Category Archives: Events

Mail-Wordpress--Caketober

Halloween Caketober at The Shriek Project by Shu-Ling Li

This Friday, October 30th SharpFutures will be hosting a fancy dress encouraged, Halloween Caketober special at The Sharp Project, all in aid of Forever Manchester, a charity that funds thousands of community projects across Greater Manchester.

Forever Manchester’s recent projects have included supporting The Film Makers Club; a fun group aimed at 8-16-year-olds to find and research ideas, direct, interview, use cameras and edit their own material. Forever Manchester has also made a positive impact supporting dementia sufferers for groups such as Singing with Dementia; which encourages the use of music to ease symptoms of dementia.

As you may well be aware the annual Great British Bake Off has resulted in a baking buzz that has gotten people eager to whip our their cake tins and sift out their favourite recipes ready to prove their Pillsbury flare! Much of this knead to roll out sponges your grandmother would be proud of has risen from baking judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood (not as Tom Clarke insists Mary Shelly and that dude from Duran Duran!) simmering our senses with layer upon layer of thrilling challenges that have kept us gluten to our television sets week by week and it’s not gone amiss within The Sharp Project.

Caketober Poster 2015-FORWEB

Living with Rachael Rothwell, our resident baker and true Wednesday Adams of the Halloween season, I’ve seen her train blood, sweat and treacle for the ultimate prize of the highly sought-after Caketober Golden Rolling pin – awarded to the champion of this years #Cakecomp, just when I think everyone’s sound asleep I hear a curdling yell from Rachael’s crypt “This batch has a soggy bottom, must start again!”. She is however up against a trifle of competition from our very own Rachael McGuinness, renowned in our caverns for her striking rainbow cake creations and Kerry Parker with her flurry of iced cupcakes.

In this baker’s dozen, we also have the talented Amanda’s catering team – not ones to be outdone with plans for a spooky selection of confectionary delights and decorations to boot. Needless to say, with the likes of Claire Hinds and Brownbag Films beguiling baking skills awaiting release from the realms of their aprons, who knows how this cauldron of caramel, chocolate and cobwebs will set! It’s not just baking that will receive recognition as there will also be a prize for the #BestDressed, be it bizarre, gory or gruesome! Dusted throughout the day will be a mixture of ghoulish games and a drizzle of gruesome goodies to giveaway, folding in with our special guests to judge your beastly bakes.

Join us if you dare just doughnut forget to bake, dress up, and raise money!

From 12.00

Friday, October 30th

The Campus

The Sharp Project

Nick-Boles-Sharp-Project-10

Skills Minister Nick Boles MP visits SharpFutures

Minister of State for Skills and Equalities Nick Boles visited The Sharp Project on 6th October 2015. The blog below has been sourced from Creative Skillset’s article

 Nick Boles MP met apprentices, trainees and other young people on creative digital and social media work placements yesterday at SharpFutures in Manchester.

Invited by industry training and skills body Creative Skillset, the Minister was clearly impressed by what he saw.

“I think it’s remarkable what you have created here. The POD [people on demand] scheme in particular is such a new idea. I don’t know whether you have done it elsewhere in the country but it seems like something we could transfer to other industries and other parts of the country.” Nick Boles MP

Many of the young people were supported by Creative Skillset via the Employer Ownership Pilot programme, the aim of which is to pilot new models of training. Using £37m co-investment from industry and government, Creative Skillset invests in innovative projects such as SharpFutures and ITV’s Continuing Drama to help small and medium companies in the UK Creative Industries develop talent and skills; in this case helping to develop a Northern Powerhouse and long-term growth in the local creative economy.

Nick-Boles-Sharp-Project-2

Once successful examples like these have been assessed, Creative Skillset then adapts and replicates them to benefit other parts of the creative industries, which is predominantly made up of SMEs.

“We’ve looked at all of the evidence and we have concluded that apprenticeships have a better impact, have a greater effect on people’s earning power, than any other kind of skills training,” added the Minister.

“For me it’s really very simple: an apprenticeship is a job with training that lasts at least 12 months. And if you say to me, in our industry many of the jobs are freelance or self-employed, we need to find a way to make an apprenticeship possible for [these people]. We need to find a way to make an apprenticeship work for the creative sector.”

daysoff

Our favourite places to visit & things to do on a day off in Manchester

Last month the SharpFutures team compiled our “Best Places to eat in Manchester” blog, so next we’ve decided to write about our favourite places to spend a day out (or in) across Greater Manchester.

There’s quite a wide range of activities and places listed below so we hope you enjoy reading about them as much as we enjoy visiting them.  All are easily accessible by public transport as well as bike and car – if you need to plan a route then check out the TFGM website.

If you have any further suggestions please Tweet us at @SharpFutures or email us at team@sharpfutures.org.uk – we’re always keen to find out about new destinations for a day off…


Heaton ParkIsaacHeatonPark - Rach McG, by Rachael McGuinness

I’ve only recently discovered Heaton Park which is a great (and free) day out, especially if you have kids. It was a lovely sunny day, we packed a picnic, football and off we went with our toddler.

We used the Margaret’s Road entrance and found free parking* inside and an ice cream van in prime position next to the brilliantly equipped kid’s play area. I think there was even a sand pit which we said we would go back to at the end of the day however we got so preoccupied with other areas we didn’t get chance to return.

We headed straight to the animal centre. It was great for a toddler and had just the right amount of animals; ponies, pigs, rabbits, chickens etc. Our son enjoyed laughing and shouting at the (now deaf) rabbits as they hopped around but wisely stayed away from the giddy goats. This kept him entertained for a good 30 minutes (I’ve realised parenthood is all about timings and countdowns to meal times and naps…)

The grounds of the park are beautiful, with rolling hills and brilliant views of Manchester and beyond. We settled on top of a hill and had a picnic followed by a bit of football. There is a lovely looking café on site too which was rammed and the cakes looked delicious but we settled for a Mr Whippy instead…

We finished the visit off with a little explore and a stroll around a lake. I feel like we only visited a tiny part of what the park has to offer so if this weather perks up we will be back again soon!

*parking is free Mon-Fri out of school holidays

Heaton Park, Manchester M25 2SW www.manchester.gov.uk/heatonpark


T-Rex - ElliMuseum of Manchester, by Elli Metcalfe

Now being the fashionista that I am (muffled laughter in the background) most who know me would expect me to state that my favourite thing to do in Manchester on my day off would be SHOPPING, spending copious amounts of money on clothes and shoes, most of which  I would hardly ever wear!

However, it may shock you to discover that I love nothing better than to browse the bones of dinosaurs, educate myself on Egyptology and visit a Vivarium or two! All of which is possible at the brilliant and interesting Museum of Manchester located on Oxford Road!

The Museum, first set up in 1835 now houses some of the biggest collections in the UK, everything from Earth’s sciences to Birds and insects and it even has a full-size skeleton on a T-Rex named Stan dating back 70 million years! The museum has everything you need and more and caters for both adults and little ones…plus it’s free to get in!

Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL www.museum.manchester.ac.uk/


trafford-centre - Sophie

Trafford Centre by Sophie Hukin

My favourite place to go out for the day in Manchester has to be the Trafford Centre. It is a handy place to visit as there is loads of stuff to do all under one roof and is suitable for a family day out.

I love shopping and The Trafford Centre has to be one of the best places in Manchester for it. The shops have a variety of high street and designer brands so it is perfect for any price range. If you are with kids it is also a perfect place as there are various activities such as laser quest and an ODEON Cinema (Laserquest being my guilty pleasure). The choice of food places is unbelievable. Fast food hall to sit down restaurants to China town it is almost impossible to choose where to go! I recommend five guys as they serve delicious burgers with the best drinks machine ever!!!

Trying to fit everything in at The Trafford Centre could be difficult but the visit is well worth it.

Dumplington, Manchester M17 8AA http://intu.co.uk/traffordcentre


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Font Bar, by Lewis Marsh

The Font bar has become a recent favourite of mine; a place I tend to go on a day off with a friend or two to have a catch up, a get-together, or just to satisfy our thirst and hunger!

I was randomly introduced to this place on a meet up due to the great food and drinks at very reasonable prices! Their walls are decorated with local artists’ work which personally I think is a really nice touch!

It’s the little things you know…

From chalk written specials to a relaxing atmosphere through lighting and chilled music; along with great company of course, in my personal opinion The Font bar is worthy of your free time.

Along with all these positives it is also conveniently based only a 5-minute walk from Piccadilly gardens – This, of course, varies depending on your walking speed but either way it’s still relatively close by!

I prefer the daytime 14:00pm – 20:00 as the music played is chilled enough to have a conversation with the person you have gone with, I’m not saying I don’t like loud music (because I love it!) I’m just saying depending on your reasons for wanting to go it is best to be familiar with times.

New Wakefield St, Manchester M1 5NP https://thefontbar.wordpress.com/


Whitworth - Dom

Whitworth Art Gallery, by Dom Corry

It takes a pretty magnificent place in order for me to be compelled to leave the comfort of my warm bed of a weekend that said… I do like ambling about without a direction and ending up in Yorkshire or something, but that’s besides the blog right?

A place in Manchester which really insights a sort of zeal and excitement in me would have to be, the fairly newly opened, Whitworth Art Gallery.

It’s one of those really woozy sort of gallery’s where by you don’t just look at the exhibitions and study them, you can actually wonder about them!!!

I like to call it the house dreams because every room kind has that feeling of super natural and surreal about it, as if every room is a different interpretation of your minds sleeping eye. There was one exhibition in particular which was called ‘Unmanned Nature’ by a fella called Cai Guo-Qiang and it was such an unusual massager of the senses, in the way that it sort of felt like walking in to a strange wilderness of visionary aesthetic and faded desert, one that might include a wise old man on a hill and a sign from the gods or something cliché like that, but it was quite an immersive and relaxing feeling really, there was even a little pond in there…a pond…In a room…that looked vaguely like a naturalistic interpretation of heaven…what on earth (note pun) is not to like?

What’s also a huge plus about this marvellous place is the fact that it’s so huge, so you have a lot more variation and in turn stay there for more than 10 minutes, also there are, like many galleries, constant                                                                                                                                                      opening which leaves you more to discover and guarantees a fresh experience each time you go. It is a grand way to use a Saturday afternoon in Manchester for sure and I’d say give it a try.

Oxford Road, Manchester, M15 6ER www.whitworth.manchester.ac.uk


The Courtyard - Kerry

Courtyard by Kerry Parker

A good day out in Manchester for me would be Courtyard bar just off Oxford Road. The reason why it would have to be this place is because a couple of reasons!

I’m a bit of a cheap skate and I love it when I can get stuff that’s cheap but really good quality. The food menu is a typical British pub but it’s not very expensive. As for drinks they have a range from beers to cocktails! (Which if you know me – I love cocktails rather than drinking a pint of beer)

It also has two pool tables that don’t cost much to play. There is limited seating inside, but they have a huge back “garden” with plenty of benches and tables to sit around and most the tables have a heater for the more chilly nights!

The staff here are always really relaxed and aren’t afraid to jump into your conversation while your being served.

Chester Street, Manchester, M1 5SH www.courtyardmanchester.co.uk/


Printworks - Danny M

IMAX, by Danny Moore

My favourite place to be on a day off in Manchester lately is the IMAX based inside the Printworks in the city centre.

As a Marvel film lover it’s always where I end up going on a day off catching up on the latest Marvel blockbuster reliving my youth of comic books and super heroes. Within the walls is Europe’s second largest IMAX screen at a whopping 26m by 19m it’s the only way I can ever watch a movie anymore. The home TV just doesn’t quite cut it!

Another great thing about the location is that you walk out the doors after an action packed film and you find yourself in the centre of a number of restaurants perfect for grabbing a bite to eat straight after.

Printworks, Withy Grove, Manchester M4 2BS www.odeon.co.uk/cinemas/manchester_printworks/11/


matt and phreds neon - Dan Walsh

Matt & Phreds – Monday Jam, by Dan Walsh

Matt & Phreds is a live music venue on Tib Street in the Northern Quarter, they have regular and diverse artists playing everything from Salsa to Swing and have even played host to Adele in the past.

I like to sometimes go on a Monday night when they have a Jam session and open mic, one Monday is Blues, the next Jazz and the next is Funk and finally Soul until the next month where it all happens again!

It attracts a wide variety of interesting, talented and creative musicians and singers and is always led by a specialist accompanied by a house band.

There’s a great atmosphere, good selection of drinks and it is always packed (and if you get there before 7pm there’s also pizza available!).

Tib St, Northern Quarter, Manchester M4 1LW www.mattandphreds.com/


The Lowry - Rach Roth

The Lowry Outlet Mall, by Rachael Rothwell

The Lowry Outlet Mall is a large shopping centre located in the refurbished docklands of Salford Quays. The industrial area has been developed into a scenic and beautiful landscape. Only a 15minute tram from the city centre, it is the perfect shopping experience if you are looking for some peace and quiet.  The centre is made up of outlet shops from both big known retailers like M&S to independents that can offer a more personalised service. There are a variety of restaurants, bars and a cinema to keep you entertained. Salford is an area that has under gone under a lot of refurbishment recently and is home to MediaCity where the BBC is located. If you are a fan of Coronation Street then the shows stars are often seen shopping in the building

If you have a free day to spend in Manchester, The Lowry Outlet Mall organises some great events, and I highly recommend checking their website. The event I attended recently was The Lowry Outlets Food Festival 2015. The space around the shopping mall was transformed into a market that I’d describe as a food lover’s dream There was a range of stalls selling a variety of delicious foods including macaroons, sausages, home-made jams and of course a stall selling the classic Manchester tart.

A highlight of the day was the various workshops, conducted by celebrity chefs. Two popular guests were Paul Hollywood and Gok Wan. Gok is normally known for fashion but did a master class, cooking steamed scallops, Yuk sung, and chicken and prawn gyoza dumplings.

Paul is one of the star judges of the BBCs the Great British Bake Off, which I am a huge fan of. The event catered for children too and held its own kid’s cookery school, so no one was left out.

If you were looking for something a bit out of the ordinary you could grab a bite to eat at the Camp Cooks food van. It is exactly what it says in the name, and added some fun to the event

There are events happening all the time and are advertised on their website. The next event is the Waterside Food and Craft Market, 15th-16th of August.

Salford Quays, M50 3AH www.lowryoutlet.co.uk


Worsley Woods Parkrun - Shu-Ling

Worsley Woods, by Shu-Ling Li


“Remember everyone, our parkrun wouldn’t happen without its volunteers, so let’s give them a big thank you on your way around and we’ll get you off in 5-4-3-2-1!”

These are the words that have started my Saturday mornings for the past year and a half. Every Saturday at 9am I join my fellow Parkrunners along the Worsley Woods start line, bracing ourselves for another 5k run, come wind, rain, snow or shine. Whether you’re a jogger, plodder, sprinter or straight forward power walker, 5 kilometres in 17 minutes feels just the same as 5 kilometres in 40 minutes- we tell ourselves it gets easier but it doesn’t. You simply get better.

Yes it’s a struggle getting up and out of bed every Saturday morning when all you want to do is curl up under your duvet and pretend your Parkrun personal bests don’t matter, but they do! Nothing beats the exhilaration of knowing you’re only 150 metres away from the finish line as you sprint your way past friendly rivals and cajoling spectators, until finally you hear the timekeeper’s stop watch beep like a chorus of hallelujah as your time is recorded and you can at long last relax!

I first joined my local Parkrun after I entered the 2014 Manchester 10k, as an avid runner, this was the first official race I’d ever signed up for. Not knowing what to expect I knew I needed more practice than my regular leisurely jogs; where I could gauge my stamina and meet people with similar interests. Even if you’re not a confident runner, no one at Parkrun gets left behind. With an encouraging volunteer group there’s always a tail runner to guide you right back to the finish line.

What’s great about Parkrun are the people you meet along the way, I’ve met some really supportive friends that have helped run my times down from 24.48 minutes to 21.35 minutes in just over a year. I’ve even taken my dog along for the ride; who are more than welcome to join in and run alongside you! The fact that Parkrun is an entirely volunteer lead activity highlights just how many people enjoy being involved in the group even if they’re not running themselves.

Put it this way- if it took you an average of 40 minutes to jog 5 kilometres once every week that’s 2.8% of your entire day! Can you really not afford to spare less than 3 percent of your whole day for an activity that’s completely free?

Salford, M30 8AR
www.parkrun.org.uk/worsleywoods/


The RitzThe Ritz - Sally, by Sally Hirshman

I have chosen the Ritz becausethis summer I was lucky enough to be one of the stall holders at Heresy and Heelz’s ‘Alternative and Burlesque Fairs’ that was held at The Ritz.

On their website, Heresy and Heelz describe their fairs as bringing up to 70 stalls of ‘burlesque, vintage, rockabilly, gothic, alternative, fetish, steampunk, neo-Victorian clothing, accessories, jewellery and artwork’. A friend of mine creates gothic, Edgar Allan Poe inspired artwork, and as she was away she asked me to run her stall for her.

I’ve been to a few vintage fairs before and always enjoy exploring the stalls. There was also entertainment staggered throughout the day, which included burlesque acts, cabaret, aerial and pole dancers as well as a little tea shop with lovely home-baked cakes.

I’d heard a lot about The Ritz as a concert venue and nightclub (with sticky floors!), but had never been before. The setting is perfect for such an event, with its raised stage and 1st floor balcony which meant that people could gather there for a view of the day’s entertainment. I did get a chance to explore the other stalls and I treated myself to a gothic-flower hair piece as well as some amazing ‘Jaffa cake’ cake! The performers were all very good, particularly the host – Miss Liberty Pink, who did a very impressive rendition of ‘Hey Big Spender’.

More than anything, I think that spending the day at the fair opened my eyes to how big the alternative scene is here in Manchester. Each person I observed from my stall had a unique style, or else their own twist on one. There were Punks, Goths, Steampunks, fetishists and more. The next Alternative and Burlesque fair at The Ritz will be on Saturday 5th December 2015 from 12pm-6pm, and I would recommend that anyone looking for a fun way to spend a few hours on a Saturday drops in (over 18s only though!).

For anyone interested in visiting The Ritz, they constantly have concerts, club nights and even live wrestling on!

Manchester City Centre M1 5NQ http://theritzmanchester.com/


Taps - Kris

Piccadilly tap, by Kristian Baines

This small bar that has just recently opened has quickly became one of my favourite places to enjoy a drink. Be it before a day/evening out in Manchester, or waiting for the next train (sometimes even missing it). I find myself repeatedly returning to this venue.

Located just outside Piccadilly Train station at Gateway House, they possess a vast amount of different craft beer and ales available. There are alternate drinks available including alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, so there is truly something available for everyone.

With a selection of 7 cask beers and 20 keg beers, there is always something to choose from. Due to the rotating of stock they have, there is always being something new for when you return. This is all housed in a calm and contemporary environment. One key design I particularly like is the massive chalk board which has all the beers available on the wall, giving you the feeling similar to being a child in a sweet shop with all the selection available. It’s due to all these aspects which make it an awesome place to just take it easy from the hustle and bustle of city live and have a good beer.

Gateway House, Manchester M1 2GH www.piccadillytap.com


Jump Nation - Vanessa

Jump Nation, by Vanessa Roth

On my days off I love going to Jump Nation! It’s the perfect place to let off some steam and just let loose. It’s the biggest indoor trampoline park in Europe and its right by Trafford Park. Whenever I go with friends we always have a fun time attempting to do backflips! I’ve also been with my little cousins who loved it (warning: do not give young kids sweets before letting them on the trampolines, because kids + sugar rush is a hectic mix!)

But seriously, if you want to try something out of the ordinary, I would highly recommend it for a good laugh!

Trafford Park M17 1WA  www.jumpnation.com


afflecks palace - Leroy

Affleck’s Palace, by Leroy Numa

Not only does it house Manchester’s biggest Alternative Shopping Emporium: – Affleck’s Palace but it has countless of little gems within it. Whether it be pubs, bars, Indie clothing stores or comic book stores, all can be found within the Northern Quarter. So whether it be a night out or you are just looking to try something new Northern Quarter is the place for you.

Another of my personal favourites is the Nexus art cafe located on Dale Street.

It is a small hip cafe that has an absolutely amazing vibe to it. My only does it look cosy and welcoming but it also has board games for you and your friends to play while you’re chilling and books for you to read if you are in your own.

Manchester City Centre M4 1PW  www.afflecks.com


GORILLA - Aleena

Gorilla, by Aleena Sharif

About the place…

This place serve food, have a couple of bars and is a small venue where they host events (I went to see Skream a couple of months ago). They also do private bookings/hire and have cool neighbours of other interesting places to spend your day- or night for that matter! (Dog bowl, Ritz, food places, more clubs etc.)

Atmosphere and people…

The atmosphere is good, it was packed with people and good vibes when I walked in- which is usually a sign that the place is popular! Although the prices may be slightly high for the food, they serve only the best and it is worth the price! It seems like this one of THE places to be for the urban people of Manchester. Gorilla have it all covered under one roof! The people and staff are really friendly, as well as helpful. The venue hall/club was relaxed and I was able to make it to the front of the crowd and watch Skream perform his house set. The staff were very friendly, they even invited me and my Brother on the stage! The staff would join in and blend in with the crowd- but always be there to help when needed. People were getting on the stage near the DJ decks and dancing, some started talking to me and there was nothing but good vibes! It wasn’t a struggle to get to a bar, as there was a bar both upstairs and downstairs inside the club area, and 2 or 3 bars in the front area! There was also a cloakroom for it you have goods with you and nowhere to put them.

The decor, first impressions and location…

The decor is cool! It’s cosy but contemporary, with a kind of urban industrial look to it. There is an upstairs lounge area with a mini bar which is like a loft, a downstairs main bar and seating area, a separate room with more seating and the club/venue hall. I love the grey tones with the wooden and metal furniture, it is just a nice place to be. It is situated in a good spot too! It is not far from the Dog Bowl and is positioned underneath the bridge on Whitworth Street.

You can pop in for a relaxed meal or night out- or book a special event taking place or hire it for your own usage!

Awards and what people say…
Winner of ‘The Best Burger in Manchester & nominated for ‘Best Newcomer’ at the Manchester Food and Drink Festival Awards. And there’s a 700 capacity venue in the tunnel at the back playing host to bands, club nights, comedy and theatre. ‘Manchester’s only venue where the walls are covered with what look like the controls from a 1950s Spacelab’ The Guardian

‘It’s not easy to be this good at so many different things, but Gorilla manages to pull it off and then some. No matter what the day, the time, or the occasion, Gorilla has it covered. From the spot-on decor to the sophisticated drinks menu and creative food offering, there’s a real sense of quality that runs through everything that Gorilla does, which forms the basis of its entire appeal. One of the best bars in Manchester.’ Designmynight Manchester 

‘Should there ever be an award category, we already have the winner of Best Food & Concert Venue in Manchester.’ Manchester Confidential

Whitworth Street, Manchester. M1 5WW www.thisisgorilla.com/


Tandal_Hill_Country_Park - Kirsty

Tandle Hills, by Kirsty Harper

I have visited many parks and gardens over the years, due to my love of the outdoors and wanting to give my children a view on everything life has to offer, but I am lucky enough to say one of my favourite parks and most beautiful views I have seen is less than half a mile away from my home, Tandle Hills.

When you approach Tandle Hills Country Park you would just think you going down a very long suburban road with a park at the end, but it‘s not just a park.  I have always looked a Tandle Hills as a magical place for all ages no matter what the weather or time of year.

My favourite time to be in Tandle Hills is when it has been snowing, the steepness of the hills and the amount of them make hours of fun for any family.  I have made many memories there like the time when my son William and I went down a hill on a sledge, we picked up momentum very quickly, the sledge went in a different direction to where I aimed and I nearly took our heads off with a pine tree, oops!

The snow gets very deep too, so while I was having a snowball fight with my partner Paul he pick up the compacted remains of child’s ruined snow fortress and dropped it on my head, I was knocked clean over by the weight of it into a large snow drift and left feeling a little dazed. 

Tandle Hills also has a nature walk which is an adventure in itself, I think the full walk is around 1.5 miles and has some stunning views, you can see for miles around.  The amount of trees the park has makes it feel mystical, especially on a frosty morning.  The best time to be in the forest is in the autumn time, the rich colours of all the plants changing for the winter and the wonderful smells refresh you in a sometimes gloomy season. Remember to take your umbrella though.

The summer in the park is a relaxed a beautiful place to spend the day, the park with a giant slide that’s always got a cue to get on it, the café selling all the ice creams you’d want and the food is pretty nice too. I like to take a picnic though, it’s much more fun.   The rivers and streams bring all sorts of wild life out, the dogs love to cool down in them on a hot day.

I would be able to go on about this brilliant country park all day long, but the best way to find out is to take a trip, it will be worth it!

Country Park Oldham OL2 5UX

http://www.oldham.gov.uk/info/200393/parks_countryside_and_canals/708/tandle_hill_country_park


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East Lancashire Railway   by Tom Clarke

My recommendation for a day out in Greater Manchester has to be the amazing East Lancashire Railway – a volunteer-run independent railway that connects Bury to Rawtenstall.

There’s a variety of trains that operate on the line, from steam engines through to 1970s British Rail diesels, all travelling through restored stations up through East Lancashire.

Post-Beeching it’s a chance to visit places such as Summerseat and Irwell Vale by rail as well as the larger stops at Ramsbottom and Rawtenstall.

You can purchase authentically traditional tickets and ride the trains all day between the various stops on route – the line runs most weeks of the year with special events around Christmas and throughout the summer.  You can get to Bury via Metrolink from Victoria or a there’s bus services connecting from all across Greater Manchester – the East Lancs Railway start point is just 5 minutes’ walk from the main Bury transport interchange.

Each station has a good range of walks and country pubs nearby but of special interest is the highly rated Levanter Restaurant in Ramsbottom, a back-street Spanish tapas bar that’s always full and deservedly so. Definitely worth checking out after a walk up to Peel’s Tower, which looks over Ramsbottom back to Manchester (you can make out some key landmarks on a good day). After a healthy tapas & red wine lunch then a visit to the world’s last Temperance Bar up the tracks in Rawtenstall is highly recommended.

You can then travel back along the line in super stylish carriagesWhat’s not to like?  

More info on The East Lancashire Railway can be found at www.eastlancsrailway.org.uk/


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Wythenshawe Park by Lauren Hira

Just 6 and a half miles South of Manchester City Centre lies Wythenshawe Park, my favourite place for a family day out.

Several miles of woodland / open field walks, an indoor horticultural center, 3 Grade II listed buildings (North Lodge, Orwell Statue, Wythenshawe Hall) a Horse-riding center, children’s playground, courtyard cafe and a community farm there’s something for everyone – our favourite being the fantastic all-ability cycling center – over 200 machines which anyone can ride & race each other around the 400m athletic track.

There are also tennis courts & Pitch & Putt (actually don’t bother with the pitch n putt, it’s pretty lumpy!) 

We can often be found scoffing a picnic, climbing trees or playing hide n seek in the courtyard gardens. There are also many seasonal community events such as spectacular firework displays, Shakespeare in the park & many school holiday actives for kids – check out event listings here.

Wythenshawe M23 0AB

http://www.manchester.gov.uk/info/200073/parks_playgrounds_and_open_spaces/2242/wythenshawe_park

Playit-Manchester

PLAY it!

Recently, 2 of our new SharpFutures Social Media placements Kristian and Aleena attended the event PLAY it! at The Museum of Science and Industry.

IMG_0074A – The event started on the 25th of July and progresses on to the 9th of August. This is a throwback to Video Games and its past. There was a multitude of games ranging from a few modern titles to the early consoles created over 30 years ago.

K – Upon getting there we were greeted by several people all dressed up in costume depicting several popular video characters. All of these cosplays (costumes) were incredible and most importantly noticeable, you knew instantly who they were trying to represent.

A – From there, we entered the room that was housing all the consoles that were going to be our entertainment for the next few hours. A plethora of video games and its consoles span over a large room, just waiting to be played. Ranging from the early days of Pong and Pac-Man, to more modern day classics such as Halo and the Uncharted series. There were a lot of game stations and enough consoles, so no one was waiting in a queue, except for the Oculus rift of course!

K – One of the most interesting pieces of technology that was present was the Oculus Rift. It is a virtual reality headset, which was kick-started in 2012. It has been in development ever since, and there will be a commercially available headset due for release in early 2016.

A – It was cool trying out the oculus rift for the first time. It is such an immersive, cool gaming experience, I just wish I got a bit longer on it so I could get used to it! It makes you experience gaming on a whole new level, I loved the fact that I could look around and the device would detect everything I was doing- even my hands were virtual and moved as I moved them! It was like I morphed into the character and I couldn’t see what else was going on in the room- I could just see inside the game! I think it is such a great product and would love to buy one myself.

IMG_0068 (1)K – One of the biggest and best takeaways was just how friendly and approachable everyone was. This was not only the staff and the cosplayers. But the guests as well. As everyone there was attending due to some form of interest in video games, it was just so easy to talk to people. As you all have a platform to speak to each other. Due to the fact that most gamers love talking to others about games as much as playing them.

K – A great example of this is when we kindly asked if we could join 2 other people in a 4 player racing game for the Xbox called Mashed. Which plays very similar to Micro Machines, a game I was very fond of as a child. Being able to play a game that was a blast from the past was a very humbling feeling for myself, which also gave me the advantage and I was able to come out victorious from our 4 player battle.

IMG_0091 (1)A – The event was very informal and relaxed, everyone was just enjoying themselves. I was surprised to see so many cosplayers and people dressed as characters from games. I just expected there to be a room full of games and people playing them- but it was nice to see these characters socializing and adding to the event. Of course I had to have a picture with some of them!

So if you are a fan of games or know someone who is, be sure to bring friends and family alike to the event, they are available in 2-hour slots or you can buy an entire day pass. Tickets can be purchased here.

Below are a few links of interest:

http://www.mosi.org.uk/whats-on/play-it-manchester.aspx

www.replayevents.com

www.facebook.com/replayevents

http://www.oculus.com

@oculus

@replayevents

@voiceofmsi

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Guest Blog – Kristian Baines

A fresh pair of eyes on the Performance Poetry Scene #justsaying

The event I attended was a spoken word event, #JustSaying, by Reform Radio, hosted by Young Identity.  Reform Radio is a shared digital arts platform, born and bred by young, creative Manchester working predominately with 18-30-year-olds who are not in work, education or training.  The event was hosted to help raise money for their crowdfunding campaign for new studio equipment – www.crowdfunder.co.uk/reformradio.

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I have very little experience when it comes to the artistic production of the spoken word, the only time I have come across it has been in television or films. What I ended up learning from the event is that it is a scene that encourages others to develop and wants everyone to take part in it.

The performances were all astonishing. One aspect I came to really admire is that every performer had their own singular style that really showed them as a character. There were some performances that were colored and came from a challenging past. Whilst others had a more comedic aspect to it. There was also an inclusion of props and references that fit into some acts tremendously well.

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I came in with an open mind, however, there was a pretense that that the event would be as a whole, doom and gloom, as it is portrayed in media. That I would not enjoy the evening and would leave in a rather depressed mood. Nevertheless, I was pleasantly mistaken, there was a real energy and buzz throughout the event that kept and upbeat and positive arc as the evening progressed.

This is not to take away from the more serious and harder hitting poetry. These were amazing performances that conveyed real emotion and clearly came from a time in their lives that were not safe for them. Even so, they have learned to cope, change them for the better and channel their emotions into a healthy creative aspect which gives them joy. This is a great thing to see as young people do sometimes have a tendency to not be able to control their emotions well and showing there is another creative outlet that they may not have had thought of or seen that can really help them.

I’d say that the evening was a massive success in my opinion, it was a cracking night. Filled with good food, drink and people. Everyone there was so friendly and approachable and I could tell by speaking with some of the performers they truly loved what they do. I would whole heartily recommend attending something like this if you are looking for something a little bit different. I would very much like to attend a similar event in the near future.

Maybe even take part!

 

last dance

Last Dance Review – Dom Corry

Everything about this play is perfect. The conviction and throat grabbing  attention  that the script and the deliverance of it demand,  the small Kings Arms theatre in which, if you are lucky enough to be in the presence of genuine talent (which I gratefully am ), you are transported into perilous horror of  New York in 1983 into the homes of the tightest knit groups, into the minds of the most terrified, vulnerable and abandoned. ‘Last Dance’  is  the heart clenching story  of a close group of friends, ruptured by the Aids Epidemic in New York Focusing on Corey (Richard Allen, who gives an overwhelming and poignant portrait of his character) and his slow decline at the hands of the illness and at the hands of the government’s refusal to acknowledge Aids as an illness.

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His friends and family struggle to cope in the wake of the fact that someone that they love  so  intensely is dying, and it affects them all in different and coruscatingly complex ways, Corey’s Boyfriend  Peter (Ben Corry) does not know how to cope with the situation,his composure and ultimately his relationship crumbles at the hands of fear,whilst close friend Alan (Ryan McMyler) tragically fluctuates between reason, panic and desire, both Ryan and Ben’s Performances do perfect justice to the tangled and complicated yearning of their characters. Danny (Paul Worrall) and James (Lloyd Eyre-Morgan)  Diligently  try to maintain  calm and comfort among their fraying  group,with Humor and Guard Dog Loyalty and via the actors we are provided with a much-required release from the reality of the situation .   Continue reading

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The Funfair [Home Mcr] – Theatre Review by Dom Corry

Come one, Come All to this tragic Affair…is an introduction which seems fittingly implicit of the outcome in the play I have just seen;

The Funfair” is an immaculate modernisation (adapted by the genius that is Simon Stevens) of the 1932 premier “Kashimir und Karoline”. The thematic addition of the gristly glamour of fairground; with its grease, dirt and candy floss is alluring from the off in its undertow and gives the overall story an immersive new dimension and a juxtaposing poignancy.

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Kash (excellently executed in tired , masculine self-affliction by Ben Batt) and Karoline’s (Katie Moore who mastered the art of depicting decline) love is doomed from the opening scenes , corrupt and sullied by personal insecurities, coaxed and squeezed out by a wolfish world, maimed at the jaws of social, economic and political turmoil (rings a bell!).

The tragedy is set in place as Kash seeks refuge under the wings of his best friend and grubby, footloose, misogynistic Frankie Marr (played by Michael Ryan in an absolute 5 star, stand out, “Jesus he’s good “ portrayal), whilst Karoline is guided into unassuming danger by the odd, jittery Chase (endearingly played by Rhodri Meilir) and his partner, the undermined Esther (Victoria Gee).

Christopher Wright as the nauseating Southerner Mr David Spear and Ian Bartholomew as Mr Billy Smoke are the serpents in the grass, the embodiment of the world’s nastiness; the performances are again pretty much perfect and spellbinding.

The stage set-up and music are also perfect in this play, with a band playing in what seemed to be a recording both above and below the stage in each musical interlude to add a sinister and unnerving tone to the play’s foundation – a great effect.

The soundtrack itself also adds a distinct atmosphere to the play, mainly focusing on 50’s/60’s rock n roll songs – a dreamboats and petticoats nightmare emerges from the soothing melodies to further immerse me (the audience) into the plot, the effect was perfect.

The play is heart-breaking, the acting was acutely on point, the visuals hypnotic and now I want to go to The Funfair.
Bravo!”

SharpFutures [FRAMED]

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As a means of curating and displaying the work produced by our recently graduated placements, we produced a brand-new website with Pixel Kicks of The Sharp Project:

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We held an  event at The Sharp Project, where; the website was launched, films were premiered and the placements received their graduation awards.

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If you’d like to keep up-to-date with SharpFutures [FRAMED] and our online video content, subscribe on YouTube and check-out our new website.

Check out our ‘Rossendale Documentary Short’: