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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA


 previews, reviews, interviews, and recommendations with Steve Cooke





A Creative Journey Across the Moors of Blackstone Edge

Preview by Steve Cooke

What would the land say to us if it had a voice? What would we say back if we had the chance?

Rochdale-based Production Company, Breaking Barriers, are taking to the moors with their next outdoor production Elevation. Created in collaboration with local communities, this exciting project is a creative response to the moors that surround Rochdale’s Townships and explores the stories of the people of the town, and the voice of Blackstone Edge.

Elevation is presented by The Culture Co-op with support from a number of partners including Public Health Rochdale, Rochdale Borough Culture Network, and Littleborough Arts Festival. The production provides a unique opportunity for high-quality arts experiences to be created and delivered on the doorstep of Rochdale - on the moors of Blackstone Edge.

Audiences from close and far are invited to join us for this spectacular event, from Wednesday 22nd May to Friday 28th June.

Elevation is an immersive journey along the scenic route of Blackstone Edge, using the technology of binaural sound on headphones, which creates an “audio 3-D effect”, to take audiences on a guided tour through the green space that has protected our town for thousands of years. Sitting at an elevation of 1,549 feet, the flatland provides a stunning backdrop with views of Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and, on clear days, as far as north Wales.

The show encourages audiences to take a moment to listen deeply to historic stories of the land while taking in the natural beauty of Rochdale, Greater Manchester and beyond…

Breaking Barriers’ Artistic Director Parvez Qadir stated: “This project offers a unique perspective of the past, present and future. It's a place for solitude, gratitude and allowing your mind to wander. I wanted to create this piece because it's a place for me that holds a spiritual meaning, and I know that each individual will have their own connection to the land.”

At the heart of Elevation is the idea of community. Community voices can be heard throughout the sound piece, and the Culture Co-op are recruiting 12 members of the public to learn the skills needed to host creative events, and after a couple of weeks of paid training, will then be empowered to run the tours themselves for a further 4 weeks. This model of recruiting local people to lead creative projects is the cornerstone of the work the Culture Co-op does throughout Rochdale Borough.

“There is significant investment going into the Arts across the Borough at the moment. With all these exciting projects being produced, it is vital that we ensure we give as many opportunities as possible for local people to get involved and take on leadership roles” - Greg Bond, Director, The Culture Co-op.

Breaking Barrier’s award-winning work is rooted in Rochdale and its people. Through this project, they embark on a mission to bring together local communities, partners, and audiences, to take to the land for a moment to escape, for a new perspective on the town below, for a feeling of positive well-being, and for a ground-breaking experience that has never been done in this town before.

Performance Information

Wed 22nd May – Fri 28th June 2024

Performance days each week: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

Performances times: 2:00pm, 4:00pm and 6:00pm

Special performances at sunrise and sunset will be delivered on Saturday 25th May and Saturday 1st June.

This is a free event, and all are welcome.

Book your free ticket here:

Access information: The route is fully accessible to wheelchair users, and the pace of the route is slow and steady. There are no uphill climbs, the route has been specifically chosen to be flat with a path. Breaking Barriers’ Access Consultant, Sam Jamil says; "It’s so important for green spaces to be accessible to wheelchair users, it allows us to enjoy the outdoors, the scenery around us and the beautiful nature. No one gets left behind”.

The Culture Co-op is a partnership made up of Action Together CIO, Your Trust, Public Health, Rochdale Borough Housing, The Co-op Group, and Rochdale Borough Council and funded by Arts Council England’s Creative People and Places. To find out more about the Culture Co-op or email on

Breaking Barriers is a Rochdale-based, award winning multidisciplinary production company whose work is rooted in amplifying unheard voices and bringing ambitious work to local streets and people. They work with communities, young people and artists from a rich diversity of backgrounds and lived experiences, and through co-creation like to tell stories in ambitious digital formats that open minds, elevate appetite, and transcend socio-economic barriers. Led by Artistic Director Parvez Qadir and Executive Producer Jodie Ratcliffe, the company is diverse in its leadership and in the communities that it co-creates with. “Our mission is to produce exciting artworks and immersive experiences in local communities … inspiring ambition and encouraging our young people to be the next generation of creatives.”



Review by Dr Joe Dawson

Another bumper month of music – piano, brass quartet, flute, strings and harpsicord, plus primary school performers

March 6: pianist John Sabar was born into a musical family and grew up between England and South-East Asia. He achieved DipABRSM in the sixth form. Then, after a graduating from the University of York with First-Class Honours he received a scholarship to study at the RNCM, gaining a Master’s under John Gough. Now a freelance performer and teacher of piano he played a delightful, varied selection of Mendelssohn, Bach-Busoni, Mozart, Grovlez, and including Beethoven’s timeless ‘Moonlight’ Sonata and some full-blown virtuosic Liszt.

March 13: The Rosamund Brass Quartet

Fourth year RNCM students, Seb Williman (cornet and trumpet), Adam Hofland-Ward (cornet), Georgia Woodhead (horn) and Alex Barron (euphonium) are also key players from bands such as Grimethorpe, Fairey’s, Carlton Main, Grimethorpe, the Rothwell Temperance, Hepworth, National Youth Brass Band, and The Halle Orchestra.

This all-star line-up played pieces by Denis Wright, Adam Gorb, Greig, Sullivan, plus Tiger Street Rag, A Simple Reel, and Joseph Horovitz’s Variation on a theme of Paganini. A worthy encore, A closer walk with thee, closed a stylish concert in trad jazz style.

March 20: The Telemann Baroque Ensemble Alastair Roberts on flute, Elaine da Costa and Sarah Snape on violins, Roger Bisby on cello, and Peter Collier at the harpsichord. Superb playing of Telemann’s Don Quichotte suite, Jean-Baptiste Quentin le Jeune’s flute Sonata, and Flute concertos by Loeillet and F Mancini. As usual, players and audience alike revelled in the glorious Baroque sounds in the generous acoustic of St Mary in the Baum.

March 27: Tonacliffe Primary School appeared for the second year. Nearly fifty primary schoolchildren joined the concert list of distinguished visiting performers, as Toad Lane Concerts resounded to the joyful sound. Instrumentalists and singers were led from the keyboard by well-known local professional soprano, teacher and conductor, Freda Farnworth. Varied, attractive songs were interspersed with numbers from the Recorder Club and Woodwind Group. In conclusion we had Spring Chicken, complete with actions, reminding the seniors in the audience of doing the Funky Chicken back in the day. All agreed that amongst the magnificent heritage of St Mary’s, the all-singing, all-dancing Spring Chickens ruled the roost. Their supporting families and audience were cock-a-hoop.

The Queen’s Award-winning Toad Lane Concerts are every Wednesday at 12.30pm at the Grade 1 listed St Mary in the Baum, Toad Lane, Rochdale, OL16 1DZ. Entrance fee is £6. No refreshments. Contact 01706 648872 for further information.




Saturday 13 April 2024

The Mersey Beatles

Fans of The Beatles prepare to be wowed by the world’s favourite Liverpool-born tribute to the Fab Four.

The Mersey Beatles have been rocking sold-out shows around the globe since 1999 with their truly authentic and widely acclaimed celebration of John, Paul, George and Ringo.

The band – who clocked up more than 600 appearances in a 10-year residency at Liverpool’s legendary Cavern Club – brilliantly exude the inner and outer spirit of the original Fab Four.

From the costumes, instruments, cheeky Scouse wit and, of course, that brilliant era-defining Mersey sound, The Mersey Beatles stunning live stage show is a gloriously presented hit-packed celebration of the music that changed the world.

Throughout two unforgettable hours, they take the audience on a fabulous ride through the ‘mop top’ hits of Beatlemania, the psychedelic creativity of Sgt Pepper to the melodic wonder and energy of the Fab Four’s later work.

So, roll up, roll up for this very special ‘Magical History Tour’ – a splendid time is guaranteed for all!

Tickets from £26

Phone: Middleton Arena 0300 303 8633 


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


Saturday 13 April 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 20 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

Monday 15 April 2024

Singing in the Shower Group

Singing in the Shower Group is for those that think they can't sing, but just want to sing out loud and proud with no judgement whilst having lots of fun.

Guarantee of a good time, a laugh and a giggle.

Everyone is welcome. if you don't want to sing, you can just clap along.

Light refreshments are available.

Children are welcome but must be accompanied by an adult.

£2 per person (suggested donation)

Phone: Leonie 07513 694862

6pm - 7pm

Brimrod Church Community Hall, Roch Valley Way, Rochdale OL11 4PZ


Tuesday 16 April 2024

Rochdale & District Camera Club

Tonight is preparation for exhibition at Littleborough.

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.

Phone: Pete Williams 07967 969136


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


Wednesday 17 April 2024

Rochdale Photographic Society

Tonight's session - LCPU folio 2.

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



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