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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA



previews, reviews, interviews, and recommendations with Steve Cooke






Skylight Circus Arts present ‘Sparrow Hill’ - A Circus Show

Preview by Steve Cooke

 “Sparrow Hill”, is Skylight’s most ambitious new circus show to date! 

For the past 6 months, their large cast of community and professional performers have researched the histories and mysteries of Skylight’s home on Sparrow Hill to co-create this magical circus show. From the myth of the moving stones to famous artists, the odd hedgehog and even a giant pop-up book, they circus through a 1000 years of local history in the stunning setting of St Chad’s Parish Church.

“A family friendly show featuring a vast range of performers from 8 to 88 years old!

Up in the air and on the ground, bringing Sparrow Hill stories to life through spectacular circus skills” 

Martine Bradford, Creative Director

Produced by Skylight Circus Arts, Director Gil Burns, Associate Director Grania Pickard, Music composed and recorded by Steven Broomhead, Design by Kerrith Ogden, Technical & Stage Management -University of Salford Technical Theatre Students

Special guests - live music performed by award winning local young musicians ‘Chords and Fiddles’

Friday 8 March 2024 7.30pm

Saturday 9 March 2024 Matinee 2.30pm

Saturday 9 March 2024 7.30pm

Performances take place In the wonderful St Chad’s Parish Church, Sparrow Hill, Rochdale, OL16 7QT


Council agrees additional funding boost for Heywood Civic Centre

Preview by Steve Cooke

Plans to transform Heywood Civic Centre just got bigger and better, after councillors agreed to plough an additional £2.25m into the scheme.

The well-known venue is currently closed while preparation work takes place ahead of a proposed redevelopment, which is expected to start in April.

Under the original proposals, which were submitted for planning in December, a brand new 50 square metre extension with a glazed frontage onto Peine Square would be created to open up the venue. Under the new proposals, this extension will now stand at 150 square metres to create a more accessible entrance foyer which will contain a café bar that doubles up as a box office, with increased capacity for café seating and a new kitchen.

The increased funding will also enable the creation of a new main bar at ground level. This means the mezzanine level, where the bar would have gone in the original scheme, can now offer flexible use during the day and act as an overspill area during evening events.

The additional investment will also fund the creation of two additional changing rooms to increase the capacity of performers, enabling larger shows to be staged at the venue. In addition to refurbishment of the existing facilities, two new accessible toilets with baby changing facilities will also be available for public use, alongside a new Changing Places Toilet, located in the new entrance foyer.

The wider plans for the Heywood Civic Centre include retractable seating in the auditorium, to enable a more flexible performance space, and upgrades to the sound and lighting systems. New opportunities for the community to participate in the arts will be created by Your Trust, and local arts organisation, Cartwheel Arts, will be relocated to a new base in the centre.

The plans are part of an £8.5 million investment into arts and culture in the borough, thanks to funding from Arts Council England and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport funding. In addition to the work at Heywood Civic Centre, the grant is also supporting the redevelopment of Touchstones Rochdale, which will reopen to the public in 2025.

Councillor Danny Meredith, cabinet member for regeneration and housing at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “I’m delighted that we have approved this additional funding, which will enable us to do much more than we originally envisaged with this much-loved venue. It’s one of a number of improvements we told residents we would deliver as part of the Heywood masterplan, and I’m excited to see we’re already delivering on these commitments.”

The redevelopment of the Heywood Civic Centre is a key part of the Heywood masterplan, which outlines major improvements which will be delivered in the area. These include the creation of new housing, including 72 new properties at the former Marina Ropeworks site, and changes to the roads in the area to improve journeys. Elsewhere in Heywood, work to restore the 91-year-old Queen’s Park Bridge is already under way.

Heywood Civic Centre is operated by the council’s leisure and culture partner, Your Trust, who are also partners in the project, and Rochdale Development Agency (RDA) are managing the project on the council’s behalf. North-West based Hive Projects and K2 Architects have been appointed as part of the design team.

Councillor Sue Smith, cabinet member for communities and co-operation at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “The Heywood Civic Centre has been a focal point of the Heywood community since the 1960s and I’m very excited about this important investment into its future. These improvements will enable a much bigger variety of performances to be held here, boosting its status as an important cultural venue in our borough.”

The Capital Investment Programme supporting the redevelopment of Heywood Civic is funded by Arts Council England and Rochdale Borough Council. Heywood Civic Centre is expected to reopen to the public in 2025.




Friday 08 March 2024

Martin Kemp – Back To The 80's DJ Set

The hottest 80s club night is coming to town – when actor, TV personality and star of Spandau Ballet Martin Kemp will be spinning the biggest and best hits of that decade!

Currently selling-out venues across the UK, early booking is essential for what promises to be a night of pure ‘Gold’!

This event is for over 18s only – No refunds will be issued for under 18s.

Doors & DJ 7:30pm, Martin Kemp on stage 8:45pm. This is a standing event.

Tickets from £29.50

Phone: Middleton Arena 0300 303 8633 


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


Friday 08 March 2024

Ace Lips Events: Charity Comedy Night in Littleborough

Join Ace Lips Events for a night of laughter and empowerment at their special all-female line-up comedy event in celebration of International Women's Day!

Littleborough Get ready to LOL with the fantastic line-up featuring talented comedians: -

Katie Gill-Williams, Tal Davies, Natalie Husdan, Lindsey Davis Cartwright

This event is proudly presented in association with the Littleborough & Area Ladies Circle, and all profits will be generously donated to support two incredible charities: Prevent Breast Cancer Charity, MNDA Charity

Don't miss out on an evening of side-splitting comedy and meaningful support for important causes. Bring your friends, family, and laughter-loving spirits!


Phone: Richard Attwood 07720 849866


The Secret Snugg above The Wheatsheaf, 37 Church Street, Littleborough OL15 8AB


Until Saturday 09 March 2024

Gallery Exhibitions: Vanessa Hill

Exhibitions are generally mounted in the Heritage Room and Victoria Room gallery spaces and each lasts for approximately one month, with a week's gap to allow for artist changeover.

Most items on display are available to purchase.

Visit the link below for a full 2024 programme of Gallery Exhibitions.


Phone: Littleborough Coach House 01706 378481

Tuesday to Saturday 10am - 3pm

Littleborough Coach House, Lodge Street, Littleborough OL15 9AE


Friday 08 March 2024 - Saturday 09 March 2024

Sparrow Hill

Join Skylight Circus Arts for an amazing circus show inside St Chad's Church.

Sparrows, hedgehogs, goblins and stained-glass windows come to life in a magical circus show.

Jugglers, unicyclists, aerialists and more tell the tales of Sparrow Hill - home to the show's spectacular setting.

7.30pm Friday 8 March

2.30pm Saturday 9 March

7.30pm Saturday 9 March

The venue is wheelchair accessible.

Tickets are free, donations are welcome.

Please acquire your tickets on the link below.

Rochdale Parish Church, St Chad's, Sparrow Hill, Rochdale OL16 1QT



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


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