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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA


 previews, reviews, interviews, and recommendations with Steve Cooke





Toad Lane Concerts – The Telemann Baroque Ensemble - Music for flute, strings and harpsichord for a summer start

Review by Dr Joe Dawson


In the first week of meteorological summer that refined troupe of players, the Telemann Baroque Ensemble made the second of their quarterly Toad Lane Concerts of 2024. Their varied line ups are drawn from the cream of freelancers in the Northwest. This concert featured Alastair Roberts on flute, Elaine da Costa and Sarah Snape violins, John Goodstadt viola, and Roger Bisby cello. Harpsichordist and director Peter Collier also provided enlightening introductions to the pieces. As usual, players and audience alike revelled in the glorious sound they made in the generous acoustic of St Mary in the Baum.


In true baroque tradition the basso continuo (cello and harpsichord) provided the fundament throughout. Above this we had JJ Quantz’s Quartet No 6 in B minor for flute, violin and viola, JB Boismortier’s Quartet in G minor for flute and two violins, and JD Heinichen’s Trio sonata in C minor with violin and viola. This glorious eighteenth-century chamber music allowed each instrument’s contribution to be heard as the combinations shifted and changed.


Finally, the full ensemble joined together for a superb performance of Flute Concerto in B minor by GP Telemann. The sustained applause showed how much the audience enjoyed seeing players of this calibre bringing rare music to life.


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.





Preview by Steve Cooke


The innovative Factory International and award-winning art collective Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF) set out to redefine the boundaries of storytelling and cinema in the world premiere of Sweet Dreams, a surreal, immersive journey through appetite, human desire and the evolving landscape of food.

Developed and funded by the BFI [British Film Institute], awarding National Lottery funding, and created in collaboration with award-winning writer and former chef Simon Wroe, this playful new interactive artwork wraps big questions about how and what we consume into a comic, immersive pop package.

Featuring a cast of satirical on-screen animated cartoon characters, voiced by leading international actors and comedians and illustrated by renowned French artist McBess (Matthieu Bessudo), the narrative centres around a fast-food empire in decline. Mascot Chicky Ricky, voiced by actor and comedian Munya Chawawa, grapples to understand the ever-shifting desires of the masses, alongside an array of other characters including The Boss with a Rolodex head voiced by comedian Reggie Watts and Penny Peckish voiced by comedian and impressionist Morgana Robinson, a shelved mascot made of plastic straws.

Unfolding over a series of meticulously crafted rooms in the vast Warehouse space at Aviva Studios – which last summer showcased a major exhibition of Yayoi Kusama’s inflatable artworks - audiences will be transported into a mesmerising blend of motion graphics, gaming, illustration and cinema, moving between the tantalising and the grotesque, the nightmarish and the hilarious.

Munya Chawawa, who voices Chicky Ricky, said, “I've always felt my career wouldn't be complete without voicing a psychologically twisted animated chicken, so this truly was a dream come true. The concept and characters are so brilliantly poignant and satirically sharp, it's been a total delight and will be for anyone who goes to see it. Let's just say you'll think twice before your next burger..."

Sweet Dreams is the second collaboration between Factory International and MLF following Dream, a live online theatre show set in the midsummer forest of Shakespeare’s play ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ that utilised live actors in motion capture suits influenced by live audience interaction through gaming technology.

Known for their breath-taking immersive exhibitions, Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF) is an experiential art collective whose work reinterprets the idea of human perception and experience, through design, digital media, performance and sculpture.

Incorporating online phenomena such as Mukbang ASMR and utilising cutting edge AI tools and motion capture technology, Sweet Dreams is the culmination of years of innovative work from MLF creating ground-breaking digital experiences all over the world.

Robin McNicholas, Director of MLF said, "Sweet Dreams holds a cartoon mirror on our world. We’re serving up a story where audiences can deepen their connection to the food they eat. We aim to spark further conversations about our place in the food chain, via chirpy cartoon faces that often are the gatekeepers to the things we consume."

Gabrielle Jenks, Digital Director at Factory International said, “We are thrilled to expand our creative collaboration with Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF) - Sweet Dreams advances a new direction for the creative team and aligns perfectly with Factory International's mission of supporting art forms of the future. As one of the most exciting immersive art studios practising today, MLF invent new formats for storytelling, using cutting-edge cinematic tools to bring characters and worlds to life. We are excited to premiere this flagship work and look forward to hearing the audience response."

Mia Bays, Director of the BFI Filmmaking Fund, said: “We were delighted to board this bold multi-sensory immersive project from Marshmallow Laser Feast and have been supporting the team over a number of years to evolve this ambitious piece with Executive Producer for the BFI, Ulrich Schrauth. It’s thrilling to know it will be finally shared with audiences, starting with Factory International at Aviva Studios – we hope people will be greedy for it, given that it is a study of human appetites! Our mission is to support distinctive collaborations and talent to stretch and push boundaries, and backing immersive projects such as this sees us working with storytellers who are extending the form of film along with the audience experience in really dynamic ways.”

Sweet Dreams adds to a growing body of work from Factory International that harnesses emerging digital technologies to blur the distinction between real and virtual worlds. These include the Virtual Factory series which commissioned artists to create online and digital work responding to the architecture of Aviva Studios including the avatar LaTurbo Avedon - whose installation of Factory International in Fortnite has already welcomed more than 1.5m visitors, visual artist Tai Shani, games developer Robert Yang and filmmaker Jenn Nkiru; and Factory Settings, a digital creative platform that allows audiences to experience a new virtual version of Factory International’s new space using augmented reality.

Sweet Dreams

Aviva Studios, Manchester, M3 4JQ

17 July - 1 September (Tuesday - Sunday)

11-16 July (previews)

60-minute experience



Wednesday 19 June 2024

Rochdale Photographic Society

Tonight's session - outdoor meeting.

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 19 June 2024

Toad Lane Concerts - Rochdale's Weekly Music at Lunchtime

This week we have Clarice WingYin Pang clarinet (Bloomington USA), Johanna Leung clarinet (Hong Kong & RNCM) & Ellada-Angelina Pavlou piano (Greece, Trinity-Laban & 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


Friday 21 June 2024

Freddie Mercury Tribute Act (Joey Lindon) plus DJ Paddy Holden and vocalist Shane Doyle

High Level (Northern) Trust presents an amazing evening with Joey Lindon (Freddy Mercury Tribute), Vocalist Shane Doyle and DJ host Paddy Holding in celebration of 20 years as a charity.

Come and support our charity and have a great night out at the same time!


Phone: Callum Jones 07708 473242

7.00pm until late

Champness Hall Trust, Champness Hall, Drake Street, Rochdale OL16 1PB


Saturday 22 June 2024

Little Glastonboro 2024

A music festival based in the village of Littleborough, featuring up-and-coming artists, top tribute acts, local bands and community groups.

The festival has 2 stages meaning you can enjoy a constant supply of top-class music!

This year there is a special guest from the dance music scene headlining the festival that will have you moving and grooving. Ultrabeat!


Stax of Soul

The Madchester Experience

Kings of Rock by Thunder Hammer

Jackson Kay Band

Girlz World (tribute to Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa, Katy Perry & Lady Gaga)

The kid's zone will include, magic & kids comedy shows with Steve Royle, Sublime Science and Emma's Crazy Creatures. There will be bouncy castles, face painting and much more!

There will also be a food village which will consist of top local food vendors keeping all the hungry festival-goers happy throughout the day: Bombay Brew, El Fuego, Tortas De Pingino, Phow, Qurik Catering Van, Tony's Ice Cream Van and Benjamin's Italian.

Adult ticket, £30.00

Family ticket (2 adults and 2 children), £70

Child's ticket (age 6-15), £10

Children 5 and under go free

All ticket prices include a booking fee.

1pm - 10pm

Littleborough Cricket Club, Denhurst Road, Littleborough OL15 9LD


Saturday 22 June 2024

Carnaby Street

Carnaby School of Dance are back with one of their ever-popular Shows,

This year with dances to hits from the 60’s and 70’s.

With a plethora of Group Dances and Solos/Duets/Trios to tracks that were popular in the swinging 60’s and 70’s, the Carnaby Dancers are back for their annual Show and as ever… out in full force!

£16pp (No Concessions)

Phone: Laura Carnaby 07793 555859

2.30pm & 6.30pm

Middleton Arena, Lance Corporal Joel Halliwell VC Way, Middleton, Manchester M24 1AG





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


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