Over in Stockport, there’s a warehouse filled with all manner of Star Wars props – from Storm Trooper suits to Dak helmets – all created by a team of fans with a special set of skills.
Known officially as RS Propmasters, unofficially as the ‘King of Troopers’, they’ve created some incredible original Star Wars trilogy replica props for the silver screen and have had their work featured in some big Hollywood movies and at London’s V&A museum.
No strangers to the fantasy worlds of superheroes, they all met years ago in the replica prop community – a combination of painters, sculptors, mould makers and researchers.
That community, once comprised of secret groups and closed forums, is now very much out in the open – with the team going from fans making the cult props as a hobby, to becoming professionals in the movie prop world.
Brought together by their shared love of all the original Star Wars trilogy, they combined their passions to start creating what they saw on the screen – working from original moulds used in the 1970s.
Those replicas got them noticed and, years later, the working prop studio has now worked with a large number of productions, including big studio movies.
Today, together the studio can make two full Storm Trooper outfits in a day with a team of six people working on it at once.
And if that wasn’t impressive enough, they also recently produced 50 replica guns over six weeks for a new Hollywood superhero film.
In total, RS makes five different Star Wars characters at its Stockport studio – and so much research goes into making these props exactly how they would have been made for the films 45 years.
The studio’s SnowTroopers, for example, have a direct lineage to the original movie. These helmets are cast from an original studio-made helmet they managed to get their hands on back in 2017 – the only time this has ever been done.
Not satisfied with that, though, they even journeyed to LA to visit a private collection in order to find the most accurate cowl fabric to do the helmet justice.
Let’s just say there are no cutting corners here.
A community born out of fans with a shared passion, today the studio is run by a team of ten – all with their own individual skillset.
From ‘amour guy’ Pete O’Rourke, who it’s said has probably built more accurate Stormtroopers than anyone else in the world, to Becka Albrecht, who comes from a Fine Art and Humanities background and paints and weathers all the props, every single one of them has a true passion for the stories behind the props they are creating.
Avid Star Wars collector Simon Windus, meanwhile, puts the ‘S’ in RS – having launched the company in its early days with his original Stormtrooper suit. As for his partner Rob McCormick, he was making props before RS was just a twinkle in their eye – but back then, it was all about Boba Fett.
So well-respected and knowledgeable are Simon and Rob, they were even invited down to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London to help create a replica suit from an original costume piece back in 2015 as part of a British Film Institute exhibit.
And they’re right here on our doorstep, making magic from original cult prop pieces dating back to the 70s.
Progressing from hobbyists to esteemed industry professionals at the top of their game, it just goes to show if you are really passionate about something you can make anything happen.
To see more of the team’s work, follow them on Instagram here.
Feature image – RS Propmasters
Art & Culture
Stockport is hosting a Town of Culture Weekender with 50+ events – and it’s all FREE
Stockport will be marking its current Town of Culture title later this month, and it’s set to see the town come together for a huge celebration.
In case you missed it, Stockport was named Greater Manchester’s ‘Town of Culture’ for 2023 back in May of last year, so what better way to celebrate the coveted title than hosting a weekend packed full of cultural festivities for all the family, with access to some of the town’s must-visit venues? We can’t think of one.
And the Stockport Town of Culture Weekender is setting out to do just that.
With over 50 events and activities taking place over the weekend of Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 March, the Town of Culture Weekender will shine a light on the impressive variety of culture and creativity happening in the Greater Manchester town, as well as the work and projects that’ve been delivered during the duration of the ‘Town of Culture’ year so far.
Marking the end of the town’s ‘Town of Culture’ status with a bang, activities will be taking place at 25 locations across the Stockport borough.
Over the two days, visitors will be given the opportunity to explore some exciting new spaces, all while enjoying an event programme packed with live music, art, comedy, and history.
So, what are some of the dozens of free events you can get stuck into over the two days then?
Well, for starters, the newly-opened town centre park – which is the first green space in the UK to be built on top of a transport interchange, in case you didn’t know – will play host to many of the activities across the weekend.
A ‘Carnival of the Animals’ parade, which is curated by carnival arts organisation, Global Grooves, and features giant animal puppets, is one of the stand-out events on the lineup, but some of the other highlights have to include a grandpa comedy duo, live music with Pandemonium Steel Band, Tai Chi and Yoga taster classes, and a Stockport Sculpture Trail too.
Music and dance will be showcased at venues including Merseyway Shopping Centre, AMP, Petersgate Tap, Magnet, Spinning Top and the Market Place, while Stockport Library will be bringing fun to little ones with a Bluey Day full of games and crafts based on the popular animation series.
There’ll be more than 50 FREE events across 25 town centre locations / Credit: One Stockport (Supplied)
A series of Stockport-themed walks, tours, and activities will also take place across the weekend, while The War Memorial Gallery will also be hosting the Stockport Rising Exhibition showcasing the works of five local celebrated artists.
And, for those interested in exploring the town’s many attractions, there’s set to be free entry for all over the weekend – including the newly re-opened Hat Works Musuem, the Stockport Air Raid Shelters, and Stockport Museum.
Stockport Town of Culture Weekender is taking place on Saturday 23 and Sunday 25 March, and you can find more information ahead of the event here.
Featured Image – One Stockport (Supplied)
Art & Culture
The best things to do in Greater Manchester this week | 4 – 10 March 2024
We’re into our first full week of March now, and the first signs of spring are definitely starting to show across the region.
There’s absolutely no shortage of exciting events and activities in the Greater Manchester social calendar to be getting involved with now a new month is here – with everything International Women’s Day, Manchester Irish Festival, Mother’s Day, and so much more on the packed lineup this week.
If you’re finding it a bit tricky to pick what to do though, not to worry, as we’ve chosen a few of the best bits for another edition of our ‘what’s on‘ guide.
Here’s some of our recommendations.
Six Nations 2024
Monday 4 March – onwards
The Six Nations is back, and in full swing across the UK.
With the international rugby tournament having now officially kicked-off, we thought it would be only right to put together a list of the very best places in Greater Manchester to head on down to and catch a game.
After all, we don’t want you scrambling around to find places showing the action, we just want you to sit back and enjoy the games.
Read our round-up of the best places to watch the Six Nations here.
Pretty Woman – The Musical
Opera House Manchester
Monday 4 – Sunday 17 March
Pretty Woman The Musical / Credit: Marc Brenner
Pretty Woman The Musical is here in Manchester again this week.
Having taken over the iconic Opera House Manchester stage on an extended run right through to 17 March, the smash-hit musical production is based on the beloved 1990 romantic comedy film of the same name starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.
It’s described as being a “a sensational show guaranteed to lift your spirits and light up your heart”, and there’s still a few tickets on sale.
Did you know that a new ‘hobby house’ has opened up in the heart of Manchester city centre?
It’s called ‘Altogether Otherwise’.
Having recently opened down at Manchester’s growing neighbourhood, NOMA, the innovative new concept is is setting out to provide the Greater Manchester public with a welcome relief from all the demands and fast-paced culture of city centre life that we’ve, sadly, all become so used to.
It’s been dubbed a “place to pursue creativity” and a chance to explore and get stuck into some new activities, all while bumping into like-minded people in an ever-changing gathering space.
There’s an exciting lineup of workshops and events that are free to attend.
Manchester Open Exhibition is back for the third time in our city.
Taking place every two years down at HOME, the Open Exhibition is the biggest celebration of Greater Manchester’s creative talent, and sees HOME’s Gallery walls filled with 480 artworks created by the people of our region that have been specially-selected by a panel consisting of art experts and community representatives.
Open to all, the Exhibition brings together artwork including paintings, prints, photography, sculpture, ceramics, digital and mixed media, video, audio, and so much more.
The Sopranos 25th Anniversary BADA-QUIZ-SHOW / Credit: HBO
Big fan of The Sopranos?
In a bid to celebrate the 25th anniversary of what many consider to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest, TV shows of all time, Cultplex – which is Manchester‘s home of cult cinema, video games, and “cool nerdy events” tucked away within the award-winning venue GRUB in the Green Quarter – will be holding a special edition of their popular cult film trivia evening ‘Quiz Show’ dedicated to the show.
Through various ‘quizzical multimedia rounds’, quizmaster Jason Bailey will be testing players’ knowledge of New Jersey’s greatest family man and waste management consultant.
Manchester is hosting its very-own ‘Lass Fest’ with loads of special events to celebrate International Women’s Day this week.
In a bid to mark the annual occasion and properly celebrate all the brilliant women and girls from Greater Manchester and beyond, GRUB’s ‘Lass Fest’ is back with four days of special events and activities across three venues from this Thursday through to Mother’s Day on Sunday.
Festivalgoers can expect food, drinks, music, art, shopping, comedy, cabaret, games, films, and more, all to celebrate amazing women in our region.
Did you see that Rochdale Town Hall has now officially reopened to the public?
Rochdale Town Hall / Credit: The Manc Group
The stunning Grade I-listed building in the Greater Manchester town recently underwent a major restoration project, and although it’s been a long time coming, last weekend, the venue finally reopened to the general public.
Residents and visitors are finally able to see the results of the work for themselves now that the stunning building has thrown open its doors.
Teams of specialists and more than 500 volunteers have spent four years transforming the space and restoring it to its former glory.
Spaces previously been hidden from view are also now accessible for the first time ever.
Find out more, and catch a glimpse of the new Town Hall here.
BBC Radio 6 Music Festival 2024
Manchester City Centre
Thursday 7 – Saturday 10 March
BBC Radio 6 Music Festival 2024 / Credit: BBC
BBC Radio 6 Music Festival is back in Manchester for another year this week.
Taking over O2 Victoria Warehouse and several other venues across the city centre from this Thursday through to Saturday, Young Fathers, Gossip, and The Smile are the big-name headliners on the absolutely stacked lineup for 2024, and are all set to play the iconic old Warehouse Project venue across the three days.
Other notable names on the roster include Hak Baker, Jordan Rakei, and DJ Seinfeld, as well as rising local artists Porij, Witch Fever, DJ collective Not Bad For A Girl, and so many more.
Find out more about everything happening at the 2024 festival here.
Manchester Irish Festival 2024
Manchester City Centre
Friday 8 – Sunday 17 March
Manchester Irish Festival 2024 / Credit: Colin Home (via Supplied)
Manchester’s massive Irish Festival is returning to the city centre this week.
The biggest of its kind in the whole of Europe, Manchester Irish Festival is known and loved for putting on 10 whole days of Irish revelry in the heart of the city centre every year – with something for everyone of all ages to get involved with.
Taking place from this Friday 8 March, right through to St Patrick’s Day on Sunday 17 March, you can expect a jam-packed lineup of 200 events spanning the whole city this year.
NEW OPENING – The Lamb of Tartary / Credit: The Manc Group
There’s now a brand-new pub right in the heart of the Northern Quarter.
The Lamb of Tartary has now officially opened its doors, and the stunning space has completely transformed the former Cottonopolis site on Newton Street into a bright and airy restaurant.
The new venue comes from the same team behind the Edinburgh Castle pub in Ancoats, which was recently named one of the best gastropubs in the country, and executive chef Shaun Moffat, who is also an award-winner after being named Chef of the Year at the MFDF Awards, will be in charge of the menu.
Chef Moffat has created a mouthwatering list of seasonal British dishes.
There’s small plates including Atlantic prawn cocktail with melba toast, burrata with pumpkin and green sauce, Otterburn Farm pork available as bacon collar and loin chops, and Cornish lobster with hollandaise, as well as an eclectic Brunch Menu too.
Abney Court Care Home calling on locals to take their dogs down to its ‘Canine Café’ this Friday to help cheer up the residents.
After recent studies have shown that introducing dogs into care home settings can help lift people’s mood and increase social interaction among the community, the Cheadle-based care has decided to host its very-own ‘Canine Café’ with tasty puppy-themed treats and drinks, garden games, raffles, and so much more.
The Greater Manchester public is invited down to join in the fun from 11am-12pm.
Greater Manchester’s iconic heritage railway is hosting one of the most unique fine dining experiences in the region this week.
Running on selected Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 1 March right through to November this year, East Lancashire Railway’s Red Rose Diners are described as being “the ultimate first class foodie experience”, as they start with a glass of fizz and stretch over an almost three-hour steam train journey through the Irwell Valley.
The experience includes a four-course dinner with complimentary sparkling wine, followed by tea or coffee and after-dinner chocolates.
Did you hear that six cult Manchester restaurants have recently scooped coveted Deliveroo awards?
The results of the 2024 Deliveroo Restaurant Awards are in, and six of our city’s most-popular and best-loved eateries have been announced as claiming coveted prizes, after the food delivery service’s loyal customers voted with their hearts – and stomachs – for their favourite local establishments.
Slap & Pickle, Double Zero Pizzeria, and Mughli are among the local restaurants in Manchester that fought off competitors across the North and Midlands to take a title.
Six cult Manchester restaurants have scooped prestigious Deliveroo awards / Credit: The Manc Group
Then, a further five restaurants were recognised in the region’s best cuisine awards – with winners including Burgerism for ‘Best Burger & American’, and Unagi Street Food & Sushi for ‘Best Japanese’.
A total of 60 honours were up for grabs in this year’s Awards.
So, if you’re wondering where to order a takeaway from this weekend, then find out which locals won big in the 2024 Deliveroo Restaurant Awards here.
Walk For Women
Manchester City Centre
Saturday 9 March
Walk For Women / Credit: Manchester City Council
Hundreds are set to march through the streets of Manchester city centre to mark International Women’s Day this weekend.
The annual ‘Walk for Women’ returns for 2024 this Saturday from midday to 2:30pm.
The much-loved event is a celebration of the significant economic, political, and social achievements that women have made since they first won the right to vote just over 100 years ago, and organisers say it’s a brilliant chance to come together with family, friends, colleagues, and likeminded strangers to share a passion for equality and creating opportunities for Manchester women.
Seconds Sunday Roast Carvery / Credit: Freight Island
Freight Island’s most famous Sunday feast, Seconds Carvery, is back to bring the good people of Manchester some proper winter-warming comfort food.
Diners can now dive into this modern take on a classic carvery every Sunday.
Running between 12pm and 6pm, you book yourself a half-hour slot to see the carvery chef on the terrace, where you choose a main from roast topside of Highland beef, marmalade glazed gammon joint, roast turkey crown, or roast squash and wild mushroom wellington.
But the stand-out feature of Seconds has to be the bottomless trimmings – including proper Yorkshire puddings, garlic and rosemary roast potatoes, buttered mash, broccoli, glazed carrots, petit pois, and 48-hour gravy.
Looking for some Mother’s Day plans in Greater Manchester this Sunday?
In case you need a little reminder, this Sunday 11 March is Mother’s Day, and for those who are fortunate to have a mother figure be a part of their lives, then it’s time to show your love and appreciation for all they have done for us, this year and every year – as well as a time to remember those who are sadly no longer with us.
But, if you’re looking for a last-minute way to mark the special day, and are in need of some inspiration, then keep your eyes peeled and check The Manc website in the coming days.