Wigan arts hub's virtual Christmas programme

The Old Courts is trying to spread some cheer during a festive season in which many typical activities will not take place due to Covid-19.
The Old Courts is putting on virtual Christmas eventsThe Old Courts is putting on virtual Christmas events
The Old Courts is putting on virtual Christmas events

The venue is putting together an online Christmas market, giving independent businesses the chance to sell crafts and other gifts online.

The virtual shopping experience started with a dozen local companies on board and more online stalls will be added to it between now and Christmas.

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The Old Courts Live is also continuing to host streamed gigs and there is an online programme of short festive craft sessions.

Artist Klaire DoyleArtist Klaire Doyle
Artist Klaire Doyle

The Crawford Street culture centre hopes the virtual activities will go some way towards making up for not being able to wander round festive markets browsing stalls or take part in other traditional activities during December.

The Old Courts artistic director, Jonny Davenport, said: Whilst we’re sad we can’t celebrate Christmas in person this year, we’re thrilled to be able to offer an additional platform for local businesses to advertise what they do and encourage people to shop local.

“The Old Courts belongs to everyone and we believe that art and culture is there to create, inspire, engage and have fun with.

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“And what better way to have fun than with a programme of free festive workshops and a virtual Christmas market for all to enjoy and whilst playing our part to support local businesses and artists.”

The Christmas market already offers items including environmentally-friendly wreaths made from recycled materials, jewellery, candles, soaps, sensory gifts and accessories, original artwork and home-made teddy bears.

The Old Courts hopes to give independent businesses in the borough a boost following a year in which the novel coronavirus has brought lockdowns and extended periods of closures, leading to financial, mental health and wellbeing concerns for entrepreneurs.

Alison Unsworth of The Creative Accountant, who has a stall on the virtual market, said: “I recently started handcrafting door wreaths mainly from recycled textiles. I would have loved to have sold them at a Christmas craft market, but as that isn’t possible at the moment, so I’m chuffed to be part of The Old Courts virtual Christmas Market.

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“I feel strongly that we should all be supporting local businesses where possible this Christmas as it’s been such a tough year financially and it’s great that the Old Courts has organised this and given us a platform to showcase locally-made and unusual gift ideas.”

Meanwhile The Old Courts Live continues on December 4 with a streamed performance by Ed Cosens, who is in Reverend and the Makers and is about to release his debut solo album.

Over the Christmas period local artists Anna FC Smith and Klaire Doyle will also hold 15-minute craft sessions online which will teach Wiganers to make items including snowmen sock puppets, paper chains, pom-poms and decorations.

Find out more at www.theoldcourts.com

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