Ceilidh At The Boo For The Puppet Festival 2017

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For over 10 years The Boo and Horse and Bamboo have being bringing Rossendale their famous Puppet Festival to the heart of the Rossendale Valley. Step into a magical wonderland of puppetry, music, workshops and animations. Enjoy the festival experience across our 8 venues in and around The Boo. This year’s highlights include brand new Theatre for Ones, which have been created in the weeks leading up to the festival by our festival artists in residence, and some ‘out of hours’ activities with two late nights of events. First we welcome Matthew Robins on the Friday night, with his show is for adults, and older children. He will bring us his collection of songs, short stories, shadow puppets, home-made films, games and competitive audience puppet making! Creating a whole new show every time, so you never quite know what you’re going to get! And on the Saturday night we are hosting The Boo’s first ever Ceilidh! So after the puppetry for the day has finished stick around and dance the night away at our family Ceilidh. As always of fabulous BamBOOzle band will return to lead us all in a riot of colour and sound before the final performance of the weekend.This year’s festival is promising to be our best yet, with an exciting selection of shows, music, workshops and animations. There is something for everyone from the very young to the oldest and everyone in between. So Pick up your copy at the Boo or go to their web site at www.horseandbamboo.org
This year in addition to our full days of puppetry fun for all the family on the Saturday and Sunday, we have the Matthew Robins Show – for adults and older children the show is a collection of songs, short stories, shadow puppets, home-made films, games and competitive audience puppet making! – Friday 14th July 7:30pm BOOK TICKETS


Event Organising A Beginners Guide

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Events can be an amazing way of raising funds for your Charity or cause, and raising awareness of your group or organisation but if you have never been involved with organising an event before, it can be a bit daunting. I have first hand knowledge of this when I organised the first Rossendale 60’s Festival single-handedly back in 2013. By 2014, Pete Sweetmore came on board along with others to form an organising group and now the festival has developed to a point where it has been shortlisted in the final of the Northern Soul Awards for Music Festival of the Year. Over the years we have been involved with a number of organising groups and helped and supported many events. What this document is about is to pass on advise learned along the way in the hope that it will both help and encourage individuals and organisations to organise their own event.

  1. Talk to others about your event idea and listen to opinions
  2. Encourage others to join you in organising the event and delegate responsibilities to each (funding, publicity, logistics)
  3. Look for a venue and discuss costs, availability and the facilities that you may need
  4. Seek funding to support the set up costs (RBC Neighbourhood Forum, Local Businesses)
  5. Seek advice on Insurance, Licences etc (Alison Wilkins RBC)
  6. Publicity is important so make sure you use or develop a good social media network (Facebook, Twitter etc). Contact local press and radio to promote your event

The following are individuals and organisations that can help along with contact details:

Advise on event organisation, funding and promotion:

  • Barry Hyde – email b.hyde3@ntlworld
  • Pete Sweetmore – email petesweetmore@hotmail.co.uk
  • Alison Wilkins – Bacup Events Group – email alisonwilkins@rossendalebc.gov.uk
  • Keith Jenkins – Markets Manager – email keithjenkins@rossendalebc.gov.uk

One of the Valley’s recent successes is The Clog Market in Rawtenstall which is run by Jane Boys. She is happy to help and advise those who are looking to start a market. Her email address is info@glorygloryvintage.co.uk

There really is lots of help and advise out there, you just need to ask for it.




Performing Arts Festivals Could Help Boost Bacup Town Centre

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There has been much discussion on social media about the proposed THI scheme in Bacup Town Centre but what is beginning to be acknowledged by residents is that whatever happens regarding the scheme, Bacup needs to change and reinvent itself as a Town with unique qualities.

It has occurred to me that we do have both venues in Bacup and talent Valley wide that could be brought together to create a Bacup Festival Of Performing Arts. The venues that I feel have potential to stage elements of a Festival are:

  • Bacup Royal Court Theatre
  • The A B & D Centre
  • Central Methodist Hall
  • The Pioneer Building
  • The Library

These venues provide some excellent opportunities for indoor events, and in particular something that would be unique to Bacup. Some possibilities could be:

  • The Bacup Performing Arts Festival (staging a variety of performing arts at different venues)
  • The Bacup Choir Festival (invite the many choirs to perform at different venues)
  • The Bacup Brass Band Festival (bringing together all of the Brass bands in the Valley to perform)
  • The Bacup Dance Festival (bringing a number of dance academies together to perform at different venues)
  • The Bacup 60’s Happening (to coincide with the Rossendale 60’s Festival 2017)

Above are just a few ideas for possible Festival formats, and in addition, the Festivals could promote further activities in the town centre to supplement the main venues. Markets, street entertainment, food and drink. Apart from the 60’s happening, most would probably need to be planned to take place in 2018, and would need the help and support of the community. I think the important thing is that we do have the indoor venues and outside space in the town centre and the talent Valley wide to make this happen.


The Mather Gallery Hosts An Exhibition By Local Artist Paddy Campbell

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During the month of March, Karl Mather of the Mather Gallery is opening up his gallery space to host an ‘artist in residence’ event. This established gallery in Rawtenstall will host the work of Paddy Campbell, a landscape artist from the Rossendale Valley.

Artist, Paddy Campbell came to live and paint in Rossendale in 2015 in order to capture the rugged East Pennines hills. Over the last couple of years, he has developed his robust style of oil painting into bright and exuberant paintings of our valley. Since arriving he has captured the rugged beauty of the hills in his dynamic oil painting, watercolours and acrylics with a good deal of success and his paintings are attracting a good following. This collection of paintings is rural in nature, gathered from the countryside directly by a painter capable of capturing the rugged drama of the Pennine hills and hewn from wonderful walks on the tops in all weathers.


“Winter Sun peeping over the Pennine Hills through a watery Sky create an image of beauty reserved for those willing to venture out of the town limits, away from the sodium light”

“Silent and cold, the whoosh of turbine, first light and the barking of farm dogs four miles away”

IMG_0799 paddy.jpg

Paddy Campbell will be at hand at The Mather Gallery for two weeks from 11th March within the usual gallery hours ‘to man the fort’ to discuss his work and introduce you to the gallery’s collection of national and international art works.

You will find the Mather Gallery at 28 Bury Road | Queens Square, Rawtenstall, Rossendale BB4 6AA, England. Phone Number 01706 561430. (Open wed to Sat, 11am to 5pm), or you can contact Paddy Campbell at gopaddy@hotmail.co.uk

Bacup Royal Court Theatre Is Planning A Concert To Showcase Rossendale Children’s Performing Arts Talent

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Juliette Shepherd, Secretary of the BRCT group, is planning a concert at Bacup Royal Court Theatre that will showcase the amazing performing arts talent that we have in our Schools, and she needs your help to do it!

The Rossendale Schools’ Performing Arts Evening will provide an opportunity for children to perform on a real stage. The content you provide does not need to be new, but could be a part of an existing or past production or a solo performance by an individual and therefore requires little additional work by teachers. The concert will be held on the evening of Thursday 15th June with each performance lasting between 5 – 20 minutes.

The Rossendale CAN group enthusiastically supports Juliette’s initiative and agrees with her when she says that “We should be proud of the talent we have in our young people, and this is an opportunity to share this talent with other schools and the community within a theatre setting”.

If you would like your school to take part, please contact Juliette in the first instance through julietteshepherd@bacuproyalcourttheatre.com to register your interest by 7th April and she will send out a form to obtain details of your school’s performance contribution. Juliette is also happy for you to visit the theatre on the afternoon of Wednesday 14th June but please let her know, there may also be another time the previous week.

For further information on the Bacup Royal Court Theatre, please check out their web site www.bacuproyalcourttheatre.com


The Rossendale Cultural Arts Network Is Growing Week By Week

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The Rossendale Cultural Arts Network (CAN)  is a newly formed collective of like-minded groups and individuals who appreciate the wealth of visual and performing arts talent that exists within the Rossendale Valley. The main objective of Rossendale CAN is to identify, develop, showcase and promote all of the amazing arts that exist within the Valley.

The membership of the  Cultural Arts Network is what the network is all about, providing opportunities for communication, collaboration, mutual promotion and the potential to develop new initiatives. The Network currently has over 30 members, representing  the range of visual and performing arts groups and individuals that exist within the valley.As new members come on board, a profile will be written and included on this blog as an initial introduction to their activities, with a link to each group’s web site. The following are profiles of the current network members, along with a link to their websites.

The Horse & Bamboo Theatre:


Based in Waterfoot, Rossendale, The Horse and Bamboo Theatre, is recognized as a ‘National Treasure’. They create visual theatre that tours, and work locally within Lancashire, working with masks, puppets, shadows and many other visual forms. The Horse and Bamboo tell stories and take them to audiences young and old throughout Lancashire, the UK and further afield. ‘Different Moons’ is one of The Boo’s recent successes. It is a project in Rossendale, working with young people and their families of a South Asian background to rediscover stories of family migrations, and using poetry and other art forms to explore and engage with these histories. The project is still ongoing.

They also have a range of workshops that provide opportunities for visitors to get a ‘hands-on’ experience of puppet making and animation. The Boo has a wonderfully quirky, creative and buzzing family-friendly atmosphere with a comprehensive range of other activities and performances for you to enjoy. The Boo has undergone an extensive refurbishment that has result in a number of significant improvements including new seating, an expanded studio space, improved frontage and access to the building; better cafe facilities; better technical facilities and sound-proofing. For further information about the programme of events and activities at the Boo, check out their web site at http://www.horseandbamboo.org

The Whitaker Museum & Art Gallery:


The Whitaker Museum & Art Gallery is a well-known landmark in the Rossendale Valley. Originally Oak House, a private residence and estate was purchased by the Whitaker family in 1896, and developed into a park and recreation area for the people of Rossendale. It was established as a museum in 1902 and has an extensive collection of fine art, decorative art and furniture, ceramics, glassware, archaeology, geology, natural history, numismatics, costumes and textiles, local social history, arms and weapons. But despite the concerted efforts of the Friends of The Whitaker Museum and the RBC, the museum was simply not attracting the numbers for it to be viable.

In 2013, in an effort to keep the museum open for the people of Rossendale, The Whitaker group was formed. Over the last year, the museum has been transformed into a modern and vibrant environment, presenting the many exhibits in a valued and sympathetic way.

The group has introduced a number of new facilities and activities that may not be immediately associated with a typical museum, but make it unique and forward thinking in character. These include a café bistro, regular children’s workshops, acoustic music evenings, vinyl record nights, plays, dialect readings, outdoor concerts and markets, themed weekends including involvement in the Rossendale 60’s Festival and exhibitions of local artists work. The group’s efforts have been rewarded by winning the Rossendale Business Awards ‘Tourism Business’ Award 2014. For further information, go to www.thewhitaker.org

The New Millennium Theatre:


The New Millennium Theatre can be found on Burnley Road East, Waterfoot, and is home to the Rossendale Players who have been producing plays in the Rossendale Valley for almost 70 years. The need for a permanent home for the players instigated the launch of an appeal in 1990 to raise funds to buy a building that could become a permanent theatre. By May 1994 enough had been raised to buy the former Bethel Baptist Lecture Hall in Waterfoot. Intense fundraising continued while work proceeded to convert the building into an intimate theatre experience. A new chapter began with the opening of The New Millennium Theatre in September 2000. Since then, the Society’s success has continued with many acclaimed performances, including the award winning ” Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me” which returned the Players to Festival success, winning 3 major awards against national competition at Fleetwood in 2002. Many of their members have been nominated for and won various awards over the ten years of productions in their own theatre. The theatre is also a venue for music and comedy nights and has recently hosted the Bacup Royal Court Theatre Group for their performance of ‘Opening Night’, which is precisely the type of collaboration the network encourages. For further information on the theatre and future performances, go to http://www.rossendaleplayers.org.uk

Dansworks Dance Academy:


Dansworks Dance Academy is a Dance School with a friendly and caring environment where every individual is treated with respect. Whatever your aims and objectives, whatever you’re capable of achieving, they are there to help you to fulfil your potential.

They’re not just about dancing either, Dansworks offers so much more for everyone. So if you would like to learn to dance, sing, act, perhaps you want to boost your confidence or just become more physically active. Dansworks provides the environment to help you to achieve whatever you aspire to.

At Dansworks Dance Academy it is their vision to see a world where dance is part of everyone’s life, regardless of age, ability or disability. Their mission is to make engagement with dance important to all individuals and communities in Bacup, Rossendale and beyond. For further information, go to http://www.dansworks.co.uk

The Bacup Royal Court Theatre:


The Bacup Royal Court Theatre is an icon of Rossendale and is the biggest venue in the Valley with a capacity of almost 500 seats. Of late, it has gone through some difficult times, and needed serious commitment from the community to ensure its future. In July of last year, the Bacup Royal Court Theatre Group was formed. The BRCTG, Chaired by Rob Hames, is adamant that this is a ‘clean break’ from the old regime, and has been working tirelessly to find solutions to the issues that face the theatre and keep theatre company together. There have been a number of fundraising events held on behalf of the group including a sponsored walk, and thanks to the Rossendale Players, the group used the Millennium theatre in Waterfoot for a performance of ‘Opening Night’, again raising much needed funds for the BRCTG. The group has recently announced that power company EON has agreed a way forward to manage the debt left by the previous management group, and has now re-opened. Rob said “the BRCTG has now put the theatre back on an even keel, it’s now up to the public to support us by buying tickets”. The BRCTG would welcome volunteers to support the Theatre in any way you can. To register your interest, email brctg@hotmail.com

The 2nd Rossendale Scout Band:


The 2nd Rossendale Scout Band was formed in 1963. Originally formed as a drum and trumpet band the instrumentation was changed some seven years later and substantial progress has been made in conventional brass band terms. The later inclusion of girls enhanced the development and presently they make up almost a third of the membership. Ever-present in the success of the Scout Band is long serving Group Scout Leader Michael Warwick who has throughout overseen the development of the range of activities undertaken by the various sections of the Group.

The senior band performs regularly across the North of England and in recent times has performed with the Black Dyke, Fodens, Grimethorpe Colliery, Brighouse and Rastrick Bands and most recently with The International Staff Band of The Salvation Army. They have appeared at Windsor Castle for HM Queen Elizabeth and at many fine concert venues including The Bridgewater Hall, The Royal Northern College of Music, The O2 Arena, and Cologne Cathedral. For further information, go to http://www.2ndrossendalescouts.org.uk

Stubbylee Community Greenhouses Project:


Stubbylee Community Greenhouses is a therapeutic eco-focused community garden centre where we nurture not only plants but people.  They aim to support  the local community and have a particular focus on rehabilitation for individuals who have physical or mental health issues and have long term unemployment  issues.

Respect for the individual and the environment is the main focus with an emphasis on teamwork and working towards a common goal.  They offer activities for a range of interests including  gardening, woodwork,  mentoring and  building. The link to CAN may not be immediately obvious, but the group is strongly developing artistic creative activities to further enhance their therapeutic support. They are a community social enterprise and work in partnership with other local agencies and community organisations. For further information, go to http://www.stubbyleecg.org

The Cotton Shed Theatre Company:


Too many people are prevented from accessing organisations and areas of interest because they need that little extra care, attention or support when it matters, or they just don’t fit in because of perceived preferences. This exclusion can lead to isolation and hidden talents not being realised.

The Cotton Shed Theatre Company is a registered charity, taking its inspiration from the renowned London theatre group ‘Chicken shed’, and has as its overriding aim for both audience and theatre member to enjoy, be moved and inspired by a performance. They bring together the creative energy of people who would never meet together anywhere but at the Cotton Shed Theatre Company.

They all have something to offer and through the Cotton Shed Theatre Company, their inclusive values encourage everyone, regardless of age, ability, or background, to access theatre and become a valued member. Contributing to ideas, direction and themes, each individual is encouraged to build their confidence and talent under the direction of professional artistic leaders. Every person is involved with acting, music, song and dance, whether they are able bodied and full of confidence, less confident, or even a wheelchair user.

The Cotton Shed Theatre Company sessions take place at Haslindgen Primary School, BB4 4BJ. Further details can be found on their web site at http://www.cottonshed.co.uk

Wonderful Things:


Wonderful Things is a project run at St Mary’s CE Primary School in Rawtenstall. In July 2013 the school was delighted to be awarded a grant of almost £10,000 by the Big Lottery, in order to run a pilot project.  The funding was used to provide an unusual selection of experiences for children aged 4 to 11 years throughout Rossendale at a very heavily subsidised price (and free in some cases).

The launch of Wonderful Things was in August 2013 with A Week of Wonderful Things – a week of summer activities with a different theme every day, ending with a celebration dinner to share the children’s week with families, friends and community. Take a look at our gallery page to see some of the great times had by Rossendale children and watch our video of the week’s activities.

Wonderful Things has provided many activity days since then and has helped in aspects of Rossendale life such as the Rossendale 60s Festival.  Its volunteer programme has involved high school children, including Duke of Edinburgh Award pupils, in the project – they provide support for the younger participants in Wonderful Things and have run their own activities too!

The Friends of St Mary’s School (Rawtenstall) charity now runs this popular project as a social enterprise and fundraises to keep the costs of Wonderful Things down as well as fund other community projects they are involved in.  They would welcome contact from anyone able to help in this goal.  For further information, go to www.wonderfulthings.org.uk.

Veterans In Communities Singing and Art Groups:


Veterans In Communities (VIC) is a charity based in Haslingden, that has been set up specifically to help, support and re-integrate ex-service personnel and their families back into the local community. Current members view the VIC charity in many different ways. As a stop-gap, a sanctuary, and probably most important of all, a place shared by fellow veterans who support each other through shared experiences, and where they can learn new skills.

The VIC gives back to the community in many ways through ambassadorial initiatives such as the VIC Singing Group, that performs at residential homes, village fairs and charity events, through their ‘Positive Art’ shop and workshops that are open to veterans and members of the community, and by working in the community, with a range of projects designed to utilise the skills and experiences gained through their service careers.For further information, go to http://www.veteransincommunities.org

The Face Me Theatre Company:


Tor View School has a commitment to creativity and has worked closely with local artists and creative practitioners as part of the Creative Partnerships initiative. The legacy of this work is creative teaching and learning. Staff and pupils are encouraged to find creative, exciting, imaginative, challenging and motivating ways to deliver and participate in the curriculum, including access to resources, specialist staff and talented artists and performers. We encourage all forms of expressive communication through the medium of the arts. Capturing skills in visual and performance arts are very important for the development of communication skills.

The Face Me Theatre Company consists of students aged 16-19 years old from Tor View School. They all have different disabilities that they want to share with the community. They have set up a theatre group called ‘Face Me’ to tell our stories to the wider community. for further information www.torview.lancs.sch.uk. If you would like us to perform at your school or place of work, please email faceme@torview.lancs.sch.uk

The Rossendale Dance and Drama Centre:


The Rossendale Dance and Drama Centre was established 30 years ago, and have built up an excellent reputation for what they do and how they do it. They offer a range of subjects, covering all areas of Dance, Drama, Musical Theatre and Fitness taught by subject specialists.They also offer a range of optional extras such as Summer Schools, Activity Weeks, Workshops, Masterclasses. They have branches in Ramsbottom and Waterfoot.

The Rossendale Dance and Drama Centre hold annual musicals or pantomime for everyone, and have an in-house agency for pupils, children 6+years who wish to work in advertising, television, film and theatre.

The Rossendale Dance and Drama Centre are a registered examination centre for the delivery of GCSE and A Level exams, graded Vocational and Professional examinations / qualifications, delivering outstanding results. For further information, please check out their web site at http://www.rddc.co.uk

McCaw School Of Dance:


Founded in 1985, the McCaw School of Dance has over 30 years of experience in the education of dance and provides classes to children and adults throughout Rossendale. The school is located in Haslingden (Rossendale).The school was taken over 7 years ago by Charlotte Ormerod who is a fully qualified RAD Dance Teacher and has been working in Dance Schools for many years. Having previously being a student of the McCaw School of Dance, Charlotte is more than qualified to both teach at and run the school. The McCaw School of Dance is continually dedicated to providing the very highest standard of dance.

Classes are held at St. Peters Church, Haslingden and Manchester Road Methodist Church with fully qualified staff, the school is able to offer a professional and friendly experience to children of all ages and abilities. The service is intended to be rewarding and fun, helping children to grow in both ability and confidence. The School  has a great group of students, situated around Rossendale, but are open to accepting new students at any time.

House Of Fusion Dance & Expressive Arts:


Based in Haslingden, House of Fusion (formerly RM Fusion) was founded by Razia Mahmood in 2007. She has taught dance since the age of 18 and has danced herself since the age of 10. She holds a BA Hons Degree in Dance & MA in Choreography. During her years of teaching she has taught and performed dance in many different countries; Germany, Turkey, Tunisia, South Africa, Poland, Belgium, India and Holland.With a wide experience in different dance styles and techniques, Razia aims to teach a humble dance ethic to her students that allows them to learn to reach the best of their abilities in both dance and as a person and to believe that with hard work and a love for what you do, anything can be achieved.

House Of Fusion Dance & Expressive Arts has now been running for over 9 years, and has had some great successes in that time. They welcome new dancers aged from 7 years onwards regularly who have a strong passion for dance.

Their mission is to inspire students to achieve their goals and dreams. They work hard to attain a high standard in various styles and are a company with drive and ambition. They perform at many different occasions and are versatile in style. The school creates an atmosphere that bring the best out of each student.

You can contact Razia at email raziamahmood64@hotmail.com

For further information, check out their web site at www.houseoffusion.strikingly.com

Rossendale Ladies Choir:


The Rossendale Ladies Choir was formed in 1977, and currently has over 40 members. Membership is made up of ladies of all age groups and all walks of life. They meet every Wednesday evening and rehearse at St. Peter’s Church, St Peter’s Avenue, Haslingden, Rossendale, BB4 6NZ  from 7.30 to 9.30pm to share a love of music. New members are made very welcome and we warmly extend an invitation to any prospective members to come along to a rehearsal, sit in and listen or join in if you feel brave enough.

During the life of our successful choir there have been some remarkable choral achievements, including success at the international Eisteddfod in Llangollen, special selection from festival winning choirs in the “Festival of Festivals” in Warwick, fundraising concerts in the Albert Hall, London, Christmas concerts in Manchester Cathedral and many local churches.  In June 2010 the Rossendale Male Voice Choir, Rossendale Ladies Choir & Black Dyke Band performed at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester raising over £30,000 for The Christie Hospital.

For further information, please go to their web site at http://www.rossendaleladieschoir.org.uk

Rossendale Memory Choir:


Founded in 2013, The Rossendale Memory Choir is a singing group for people living with dementia and their carers. They invite you to go along and enjoy the company of others while singing some old favourites plus some new songs. Singing is great therapy for everyone as it gives us a physical as well as a mental workout, but it has been shown to be particularly beneficial for those with memory problems because it is a whole brain activity, it helps with other skills such as orientation and is one of the last skills to be lost in dementia. The choir meets every Wednesday at Kay Street Baptist Church in Rawtenstall.

For further information, please go to their web site at http://rossendalememorychoir.org/

The Mather Gallery:


The Mather Gallery is situated on Bury Road Rawtenstall adjacent to the East Lancashire Railway station and has been open now for over 2 years. It is run by artist Elaine Cooper and partner Karl Mather and regularly exhibits the work of over 20 artist, mainly local and original works. The majority of the work on exhibition and for sale is original, comtemporary and reflects the emerging tastes of their clients. For further information, why not check out their web site at http://www.mathergallery.co.uk

Valley Academy:


Valley academy, based in Crawshawbooth, Rossendale, is an academy that covers all aspects of performing arts teaching and performance, Their mission is to educate, enrich, entertain and reach out to the people of Rossendale, especially young people, by providing the very best resources, teaching staff and experiences available to students of the Performing Arts on an extra curricular basis. They actively encourage the people of Rossendale, especially young people, to perform in and engage with live theatre in order for them to build confidence, develop life skills and fulfil their potential and prepare students for a career in the Performing Arts. The studios provide a safe, enjoyable and inspiring working environment where each student can express themselves freely through the medium of theatre. (Valley Academy has a strict Child Protection and Anti-Bullying Policy). They appeal to all cultures and sections of society, using theatre as a tool for social cohesion.

For further information, please check out their web site at http://www.valleyacademy.co.uk

The Water Band:


The Water Band was founded in 1866, and has been serving the village of Water and the Rossendale Valley for 150 years. Their Bandroom is situated on Burnley Road East, next to Lumb Baptist Church.  Free tuition is offered to anyone who would like to learn to play and age is no barrier. The band funds itself through a series of concerts and other fundraising activities.

Each year they undertake many different type of events, including marches and church processions, indoor and outdoor concerts and at Christmas we play Christmas carols in the local supermarkets and around the streets of Water and Lumb. They have also raised money for local charities including The Parkinson’s Society, the Tickled Pink breast cancer awareness charity, and a charity for the blind and partially sighted. Their proudest achievement of recent years was being asked to play for the televised Olympic Torch relay as it came through Burnley in 2012.  The band is made up of a good cross section of age and ability with ages ranging from 7 through to 80. They are a friendly group of people who enjoy making music and welcome any new players who would like to join us.

For further information, please check out their web site at http://www.waterband.co.uk

Britannia Coconutters:


The Britannia Coconutters have been an integral part of Rossendale’s Heritage for over 100 years, and regularly perform throughout the year, often raising funds for Charity. The ‘Nut Dance’ is unusual and performed in a straight line. Each Dancer wears wooden discs or ‘nuts’ on his hands, knees and belt. During the Dance the discs, which are made of maple wood and struck together in time to the music. The name Coconuts was given to the discs, probably, since the dance came to Lancashire and it is said they could resemble the protection to knees and elbows when crawling along narrow seams in the mines. One of the highlights of the year is the Britannia Coconutters Boundary Dance, which goes from Britannia through Bacup and Stacksteads to the border with Waterfoot, which happens every Easter Saturday. The event attracts many followers, with the dance culminating at the Bacup Easter Fair.

The Coconutters host ‘ The Crown Affair’ at the Crown Inn in Bacup on the first Sunday in June, which is now established as an annual spectacle of Traditional dance and music. For further information on their programme for the year, go to http://www.coconutters.co.uk

Chant Productions:


Chant Productions is a unique music education and events provider set up by International Opera star and local lad Sean Ruane, They combine sports and music by using stadia as theatres and enable schools, community groups and amateur singers to perform live on the pitch before elite sports matches. Workshops are delivered by fully trained opera singers and include voice,stagecraft and choreography. The training leads to performances for the England Cricket team, Rugby League games, Premiership Rugby Union, Premier League games and BBC events. They pride themselves on delivering life long memories for our singers and providing world class performances for sporting governing bodies across the UK. For further information, Please check out their web site at http://www.chantproductions.co.uk

Janina Cebertowicz – Fine Artist:


Janina Cebertowicz produces works on a range of subjects, grouping her output into Collections and Series. The challenge of recording the passing of time, the transitory elements of a subject in light and motion link the many aspects of her drawings, paintings and prints. Oil painting predominates but the range of media Janina uses reveals an uncommonly broad expertise and versatility.  This enables her to explore a selected subject through the most appropriate medium; colour, form and texture are modified through light and space. Despite the wide range of themes, the discerning observer will discover the unifying elements in them. She does not conform to the stereotype of the ‘Northern Artist’ and finds her inspiration both in the North, in her Polish roots and further afield.

Her artistic style is characterised by an attention to the handling of paint and pastel – there is an impressionistic quality in the handling of colour, achieved by the use of broken brushwork and glazes. Most of her work is on a domestic scale but more recently she has explored the possibilities of the small scale image. Collectors find that the choice offered by the variety allows them to select works to their taste. Janina rarely undertakes commissions and this allows her enviable artistic freedom of interpretation and choice of theme. For further information, please visit her web site at http://www.cerertowicz.com

Paddy Campbell – Landscape Artist:


Artist, Paddy Campbell came to the beautiful landscape of the East Pennines in the Spring of 2015. Since then he has capture the rugged beauty of the Rossendale Hills in his dynamic oil painting and watercolours with a good deal of success, his paintings attracting a good following in the area .”The combination of many years of travel, observation and reflection, has lead to a painter that is willing to take artistic risks.”

While in Southern Africa Paddy Campbell developed an appreciation of the sky. While living within The North Yorkshire Moors he observed the unbroken Horizon and on the island Alderney he has captured the bright white reflected light and images of the sea that surround the island.  Travels in East Asia has give Paddy Campbell a good sense of the intricate and free use of the line in his painting, in Europe the rigours of colour use.

While pursuing other endeavours such as toy maker, art teacher and woodsman Paddy Campbell has developed a sense of space and form within the landscape that is manifest in his paintings. The development from craft worker to artist was an important one, a real sense of the commercial and social worth of painting is apparent in his work. This combined with tenacity and a high skill level shown by the artist has lead to Paddy Campbell becoming a competent and popular landscape painter.The exuberant use of colour and form in his work stems from the on site, plein-air nature of production. Indeed it is the production process that gives the paintings their honesty and enthusiasm.

For further information, please view his web site at http://www.gopaddy.web.com

The Stacksteads Band:


The Stacksteads Band was formed in 1872, originally known as the Stacksteads Amateur Brass Band. A year later in August 1873 the Bacup Times reported that, “this young band is working hard to establish a name for itself in the musical world”. The band initially raised £50.00 to buy their instruments shortly after they disposed of these and bought new ones paying the total of £150.00 by instalments. In order for a band to be known as a PRIZE band it had to win the same quickstep (March) in consecutive years. Stacksteads band accomplished this when they won the Westhoughton Quickstep Contest three years in a row those years being 1907, 1908 and 1909. Following their win of 1909 they could then call themselves Stacksteads Prize Band. The band took part in competitions at Belle Vue and Crystal Palace. The first female to play in the band was Renee Amyes daughter of First Cornet player Kitchener Amyes. One band tradition is to accompany the Britannia Coconutters on Easter Saturday when they dance their way through the streets following a tradition that takes them from boundary to boundary of the Town.

The band recently celebrated its 140th birthday in 2012 and in previous years has seen competition success throughout all the sections resulting in promotion to the Championship Section in the mid 1980s. However changes in personnel over the years led to the band withdrawing from competition and becoming a concert band, gaining a reputation for putting on some of the best concerts in the North West over the last few years.

in 2014,  the band recorded their first North West Area win in history as they topped the 4th section with their performance of “Three Spanish Impressions” by Alan Fernie. This win qualified the band for the National Championships of Great Britain in Cheltenham and also saw the band be promoted to the 3rd section in 2015.

The present home of Stacksteads Band is the old Tunstead Co-op situated on the main road between Rawtenstall and Bacup in the Rossendale Valley. For further information, please go to their web site at http://www.stacksteadsband.co.uk

That’s Entertainment Youth Theatre Society:

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That’s Entertainment is a non profit making Youth Theatre Society based in Haslingden and Helmshore. That’s Entertainment was formed in 1991 and was originally known as “St Thomas’ Players” based out of St Thomas, Musbury Church in Helmshore. Originally a panto society performing classics such as Babes in the wood and Cinderella, That’s Entertainment branched out into the world of Musical Theatre, with a Disney Kids version of “The Jungle Book” in 2012. With acclaimed performances of Annie Junior and The Wizard of Oz following, That’s Entertainment bravely undertook Queen’s “We will Rock You” in 2015 resulting in a “knock out” performance. This Years performance of Disney’s Aladdin Junior takes another step into the future with a new production crew and a predominantly new cast of mainly primary aged children, that promises to be a very successful start to a new era in the society.

We perform at Haslingden Primary School Arts Theatre BB4 4BJ and rehearse on Sunday afternoons, mainly at Manchester Road Methodist Church in Haslingden. Our age range for children is 5-18 year olds, rehearsal fees are £2.50 a week and society membership is £5 per year per family. We encourage a lot of the parents to come and assist in the production of the show and this year we have parents who sew costumes, make scenery, assist in the choreography and indeed help to keep the children and adults refreshed during rehearsal by making the essential cup of tea!

For further information, please contact Phil Thornton 07973367537 or secretary Jo Thornton 07794935350

If you are an arts group or individual and would like to be a member, please contact Baz at b.hyde3@ntlworld.com


Bacup Royal Court Theatre Is Going The Extra Mile To Entertain You

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As we all know, The Bacup Royal Court Theatre has gone through some dark times recently. But thanks to its new management team, it is finally on the up, and what ups it is offering! Why travel to the big cities when you have quality entertainment on your doorstep. Check these out! get your tickets booked and support your local Theatre. The management team have done their job, now it your turn.





23rd April










Check this blog at http://www.rossendalecan.wordpress.com for further events

Rossendale Arts Groups Are The Star-Makers Of The Future

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It is widely acknowledged that the vast majority of children and young adults have untapped talent within them. It could be in Dance, Music, Singing, Acting or a combination. It just needs to be recognised and nurtured. The Rossendale Valley has within it a number of very strong amateur and commercial Performing arts groups who have as their main objective a desire to identify and develop the potential in everyone through diverse, professional and dedicated teaching staff with years of experience in their specific area of expertise. They are always looking for young talent to help develop their potential. So if you have raw talent for singing, dancing, acting or would simply like to have a go, any of the groups would be pleased to help. Many of these groups have already proven their abilities and have been an important contributor to the development of a number of successful performers.

Henry Farmer’s Experience:

Henry Farmer, a local Haslingden lad,  has realised his dream by playing the lead character of ‘Michael’ in the sellout musical ‘Billy Elliot’ currently running at Manchester’s Palace Theatre.

js107785861                                                                  Photo courtesy of Alastair Muir

Henry joined the Rossendale Dance and Drama Centre in Waterfoot while at Haslingden Primary School and trained in both dance and drama. At his audition, the production casting director  advised Henry to work on his dancing and acting, he enrolled for lessons with teachers from RDDC and as a result, he got the part and hasn’t looked back. For further information, please check out their website at http://www.rddc.co.uk

Olivia and Lexi Young, Sam Hughes and Jaydan Hanson-Beech’s  Experience:

Six of the 59 dancers who were on stage in Les Sylphides and a medley of different ballets at the Northern Ballet in Leeds are students at Dansworks Dance Academy based at Pioneer Buildings in Bacup.

Olivia Young is one of the youngest to win a place and also secured the only junior scholarship from the company. Olivia, from Bacup, has been dancing since she was just a year old when she started in the DansTots class. Her mum Jenny said: “This was her first audition and she was successful; she is going to go far.”

Olivia’s older sister Lexi Young was also picked for a part in The Rendezvous and The Reedpipes. She said: “I have been dancing since I was three and I do tap, ballet, musical theatre and jazz.”

Of the hundreds of young dancers who auditioned, just 55 girls were successful and two boys from Dansworks Sam Hughes, from Whitewell Bottom, and Jaydan Hanson-Beech from Bacup, were among the four who were picked for places. Jaydan said: “I have been dancing since I was about four years old; always at Dansworks. I started ballet in September 2014 and got a place in Polka Boys and Hornpipe. Ballet is really good fun and it lets me express my feelings. I met a lot of nice people in Leeds at the rehearsals.”


Front Lexi Young, then from left Rhianna Edwards and Olivia Young and from back left Jaydan Hanson-Beech and Sam Hughes.

Sam, who has danced since he was two-and-a-half-years-old will be taking on the role of Billy Elliot in the Swan Lake scenes and also dancing in Polka Boys. Also in the production from Dansworks were Grace Bentley, from Bacup, and Rhianna Edwards, of Waterfoot, who both also secured a place last year in the English Youth Ballet’s production of Giselle.

The dancers join an ever-increasing list of performers from Dansworks who have landed roles in major productions. Principal Karen Roe said: “I am delighted that so many of our young dancers do so well. It is an incredible opportunity for them at such a young age. It encourages them to keep on practising and may help them to consider dancing as a future career.”

For more information about Dansworks classes contact 07843 263714 or visit www.dansworks.co.uk

Story and Photo By Catherine Smyth Media http://www.catherinesmyth.co.uk/

Sean Ruane’s Experience:

The Bacup Royal Court Theatre, through its Amateur Operatic and Dramatics Society (BAODS), was the first taste of performing arts for International Opera Star Seán Ruane started his journey into opera with the Rossendale’s St Mary’s Players, where he experienced both acting and singing, and identified his true love of singing through his time with BAODS. Pre the Internet, Sean recognised the importance of Bacup library as a source of information for music. Seán completed his undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the Royal Northern College of Music, and is one of the rising stars of the opera world, whose breathtaking vocal artistry comes with an endearing, easygoing style that has allowed him to grace grand opera, TV and sporting arenas with ease. Equally at home performing in front of the cognoscenti of Covent Garden or fervent football fans at Wembley.

sean-ruane-england-game-wembleySeán Ruane at Wembley Stadium

Seán founded Chant Productions  in 2011 with the aim of combining sports and music by using sports stadia as theatres for young people.is now Managing Director of CHANT Productions, a company set up in.For further information on the work of CHANT Productions, check out their web site at http://www.chantproductions.co.uk

Working with schools from the Blackpool, Blackburn and Bury areas, CHANT  produced a choir of children over 240 strong to perform at last years Children in Need. Singing ‘I’ll Stand by You’ the children performed live at Blackpool Tower Circus infront of a live audience of fundraisers and  millions of viewers at home.

Children in Need 2014

The children were both entertained by the circus acts and did some entertaining themselves as they warmed up for their big performance. Encouraging audience participation they sang Rather Be and Sing along with ‘I Like The Flowers’ lead by the Choir Master Dan McDwyer and our Creative Director Sean Ruane.

For further information on the work of CHANT Productions, check out their web site at http://www.chantproductions.co.uk

There are opportunities for you to realise your potential. For further information on BAOBS and Bacup Royal Court Theatre, why not check out their web site at http://www.bacuproyalcourttheatre.com

Sophie Lord’s Experience:


At the age of 10 Sophie Lord watched a production of “Oliver!” at Bacup Royal Court Theatre (BRCT), and from the moment the curtain went up she told my nana ‘this is what I want to do when I grow up”, and she has never looked back.

Soon after watching this production, she enrolled with BRCTs youth section “BYTES” ,and appeared in the chorus of their production of ‘Joseph!’. Every Saturday morning Sophie’s parents would drop her off at the theatre, where she learned the skills that she would need to make it in ‘show business’. Sophie admits that she didn’t know just what an impact Director Regina Arkwright and her team would have on her life.

Having been involved with the BYTES for a couple of years, Sophie auditioned for the role of ‘Ratty’ in the production of ‘Wind in the Willows’ and was lucky enough to be offered the role. This was the first of many roles within the youth section, including ‘Anna Leonowens’ in ‘The King & I’ , ‘Eliza Doolittle’ in ‘My fair Lady ‘and ‘Cosette’ in the National Operatic and Dramatic Association award winning production of ‘Les miserables’.

Sophie has also been lucky enough to tread the boards at Bacup Royal Court Theatre in the Adult Society’s productions, undertaking roles in many Pantomimes, musicals and plays over the past 16 years and has also appeared in shows all around the North West. But the biggest opportunity she has had was working on an American cruise liner as a Production singer on the Carnival Valor. She says that “This was the most amazing experience I have ever had, and I truly believe without all the support of local groups and local people, I would never have got this opportunity to live my dream”.

Her most recent role was that of ‘Little Voice’ in an outstanding production from the Rossendale Players of ‘The Rise and Fall of Little Voice’ where the review from NorthWest End magazine said “Taking on the lead role of Little Voice was Sophie Lord, and what a superb job she did! Pitching the shyness and reclusiveness of the character to perfection it made the moment you hear her wonderful voice for the first time all the more special. Her impersonations were also accurate with her Dusty Springfield being the stand out moment”. Further information about The Rossendale Players can be found on their web site at www.rossendaleplayers.org.uk

Have you got a talent that you would like help in developing? What are you waiting for. Contact any of the many performing arts groups in the valley and they will be there to help and support you.

If your group has an example of success that could inspire the youth of Rossendale, please let us know.

Sophie Lord Praises Bacup Royal Court Theatre For Helping Realise Her Dream

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15170970_1856159127949902_4203680871923954873_n-1Sophie Lord in the leading role of Little Voice

At the age of 10 Sophie Lord watched a production of “Oliver!” at Bacup Royal Court Theatre (BRCT), and from the moment the curtain went up she told my nana ‘this is what I want to do when I grow up”, and she has never looked back.

Soon after watching this production, she enrolled with BRCTs youth section, Bacup Youth Theatre Education School (BYTES) ,and appeared in the chorus of their production of ‘Joseph!’. Every Saturday morning Sophie’s parents would drop her off at the theatre, where she learned the skills that she would need to make it in ‘show business’. Sophie admits that she didn’t know just what an impact Director Regina Arkwright and her team would have on her life.

Having been involved with the BYTES for a couple of years, Sophie auditioned for the role of ‘Ratty’ in the production of ‘Wind in the Willows’ and was lucky enough to be offered the role. This was the first of many roles within the youth section, including ‘Anna Leonowens’ in ‘The King & I’ , ‘Eliza Doolittle’ in ‘My fair Lady ‘and ‘Cosette’ in the National Operatic and Dramatic Association award winning production of ‘Les miserables’.

Sophie has also been lucky enough to tread the boards at Bacup Royal Court Theatre in the Adult Society’s productions, undertaking roles in many Pantomimes, musicals and plays over the past 16 years and has also appeared in shows all around the North West. But the biggest opportunity she has had was working on an American cruise liner as a Production singer on the Carnival Valor. She says that “This was the most amazing experience I have ever had, and I truly believe without all the support of local groups and local people, I would never have got this opportunity to live my dream”.

Her most recent role was that of ‘Little Voice’ in an outstanding production from the Rossendale Players of ‘The Rise and Fall of Little Voice’ where the review from NorthWest End magazine said “Taking on the lead role of Little Voice was Sophie Lord, and what a superb job she did! Pitching the shyness and reclusiveness of the character to perfection it made the moment you hear her wonderful voice for the first time all the more special. Her impersonations were also accurate with her Dusty Springfield being the stand out moment”.

If you have the dream of a career in show business. Follow Sophie’s example and join one of the many excellent amateur groups in the Valley.

For more information, check put the blog at http://www.rossendalecan.wordpress.com