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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA



previews, reviews, interviews, and recommendations with Steve Cooke



Farewell Winter Celebration & Postcard Exhibition at Ebor Studio

Preview by Steve Cooke


On the 17th of February 4 - 6pm Ebor Studio will be waving goodbye to the bitter cold of winter by getting together and celebrating. Join them and flip a pancake, bid on or buy some artwork, and play some games.


Ebor artists also have got together and made a postcard exhibition featuring their work from digital painting like Let's be friends, by Mary Naylor to knitted cassette tape!


Ebor Studio is a group studio and gallery in the Lancashire Pennine village of Littleborough in Rochdale, Greater Manchester. They have a membership of 26 local professional artists and designers who they support with opportunities, resources, and facilities.


Alongside supporting local artists, Ebor host events that give the public access to their work with exhibitions, workshops, talks and more.


2023 was their first year providing a fully funded program, allowing them to deliver six exhibitions, billboards from local artists, events for families, art & music lovers with tailored sessions for LGBTQIA+ and disabled creatives.


In 2024 they are sharing some highlights from 2023 and saying thank you to everyone within the collective and to the local community and beyond for continuing to support grassroots art in Rochdale!


Ebor Studio, William St, Littleborough, OL15 8JP



Phone Office: 01706 551 001 - Wednesday and Thursday 1pm - 5pm



This March at the Octagon, Bolton a bold reimagining of Jane Austen's romantic novel NORTHANGER ABBEY.

Preview by Steve Cooke


Fizzing with imagination, packed full of humour, and brimming with love - follow unlikely heroine Catherine Morland in this wonderfully entertaining coming-of-age story with a modern twist on the regency classic.


Catherine Morland knows little of the world, but who needs real-life experience when you have novels to guide you? Catherine seizes her chance to escape her claustrophobic family and join the smart set in Bath. Between balls and parties, she meets worldly, sophisticated Isabella Thorpe – Iz, to her friends – and so Cath’s very own real-life adventure begins.


Rehearsals have just begun, and the team cannot wait to bring this fresh take on Austen to their stage.


Renowned playwright Zoe Cooper infuses the plot and spirit of Austen's original novel with her own unique voice creating a brilliantly funny new play you will not want to miss out on this spring.




Tessa Walker (Ravenscourt and Big, Big, Sky, Hampstead Theatre, Run, Rebel Pilot Theatre, tour) directs.


Rebecca Banatvala (Sap, Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Soho Theatre, UK Tour, Much Ado About Nothing, RSC) playing Cath.


AK Golding (Twelfth Night, Nottingham Playhouse, The Messiah Complex, VAULT Festival) as Iz.


Sam Newton (A Woman Walks into a Bank, Theatre503, Good Day, VAULT Festival) who plays Hen.


Playwright Zoe Cooper said: “Northanger Abbey is a novel about friendship, love, romance, and fantasy and how those things collide. What struck me on my first reading as a queer nineteen-year-old, was that the central romantic relationship, one filled with lust, anger, and betrayal, is between the romantic heroine and her best friend, Isabella. It is that version of the book I wanted to explore in this reimagining.”


Director Tessa Walker added: “I am delighted to be working on Zoe’s vivid, funny, and inventive re-imagining of Austen’s classic with this fantastic cast. It’s a wonderful, playful tale of romance, gothic adventures, growing up, and the importance of stories and who gets to tell them.”


Catherine Morland knows little of the world, but who needs real-life experience when you have novels to guide you? Catherine seizes her chance to escape her claustrophobic family and join the smart set in Bath. Between balls and parties, she meets worldly, sophisticated Isabella Thorpe – Iz, to her friends – and so Cath’s very own adventure begins.


Northanger Abbey comes to the Octagon from Friday 1 – Saturday 23 March 2024. Tickets start from £15 and are on-sale now.


BOX OFFICE 01204 520661

Singing in the New Year with a glass half full at TLC

Review by Dr Joe Dawson


It was a welcome return to Toad Lane Concerts for award-winning Voci Voices, consisting of Elizabeth Ambrose (soprano), Margaret Ferguson (mezzo), Eric Cymbir (tenor), David Cane (baritone) and pianist Jonathan Ellis.


This splendid troupe performs regularly and has appeared at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Eisteddfod and Buxton Festival Fringe to great acclaim.


They presented a delightful mini opera gala along with seasonal tunes, all skilfully arranged for quartet with occasional solos, with the accompanist to imitating a full orchestra at times.


There were some interesting pairings such as A New Year Carol by Benjamin Britten and The Blue Danube by Johann Strauss II; The Snow Waltz and Winter Wonderland; and Sheep May Safely Graze by Bach and the ‘Caccini Ave Maria’ by Vavilov.


Agnus Dei by Bizet with Margaret as soloist, was followed by Ivor Novello’s popular Waltz of my Heart. Funiculi - Funicula was led by Eric, and the Toreador’s song from Bizet’s Carmen featured David before all four performed Kálmán’s quartet scene from Act II of The Gypsy Princess.


The closing set consisted of numbers from Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss II, of which the final item ‘Champagne’ struck just the right bubbly note; and it was a glass half full to toast the opening of 2024.


The Queen’s Award-winning Toad Lane Concerts every Wednesday at 12.30pm at the Grade 1 listed church of St Mary in the Baum, Toad Lane, Rochdale, OL16 1DZ. Entrance fee is £6. Contact 01706 648872 for further information.



Naomi Harwin: Middle Moments exhibition at HOME

Preview by Steve Cooke

Have you ever paused to look at a wildflower or how the shadows of buildings form on the pavement? What is it that makes you stop?

Naomi Harwin invites you to explore her collection of ‘middle moments’ in Manchester through cut-outs and interactive, tactile installations. When walking in the city, Naomi finds herself slowing down, captivated by the way shadows elongate and envelop the mundane objects we encounter daily. Naomi rediscovers the world with the wonder of a child each time shadows reframe the ordinary.

Very often as we rush from one place to another, we miss these subtle yet enchanting ‘middle moments’ that spark wonder. Naomi’s work encourages us to reconsider how we navigate the city, urging us to consider: how we can reframe our habits and daily rituals as we walk through the streets?

Interweaving Manchester’s street furniture and wayfinding markers with layers, colour and geometry, Naomi’s work captures the playful, ephemeral moments where light brings our built environment alive. The different shades of blue stems from memories of the blue bedrooms in her childhood home to the calming hues found in the crystal-clear sky.

Naomi welcomes everyone to be curious and play with the interactive sculptures, encouraging visitors to leave their mark for others to discover and connect with. By actively participating in these pieces, visitors gain temporary ownership before passing this unique opportunity to the next person. This act fosters a deeper connection to our surroundings, allowing each individual to imprint their own narratives and significance onto these spaces.

‘Middle Moments’ is a reminder to slow down and find peace, reflection and joy in the seemingly ‘invisible’ times that make up the vast majority of our lives. To echo the words of artist Yves Klein, ‘Blue is the invisible becoming visible’.

No booking required.

Until Sun 24 Mar

Box Office 0161 200 1500

Restaurant 0161 212 3500

 HOME, 2 Tony Wilson Place, Manchester M15 4FN

Naomi Harwin is a Manchester-based artist that specialises in sculpture and installation. Her interactive and mixed media artworks explore our senses, how they connect us with our bodies, others, and the environment. She is influenced by sensory design, architectural scenography, and play and aims to foster moments of connectivity and shared experience.

Naomi has recently shown work with; In Transit, Smolensky Gallery, Bankley Gallery, Hospital Rooms, Wysing Arts Centre, 1961 Singapore, and Airspace Gallery.




Tuesday 23 January 2024

Rochdale & District Camera Club

Tonight is editing challenge results.

We meet every Tuesday at 8pm at Syke Methodist Church Hall.

You are more than welcome to come down to one of our club nights to see if you would enjoy joining the club.

Visit the link below for the 2023 syllabus.

Phone: Pete Williams 07967 969136


Syke Methodist Church Hall, Syke Road, Rochdale OL12 9TF


Wednesday 24 January 2024

Toad Lane Concerts - Rochdale's Weekly Music at Lunchtime

This week we have The Roth Guitar Duo: Sam Rodwell (RNCM) & Emma Smith (Edinburgh University & RNCM).

The concert series has been held at St Mary’s since 2001 and was granted the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2020… during the pandemic!

Running every Wednesday, Music at Lunchtime is a weekly live classical music concert series that has been going since the 1960s. The sessions were initially run at the old Rochdale Art Gallery by the local authority, but since May 2001 have been run by volunteer-enthusiasts and artistic director, Dr Joe Dawson.


Phone: Dr Joe Dawson 01706 648872

Doors open 12noon, concert starts 12.30pm - 1.30pm

St Mary in the Baum, Toad Lane/St Mary's Gate, Rochdale OL16 1DZ


Wednesday 24 January 2024

Rochdale Photographic Society

Tonight's session - Q1 competition.

We meet every Wednesday at Rochdale Unitarian Church, starting at 7.30pm prompt (doors open from 7.15pm). The door is kept locked so please ring the bell on arrival.

If you would like to see the club for yourself and meet our members, you are welcome to attend as our guest for up to 3 weeks before committing to membership. Annual subscription is £36 for single or £46 for joint membership.

A weekly room fee of £2.50 is also payable on arrival at the meeting. Refreshments are 50p.

Visit the link below for a full 2023 syllabus.

£2.50 for room fee

Phone: Secretary - Ed Whitaker

Doors open 7.15pm, 7.30pm start.

Rochdale Unitarian Church, Clover Street, Rochdale OL12 6TP



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