Wigan Arts Festival returns this summer

A spectacular celebration of all things artistic is being held across the borough after last year's event could not take place due to Covid-19.

Monday, 21st June 2021, 9:59 am
Updated Monday, 21st June 2021, 1:04 pm
Wigan Arts Festival is back this summer
Wigan Arts Festival is back this summer

The festival is back at the end of July and in August with a fortnight-long programme packed with events and activities for culture vultures of all ages.

The Old Courts, which has organised previous festivals, has teamed up with a number of partners including Wigan Council, The Turnpike, WigLe Dance, Leigh Film Society, Leigh Spinners Mill and Wigan Steam to make the ambitious event a reality.

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The Old Courts artistic director Jonny Davenport said: “I’m really excited to see the impact that the festival can have and I’d encourage people to seek out familiar favourites but also to experience something different.

“There will be a vast array to choose from. Collaborating with partners external to The Old Courts has always been something we have valued, and I think it’s a real mark of progress that this way of working is being scaled up.

“Wigan Arts Festival feels like another big step in the right direction as it’s using arts and culture to bring people together.

“We are now seeing sustained and committed collaboration from more and more cultural organisations which is great for the borough and great for the arts.”

Highlights of the festival which have already been announced include performances in the pop-up drama space The Den by the Royal Exchange Theatre at Leigh Spinners Mill, singalong films and nostalgic heritage screenings at Leigh Town Hall, a bubble art exhibition at Cross Street Arts in Standish and workshops at The Turnpike in Leigh which will involve artists working with children to create eco products.

There will be a touring museum installation, live music performances including gigs in Leigh Library, Leigh Parish Church and Wigan town centre and a performance of Romeo and Juliet in the gardens at Haigh Hall.

Other organisations which are on board have spoken of their excitement at being involved with the festival after 15 months which have been extremely tough for the creative sectors due to the restrictions brought in to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Louise Robson, creative director of Wigan Steam, said: “We’re really excited that Wigan Arts Festival is taking place again this year.

“The arts for us are all about building community and giving people a sense of belonging, and we need that now more than ever

Paul Costello, chair of Leigh Film Society CIO, said: “The Wigan Arts Festival is bringing so many different cultural events together for everyone to join in and enjoy.

“Leigh Film Society is proud to be a part of this celebration that will showcase so many different forms of art and culture.”

The town hall has also expressed its delight that the two-week long event is

happening.

Coun Chris Ready, cabinet member for communities and culture at Wigan Council, said: “We’re excited to be working with The Old Courts to deliver a vibrant two-week festival of activity across the borough.

“Interactive summer activities that are safe and attractive to people of all ages will be a key draw after a turbulent year and we look forward to seeing our borough thriving again.

“Wigan Arts Festival will also reflect the themes set out within the third year of the cultural manifesto, Health and Happiness.

“We know that cultural activity can have wholesome benefits to our health and wellbeing and this remains a crucial priority as we support our communities through the transition from pandemic to business as usual.

“There are a lot of digital and face-to-face activities planned with more in the pipeline so the message is very much ‘watch this space’.”

Wigan Arts Festival runs from July 30 to August 14. The full programme will be announced on July 1.

For more information, including about booking tickets, visit www.wiganarts.com/

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