Saturday, September 05, 2009

Making a drama out of a memory

It's Heritage Weekend in England this Saturday, and all over the country churches and historic buildings will be open to the public. Only in Salford, however, will you find young people acting out the past, having turned people's memories into short dramatic pieces.

The action takes place at Chapel Street and Hope United Reformed Church on Chapel Street in Salford. Not many people know the name, but most will recognise the ancient brick building on the opposite side of the street from Salford Central Station. It has a distinctive pair of staircases looping up to the front door, and has the date sign 1819 over the front door, the same date as the Peterloo Massacre in nearby Manchester.

The church will be open from noon to 4pm on Saturday, 12 September 2009, and the first thing to greet visitors will be old family snaps and photographs collected and arranged by artist Lawrence Cassidy. This display was opened on 14 February this year but has been substantially re-arranged and added to, with photos that people have brought in during the open days of the exhibition.

The photographs will be in the lobby area. In the main body of the church will be tables piled high with old maps of the area, so that people can identify the houses they used to live in, which have subsequently been demolished. However, all is not lost: artist Lawrence Cassidy has started to archive photos and family snaps he's been given, and has begun to arrange them into a new collection – The A to Z of lost Salford streets. This archive will be available on the internet eventually, if funding can be found to support all the work needed to make it complete. Meanwhile, Lawrence has the 'pilot' version available on his laptop computer, and it will be showing on 12 September.

Between this main area of the church, and the Coffee Bar at the rear, there will be a number of strolling players, young actors who have been trained by Blueberry Youth, the young people's drama coaches at Salford Arts Theatre on Liverpool Street in Salford. With the help of a grant from the Arts Council, the adults have been working with the children to transform verbal memories that have been collected since the exhibition opened in February into short dramatic works. These will be presented informally throughout the afternoon, and visitors will be invited to follow this up with a visit to Salford Arts Theatre in late October, when a longer version of the work will be available on stage.

It's a first, the first time that Salford residents have had their reminiscences portrayed as drama, and the first time that all their old photos have been collected together, to start the major piece of work – The A to Z of lost Salford streets.

Further details: Lawrence Cassidy 07946 176291


Friday, September 04, 2009

Getting linked in with the audio world

Yep, we've finally fallen for it,
bought the t-shirt and tried to join up with MyBlogLog.
They want us to install this next bit -

Hmm, that looks good.
Now see what it can do for us.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Photo Exhibition takes a summer break

Regular readers will know that LIDS has been busy in the field of history and heritage over the last year, mainly, supporting local group 'Retracing Salford' with their excellent photo exhibition.

LIDS member Jane Wood helped Lawrence Cassidy prepare the exhibition space last December, in the front lobby of the United Reformed Church on Chapel Street in Salford, opposite Salford Central Station and on the same side of the road as The Salford Arms pub.
The show, 'Salford Snaps', opened on 14 February and has been continuing on Saturday afternoons since then, but Jane and Lawrence are now taking a break over the summer. They will be back on the Saturday of Heritage Weekend, 12 September 2009.

Mike Scantlebury, founder member of LIDS, has been helping Jane with interviews and audio presentations at the show, as well as featuring the recordings on the radio show he presents on a Sunday evening on Salford City Radio, 94.4fm
"Our listeners have been fascinated with the stories that come out of this exhibition," he says, and is anxious that the association with Retracing Salford will continue.
Jane has been busy updating the exhbition website, which is linked to her blog on
Lawrence Cassidy has his own plans. He has been collecting family snaps, maps and street signs for many years and his ambition is to have a complete 'A to Z' of lost Salford streets, with families and views for each of them, available on a searchable database, possibly live on the web.
He is currently seeking funding for that plan, and says that latest news will be on the existing website, as things develop. In the meantime, he urges everyone to check out the current website and see some of the photos he has collected there. Especially as his collection is growing every day, with the photos, films and memorabilia that people are donating.
Also, he says, keep 12 September free. It should be a great event, open 12-4pm, free entry.