Getting To Know You

A new art project has been encouraging residents in two St Helens housing schemes to reach out and get to know each other.

This summer artist Sheila Ghelani has worked with the residents of Helena Partnership sheltered housing scheme.

Each week Sheila will work with residents to make out-of-the-ordinary gestures, creating a stir that reaches out to their community and invites others to step over the thresholds within the scheme.

Sheila, an interdisciplinary artist working in performance, installation, participatory event  and moving image, is currently leading the series of workshops in the schemes that continue into September.

Shelia, explained: “When I first visited the housing schemes one of the main things that struck me was that both the residents and Health and Wellbeing Office Nikki Wilkinson mentioned wanting to somehow engage with the more private residents, those who are a bit invisible and might not come down to meetings for a variety of reasons.

“There was also a lot of talk about doorways! So I started to wondering about how to cross some of those more private thresholds, to gain access or make contact with those that don’t come down to the common room, in the most non-intrusive of ways (letters, invites, gifts,  sound).

“So that was the project’s initial starting point – ways in which to cross this very important boundary – the one between the residents private space and public space. It’s going to be great to see where the project ends up!”

The opening workshops saw participants create individual floral invitations, which were hand delivered to each of the properties within the scheme.

The mysterious hand printed invitations dropped through letterboxes with a note offering everyone in the scheme the chance to ‘Join Us’ – on a specific date, but with no location offered. This created a talking point, whereby participants and staff were able to share more detail about the forthcoming event.

Newcomers to the project then came out to join early participants and see a cellist and violinist perform – including the song ‘Getting to Know You’.

The growing group of residents from Parr Mount Court and Heald Farm Court will continue to work with Sheila to create new ways of getting to know their neighbours and explore the thresholds and boundaries that exist in their communities.

The project will continue throughout August and into early September. If you would like any more information please contact


Instagram: @sheilaghelani




Helen (Working Title)

“I wanted to tear the house apart”


Helen is a programme that will create immersive and explosive art experiences focused on women.

With international partners, Anu Productions and idle women, we will explore women’s persistence and resistance. We will contextualise present day violence against women in unspeakable and unimaginable histories, and look to the future.

Anu is renowned for interdisciplinary work that delves into historical and contemporary events, with scalpel like precision and dreamlike intensity. They bring unheard voices of the community to the fore, and aim to blur the lines between immersive and site specific installation art.

“★★★★★ ANU are responsible for the most searing and provocative works of the past decade and delivered some of the most ambitious and thrillingly intimate theatre in living memory”

Peter Crawley, The Irish Times

idle women create contemporary art with women. Their current work ‘on the water’ is a slow touring canal based project in the North West of England and West Yorkshire. Selina Cooper, a tailor made narrowboat, serves as a resource and arts centre for women.

Using a combination of enquiry, artistic endeavour, unconventional engagement practices and historical research we will create a new set of productions in 2018; the year St Helens celebrates its 150th birthday. Helen will create tectonic shifts in the everyday lives of the women who co-create her as well as the structures that work against us.

As we go, we will address inequalities in women’s labour in both the arts and construction sectors. We will develop skills for the future and create change in the power held by women from a diversity of backgrounds.

We will:

create new art experiences for audiences from across St Helens and beyond

re-imagine a local house, creating a nationally significant women’s space

provide talent development for early career and established female producers and artists

create change in the arts sector, in relation to collaborative practice and employment opportunities for women

disseminate learning through publishing and a national conference


We are in the early stages of developing this programme, and will update this project page as we go.

For more information on Helen please email

Prototype Projects Round 5

Heart of Glass is delighted to be supporting seven new projects through the latest round of Prototype Projects, our commissioning strand that supports artists and communities in St Helens to develop new ideas and creative explorations.

A total of over £4000 was allocated to support one Prototype Project (up to £2000) and five Research & Development (R&D) projects (up to £500). The ideas for this round include commissioning new artwork for a young people’s space in St Helens Central Library alongside professional development support for artists working across a range of disciplines including performance and live art. We have supported over 40 projects by local artists and communities to date.

The decision-making panel (which changes each round) included: Carmel Baines (Community Arts Manager, The Citadel), Ann-Marie Owens (Founder, Pheonix Apparel), Laura Robertson (Co-Founder and Editor of The Double Negative magazine) and Rhyannon Parry (artist and previous Prototype Project award recipient).

Prototype Projects (Round 5) will be supporting artists working on the following projects:

Wendy Mumford (R&D)

Wendy Mumford will spend the next six months developing her professional practice as a textile artist and her recently established collaboration with St Helens based agencies who support people experiencing mental health difficulties. To support this Wendy will benefit from mentoring, networking and research opportunities.

Cath Shea (R&D)

Artist Cath Shea will work closely with London based writer and performance artist Ursula Martinez to explore the potential of a longer-term collaboration to transform a series of monologues created for alter-ego Kitty O’Shea into a live art piece.

Mike Lindley (R&D)

Mike Lindley will focus on developing his fledgling practice as an artist and performer inspired by his ongoing collaboration with artist Mark Storor as part of the Heart
of Glass commission Baa Baa Baric: Have You Any Pull?. Using a portrait of himself created with Storor as a starting point, Mike will develop a live performance as well as ideas for new participatory work exploring notions of regret.

Jacqui Priestley (R&D)

Jacqui Priestley will spend the next six months accessing research, workshop and networking opportunities that will enable her to develop her artistic practice, specifically in relation to socially engaged arts practice and an investigation of memory and lost narratives through collaboration with dementia sufferers.

Fiona Sterling & Amy Russell (R&D)

Artists Fiona Sterling and Amy Russell will undertake
a period of research and development to explore the position of women with children in the workplace and the contemporary art world. To support this they will receive mentoring from one or more female artists / curators / producers whose practices address similar ideas.

Reading Hack

Reading Hack, a group of young volunteers aged 13 to 24 years based at St Helens Library, will work closely with Heart of Glass to commission, and work in collaboration with, an artist to create a clearly identifiable, animated and engaging space within the Library for young people to use.

2020 Vision

A live event and a town centre exhibition are set to take place in St Helens as part of a six-month residency project.

2020 Vision: An exhibition exploring the future of our world is being led by artist Sophie Mahon. Sophie has been working with young people from Parr, Fingerpost and FourAcre to explore ideas around their visions for the future as well as creating a number of works based on their present day experiences.

As part of the residency, work will be shared with the public via a live event, town centre promotion and an exhibition.

The project, in partnership with Helena Homes Make It Happen project, has lead to a host of exciting future events and outcomes. Firstly, a free to attend live event takes place at Derbyshire Hill Family Centre on Friday (April 21st).

The event is led by a group of free runners and gymnasts from Parr who will be showing off their skills. The free runners move from building and object while performing jumps and other skilful moves.

The group has been working with Sophie and alongside professional free runners coaches on a live visual performance.

Friday’s event will showcase their work in a live visual performance at the centre from 5.30pm.

Following the showcase work from the project will be housed in a disused town centre shop from May 4th-21st.

Sophie explained: “The show looks at the worst and best possible outcomes for the future. The show includes a range of paintings, interactive video works and sculptures and spreads beyond the pop up space as well as shop windows in and around Church Square and throughout community spaces in St Helens.”

The exhibition will be signposted to people across the borough and a private view takes place on Thursday, May 4th (from 5pm-7pm).

Image: A quote from a young participant that will be used on the digital traffic management boards in St Helens.

Open The Door

Open The Door

 Open the Door was a project in collaboration with the Citi-Dis-Arts group and artists Michelle Wren, Naoise Martin-Johnson, Ann Whitehurst and Jude Woods supported by the Heart of Glass, The Citadel and St Helens Council.

The group came together for 9 weeks playing games, teaching each other Makaton, listening to music, talking and making art work about access and how our experience of St Helens town centre makes us feel.

The nature of the work created some really interesting conversations, including a range of issues from a lack of employment opportunities for disabled people to creating sensory rooms in stadia!

 The art group was made up of two groups, a group of assessors and a group of artists who responded to the assessments. Each week the assessors would go out and document places with good or bad access in town bringing back their findings to the group. The artists would then respond to the discussion, using different artistic techniques and mediums to create work.

The art response group is made up of Chris Coffey, Peter Freeman, Angela Friar, Rachel Friar, Sue Norris, Graham Rudge, Richard Smith, Geoff Tinsley and Ken Wallace.

Through the Looking Glass

This November 20th and 21st, St. Helens will host a weekend like no other, a programme of exciting projects and events for ALL ages, including artist led guided tours, explorations of impossible dreams, imaginary animals, mass manifestos, and a night of vanguard variety. The programme curated by Live Art Development Agency (LADA) for Heart of Glass has assembled some of the most exciting performance artists to develop a programme with, about and for St. Helens.

Through The Looking Glass takes place on Friday November 20th & Saturday November 21st at various locations with the majority of events free to attend for the public.

21st Century Music Hall with Duckie


Fri 20th November, 8pm to late

Location: The Citadel Theatre

Tickets: £10

Who’s it for: Over 18 year olds

Show business and vanguard variety!

The Duckie crew arrive in St Helen’s to present an evening of up-to-the-minute show business and vanguard variety. Mistress of melody Miss Amy Lamé introduces a hit parade of short sharp performance including cabaret superstar Ursula Martinez, and in-between the acts plays pure pop, rock’n’roll and northern soul. Looking for a great night out, you have come to the right place! Come and watch shows, chat to your mates and schlep to the beat.

A Song for St. Helens with Marcia Farquhar


Sat 21st November from 12pm to 4pm

Location: The Hotties, Sankey Canal (Nr The Range)

Tickets: Free

Who’s it for: Anyone

An alternative walking tour through the legendary, the lost and the living histories of St. Helens!

Join Marcia Farquhar on her outsider’s journey from the warm waters and tropical fish of England’s first canal and the lost industries of glass and pills, to the pub, the music shop, and the music hall. Marcia Farquhar works in performance, installation, video and object making, and much of her practice revolves around the stories and interactions of everyday life.

Pedigree Chums with Susannah Hewlett and Steve Nice


Saturday 21st November, 12pm to 1.30pm

Location: St. Helens Family Art Club, St Mary’s Market

Tickets: Free

Who’s it for: Everyone aged 4 and up, but children under 12 should be accompanied by an adult.

The world’s weirdest pet show!

Renowned psychozoologist and disciplinarian, Madame Bona and her best friend Strokey the dog, invite you to team up with a friend, family member or stranger and transform them into the pet you always dreamed of.

Manifestoval with,The Institute for the Art and Practice of Dissent at Home


Sat 14th November, 11am to 2pm – workshop

Sat 21st November 12noon and 3pm –performances

Locations: Workshop at Beecham’s Building, Water Street, St.Helens, performances tbc

Tickets: Free

Who’s it for: Everyone

A festival of manifestos

Join Liverpool’s legendary family activists for a workshop on making manifestos and then presenting them around town. Exercise your voice and make your mark with Manifestoval. The Institute for the Art and Practice of Dissent at Home are a family of artist-activists committed to social justice for all ages, races, creeds and colours.

This Will Never Happen with Joshua Sofaer and Karen Christopher


Sat 21st November, 4.30pm

Location: St. Helens Town Hall

Tickets: Free

Who’s it for: Everyone

Imagining impossible ideas for St. Helens.

A group of artists have been dreaming up impossible artworks for St Helens, transforming the town and its people. Come and see them reveal their inspired ideas in a whirlwind of presentations. Joshua Sofaer is an artist concerned with ideas of public participation and collaboration, whose most recent work was Your Name Here in St. Helens. Karen Christopher is a collaborative performance maker, performer, and teacher. Her practice includes listening for the unnoticed, the almost invisible, and the very quiet.


Patrick Fox, Director at Heart of Glass Director, said: “We’re working with Live Art Development Agency, an incredible line-up of artists and a variety of local partners including The Citadel Theatre to bring you this programme. This will be a weekend like no other with something for everyone to get their teeth into. This is playful, political and socially aware work, and we’re excited to see how audiences respond!”

Lois Keidan, Director at Live Art Development Agency, said: “We’re really excited to be working with Heart of Glass and to have the opportunity to show the wide range of forms that Live Art can take, the kinds of places it can occupy, the kinds of ideas and issues it can explore, and the kinds of conversations it can have with audiences.”

Simon Casson, Promoter of Duckie, said: “We are looking forward to putting together a brilliant bill of performers in a series of short, sharp performance sets. We will also be mixing this with dancing to rock ’n’ roll & northern soul so you better get your dancing shoes on St. Helens.”




TakeOverFest 2015

TakeOverFest 2015 is a three-month arts festival full of exciting things to do in St Helens! In late 2014 we invited artist and broadcaster Scottee to St.Helens, this was quickly followed up a residency in early 2015. We asked Scottee to ‘take over’ and so developed the first annual TakeOverFest, an artist led programme of work for and with St.Helens people and place.

Scottee has sourced some of the best artists and entertainers from across the region (and beyond), inviting them to take over empty shops, parks, tunnels and even minicabs to create a fun festival for all ages that won’t break the bank!

scottee _high res_28

The programme includes raves for kids, stand up poetry, haunted ghost tours and there’s even a café where you can enjoy a cheap brew whilst people show off at your table!

Knitbomb the Park! September 19 – December 19

Local knitters, old and young will knit the grass, benches and trees of Friends Park.

The grand opening is on September 19 at 5pm, but you can visit throughout the three-month festival.

Free event at Friends Park, from 5pm on September 19 – December 19.

Fraff poetry night – October 16

Fraff is a fun, stand up poetry night for people who don’t like poetry, compered by artist and “Kim Jong-Un lookalike” Scottee.

£6 tickets (£2.50 concessions), 7pm at St Helens Central Library.

Marisa Carnesky’s Haunted Furnace – October 23 & 24

A scary walk-about performance featuring live performers in the “haunted” Hotties furness at World of Glass.

This interactive performance will take over the underground tunnels of the original Pilkington’s glass factory – “not for the faint hearted”.

£4 tickets (£3 concessions, but 13+ only), 5.30pm at the World of Glass museum

Hunt & Darton Café – November 4 – 21

The award-winning Hunt & Darton Café is coming to St Helens – a fully functioning cafe serving cups of tea and tableside performances, take away art and pineapple hats.

Free entry, open 10am – 5pm Tuesday – Saturday, location yet to be announced.

Le Gateau Chocolat – November 13

An intimate night of song and opera from “the world’s leading operatic diva”, Le Gateau Chocolat.

£6 ticket (£4 concessions), 7.30pm at the World of Glass museum.

Jack Rooke: Come Ride With Me – November 19

Comedian Jack Rooke invites you into his minicab to talk death, loss and how we treat the bereaved, based on his own experiences.

He is running 30-minute slots for up to three passengers, and will “celebrate lost loved ones and find happiness after tragedy”.

£6 per half-hour cab performance from 5pm – 8.30pm, picked up outside Lily’s Tea Room.

IncrEDIBLE poetry with Talia Randall – November 20

Artist Talia Randall promises to show you how to make poetry, then eat it – using a little food and a little imagination.

Free event, from 10am – 4pm at Hunt & Darton Cafe (location yet to be announced).

Scottee’s Camp – December 4

Scottee promises “a gang of cabaret weirdos including fat opera singers, drag queens eating hot dogs and some naff magic for a proper Saturday night knees up.”

£10 tickets (£8 concessions), 7.30pm at the Citadel arts centre.

Kids Rave – December 19


Heart of Glass present a morning rave for under-8s, featuring a cereal bar, balloon modeling, face painting, drag DJs and live music and dance on a Saturday morning.

£2.50 per child (donations encouraged by parents), 10am – 1pm at the Citadel arts centre.

Tickets are available from the box office The Citadel, Waterloo Street, St. Helens, WA10 1PX  or call 01744 735436 or visit click here


Your Name Here


In May 2015 a three metre neon sign of the words ‘YOUR NAME HERE’ was placed over St Helens Town Hall signalling the launch of an ambitious new public art project in the borough commissioned by Heart of Glass.

The eye-catching illumination was above the doorway of the civic building for six weeks from launching Your Name Here, a competition that will see Lyons Yard, Ravenhead Greenway Park re-named after someone with a connection to St Helens.

Your Name Here is a project conceived by artist Joshua Sofaer who is encouraging the people of St Helens to get involved in an interactive public art competition.

The project called on people to tell us the name of a person they wished to nominate to become the new name of the park, along with the reasons why. Nominators were asked to explain their nomination with a story, drawing, painting, video, photo, sound recording, or even an object. The named person needed to have a strong connection with St Helens, whether historic or more recent and could have been a friend, family member or local hero.

Applicants from anywhere in the world could enter online at, by post, or in person, with the competition closing on 26 June 2015.

A judging panel, including well known St Heleners James Roby, Andy Reid and Johnny Vegas, then reviewed the nominations and selected the winner in late summer.

The grand prize will see Ravenhead Greenway Park permanently renamed after the competition winner on September 5th 2015, with their name becoming part of the town’s fabric, maps and park signage.

Artist Joshua Sofaer, said: “The aim of Your Name Here is to get people talking about who is important to the people of St Helens. I want to help celebrate the residents of St Helens in an extraordinary way exploring the themes of citizenship, history, family and civic pride. I hope it gets conversation going about who our role models are within the community and thinking creatively about the people in their lives.”

Director of Heart of Glass, Patrick Fox, added: ”We’re really delighted to be working with artist Joshua Sofaer and St Helens Council on Your Name Here which we hope will capture the imagination of the people of St Helens over the coming weeks and months.

“The Heart of Glass commissioning philosophy is very much about creating ambitious collaborative and participatory art projects that question the world we inhabit and create new spaces for debate and exploration. Joshua shares this commitment and so we are delighted to be working with him to realise this ambitious project that will literally change the landscape of St.Helens! We’re looking forward to seeing the many and varied responses that come through.”

St Helens Council Leader, Councillor Barrie Grunewald, said: “St Helens is already home to many gifted artists in various forms and this competition is a great opportunity to further increase arts participation in the borough.

“I would encourage people to take part and share their talents with the residents of St. Helens.”

Your Name Here Resource

Brass Calls

Brass Calls

Brass Calls was a new work commissioned by Heart of Glass that premiered in summer ’15.

Brass Calls is a work by artist duo French & Mottershead in collaboration with brass band The Haydock Band.

This exciting artistic collaboration sought to bring St Helens’ issues to the forefront through specially composed musical compositions broadcast into Church Square in the centre of town. The music evolved from the bugle call; a short tune, originating as a military signal and routinely used as a way to make an instruction or call to action. French & Mottershead researched, interviewed and earwigged in a bid to capture a sense of the borough’s affairs and relay them in 16 brand new bugle calls.

The resulting project, Brass Calls, was made up of short musical pieces that call on people to take action. The work filled Church Square with sudden, bursts of brilliant music for two full days at regular intervals as citizens went about their daily business. Working with composer Adam D J Taylor, the calls were created from gathering personal tales and local phrases, turned into musical scores that were performed and recorded by The Haydock Band, one of the oldest community organisations in St Helens.

Locally relevant issues such as zero hour contracts; town centre skateboarding, the Hardshaw Centre benches and Saints were on the agenda, along with personal tales from St Heleners.

The calls were accompanied by placards held up with printed lyrics and audiences also had the chance to follow the events on Twitter with the hashtag #BrassCalls and handle @theheartofglass as the bugle calls were played.

The subjects chosen in the calls convey human stories about relationships to one another, to work, and the town. Each mini-drama inspired a lyric, written as a short poetic call to action. From a parent calling ‘get out yer pit’ to their teenager, to a skateboarder defending their rights, and the clarion call to keep the last glass ‘ribbon floatin’. These were then elevated into brief, beautiful musical phrases filling Church Square.

The project was originally presented on Friday 7 & Saturday 8, August 2015.

For further information about The Haydock Band please visit:

For further information about French & Mottershead please visit:


Project Credits

Commissioned by Heart of Glass

Concept and Lyrics: French & Mottershead

Musical Composition: Adam D J Taylor

Musical Director: Mark Quinn

Played by: The Haydock Band – Rotha Brooks, Mark Doran, Peter Eddleston, Janice Fitch, Lisa Forbes, Helen Geoghegan, Mark Greaves, Martin Halliwell, Steve Higham, Ruth Hurst, Tom Hurst, Godfrey Irving, Adrian Kearsley, Iain McIntyre, Daniel Meadowcroft, Nicola Moran, Lottie Nelson, Lorraine O’Brien, Russ Prescott, Julie Ratcliffe, Heather Richardson, Hannah Roughley, Carmela Southward, Adam D J Taylor (guest), Shauni Tyrer, Karen Unsworth and Mike Unsworth.

Digital Audio Recording and Post Production: Geoffrey Poulton, Harlequin Recording

Live Sound: Charlie Broadhurst, Event Sound Limited

Placard Carriers: Ant O’Shea and Chel Logan

The artists extend thanks to The Haydock Band, Rainford United Reform Church and Michelle Wren, and all those who contributed their personal stories and knowledge of local issues to inform the lyrics, including; Godfrey Irving, Mike Lindley, Geoff Jackson, Jacqui Priestly and Joan Birkett. And especially to Heather Richardson and Martin Wills for their input in the writing process and placards carriers Ant Shea and Chel Logan.





Continuing Professional Development

At the core of the Heart of Glass programme is the support and development of artist practice in St Helens. Part of this support is delivered through a series of Continuing Professional Development workshops run by leading professionals from across varying fields aimed at arts professionals, artists and communities living in St Helens.

The programme will run throughout the year covering a range of topics from what does it mean to work collaboratively, how to reach new audiences, how to evaluate and reflect on your work, how to raise funds as well as talks by visiting artists.

We will also be developing networking opportunities and inviting local, national and international thinkers and doers to share provocations with us designed to challenge and inspire over the course of the programme.  If you are interested in talking to us about professional development opportunities please contact a member of the Heart of Glass team. For upcoming opportunities please visit the What’s On section.