An award-winning project which brings a broad range of arts events into libraries across St Helensh is back for 2020.
Now in its 16th season, Cultural Hubs: Arts in Libraries - crowned the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded arts programme in 2016 - will run a packed programme of events between February and July, with something for everyone to enjoy.
This February half-term - in partnership with local organisation, Citadel Arts – St Helens Libraries will present a week of events showcasing the very best theatre for children and families as part of a new Story Telling Festival.
Featuring uplifting shows using puppetry and songs in unusual, intimate settings such as giant pop-up story caves, The WhirlyBird; Twisted Tales for Terrible Children; and Beastly Belle are certainly not to be missed.
Heading into March - multi-awarding winning writer, performer, and BBC Radio 4 broadcaster Byron Vincent will bring his funny and entertaining show, Instagramming the Apocalypse, to Chester Lane Library on Friday, March 20 at 7pm.
Then on Saturday, March 28, a group of local artists will come together in the former Argos store in Church Street for a day of diverse works, including dance, photography, sculptures and live art.
Moving into April – a digital maker station will make its way to Bllinge Library on Thursday, April 9. Held during the library’s opening hours of 11am-4pm – you can let your imagination run wild by creating digital crafts – and best of all, you don’t have to be a tech whiz to take part.
There will be football fever in Parr Library on Saturday, April 25, 1pm, when Mikron Theatre perform ‘Atlanta Forever’ 100 years on from when Dick Kerr’s Ladies football team drew a 53,000 crowd to Goodison Park – a side one of St Helens’ famous daughters, the legendary Lily Par, was a part of.
Meanwhile, following successful bids to the Arts in Libraries Fund, local artists and performers have been given the opportunity to showcase their talents at a number of exhibitions in libraries around the borough.
Pete Fletcher will use his fascination of old and new technology to create a virtual reality film of St Helens Borough which will be premiered at Haydock Library on Thursday, February 27 – while on World Book Day (March 5) Rebecca Ainsworth will display her exhibition ‘The Trace of Words’ in Rainhill Library - a video installation made up of words in response to library visitors’ favourite books.
Drawing on the history and landscape of where she grew up, Stephanie Fry has used film, photography, collage and audio to bring back two forgotten Billinge locations; the old cinema that used to be on the same site as Billinge Library and the Cold War bunker on Billinge Hill. ‘Threads of History’ will be on display at Billinge Library on Thursday, March 12.
Then from May 22 until June 19 - Alice in Wonderland fans will be in for a treat when Angela Wilkinson brings Exploring Wonderland to Rainford Library which will see re imagined scenes from Lewis Carrol’s much-loved story, using libraries in St Helens as the backdrop.
And finally on Friday, july 3 at 7:30pm, father and daughter duo Imogen and Jeremy Sleith will hit all the right notes as they perform a collection of new jazz songs titled ‘Songs of Hope and Redemption’ in Rainhill Library as part of their St Helens Jazz Café project.
As part of the Cultural Hubs: Arts in Libraries programme, residents looking to lift their mood and self-confidence can also access award-winning ‘arts on prescription’ service ‘Creative Alternatives’.
The programme can be offered as an alternative or as an additional treatment for people with mild to moderate depression, anxiety or stress – opening up opportunities to take part in a number of workshops led by trained artists.
A Creative Alternatives open day will be held at Peter Street Library on Friday, March 20 between 2pm- 4:30pm.
St Helens Council’s portfolio holder for libraries, arts, events and culture, Councillor Anthony Burns, said: “We’re really proud of our Cultural Hubs programme and how it has positively impacted communities across the borough, with over 4,000 people engaging with the project last year.
“Cultural Hubs is an opportunity for people, who may not usually engage with the arts, to be introduced to the world of arts and culture in a comfortable setting, and I’m delighted to see it return, with more exciting and inclusive events scheduled to take place in our libraries this year.”
Cultural Hubs is funded by Arts Council England and delivered by St Helens Council’s Library Service, which is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.
Look out for a new Cultural Hubs events brochure in libraries and venues across the borough very soon, or alternatively visit www.sthelens.gov.uk/artsinlibraries
Keep up to date with what’s happening in your local library by following St Helens Libraries Service on social media. Check them out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.