Wigan will become a cultural hotspot as a huge arts festival brings some of the most exciting drama and music in the country to town.
The second Wigan Arts Festival is being hosted by The Old Courts with more than a fortnight of top-quality theatre, music, film and visual art on the packed schedule.
Highlights of the programme include shows which are coming to Wigan through the Crawford Street venue’s membership of the Collaborative Touring Network (CTN) run by Battersea Arts Centre in London.
One of the most unusual shows is Reassembled, Slightly Askew, an unusual installation by artist Shannon Yee based on her experience of suffering a rare brain infection.
Audiences will lie on hospital beds in a mock ward and listen to the show through headphones.
Another powerful production coming to Wigan is Bucket List, Theatre Ad Infinitum’s show about a Mexican woman’s quest for justice.
A new generation of culture fans, meanwhile, will be introduced to the arts through Neverland, a show for youngsters aged one to three which uses video projections and music.
Top acts on the music side of the festival include a Wigan appearance by Glen Matlock, the former member of infamous punk rockers The Sex Pistols and top local acts including Stillia and folk-rockers Merry Hell in their acoustic guise.
Standish-based Cross St Arts will put on a show and there will also be film screenings, stand-up comedy shows, dance performances and a one-off event combining poetry and live music.
The festival is also branching out this year as in addition to The Old Courts partner organisations and venues Wigan Steam, Wigan and Leigh Libraries, D:Circus, Cross St Arts, the Museum of Wigan Life and the Turnpike Gallery in Leigh will be staging some of the event.
The Old Courts director Jonny Davenport said: “We are really excited to be approaching our second arts festival and this time it’s going to be even bigger and better. Again we have a mix of music, dance, theatre and art and we have managed to secure performers and artists from far and wide to come to Wigan.
“We have a strong following of people who attend a lot of our events but we’re hoping that people will take the opportunity to enjoy the diversity of the festival and attend events they might not have previously done.
“It’s going to be a busy run of events but we’re ready and can’t wait to get started.”
Wigan Arts Festival runs from March 31 to April 16.
To find out more or book visit www.wiganarts.com