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Expand your mind - programme launch signals festival countdown

Press release   •   Sep 19, 2014 13:23 BST

With just five weeks to go, the 12 page programme for Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival has been unveiled.

Returning for the second year, the festival covering drama, comedy, dance, music, theatre, films, visual arts and children’s shows runs from Friday 24 to Sunday 26 October and aims to excite audiences of all ages and tastes with more than 40 events.

To mark the launch, festival organisers joined some of the participants due to take part in the event, by one of the venues - Number One Riverside, in Rochdale, and the adjacent Metrolink tram stop.

Rochdale Borough Council Leader Richard Farnell said the festival programme is impressive:

“Once again Rochdale Literature and Ideas Festival promises to dazzle, entertain and educate audiences young and old.  Ticket sales are already really encouraging and I know there will be people from all across the borough and the North West getting excited about coming to Rochdale … a brilliant backdrop for such an inspiring festival.  Events like this can help local businesses too, so I hope people come and support it as they did in 2013.  I will be proud to welcome the performers and audiences for what promises to be another amazing few days.  The library will be full of activities for all ages, so come along and experience the festival, even if you don’t get a ticket for one of the main events.”

The main festival venue will be Rochdale Central Library at Number One Riverside. The library and first floor Hollingworth Conference Suite will stage the majority of performances, including talks by dramatist and composer Willy Russell, writer Jackie Kay, television presenter Bill Turnbull, a live gig by singer/songwriter Lucy Spraggan, a performance from Manchester International Roots Orchestra and the Multicultural Arts and Media Centre.  New venues this year include Middleton Arena and the pop-up Rochdale Literarture & Ideas Festival shop in Rochdale’s Wheatsheaf Centre. M6 Studio, Touchstones Arts and Heritage Centre, The Flying Horse Hotel and The Baum will also be hosting shows in Rochdale, together with Fresh from the Studio Gallery in Littleborough.

Warm up events will be held earlier in October at libraries and other venues across the borough.

Under the theme ‘expand your mind’ - the varied programme covers workshops, music, readings, children’s shows, debates, talks and more from other guests including DJ Liz Kershaw, poet Ian McMillan, actress Jane Danson, comedian Dave Spikey, poet Longfella, rap artist Ghetts, Inspiral Carpets frontman Tom Hingley and writer Sara Crowe.

There’ll be the chance to meet multi-award winning author Alan Gibbons, novelists Chrissie Manby and Rosie Garland and musician Kala Sangam. MaD Theatre Company will present one of their much loved comedy plays ‘Gin & Chronic Arthritis’ and After Dark Entertainment stage an interactive Sherlock Holmes murder mystery.

A programme of events for children and families include a puppet show by John Piper, Wordworms – imaginative storytelling by acclaimed performer Mark Gwynne Jones, Whatever the Weather, an introduction to live theatre for the very young by M6 Theatre and Magic Carpet Yoga.  There’s even a Rochdale Ghost Walk on the Sunday evening.

The festival is due to the generosity of Annie and Frank Maskew, a Rochdale couple who shared a passion for reading and thinking, who originally met in Rochdale Library. They left a sum of money to be used on resources and events related to literature and philosophy to ensure classic works are available for future generations.

Tickets are available from or in person at the festival box office at Rochdale Central Library, Number One Riverside.

For festival updates on Twitter connect with @RochdaleLitFest

The programme is available in a variety of formats.  You can download it from the festival website, or view it day-by-day online. 

You can order a paper copy by emailing or pick one up free from your local library, or other stockists across the area, including:


  • Touchstones Arts and Heritage Centre
  • Number One Riverside
  • Rochdale Town Hall
  • Number Ten Gift Shop, Baillie Street
  • The Flying Horse Hotel
  • The Baum
  • Beales
  • Feel Good Café
  • Rochdale Pioneers Museum


  • Littleborough Coach House
  • Fresh From The Studio Gallery
  • Hollingworth Lake Visitors Centre


  • Heywood Civic Centre
  • The Phoenix Centre


  • Middleton Arena

The festival is organised by Rochdale Borough Council, funded by the Maskew Bequest.

For more information on this story, please contact Mark Roberts on 01706 924761 or 07754 267252 or email

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