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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA



previews, reviews, interviews, and recommendations with Steve Cooke





Food glorious food as Street Eat returns to Rochdale Town Hall Square

Preview by Steve Cooke

Organisers of Street Eat, the popular food festival returning to Rochdale Town Hall Square on Saturday 15 June have revealed more about the 2024 line-up.

Street Eat, organised by Rochdale Business Improvement District (BID), will bring together the town’s food and drink establishments with lots of free live music.

The full list of traders has been confirmed and it features established favourites and some new arrivals. The food and drink line-up includes Bombay Brew, The Flying Horse Hotel, The Baum, Vicolo Del Vino, The Empire, Vinesteins, The Treehouse Bar, Our Gracie’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Bank Top Farm, Mason’s Creations, Pad Thai Street Food, Brew Box, Cake Loves Cakes, D’Ale House and Keep It Sweet. For the first time the event will feature the team behind the new restaurant at the recently restored town hall, The Martlet Kitchen, which is due to open later in the year.

 There will be free activities and rides for children including a Victorian carousel, Punch and Judy shows, bumper cars, and face painting. The event also includes bars for the adults and a music stage hosted by Di Lynham from Happy Radio UK, serving up hours of fun for all ages.

The music line-up includes acoustic guitarist Edward Jamil, popular duo Shenanigans, Rochdale Music Service Rock School, pop choir, The Youth Choir and more. 

BID manager Paul Ambrose, who organises the event with support from Rochdale Borough Council, said: “Street Eat showcases lots of the vibrant food and drink the town has to offer as well as being a fun day out. Whether you’re wanting to try something new or just want your favourite food to accompany an ice-cold drink while listening to some great live music, Street Eat has everything you need. We do all we can to make it as affordable as possible too, entry is free and there’s no charge for the children’s entertainment either, including the rides and shows. It’s going to be great to be back on the town hall square which gives us the increased space we need.”

 Councillor Sue Smith, cabinet member for communities and co-operation, said: “If you’ve visited Street Eat before you’ll know what a superb event it is, and if you haven’t, make sure the date is in your calendar and come along.  There will be another varied menu of food and drink, all very affordable and Street Eat also helps to support local businesses so I encourage both visitors and residents to shop local, think local and support local.”

Ben Boothman, owner of The Flying Horse, added: “With traders serving up smaller and more affordable portions you can sample dishes from different venues and experience amazing food served up here in the town centre. We’re pleased to be working alongside Rochdale BID again to celebrate the area’s food and drink offer and this is always a very busy day.”

 Admission is free and Street Eat will run from 11am to 7pm. For more on the line-up visit or and search #StreetEatRoch on social media.


Toad Lane Concerts enjoy a merry, merry month of May – a bumper month of voices galore!

Review by Dr Joe Dawson


May 01: Bass singer John Nancarro’s sonorous tones rang out with lieder by Schumann and Schubert followed by songs from the rich world of the British music hall that blossomed in Victorian times and into the twentieth century. David Hammond piano (York University) accompanied superbly and contributed solos by Richard Strauss and Piazzolla.


May 08: The Nightingale Singers This joyful mixed voice choir, many of whom have been leading soloists in the area for some time, raised the roof as well as spirits in a varied and hugely enjoyable choral feast with notable solos. Originally founded in 1987, they were amiably presented by Alyson Brailsford and their Music Director of 20 years, Ken Greaves, and ably supported by accompanist J Edward Rigg.


May 15 : Margaret Ferguson soprano (Ghana, RNCM and Poland) & Jonathan Ellis piano (RNCM & Manchester University). Margaret has an engaging personality and stage presence that captivates an audience, a deep understanding of character and always secure musicianship. Her control of vocal line is remarkable. Supported by award-winning accompanist Jonathan, they made a formidable musical partnership in operatic excerpts and crossover songs.


May 22: Nicola Mills trained at the Royal Scottish Conservatoire for 6 years followed by 10 years in international opera houses before deciding to go freelance. Nicola filled in the rest of her story, coming from humble beginnings in Oldham and rising through perseverance and determination. Operatic favourites plus lieder showed that she is a top-notch classical soprano with panache who would grace any stage and concert platform. From coloratura to crossover, she also showed that she has the popular touch as she continues her powerful mission of Opera for the People.


May 29: Duo Cantelina: Sophie Clarke mezzo and Ravi Nathwani guitar (RNCM master’s students). Liverpudlian Sophie was the third female singer this month to prove equally successful in classical and crossover repertoire.

The duo recently gained First Place in the RNCM Song Cycle competition with Manuel de Falla’s songs, with which they began this concert, along with other Spanish composers.

British Asian Ravi began learning classical guitar at the age of six and began studying at the RNCM with Craig Ogden in 2018. Sympathetic accompanist as well as gifted guitarist, Ravi also arranged the songs by Richard Strauss, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Kurt Weill and Robbie Burns. Finally, their spirited Spanish version of tarantella, Zapateado by Giménez, literally put its stamp on proceedings to rapturous applause. 


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



Review by Steve Griffiths

First things first. Getting to Hope Mill by Metro; off at New Islington stop; follow the yellow brick road and, if you are lucky you end up over the rainbow at the musical.

Liza (with a z not s) and Judy is a biopic of one of the most famous daughter and mother stories of any time.

 Judy Garland – or her given name Ethel Gumm- was the original child star who rose to stardom with The Wizard of Oz. Played by Helen Sheals she is portrayed as a flawed, tragic figure led to her drug and alcohol early death by the oppressive studios. Not helped by her ability to choose marriages that seldom lasted. As her daughter says, Mom I can’t come to your fourth marriage; but I promise to be at the next one. Helen has a lived in voice, just right for the choice of songs from the back catalogue.’ I was born in a trunk ‘gives a flavour of her early life but’ Zing went my heart’ was probably more in tune with her life.

Liza Minnelli, the daughter, was played with gusto by Emma Dears who also wrote the production.

A local (albeit Liverpool) she has toured the production for over ten years. Which ensures that the production is as polished as the screen performances of the two stars. Cabaret springs to life as Emma belts out the main theme dressed in black and looking Liza to a T.

The show is a roster of the songs which they made famous, And they give a loose flavour of the lives of the two women. At first it feels like you have been invited to watch a family evening with pictures of relatives, now dead, who were either good fathers or poor husbands. But gradually the voices of the two performers coupled to the quality of the songs win you over.

 At the end you feel that to be in show business is not a good life choice. And to be the child of a famous mum is likely to be not much fun.

But as they sing ‘Let me entertain you’; they have. And there is always the crowd pleaser ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow ‘.

As a musical entertainment I would give it five stars. The small venue, coupled to their generous microphones, meant that exuberance sometimes went over the top so four stars.



Wednesday 12 June 2024

Rochdale Photographic Society

Tonight's session - development evening.

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 12 June 2024

Toad Lane Concerts - Rochdale's Weekly Music at Lunchtime

This week we have More than Melody Ladies Choir - conductor Jonathan Gibson

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 13 June 2024 - Saturday 15 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.

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

Phone: Fireground 01706 341219

Open Thursday, Friday & Saturday from 10am - 4pm

Fireground, Maclure Road, Rochdale OL11 1DN


Thursday 13 June 2024

Edwin Waugh Dialect Society

Tonight's session is "Tom's 'Crinkum-crankum' Crankies" presented by Tom Byrne.

Join performer and artist Thomas Byrne as he showcases some of crankie theatre scrolls.

​Tom was kindly funded by the Arts Council to research this fascinating art form which involves a performer using a hand cranked, illustrated scroll to tell stories, sing songs, or recite poetry.

Tom will also be talking about his introduction to the Lancashire dialect and how he’s now incorporating dialect into his crankie work…

​The term ‘crinkum-crankums’ was discovered in a glossary of the dialect by W.E.A. Axon and means ‘odds and ends/curiosities’ so prepare yourself for something odd, curious, and hopefully entertaining!

In the Chair: Alyson Brailsford

Edwin Waugh Dialect Society meetings are held on the second Tuesday of every month (previously Wednesday) from October to June, commencing at 7.30pm at St Andrew's Methodist and United Reformed Church, Rochdale (between Rochdale Leisure Centre and Aldi). There is free onsite parking.

Annual subscription is £5, but voluntary donations at each meeting help defray the cost of the room hire. Your first meeting is free.

Formed in 1938 by a group of Lancashire Dialect enthusiasts, the objects of the society are the maintaining and increasing of interest in Lancashire.

At the meetings, members are entertained by a speaker or a performer.

Visit the link below for the full 2024 calendar.

Phone: 01706 826227

7.30pm start - 9pm

St Andrew's Methodist and United Reformed Church, Entwistle Road, Rochdale OL16 2HZ


Thursday 13 June 2024

Littleborough Historical & Archaeological Society

AGM followed by an update on Rochdale Town Hall by Cllr Janet Emsley talk.

Light refreshments are served on arrival and non-members are very welcome to attend.

There is a small charge of £3.50 for non-members and £2.50 for members.

Meetings are held on the 2nd Thursday of each month at 8.00pm (doors open at 7.30pm) in the fully accessible (via the station ramp) History Centre on Platform 2 of Littleborough Train Station.

Free parking is available locally within the town centre and nearby streets.

Members £2.50 and Non-members £3.50

Phone: 01706 377685

Doors open 7.30pm, 8pm start

History Centre, Platform 2, Littleborough Railway Station, Railway Street Littleborough OL15 8AF


Friday 14 June 2024

Northern Live

The world’s greatest and most authentic touring live band Northern Soul show, Northern Live is ‘keeping the faith’ to the original sounds of the underground movement that started on the dance floors in the North, and eventually swept the nation.

Including an 11-piece band with four lead vocalists performing over 30 original hits, expect to hear: Dobie Gray’s Out On The Floor, R Dean Taylor’s There’s A Ghost In My House, Frank Wilson’s Do I love You – Indeed I Do, Gloria Jones’ Tainted Love, Al Wilson’s The Snake, Yvonne Baker’s You Didn’t Say A Word, Jimmy Radcliffe’s Long After Tonight Is Over, Garnet Mimms’ Looking For You, Dean Parrish’s I’m On My Way and many, many more.

Tickets from £26.50

Phone: Middleton Arena 0300 303 8633 


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


Friday 14 June 2024

FREE Old Court Room Comedy Night Solo Shows Eddie Fortune ‘Single’ & Lindsey Davies ‘Wrestlemaniaic ‘

June brings something different to the Old Court Room Comedy night.

Two Solo Festival shows free of charge. Thanks to Cartwheel Arts free or VIP tickets available.

Eddie Fortune's Show. Single, 40 and living back with his Mum. Eddie has a history of failed relationships. He has done it all, he has dated thatcher loving Tories, evil math teachers from Dudley, ginger spiritualists and even slept with someone dressed as a Crab in the Travelodge hotel in Bolton. Never dealing well with break ups he once wrote his exes cat Margaret a letter during lockdown. Seeking validation in all the wrong men this scouse comic unravels his past to explain his toxic behaviour.

If you are a red flag and six-foot, book now Lindsey Davies Solo Show 'Wrestlemaniac'

A must-see show for all wrestling fans, especially fans of the WWF 90's wrestling scene. Lindsey delves into her dark past and shares humorous stories of her times as an obsessed wrestling fanatic and how it helped her through her adolescent years.

Adults only


Phone: Richard Attwood 07720 849866


The Old Court Room above The Flying Horse Hotel, Packer Street, Town Centre, Rochdale OL16 1NJ


Saturday 15 June 2024

Footprints in the Sand

The United Christian Singers present - Footprints in the Sand.

A musical by Joseph M. Martin

From the inspired pen of Joseph Martin comes a new sacred work that will be a true inspiration to your walk of faith.

Footprints in the Sand takes us to the lakeside beaches and along the dusty roads of Galilee, to the ancient streets of Jerusalem and far beyond. It traces the journey of faith for some of those who responded to Jesus’ call to follow him. 

Through word and song, we celebrate the incredible story of some of the men and women whose lives were turned around by Jesus as they tell of their amazing experiences.

Footprints in the Sand has a gently contemporary flavour and incorporates several narrators, well-known hymn tunes, newly composed anthems and several best-selling choral songs.

Retiring collection

Phone: Jan Hicks 01706 648779


St Andrew's Methodist and United Reformed Church, 46 Entwistle Road, Rochdale OL16 2HZ



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