With Arts Council support, poet Roger McGough comes to Live Age 2016


Live Age Festival organisers are celebrating a successful bid to the Arts Council England Grants for the Arts programme.

Established in 2014, the annual Live Age Festival has become a regular and eagerly anticipated part of the burgeoning arts and culture scene in Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire. Live Age is a celebration of creativity in later life, and is timed to coincide with UK Older People’s Day on 1st October.

It is a 3-day event which will run this year from 30th September 2016 to 2nd October 2016 in Stoke and North Staffordshire. There will be a packed programme taking place in the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Mitchell Arts Centre, B-Arts, Foxlowe Arts Centre (Leek), Gallery 116, the Art Stop Stoke, the Emma Bridgewater Factory and other venues across Stoke and North Staffordshire.

Live Age is led by Keele University, working in partnership with a wide range of arts and older people’s organisations in North Staffordshire. Jackie Reynolds – one of the Co-Directors of Live Age said:
“The Live Age Festival celebrates the fact that there is no age limit on creativity! It’s open to everyone (regardless of age), and we would love for more people than ever to come along to this year’s festival to take part in some of the amazing FREE opportunities that will be on offer. With the fantastic boost of the Arts Council England funding, we have been able to work with our partners to extend the programme so that it will be the biggest and best Live Age Festival yet!”

Most events are free (see programme and website for full details). Advance booking is advised, but there will also be opportunities to sign up for activities on the days.
Some of the highlights of this year’s programme include:

  A performance from 60’s beat poet Roger McGough;

  A creative writing workshop about Stoke’s industrial heritage, led by Deborah McAndrew of 
Claybody Theatre;

  The inaugural touring of Upswing’s ‘Flying and Falling’ workshop which explores aerial circus and 
falls prevention;

  A photographic exhibition by acclaimed Stoke photographer Darren Washington (116 Gallery) 
which studies the relationship between ageing and creativity;

  Clay Together: make clay flowers for a ceramic sculpture with BCB;

  ‘Floating on Brindley’s Dreams’: The Clay Chorus, Loudmouth Women, Village Voices (Singing for 
Lung Health) and the Brindley Band perform a celebration of the engineer’s life and legacy, devised
by Greg Stephens;
 Performance of ‘Forget-me-Knot’ by FRONTLINEdance;

 Old and New: The Live Age Festival Showcase at B-Arts. A cabaret-style evening with film, music, performance, an exhibition and fantastic food! Tickets on sale from B Arts – advance booking is essential.

Some of these events focus on Stoke-on-Trent’s cultural heritage, and the stories of the city’s residents, from the performance celebrating 300 years since the birth of James Brindley to the BCB workshop, where participants will have the opportunity to contribute to a brand new ceramic sculpture. The creative writing workshop also has a strong focus on Stoke’s industrial heritage.

Deborah McAndrew of Claybody Theatre says:

“The work of Claybody Theatre grows directly out of the unique stories of Stoke-on-Trent. This workshop is an opportunity for us to explore a dark chapter in the city’s story with those who remember the impact that industry has had on the environment and on people’s health.”

There is also a strong focus in the Live Age Festival on building for the future, with opportunities for both new and established older artists to showcase their work and to lead activities. The organisers are also looking to the future in supporting Stoke-on-Trent’s UK City of Culture bid, and are keen to ensure that the voices and talents of older people are included as part of these exciting developments.

If you would like to get involved or find out more about the Live Age Festival, please contact Isla Telford, Festival Co-ordinator, on 07505 527230 or isla.liveagefestival@gmail.com, and view the Live Age Festival website at www.liveagefestival.co.uk. Please follow us on Facebook (Live Age Festival) and Twitter (@LiveAgeFestival). Printed publicity is also available on request.