Prototype Projects: Round 4

Work from eleven St Helens artists is set become a reality following the most competitive round of Prototype Projects.

Prototype Projects is an exciting programme of small and ambitious art projects developed by artists and local creative communities across St Helens.

Now in its fourth iteration, the successful applicants to receive Prototype Project commissions for Round 4 include ideas ranging from: a new collaboration between a composer and the St Helens Gospel Choir to produce new work, creating a new exhibition called St Helens Goes Pop! that infuses pop, graffiti, street and digital art to supporting a young ceramicist to receive professional guidance and mentorship. To date we have supported over 35 projects by local artists and communities.

The decision-making panel (which changes each round) included Hannah Longworth, Curator, The World of Glass, Joan Birkett, an artist awarded a R&D Prototype Project from Round 3, Ant Shea (member of the St Helens Community) and Laura Yates, Participation Manager, The Bluecoat, Liverpool (external guest).

With over 15 applications, competition was high and our panel had some very difficult decisions to make. Patrick Fox, Director of Heart of Glass, said: “This was a really strong round of submissions, and the panel had some tough decisions to make. The aim of this commissioning opportunity is to support artists and communities to try something different, to take a risk and potentially open up new opportunities for future working – the commissioned works all respond to that aim and we are excited to support them to fruition”.


Left to right: Artists: Simon Jones, Briony Machin, Rhyannon Parry & Katie Musgrove]

Prototype Projects (Round 4) will be supporting the following projects (below) and we are also delighted announce our Faculty cohort of artists who will be producing a set of projects during this period:

Projectile Vomit: A Portable Art Installation
Michelle Wren & Simon Jones 

Michelle Wren is an artist, activist and set builder from St Helens who will work collaboratively with musician, VJ and multi-sensory artist Simon Jones to produce a new, interactive installation called Projectile Vomit. Exploring CCTV, humour and colour with a political edge, they will use video mapping & projections to create a unique, animated art and musical experience. With a DJ booth embedded within it, it will host musicians, artists and performances, as well as inviting St Helens musicians to showcase what they do, as part of a Heart of Glass art weekend during October/November.

Briony Machin [R&D]
Recently graduated Briony Machin will spend the next six months developing her professional practice as a ceramicist and artist, where she will get mentoring and guidance from experts within the arts & ceramics sector with the support of Heart of Glass. She will also get the opportunity to attend a research trip to a national craft / ceramic event, because she wants to expand her networks and push her work further to establish herself both locally and nationally. View her work here

St Helens Goes Pop!
Drunk Wolf

Digital artist Drunk Wolf will hold his first solo show in The World Of Glass Museum, in the Godfrey Pilkington Gallery from 30th April 2016. Expect spray paint, digital art and a few other things including work by some of the We Art The Response artist group.

The project looks to utilise pop art styles, as well as pop culture to both celebrate St Helens – its people, places and history, touch upon issues affecting the town as well as current affairs. The project came about after approaching the World of Glass with an initial idea and building upon it to construct a show that people of all ages within the town can relate to through the imagery and subject.

Songs of Hope and Joy
ADM Productions & St Helens Gospel Choir

Conductor & Choral Leader, Alexander Douglas and Arts Project Manager, Katie Musgrove from ADM Productions will develop a collaborative pilot choral project with The St Helens Gospel Choir. Over the next several months they will deliver a series of gospel music workshops for both the choir and the people of St Helens, compose new music and work towards a final performance in St Helens Parish Church in October/November.

Another Place
Yellow Door Artists

Yellow Door Artists (Rhyannon Parry and Naoise Johnson Martin) will build and develop an artist exchange between St. Helens’ twin town France, Chalon Sur Saone to open new creative connections overseas. St. Helens has a strong link with the French town stretching back 50 years and the artists want to create new, artistic connections with the aim to establish relationships with various artists and organisations. Embarking on a research visit to France in Autumn 2016, they will document their experiences and conversations through photography, drawing & writing and on their return to produce new artworks, culminating in a joint exhibition in St Helens.

A Maze of Displacement
Claire Weetman

Artist Claire Weetman will research & develop various possibilities surrounding her idea of a maze whose walls are made of people creating emotive gestures with their hands and bodies; whose walls and passageways shift, open and close for people and audiences to explore and experience. Working alongside people, groups and communities who have experience of displacement, she will also work collaboratively with a performer/ dancer/ choreographer who will challenge her artistic approach and bring high quality, performative elements & viewpoints to the artwork.

Ian Driver [R&D]

Sound engineer and music practitioner Ian Driver will research the hidden, underground St. Helens music scene, identifying the musicians and songs of local significance. He will research the different genres of music, find best ways to document their performances and identify if there are young people and/or communities who want to work collaboratively with him to further develop a new archive of local, hidden music.

M62: Trans-Pennine Motorway
Kevin Crooks

Over the next 6 months, artist Kevin Crooks will produce a new series of work (using film and photography) to explore the social and economic impact the motorway has brought to St. Helens and beyond. He will research the various possibilities surrounding the M62 motorway corridor, which will include working collaboratively with people, groups and communities in the vicinity of the motorway, as well as seeking additional funds, developing new partnerships and considering alternative outlets for the presentation of the work, which will include a new publication.

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.

Joshua Sofaer

Your Name Here was the opportunity to nominate someone to become the name of a park in St Helens. We received hundreds of qualifying nominations, an amazing response which draws a portrait of the town.

There were a number of themes that emerged: stories of forgotten figures from St Helens; people who have given to their community; nominations for loved family members and tributes to friends; memorials for those who have passed; and people who nominated themselves with very different reasons. Nominations were sometimes funny, often deeply moving, and always sincere.

In towns and cities across the country, streets, parks and buildings are named after people. Those selected are normally kings or queens, ministers of government, or those who have contributed something of great cultural significance to society. Most of them have long since passed from this world. Rarely is there a chance to name a place after the ordinary people who live there. Your Name Here was such an opportunity.

The justification for naming a place after a person is generally that they are already celebrated. Their name is well known because of their status or what they have done. When naming a park after another kind of person, a person who is not known beyond their immediate social circle and who has led a quiet life, what kinds of criteria can you use to judge? What makes one person worthy of having a park named after them more than another?

It is an extremely difficult task. People will hold a range of opinions and yet more important than any one individual being singled out is the idea that we, as citizens, have the power to take control over our environment and leave our mark on it.

During the call for nominations a giant neon sign reading Your Name Here was installed on St Helens Town Hall and 100,000 fliers were distributed across the borough. Over 500 people took part in workshops in schools, libraries, community centres, clubs and societies. Your Name Here unearthed all kinds of interesting accounts about residents of the town. The judging panel were delighted and impressed by the wealth of engaging people and inspirational stories. As one member put it, “We need more parks to name!”

Vera Bowes happened to attend an oral history reminiscence workshop in the communal lounge of her sheltered housing. It was at this meeting that she shared her story.

The judges commented:

‘We were greatly touched by Vera Bowes’ nomination of herself as a child, under her birth name Vera Page. For a project with the title, Your Name Here, it is wonderful to see someone who has tried to imagine what it would mean for them personally to have a park named after them, and to think of the opportunity as a way of confronting demons of the past. Vera’s story of abandonment, despair and hardship may resonate with many of us; it is also uniquely her own. We want the naming of Vera Page Park to stand as a symbol for all of us who need to acknowledge the hurt of the past in order to heal.’

Vera’s story is a reminder to recognise all neglected children. It is a tribute to both the young and the old, and the struggles many of us go through in life as we try to make peace with our past.

I am nominating myself as a child.

I can’t forget the little girl who thought she wasn’t wanted and how it affected my life.

My real Mum died when I was a baby. My Dad didn’t want me after he re-married. So my Grandma brought me up with the others, but she died when I was four. After that my Aunt Rose looked after me. I called her Mam, thinking she was my mother. But at 15, she had to tell me the truth, because her husband didn’t want to keep me.

I married and had five of my own children, but lost two of them. My husband knocked me about and I suffered a nervous breakdown. The nurses had to teach me to walk and talk again – I’d gone completely.

People tell me to forget the past, but they don’t know what those years did to me.

by Vera Bowes

Vera Page Park was launched on Saturday 5th September 2015 and it will remain in place for people to enjoy in perpetuity. It will become part of the fabric of the town, and all the maps will have to change.

A selection of the many hundreds of nominations were published in the town newspaper, the St Helens Star.

Selfie Stick

Artist duo Engine (Ian Brownbill and Jai Redman) worked with young people from the Sherdley Road traveller site. Through a series of workshops they have explored the notion of identity and what it is to be a young traveller in St Helens and the misconceptions that often surround this. Collaboratively they are producing an artwork that will tour St Helens later this year.


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.”




Prototype Projects

Heart of Glass continues to commission an exciting programme of small and ambitious art projects produced by artists and communities in St Helens. By funding these projects, we strive to engage new audiences and embed the arts within our everyday lives.

Prototype Projects (previously known as the Micro Commissions) provides artists and/or communities with an opportunity to test, explore and develop new, innovative ideas. Prototype Projects can involve any art form and can take place in a diverse range of social and community contexts.

In 2014, nineteen diverse projects from artists and communities from across the borough were awarded Prototype Projects for Round 1 and 2. In 2015, nine artists for Round 3 were awarded commissions with ideas that involved bringing the iconic Beecham’s building back to life through a performance & tour, exploring the use of moss graffiti and creating a new glass artwork.

During 2016 a total of 15 projects were awarded commissions. 11 artists were given the opportunity to initiate new projects as part of Round 4 including a new collaboration between a composer and the St Helens Gospel Choir and a new exhibition called St Helens Goes Pop! infusing pop, graffiti, street and digital art. Round 5 recently enabled 7 new commissions including 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.

There will be no further commissioning rounds in 2017.

Heart of Glass continues to provide a range of professional development support and advice for artists based in St Helens. For more information, e-mail


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


Prototype Projects: Round 3

Nine artists from St Helens are the latest successful applicants to receive Prototype Project commissions from Heart of Glass. Building on St.Helens history of innovation, this opportunity offers artists, communities and creatives from the borough to propose arts projects that are new, unique and experimental.

A total of £7,500 was allocated to support four R&D projects (up to £500) and three Prototype Projects (up to £2,000). The ideas for this round include creating a new glass artwork, exploring the use of moss graffiti and bringing the iconic Beecham’s building back to life through a sound installation & performance, combined with a tour. We have supported 26 projects by local artists and communities to date.

Debbie Chan, Prototype Projects Producer for Heart of Glass, said: “We received commission requests totaling more than £26,000, which meant competition was high and our panel had some very difficult decisions to make.”

The decision-making panel (which changes each round) included: Cath Shea (Arts Development Manager, St Helens Council), Beverly Jones and Gill Mather, successful awardees from Round 1 (The Cowley Singers) and socially engaged artist Jeni McConnell (external guest).

Prototype Projects (Round 3) will be supporting artists working on the following projects:

A Guinea A Box
Ian Greenall

Ian will create a performance installation called A Guinea A Box for Heritage Weekend that will bring the Beecham’s building back to life, through the stories and memories of those who once worked there.

On Saturday 12th September, the doors to the Beecham’s clock tower building opened to the public offering them chance to travel back in time. Visitors encountered sound pieces, video projection and performers recounting the history of the building and early years of the Beecham’s company.

American Style Off-hand Venetian Glassmaking
Sarah Cable

Glass artist Sarah Cable will attend the International Glass Festival & British Glass Biennale in Stourbridge to participate in a glassblowing masterclass led by American glass artist Dante Marioni – a master of Venetian glass making techniques; a style of glass blowing that differs greatly from the English style.

22 Dragons: Furniture Upcycling with Visually Impaired People
Paula & Piotr Pietrzak, Passsoul Studio

Working closely with a group of blind and visually impaired residents from Newton-le-Willows, artists Paula & Piotr Pietrzak will deliver a series of workshops to allow participants to develop self confidence, learn decorative skills and gain an appetite for artistic exploration and experimentation.

Working collaboratively to upcycle various pieces of wooden furniture their talents and abilities will be celebrated as part of an exhibition in St Helens, with the aim to raise awareness of the barriers faced by those with visual impairments. Read more about their project.

This Town is… [R&D]
John Guy & Chris McBirnie

Two emerging local artists, John Guy and Chris McBirnie will examine and challenge the zeitgeist of public opinion towards St Helens high street, as well as examining their perception of public art as an effective tool for change. Based on their research findings, the artists will create and test an artwork, using an empty shop front window in St Helens as it’s canvas, concluding with new ideas for future public art projects.

St Helens, Tokyo, Return [R&D]
Joan Birkett

Artist Joan Birkett will embark on a period of research, where she will document and explore the possibility of collaborative art projects between St Helens, UK and Tokyo, Japan. Due to strong family connections, Japanese art and culture has greatly influenced her art practice and this will be an opportunity to visit Tokyo. Joan will meet face to face with contemporary artists and networks, starting new dialogues and conversations to see what ideas & projects could be developed in the future. Read about her visit here

Eco Graffiti [R&D]
Jack Knowles

Artist Jack Knowles will test and explore the possibilities of using moss as a medium for his art practice. The idea of making living, breathing, eco-friendly graffiti in public spaces across St Helens will be the focus of his research. In July, Heart of Glass sent him to UpFest, Europe’s largest, free, graffiti and street art festival to help inspire and kick start his project. With the support of a mentor, he will develop a better understanding of contemporary dance with the aim to develop a future project that effectively combines eco graffiti with contemporary performance.

I’m Not All There
Lynn Gerrard 

Writer, Lynn Gerrard will write and develop a new script called I’m Not All There based on true stories collected from people with mental illness, including her own experiences. Over the next three months, she will get mentoring and guidance from artist, poet & playwright Louise Wallwein who will offer her professional guidance, advice and support towards improving her script before it is produced and placed before an audience. Lynn’s script will combine comedy and dark humour with the realities of mental health.

For more information about Prototype Projects 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.