A series of cultural events, funded by the Arts Council England, has been launched in St Helens.
Covering October to December, the new programme has been curated to offer something for everyone, with a mixture of small theatre productions, music and comedy performances, arts exhibitions, and creative craft events to promote wellbeing – all adapted in imaginative ways for unique library spaces across St Helens.
The ninth programme comes following a highly successful year for the Library Service – soaring after a brace of prestigious national awards and further grant funding by Arts Council England, including its National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) status.
Coun Sue Murphy, Cabinet Member for Leisure Services and Libraries, said: “Receiving NPO status earlier this year was a real boost for us, and demonstrates the excellence of our libraries. We are really proud of our new season for Cultural Hubs. This is a brilliant programme with something for everyone in the borough and a real opportunity to explore and experience the arts in our library spaces.”
Among the events are Creative Alternatives craft sessions, a unique way of improving adults’ wellbeing that is endorsed by GPs and other health professionals.
There are free taster sessions running through September and into October in the lead up to World Mental Health Day, 10 October.
Award-winning Liverpool youth theatre company 20 Stories High will return to libraries with HEADZ, a new series of funny, gritty and heartfelt monologues about the everyday lives of young people.
The performances have been created by young people for young people, using real and relatable experiences – great for teens and adults.
And for families and younger children, there’s a range of fun and interactive theatre events, including Handa’s Surprise, the story of one girl’s magical journey through Kenya to see her friend, filled with vibrant costumes, singing, stomping and Swahili rhythm.
Elsewhere Booster Cushion Theatre will host their own hilarious reimagining of a classic fairy tale for children with Big Goldilocks and the Three Bears Plus, and as the cold weather draws in, warm up with Another Wintery Tale, as the Story Collecting Explorers recount their snowy fables and merry songs, all suitable for young children and families.
Coun Gill Neal, cabinet member for public health and wellbeing, said: “Cultural Hubs has always been an effective of way of reaching people who might not ordinarily interact with the arts.
“Many of the events support and improve mental health and wellbeing through social inclusion too, so it’s great to see that continue.”