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Stage set for Rochdale’s festival feast - Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival, Friday 24 to Sunday 26 October

Press release   •   Oct 20, 2014 12:47 BST

One of the most highly anticipated events on the borough’s cultural calendar - Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival kicks off on Friday (24 October) promising three days of drama, comedy, dance, music, theatre, films, visual arts and children’s shows.

The festival which runs from Friday 24 to Sunday 26 October aims to excite audiences of all ages and tastes with more than 50 events.

Rochdale Central Library at Number One Riverside on Smith Street, stages the majority of performances, including talks by writer Jackie Kay, television presenter Bill Turnbull, a gig by singer/songwriter Lucy Spraggan, performances from Manchester International Roots Orchestra and the Multicultural Arts and Media Centre. 

Stand up Dave Spikey jointly headlines the first evening of the festival, performing his new ‘Punchlines’ show at Middleton Arena, alongside a sold out ‘Evening with’ dramatist and composer Willy Russell in Rochdale.

Under the theme ‘Expand Your Mind’ - the varied programme covers workshops, music, readings, family-friendly activities, debates, talks and more from guests including Rochdale born DJ Liz Kershaw, poet Ian McMillan, Coronation Street actress Jane Danson, poet Tony Walsh aka Longfella, MOBO nominated rap artist Ghetts and writer Sara Crowe.

On Friday evening at the Flying Horse Hotel, Inspiral Carpets frontman Tom Hingley will be talking about what it’s like to be in the eye of a pop hurricane and his book Carpet Burns: My Life with Inspiral Carpets, as well as performing an acoustic set. While on Saturday afternoon at Number One Riverside, Steve Hanley, bass player with The Fall, will be interviewed about his book The Big Midweek: Life inside The Fall before presenting a live set with his band.

There’ll be the chance to meet multi-award winning author Alan Gibbons and novelists Chrissie Manby and Rosie Garland. Manchester Salon will be hosting a topical debate on writers and war and  Skylight Circus Arts will be performing exerts from their latest spectacular ‘Angel’, featuring circus, stories and images as well as offering a drop-in circus skills workshop for all ages. The programme even includes a Sherlock Holmes-themed murder mystery at Heywood Library and a ghost walk round the darkened streets of Rochdale.

On Sunday from 11am look out for clog dancing on The Butts and at the Wheatsheaf Shopping Centre in Rochdale town centre performed by local group - Littleborough Oakenhoofers.

There’s an exciting events programme for children with festival organisers promising shows that will keep little ones engaged and entertained for hours, including a Where’s Wally? hunt on Saturday. The popular kid’s character and his friends will be hiding in Number One Riverside – all you have to do is search for the clues to find them!  Also On Saturday, Gill Parnell Jackson will be introducing the concept of Magic Carpet yoga, combining adventurous stories from around the world with simple yoga, relaxation and breathing techniques, whilst award winning poet and performer Mark Gwynne Jones presents ‘Wordworms!’ a fast and funny showbased on his new collection for young readers.  On Sunday there’s an Afrocats dance workshop as well as a storytelling dance performance from the amazing Kala Sangam with musical accompaniment.

Rochdale Borough Council Leader Richard Farnell said:

“It’s going to be a fantastic festival with something for everyone …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 festival atmosphere, even if you don’t get a ticket for one of the main events.”

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 in person every day of the festival at the box office at Rochdale Central Library, Number One Riverside or online at

For updates during the festival on Twitter connect with @RochdaleLitFest

Interviews and photography requests

Photographers and journalists who would like to cover the festival for the media organisation they represent are welcome to attend. Please confirm your attendance in advance via email to or call 07754 267252.

ISDN broadcast quality interviews

Our ISDN number is 01706 341760. To set up an interview prior to or during the festival, please contact Mark Roberts on 07754 267252.

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