Women inspire a weekend of words, music and fun

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Weekend of Wonderful Women

Scotland’s National Poet Liz Lochhead, local musician Magpahi, sound artist Debbie Sharp Rochdale’s all women Cantare Choir join protest singer Grace Petrie on the bill for the Weekend of Wonderful Women in Hebden Bridge, writes Paul Clarke.

The weekend, organised by Hebden Bridge Arts Festival, is celebrating the rich contribution women have made to Calder Valley and the arts. It runs from October 26 to 28 in Hope Baptist Church.

Liz Lockhead will be reading from her collection ‘Somethings Old, Somethings New’ on Saturday, October 27. Her work ranges from the bittersweet to the rude and raunchy and she will mix poems and monologues to the sax accompaniment of Steve Kettley.

Rochdale’s all-female choir Cantare, conducted by Lucy Pankhurst, close the festival on Sunday October 28. Lucy is a descendent of the Pankhurst family, key figures in winning the vote for women a century ago, and their debut gig in Hebden Bridge is a chance to join in singing the suffragette anthem. The choir will be joined by Splinter Ensemble playing specially composed music by Lucy.

Kate Radford runs the Arts Festival’s Nova Collective supporting emerging local artists and throughout the weekend she is staging ‘All The Things They Never Told You’. Her immersive installation aims to reveal the truth about women’s potential.

Also running throughout the festival is speakHer, a sound sculpture by artist Debbie Sharp celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the Representation of the People Act. It is inspired by Calderdale’s own local Women’s Social and Political Union and Emmeline Pankhurst’s rousing speech in support of the striking weavers on the wooden steps of Bridge Mill.

On Friday October 26 writers Tessa Gorzjeiko and Alison Andrews will present Pampiric in the Banyan Tree, Market Street. Their work-in-progress is a piece around older women and the secrets of eternal youth.

Arts festival director Helen Meller said: “We thought it might be nice to celebrate diverse female voices during the Weekend of Wonderful Women and we hope there’s a bit of something for everyone. It’s also Pumpkin Festival that weekend so we’re hoping that there will plenty of interaction between the two audiences.

“Grace Petrie opens the festival on the Friday night and her new album ‘Queer as Folk’ is getting rave reviews.”

To find out more visit hebdenbridgeartsfestival.co.uk