Back and better - Rochdale Literature festival

The  Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival returns next week, bringing stars of page, stage and screen to town with nearly 40 shows.

From Tuesday (17 October) until Monday 23 October, it will feature drama, comedy, poetry, spoken word, visual arts and children’s shows, plus a Generation Z programme for 14 to 25 year olds.

Whilst over 1,400 tickets have already been snapped up and some shows are sold out – many tickets are still available, and booking isn’t required for everything so it’s worth checking rochdaleliteraturefestival.co.uk There are also lots of free tickets available for some of the family events.

17 of the borough’s venues will stage performances from star names including Tony Walsh, Jenny Eclair, Alan Johnson and Terry Waite CBE.

Bestselling crime writer Mandasue Heller will also be appearing along with acclaimed author Rosie Goodwin who will be discussing her latest novel ‘Mothering Sunday’ over afternoon tea at the town hall. Author and historian Fran Cooper will be talking about her new book ‘These Dividing Walls’ and visual artist Jessica Rankin premieres her new series of drawings, paintings and embroideries inspired by the Parthenon Sculptures at the British Museum.

Young theatre group 20 Stories High will be visiting Heywood Sports Village promising not to pull any punches with their urban monologues providing a gritty, challenging and humorous insight into the lives of young people.

Digital artist, Mahboobeh Rajabi hosts a workshop showing the most effective ways of filming and editing videos on your mobile phone.

There’s a packed line-up for children and families, sponsored by The Wheatsheaf Shopping Centre. Children can use the ‘secret agent’ themed programme, (available from your local library) in Rochdale town centre to help unravel the mystery behind the theft of the key that winds the town hall clock!

On Saturday 21 October at Rochdale Central Library ventriloquist and magician John Piper performs his Puppet Show, which is suitable for children aged three and above.

There’s a storytime session at The Wheatsheaf Shopping Centre where author Adam Perrott will also sing songs and tell stories and a Whodunnit? workshop where children are invited to put on a lab coat and work alongside a team of forensic experts to crack the case of the mysterious garden theft.

On Sunday 22 October Rochdale’s Exchange Shopping Centre stages ‘Build a Bug Home’ – with bug specialists from Chester Zoo teaching kids how to make insect houses from twigs, grit, grot and grime. There’s also a bat workshop and safari at Rochdale Pioneers Museum for children aged seven plus, with tips and tricks on understanding bats’ ecology and environment.

On Monday 23 October the Whiz Kids’ Club is in Rochdale Exchange Shopping Centre with interactive trails, storytelling, writing sessions, games and crafts with fun characters. Complete all the activities and you’ll get your own mini award! Over at Rochdale AFC’s Crown Oil Arena don’t miss ‘Spynosaur’ with renowned author Guy Bass. He’ll be bringing the story to life, featuring the elusive creature with the mind of a super-spy and the body of a dinosaur! There are two shows, at 1pm and 3pm, suitable for children aged 7+, and tickets are now free!

For younger children (aged 0-5), throughout October there’s a special Festival Rhyme Challenge during regular Bookstart Bear Club sessions, as well as much-loved classic stories from the Maskew Collection.

On Monday evening, Manchester poet Tony Walsh will close the festival, performing his work, including a poem he’s produced especially for the festival – in the atmospheric setting of The Church of St Mary in the Baum.

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