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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA



previews, reviews, interviews, and recommendations with Steve Cooke






Review by Hilary Dawes


Written by Kate Attwell and directed by Diane Page, cricket's past & present collide in Test Match at the Octagon as this compelling new play explores colonialism and explodes the mythology of fair play.


 At Lords, during a one-day Women’s World Cup match between England and India, members of both teams rush indoors to shelter from the rain in the tea room, represented by designer Cat Fuller’s plain white circular platform.  As they gather together in the small space, the players are edgy and tense, anxious to return to the game as soon as possible, both sides desperate not to lose momentum.  They have met many times on the pitch and initially there is some fairly good-natured banter between them, as they goad each other on their abilities and the Indian team continuously bemoan the English weather.  Chat turns to dating celebrity athletes, boyfriends, and the attributes of rugby players compared to cricketers in the romance stakes!   The jibes become more intense, leading to accusations of improper conduct and racial insults.  Tensions run high, tempers fray and the unrest within each team becomes apparent as the team captains each reveal shocking and unexpected news about themselves.


Act Two takes us to Colonial India in the 18th century, where two blustering representatives (named One and Two) of the East India Company await a delegation from the Sultan of Bengal whilst practicing their cricket strokes - their long-suffering servant Abhi being charged with writing down the rules as they dictate them.  The two British men are oblivious to the hunger and suffering throughout India, feigning ignorance even as Abhi tries to make them aware of the of the starving locals outside the gates.  When a messenger from the delegation finally arrives, he tells of the famine and devastation witnessed along the way, caused by the actions of the East India Company and, as One and Two remain unmoved, the consequences are inevitable.

With standout performances from all the cast, particularly with their character changes between Acts 1 and 2, Tanya Katyal was excellent as the hyperactive young cricketer India 3 and harassed servant Abhi, whilst Aarushi Ria Ganju gave powerful and moving portrayals of both India Captain 1 and the Messenger.  From anguished Captain England 1 and pragmatic England 3, to buffoonish and bewigged One and Two, Bea Svistunenko and Haylie Jones displayed incredible versatility and comic timing.  Mia Turner (a flighty England 2) was also convincing as the hysterical and opium-dependent Memsahib, and making her UK theatre debut, Aiyana Bartlett gave strong performances as India 2 and Daanya.


Not only about cricket, also a thought-provoking and powerful satire!



Preview by Steve Cooke


City of Floating Sounds brings together Huang Ruo with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra for a unique concert that invites audiences to connect with their surroundings and each other in new ways. The work receives its world premiere this summer in Manchester (6-8 June) ahead of performances at New York ’s Lincoln Center (23 & 24 July), in a commission by Factory International.


Audience members will journey through Manchester, crossing paths to build up layers of sound played through their mobile phones culminating in hearing the full orchestra play digitally; the path taken and who is met on the journey can all change what audiences hear, re-creating the symphony itself through various movements of the audience, meaning no two performances are the same. They then hear the new symphony composed by Huang Ruo performed live by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra at Aviva Studios, conducted by Gemma New.


A bespoke app developed by ECHOES is downloaded in advance and participants

are each allocated one of 11 soundtracks from the symphony, recorded by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, which correspond to different groups of instruments in the orchestra. As the work starts, audience members set off from different places across Manchester and play their strand aloud through their mobile phone.


City of Floating Sounds is for everyone in the city; the general public will hear the work as audience members walk past, meaning people across Manchester can’t help but be drawn into the experience and be part of the piece.


Audiences will be able to use the app to see where other participants across Manchester are listening, and as they start to cross paths the sounds will build to create a fuller ensemble.


They will be guided through the city and offered different routes towards Factory

International’s home Aviva Studios, encountering more audience members along the way.


On arrival at Aviva Studios, audiences will enter the Warehouse to experience the full score performed live by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. The orchestra will be spread across the venue and surround the audience, who will be free to walk among

the musicians.


Huang Ruo said: “City of Floating Sounds is a symphony, a public performance art, an interactive live installation, a relaxed walk in the city and a piece of music theatre involving and for the city and its people. Its hundreds of streams flowing into one river, while audiences journey towards Aviva Studios from different directions, the kinetic sonic fragments carried by them will eventually converge into a symphonic sea. This work breaks down barriers of performer and audience, stage and the four walls and brings awareness of the uncontrollable pacing of urbanisation and its consumption of nature."


Adam Szabo, Director of BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, said: “It’s been incredibly inspiring to work on City of Floating Sounds with a creative team who

are so ready to embrace thrilling and ambitious ideas. Huang Ruo and Factory International are the perfect partners for this project, one that explores everything that classical music can be in this new world. This is symphonic music on a grand scale, epic and theatrical, for everyone.”


John McGrath, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Factory International,

said: “Huang Ruo’s City of Floating Sounds grows out of many years of conversations about our new space Aviva Studios and the role music can play in bringing a new place into being. Like much of Factory International’s work, and like many of Huang Ruo’s extraordinary projects, it is joyfully interdisciplinary, and grows from an intimate journey to an epic immersive experience. It has been a great pleasure to collaborate in this way with such a bold and talented composer.”


Composer and conceptual artist Huang Ruo is known for his distinctive sound that integrates both the Eastern and Western cultural elements through a technique he created called dimensionalism. He has previously created work for Factory International at the 2017 Manchester International Festival, with a site-specific piece inspired by the iconic bee mosaics within the neo-gothic Town Hall.


City of Floating Sounds is produced by Factory International and is a co-commission with National Taichung Theater, Taiwan and Lincoln Center, New York.


It will be performed by the Festival Orchestra of Lincoln Center, conducted by Jonathon Heyward on 23 & 24 July as part of their Summer for the City festival.


6–8 June 6.30pm (40 min journey / 40 min performance at Aviva Studios)

Aviva Studios, home of Factory International Water Street, Manchester, M3 4JQ


Tickets £15. A limited number of concession tickets including Aviva £10 tickets are available.





Wednesday 05 June 2024

Whitworth Historical Society

This month our guest speaker is Brian Hallworth. He will be talking about “Down Forget Me Not Lane 1960 - 1965”

Brian takes us through some of the many social changes that took place during the early 1960s. In particular he looks at music, fashion and the birth of celebrity culture. As they often say about the 1960s, if you remember it, you weren’t there!

Please note - Please check the venue for this meeting before you attend using the website link below or by contacting the Secretary. Some meetings will be held in the Hallfold URC schoolroom as it has a far greater capacity than the museum.

Whitworth Historical Society have a programme of monthly lectures, which are usually held on the first Wednesday in every month, between the months of October and June, at 7.30pm.

Visit the link below for a list of upcoming talks/lectures.

Free but donations welcome

Phone: Secretary 07816 911 556

7.30pm start

Whitworth Heritage Museum, North Street, Whitworth OL12 8RA


Wednesday 05 June 2024

Rochdale Photographic Society

Tonight's session - visit to Rochdale Town Hall.

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.

Doors open 7.15pm, 7.30pm start

Rochdale Unitarian Church, Clover Street, Rochdale OL12 6TP


Wednesday 05 June 2024

Toad Lane Concerts - Rochdale's Weekly Music at Lunchtime

This week we have Telemann Baroque Ensemble Alfred Pollard oboe, Kevin O’Sullivan bassoon, Elaine da Costa & Sarah Snape violins, John Goodstadt viola, Roger Bisby cello, Peter Collier harpsichord

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


Thursday 06 June 2024

Clinton Baptiste: Roller Ghoster!

Solo again, Britain’s most celebrated clairvoyant medium psychic from Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights returns with his brand new hilarious one-man stand-up show.

As well as venturing into the audience to offer his unique spirit readings, Clinton Baptiste comes armed with more tales from his extraordinary childhood; exposing himself in ways you could never imagine – the family that shaped him, the narrow minded who doubted him and the lovers that left him. He regales us with stories of his recent work on a cruise ship, his spirit readings round the UK, and not to mention the day-to-day life with his Greenlandic spirit guide, Taruak.

Brace yourselves – Clinton will prove his mystical ability once and for all. This time, he guarantees you will believe! *

*No actual money back if you don’t. It’s not really a legal ‘guarantee’ as such. Look, it’s just an expression, okay?

Laugh, gasp, scream your head off…but whatever you do…. strap in and hold tight as Clinton takes you on a rip-roaring ride through the twists and turns of his heady life.

The premier hands-on clairvoyant, medium and psychic, Clinton is renowned as Britain’s foremost ‘can-do’ guru.

The self-styled ‘Can-guru’

Tickets from £27.50

Phone: Middleton Arena 0300 303 8633 


Middleton Arena, LCpl Joel Halliwell VC Way, Middleton M24 1AG


Thursday 06 June 2024 - Saturday 08 June 2024

Visit Fireground Museum

Join us at Fireground this week to discover Greater Manchester's firefighting story.

Fire museum attractions are on show inside the museum including our collection of historic firefighting artefacts from the 18th century to present day, plus home-made refreshments in the new Fireground Café, and souvenirs from our fantastic new gift shop! We have a wide choice ranging from toddler to collector.

Fireground is open to visitors on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 10am - 4pm.

Under 4s are free, Children (aged 4-15) and Concessions £5, Adults £7 and Family (4 people) £20.

Phone: Fireground 01706 341219

Fireground, Maclure Road, Rochdale OL11 1DN


Saturday 08 June 2024

Thank ABBA For The Music – The 50th Anniversary

Grab your platforms and flares for a journey back in time to when ABBA dominated the charts and ruled the airwaves! Thank ABBA For The Music is a two-hour theatre spectacular that captures all of the magic and excitement of one of pop history’s most successful and entertaining live bands.

Featuring all of ABBA’s greatest hits including Dancing Queen, Waterloo, Mamma Mia, Take A Chance On Me, Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Knowing Me Knowing You, Fernando, Super Trouper and many more!

With stunning costumes, live band, interactive video projection, some tongue-in-cheek Swedish humour and, of course, ABBA’s spectacular trademark harmonies, this is the ultimate feel-good party show!

ABBA and 70’s fancy dress optional … but encouraged!

Tickets from £23

Phone: Middleton Arena 0300 303 8633 


Middleton Arena, LCpl Joel Halliwell VC Way, Middleton M24 1AG


Saturday 08 June 2024

Riverside Artisan Market

Running on the second Saturday of every month, the successful Riverside Artisan Market returns again to Rochdale Riverside this weekend.

A big thankyou to all our customers for helping us to grow this market every month.

A warm welcome is waiting from over 30 small independent businesses who grow, rear, make or bake what you see. All different, all quality and made by the people you speak to.

From artisan meats to hand made fudge and glass creations.

From room sprays, wax melts, handmade soaps and quirky gift ideas

From preserves, chutneys, oils and vinegars to delicious savoury pies, sweet treats and fresh fruit and veg and so much more.

Come say hi, let us know what you think and while you’re here check out the great Rochdale Riverside and the other lovely places Rochdale Town Centre has to offer.


10am - 4pm

Riverside Retail & Leisure Complex, Riverside Walk, Rochdale OL16 1TR


Saturday 08 June 2024

Coach House Craft Fairs

The doors will open to the public at 10am. 

Stallholders will be able to access earlier in the morning to be able to set up their stalls.

The charge to stallholders for a table is £20 for each craft fair.

Please contact us to book a stall for one of our craft fairs or have a query about arrangements on the day.

We will also be holding Craft Fairs in September and November.


Phone: Elizabeth 07939 491 545

10.00am - 3.00pm

Littleborough Coach House, Lodge Street, Littleborough OL15 9AE


Saturday 08 June 2024

Community Fun Day

There’s a whole host of things for you to get involved in – no matter your age or interests. This includes meeting the college's rare and wonderful wildlife, which includes exotic creatures such as flamingos, meerkats, potoroos and much more.

Attractions include:

Wallaby Keeper Talks

Meet our Lorikeets

Fire Engine Experience

Pop-up Cinema

Virtual Reality Demos

‘Path to Paris’ Olympic-themed Activities

Samba Dancing

Esports & Gaming Sessions

Gym Challenges, Fitness Testing & Health Checks

Story Time Sessions

Penalty Shoot Outs

Sensory Activities

Garden Games (Giant Jenga, Connect 4, Hula Hooping, Giant Chalks)

Face Painting

Hair Braiding

Nail Painting


‘Whodunnit’ Crime Scene

Eventing Simulator (booking required on the day)

Mini Golf

Radio Controlled F1 Track

Quizzes & Competitions

Food & Refreshments

Live music

Parking is free but is limited so please arrive early – event starts at 11am.

Free, donations accepted

Phone: 0161 643 7560

11am - 3pm

Hopwood Hall College, Middleton Campus, Rochdale Road, Middleton M24 6XH



  celebrating creative arts and artists - an oasis of positivity supporting individual and community wellbeing.


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