Wednesday 19 September 2018

Take Over Festival

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Booking is now open for Take Over Festival (#TakeOverStHelens) and for six thrilling weeks between 16th September and 13th December 2018, art, culture and pop-up performances are igniting the streets and the spaces of St Helens.  No location is off limits as artists are invited to showcase new and engaging work in libraries, shops, labour clubs and public spaces. 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?

Contributors include son of St Helens, Frank Cottrell Boyce, award-winning US performance troop Split Britches (in a North of England debut of their Unexploded Ordnances show), and – fresh from her Edinburgh festival triumph – Selina Thompson presents salt  – her visceral, vulnerable and beautiful exploration of her family’s colonial history.

Whether challenging, enthralling, captivating or enchanting  – or, possibly all of the above – Take Over Festival promises to break culture free of its borders, and bring it kicking, screaming and exploding into the places where you’ll least expect it.

Check out the programme below or download the PDF Take Over Festival brochure

Nightcleaners (NC) 

Thursday 20 September (7pm), Chester Lane Library

A documentary film about the campaign to unionise the women who cleaned office blocks at night and who were being victimised and underpaid by their employers. A key work of the 1970s, this intensely self-reflexive film implicates both the filmmakers and the audience in the processes of precarious, invisible labour. Find out more here.

Berwick Street Film Collective Marc Karlin, Mary Kelly, James Scott and Humphry Trevelyan. UK, 1972-75. 90 min.

£4, £3 (St Helens Library Card), £2 (concessions). Tickets and access info here and any library in St Helens. 

Sunday’s Best – Larry Achiampong 

Friday 5 October – Friday 16 November (12-6pm), 20B Church Street, St Helens

Sunday’s Best is a series of film and installation comprised of vivid audio and images of praise and worship sessions in a Ghanaian community church, married with the comparatively stark interiors of a traditional Catholic church. Documented across a number of sites in London, the work considers how belief systems within the African diaspora are inflected by colonial histories. In particular, the relationship with Christian imperialism and its impact on Achiampong’s tribe (the Ashanti). Sunday’s Best is an attempt to unbraid and reconcile the incongruence between western and non-western faith practices and the remains of history, nostalgia and trauma. More info here

Free, no tickets required. Access info here

© Larry Achiampong


Frank Cottrell Boyce

Thursday 11 October (7pm), Rainhill Library.  This event is suitable for 16+ BSL interpreted performance. 

Saturday 13 October, (1.30pm), Eccleston Library. This is a family friendly event.

To celebrate Libraries Week, Frank Cottrell Boyce will deliver a series of readings from his popular books including Millions and Sputnik’s Guide to Life at two different events. Frank Cottrell Boyce, who was educated in St Helens, has written television episodes for Coronation Street, Brookside and Doctor Who and contributed to movie screenplays including: Forget About Me, Butterfly Kiss, Welcome to Sarajevo, 24 Hour Party People, The Revenger’s Tragedy, and Millions. Find out more here

Both events are FREE, tickets required. Book online here or call into any library in St Helens to purchase your tickets. Access info here

The Rank and File (PG)

Thursday 18 October (7pm), Chester Lane Library

Director Kenneth Loach. Producer Graeme McDonald. Script Jim Allen. 1971. 71 min.

Based on the Pilkington Glass strike that took place in St. Helens in 1970, this film by Kenneth Loach uses a documentary approach to cover a wildcat strike among rank and file union members antagonised by a too-cosy relationship between the board and union executive that had resulted in the gradual erosion of pay and conditions. Loach uses a documentary approach to cover the action. Find out more here

£4, £3 (St Helens Library Card), £2 (concessions). Tickets online here and any library in St Helens.

salt. – Selina Thompson

Saturday 20 October (7pm), Parr Library

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. In February, two artists got on a cargo ship, and retraced one of the routes of the Transatlantic Slave Triangle – from the UK to Ghana to Jamaica, and back. It was a long journey backwards, in order to go forwards. This show is what they brought back. Find out more here

£6, £5 (St.Helens Library Card Holders), £3 (concessions). Tickets and access info online here and any library in St Helens.

Jonathan Beaver Residency and Exhibition

Residency: Monday 22 – Saturday 27 October (10-4pm), various St Helens libraries. More detail here .

Exhibition: Thursday 15 November – Wednesday 19 December (10-4pm), Moss Bank library 

Jonathon Beaver is an embroiderer, animator and arts educator based in Liverpool. He began working with needlepoint at the age of nine, encouraged by an auntie. He uses this traditional craft, often used to mark family occasions and decorate homes, to evoke queer family. Jonathon’s pieces range from small scale to large tapestries reminiscent of work from a bygone era, but bringing an old craft into a contemporary setting through subject matter. His practice takes traditional constructions of gender roles and identities and allows them to be explored and freed from societal shackles. Much of his work is an exploration of his personal gender preferences and identities both as an individual and an artist. Using words and literature as a starting point Jonathon will be in residence at various St.Helens Libraries from Monday 22nd – Saturday 27th October, creating new work for an exhibition at Moss Bank library as part of Take Over Festival & Homotopia in November.

This event is free and drop in. 

Le Gateau Chocolat

Thursday 1 November (7.30pm), exact location to be confirmed (venue will be accessible and in central St Helens)

The opera-occasional, lycra-loving, black-beard, drag-diva Le Gateau Chocolat returns to St Helens to present a unique performance of his newest treat, RAW CACAO, in collaboration with a local brass band. This specially curated cycle of songs is the six-inch heeled, six and half foot tall, wig-clad wonder to the sound of brass, everything you expect and as you’ve never seen before.

£6, £3 (concessions – students, senior citizens). Tickets and access info available online here

Unexploded Ordnances (UXO) – Split Britches

Thursday 8 November (7.30pm), St Helens Town Hall

Award-winning veteran US performance duo Split Britches will present a North of England debut of their show Unexploded Ordnances (UXO). Combining a Dr Strangelove-inspired performance with a daring forum for public conversation, Unexploded Ordnances (UXO), a theatre piece by Split Britches, explores ageing, anxiety, hidden desires and how to look forward when the future is uncertain. Find out more here

Performed by Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw
Written by Lois Weaver, Peggy Shaw and Hannah Maxwell

Technical Design: Jo Palmer
Video Content Design: Claire Nolan
Design Consultant: Matt Delbridge
Sound Design: Vivian Stoll
Choreography Consultant: Stormy Brandenberger 
Production Manager: Hannah Moore
Company Manager: Laura Petree
Producer: Alex Legge

£6, £3 (concessions – students, senior citizens). Tickets and access info available online here

© Theo Cote

Funny Cow (18) and Q & A with Maxine Peake

Monday 12 November (7pm), Ravenhead Social Club

Maxine Peake plays the gritty role of ‘Funny Cow’, a comedian who breaks through the glass ceiling of the all-male 1970s comedy circuit to rise to stardom. Set against the backdrop of working men’s clubs in the North of England, Funny Cow is both a love-letter to a bygone era and the defiant story of a woman who refuses to give up her dreams. Find out more here

Director Adrian Shergold. Producers Mark Vennis and Kevin Proctor.

£4, £2 (concessions – students and senior citizens). Tickets available and access information online here

We Are Still Here – Simon Mckeown

Saturday 8 December 2018, 7.30pm, St Helens Town Hall

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.

In partnership with DaDaFest and produced in collaboration with members of BuzzHub St Helens CDP.

This event is free but tickets are required and can be booked online here.

Wrap Party with Eggs Collective

Thursday 13 December (time TBC), The Citadel

To cap things off, writers, performers and producers of politically-charged theatre, Eggs Collective (party political artists in residence with Heart of Glass for the whole of 2018) will curate the unpredictable and unmissable besequinned centrepiece of a send off to the 150th anniversary celebrations.

Ticket information to be confirmed, keep an eye on our website and social media.