year it has been! Here are our highlights!

We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone that has been involved with Heart of Glass this year, as a collaborator, an audience member or a supporter from afar. We wish you a lovely festive break and look forward to seeing you again in the new year!

We kicked off St Helens 150th year and our year as Borough of Culture with a stunning photography exhibition that loomed large over the Sankey Canal created by Stephen King and communities of workers from this town’s industrial past. © Stephen King


Our Director Patrick Fox introduces the third With For About conference in May this year.

On a very warm day at the end of June, the St Helens Citizens’ Day Parade made its marvellous way across the town centre led by Eggs Collective in celebration of the everyday heroes who make our town such a wonderful place to be! Video by Philip MacDonald, subtitles available.


In August, over 200 volunteers worked over a weekend to create St Helens’ very own Lost Castle, as part of the Liverpool City Region project led by renowned French artist Olivier Grossetȇte. © Stephen King.


As part of this year’s Independents Biennial, artist Kate Hodgson worked with a group of women from Parr and their children to produce a screen printed posters and tote bags. © Stephen King 


In September, St Helens Deafness Resource Centre celebrated its 90th birthday and opened its doors as part of Heritage Open Days 2018. The banner in the background was created by DRC members as part of the Connect. Create. Celebrate project led by artists Katie Musgrove and Alex Douglas. © Stephen King 




In late September, Take Over Festival 2018 began in partnership with St Helens Libraries. We were thrilled to hear Frank Cottrell Boyce read from his works in the same libraries that he used to visit as a child. © Stephen King 




In October, Selina Thompson presented the multi-award winning Salt in Parr Library as part of Take Over Festival. Salt. is Selina’s 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. © Stephen King 


At the start of November, the opera-occasional, lycra-loving, black-beard, drag-diva Le Gateau Chocolat returned to St Helens to present a unique performance of his newest treat, RAW CACAO, in collaboration with a local brass band at St Helens Town Hall as part of Take Over Festival. © Victoria Tetley


One week later, we were back in St Helens Town Hall, which had been transformed into a Control Room for ‘Unexploded Ordnances: UXO’ by award-winning US performance troupe, Split Britches, as part of Take Over Festival. © Stephen King


Meanwhile, over in 20B Church Street, a large scale video work was being projected onto a shop wall as part of Take Over Festival. Artist Larry Achiampong made his St Helens debut with Sunday’s Best, a large-scale video projection which brings together the vivid sounds and images of praise and worship sessions in a Ghanaian community church. © Larry Achiampong.


In the middle of November, a sell out audience watched Funny Cow in Ravenhead Social Club and then welcome Maxine Peake and Frank Cottrell Boyce for a Q & A as part of Take Over Festival. © Radka Dolinksa.


After 2.5 years of research and preparation, TORCH, a site-responsive, all-female theatre production by ANU Productions and women of St Helens began its journey through the town in November. TORCH was directed by Louise Lowe and commissioned by Heart of Glass, ANU Productions and idle women as part of the Helen project, which responds to an urgent need to address violence against women in all its forms; the systematic, the structural, the domestic and the social. In this photo, actresses Gillian McCarthy and Nandi Bhebhe start the performance in St Helens Central station. © Radka Dolinksa.


TORCH was performed to 200 audience members over 2 weeks, with 4 audience members per performance and 4 performances per night. It received 5 stars from The Stage and 4 stars from The Guardian.  In this photo, actress Etta Fusi recounts the story of an ‘idle woman’ who worked on the region’s canals during the Second World War. © Radka Dolinksa.


At the start of December over 500 people braved the wind and the rain to watch St Helens Town Hall be transformed by a large scale projection artwork titled We Are Still Here  created by artist Simon Mckeown and BuzzHub St Helens Coalition of Disabled People, as part of the St Helens 150 final event. Photograph by Andy Salkeld – © Simon Mckeown
It’s a wrap! On 13th December we celebrated what has been a wonderful 150th year for St Helens with A Royal Wrap Party, hosted by Eggs Collective and friends at The Citadel. © Stephen King