Colourful cultural weekend coming to Stalybridge

STALYBRIDGE’S high street will be celebrated during an exciting arts festival which promises free fun for all of the family.

Weave will bring carnival performances, brass band music, dancing, street theatre and creative workshops to the town centre on Saturday 9 September.

A giant mill boy puppet called Charlie, which you may have seen at August’s Stalybridge Street Fest, will put in another appearance at the forthcoming festival.

Weave is part of Historic England’s project called ‘Hi! Street Fest’ which aims to celebrate high streets and the people who love and look after them. It is funded by Historic England, Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Charlie the mill boy

The festival has already toured the country so far this summer, visiting Lowestoft, Gloucester, Wigan, Gosport and Middlesbrough, and there will be a finale in Woolwich in London later in September.

In Stalybridge, Charlie the mill boy and another puppet friend will greet Farrah the fox – a giant 5m high puppet which will arrive on a scooter – before the characters showcase the town’s cotton heritage and vibrant cultural scene of today.

The trio will provide pop-up performances throughout the day, which will form part of a wider cultural weekend of activity.

This includes the monthly Street Fest around Armentieres Square on Friday night and the Heritage Open Days where Stalybridge’s library, as well as local churches and the Astley Cheetham Art Gallery, will be open to the public.

Tameside Council, the Bridge Cultural Consortium, Mossley-based arts organisation Global Grooves and outdoor arts company Emergency Exit Arts (EEA) will also help to deliver the event, which they hope will attract widespread interest.

Councillor Sangita Patel, Tameside Council’s Assistant Executive Member for Heritage, Culture and Digital Inclusivity, said: “We’re on the countdown now for Weave and it’s really exciting to get a preview of Charlie the giant mill boy puppet at Stalybridge Street Fest.

“He’s just a taster for the spectacular performances and entertainment being planned for Weave and I’m hoping lots of families, visitors and local people will get involved and enjoy what Stalybridge town centre has to offer.”

The arrival of Weave follows hot on the heels of Stalybridge’s year as Greater Manchester Town of Culture and the High Street Heritage Action Zone.

There’s also an opportunity for the community to get involved in ‘Cotton Carnival’ performances, from percussionists and dancers to volunteer crew on the day.

EEA is working with The Bridge and Global Grooves to collaborate with local residents in a series of outreach activities and workshops. For more information, visit

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