A new community-lead art trail is set to line the streets and brighten up Old Trafford when it arrives next month.
The OT Art Trail – which has been organised by OT Creative Space and is funded by Arts Council England – sees a number of artists work together with members of the local Manchester community to create six individual large scale murals, which are soon to be painted onto walls and building gable ends around the area, including in Seymour Park and Ayres Road.
The new murals will add to murals and artwork already seen around Old Trafford.
The several new street art sites will be linked together via a downloadable audio tour, which is said to be suitable for people of all ages.
Five artists, all bringing an individual and different style to the mix, have been commissioned by OT Creative Space to paint the new murals, and they include Old Trafford artist and designer Robert Lomas, aerosol and graffiti art specialist Jamie Rennie, fine artist Sam Owen Hull, Russ Meehan, who is also known as Mural Life and graffiti artist, and photographer Martene Rouke.
On top of that, Old Trafford-born spoken word artist and writer Isaiah Hull will also create a piece of spoken word to connect the murals as part of the audio tour.
Each mural on display will centre around the theme ‘community togetherness and diversity’.
Due to several lockdowns and ongoing restrictions amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the workshops that the art trail team had originally planned to hold in local schools, residential homes and other community settings had to be put on the back-burner, and they instead sent out 300 creative packs.
The team also involved the community through a number of activity sessions over Zoom and through social media, as well as with interactive displays in the window of OT Creative Space on Ayres Road.
Several local organisations also lent a hand in recruiting the community on board, and creative packs were even handed out to families in local parks.
That’s not all either, as last month, the trail team ran a prize draw with local shops in the Old Trafford area to encourage residents to submit their ideas, and pupils from two local schools – St Alphonsus RC Primary and Old Trafford Community Academy – were also asked to get involved and share their thoughts on what Old Trafford means to them.
Speaking ahead of the arrival of the OT Art Trail, Lynda Sterling – from OT Creative Space – said: “We had to be very creative in order to maximise community participation at a time when we are being encouraged to stay apart rather than come together.
“Technology has played a part, but also good old fashioned paper and colouring pencils”.
She continued: “To find the locations, we walked around the local area and picked out key places [and] it was then a case of knocking on doors and putting notes through people’s doors if they were out.
“It’s generated a lot of excitement in the area.
“We found people extremely keen to have original artworks painted on their houses, [and] we estimate the murals will last between five and 10 years before they start to fade, so it’s quite a commitment”.
Michelle Griffith, one of the Old Trafford residents who has volunteered her home on Ayres Road as a blank canvas for a mural, has said that the trail is “just what Old Trafford needs”.
“It will bring some colour to an otherwise muted part of Old Trafford.” she continued.
“I’m really excited by the community engagement and getting to work with and alongside the artists.
“It’s bringing together factions of the community that are normally dormant”.
You can find more information ahead of the launch of the OT Art Trail in early May via the OT creative SPACE website here.
Huge line-up revealed for Leeds International Festival of Ideas
The 2023 line-up for Leeds International Festival of Ideas has been released, and it’s all taking place in a brand new venue.
The huge event will bring together some of the most thought-provoking speakers of our time and is well worth the trip across to our neighbouring city.
Taking over the Leeds Playhouse will be a diverse programme and educational discussions, The Hoot reports.
Giving a glimpse of what we’re in store for this year, LIFI has announced the first of its highly-anticipated speakers.
Best-selling author and mental health campaigner Ruby Wax will be bringing her unique brand of humour to the festival as she takes the audience on her journey to address the importance of mental wellness.
The author, performer and activist is excited about joining the festival: “Leeds International Festival of ideas 2023 looks really exciting and I’m thrilled to be part of the line-up this year. I can’t wait to visit Leeds again and take audiences on my journey to mindfulness.”
Steven Bartlett, perhaps most notably known as the podcaster Diary of a CEO, co-Founder of Social Chain, and also as an investor on Dragon’s Den, amongst other business endeavours, will be taking to the stag to share an insight into ‘how he spots the next big thing’.
Bringing an insight into representation and inclusivity in the media, reality TV star and LGBTQ+ activist Bimini, will also be a key speaker at the International Festival of Ideas.
And this is just the beginning.
The four day festival promises to host a programme of panels and keynotes which focus on topics such as grief, political systems, womxn’s health inequalities and self-sufficiency, among others from Wednesday 27 September – Saturday 30 September 2023.
And what better venue than the Leeds Playhouse?
The award-winning cultural hub was recently recognised at the UK Theatre Awards as the Most Welcoming Theatre in 2022. With a mission to seek out the best companies and artists to create inspirational theatre in the heart of Yorkshire, Leeds Internationals Festival of Ideas, will be joining the long list of exciting productions, festivals and events that Leeds Playhouse have hosted over the past 50 years.
Martin Dickson, Leeds International Festival of Ideas has commented: “We are thrilled with the programme we are bringing to the city for LIFI23, built on the outstanding success of last year, we think it is our strongest speaker line-up yet.
“We’re also hugely excited to be presenting the festival at the incredible Leeds Playhouse, on of the most famous theatre venue in the city, a privilege and an honour.
“LIFI23 will once again address some of the most important social issues affecting us all, taking them on over 4 inspirational days across 11 events and shining an outspoken light on Leeds, projecting the city once again as a bold, innovative thought-leading city.”
The full lineups and tickets will be available from Tuesday 4 April but in the meantime those wanting to grab tickets are encouraged to visit the Leeds International Festival of Ideas website to sign up for announcements and ticket updates.
Ricky Gervais adds ANOTHER Manchester date to Armageddon tour – how to get tickets
Ricky Gervais has added a third gig in Manchester on his upcoming Armageddon stand-up tour due to phenomenal demand.
The comedy legend announced this week that he’ll be playing the O2 Apollo on 24 and 25 April, plus the new date on 30 May.
The first two nights sold out in a flash, and tickets for that third date go on sale this week.
Armageddon is the award-winning comedian’s seventh international tour.
Ricky Gervais is famed for his TV shows, including the record-breaking After Life, The Office, and Extras.
He further cemented his global reputation with his dry sense of humour and sharp wit while presenting the Golden Globes.
The comedian is in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the most downloaded internet show of all time – and is known for his satirical comedy that often divides opinions.
After performing Armageddon in London last year, the comedian took to Twitter to say he’d have his fans ‘reported for hate crimes’ for laughing at the new material, according to The Independent – just to give you an idea of what may lie ahead.
The tour has already sold out its first five dates, with the rest (including a Leeds stop) going on sale this week.
You can get tickets from 10am on Friday 31 March through Ticketmaster.