Lancaster’s mini-festival of the arts returns on Friday 5th February

28 January 2016

Hawkdance will open First Fridays on February 5th with lunchtime previews of their first full-length dance piece: ‘We(SINK)’, inspired by climate change and the struggles of displacement from the recent flooding in the area.

First Fridays, Lancaster’s monthly mini-festival of the arts organised by Lancaster Arts City, returns on 5 February with a full day of music, dance, immersive theatre, literature and workshops taking place in venues across the city. Most events are free and full details can be found at

Hawkdance choreographer Josh Hawkins has developed the ‘We(SINK)’ work which will appear around the city between 12.30pm-1.30pm next Friday, with help from Lancaster University climate change researcher Andrew Jarvis. Heavily influenced by the recent flooding, he uses recordings of local weather reports as part of the sound for the piece.

Josh says, “I became interested in climate change and migration and how climate change affects people’s movement and displaces them from their homes, whether that’s an emotive thing or an abstract movement thing. So it’s been really fun to get in the studio and play with ideas.”

Elsewhere on Friday afternoon, the ‘Writing What You Know’ workshop will explore the prizes and pitfalls of writing from an autobiographical perspective.  This two hour session is a great development opportunity for anyone hoping to use their life experiences to inspire their next piece of writing, and will include a Q&A with Jonathan Harvey, writer of “Beautiful Thing”. Workshop from 3-5pm; Tickets £25 (including an £18.50 ticket to that evening’s performance of I Was a Wife at The Dukes).

February sees the launch of a new First Fridays regular, The Choir Crawl, a series of pop up local choirs and singing groups performing in venues across the city from 5pm. Groups confirmed so far include Lancashire Youth Vocal Ensemble, and Specs Appeal (University Lancaster Music Society Barbershop group). Any choirs or singing groups interested in performing on the choir crawl on future First Fridays should get in touch with More Music on [email protected].

In the evening, First Friday attendees will be able to choose between music, theatre or film. A unique piece of music and spoken word will take place at ‘Chambers of the Lune’ in Lancaster Priory Church Described as “A river sculpture in words and music”, it includes poetry by Ellie Denvir and music improvising quartet Elephant in the Room. Free but donations welcome, starting at 8pm.

Theatre on offer comes from Sarah Vanhee’s Oblivion, performing in The Storey at 7pm.  Part of Lancaster Arts’ Festival of Questions, the piece explores what would happen if everything you had thrown away or discarded in the past year, came back to you. Or at 7.30pm you can catch the Dukes current in-house production ‘I Was a Wife’ written by Polly Lister.

For Comic lovers, The Dukes have a screening of the film ‘Future Shock!’ at 8pm which explores the history of UK Science-Fiction Comic 2000AD, and is followed by a Q&A with a former editor of the comic, Andy Diggle.

Other events during the day include a Bookshop Trail, the opening of the ‘Storey Artists Studio’ gallery at The Storey 6-9pm, a meeting of the North West Literary Salon at 7pm in Waterstones, and two other immersive theatre events at The Storey as part of the Festival of Questions with showings throughout the day: ‘Extraordinary Rendition’ looks at how culture becomes a weapon or war, and ‘Gardens Speak’ considers the gardens of Syria where many activists are buried.

Round off the night with folk music at the Three Mariners, or electro and alternative 80s at The Park, Lancaster, both from 9pm.

Full details of this month’s First Friday can be found online at Lancaster Arts City is promoted by Lancaster Arts Partnership, a consortium of local arts organisations including the Dukes, More Music, Live at LICA and Ludus, working together to promote excellent arts activity in the district.



Friday 5th February 2016

WALK – The Litfest Lancaster Bookshop Trail
Lancaster bookshops
Explore your local bookshops and discover a world of magic! Simply pick up a card from one of the participating bookshops (listed on the Litfest website) and visit all the others to collect letters to spell a word. Send us your completed word to enter our Prize Draw to win books and a ticket to Litfest 2016.
All Day

DANCE – (We) SINK: Dance theatre by Hawk Dance
Around the city centre
To start off your First Friday, look out for Hawk Dance in the city centre between 12.30 and 1.30pm, performing short extracts from their new dance piece (We) SINK. Exploring the effects of climate change and the displacement of people, these pop-up performances will resonate with anyone who feels effected by changes in the weather.
12.30pm – 1.30pm

WORKSHOP – Writing What You Know: Writing workshop
The Dukes, Moor Lane
Coinciding with The Dukes new production of “I Was a Wife” by first time writer Polly Lister, this two hour workshop will open up the writing process for this show and be followed by a Q and A session with Jonathan Harvey (“Beautiful Thing” – winner of the 'John Whiting Award', “GimmeGimmeGimme”) exploring some of the prizes and pitfalls of writing from an autobiographical perspective.
Aimed at professional and aspiring professional drama writers.
3pm – 5pm
£25, includes a ticket for the performance of “I Was a Wife” that evening.
MUSIC – The Choir Crawl
Various Lancaster city centre venues
Over the coming First Fridays,  More Music brings you a selection from Lancaster's remarkably rich singing groups who'll pop up in cafes, pubs, shops and other unsuspecting venues. Choirs include SASS, Lancashire Youth Vocal Ensemble (LYVE) plus many more to be announced…
Look out for these intrepid pop-up choristers – coming soon to a venue near you!
From 5pm
Are you in a choir and would like to be involved in future First Friday Choir Crawls? Find out how at

Storey Artist Studios: Open Evening
The Storey Artists Studio
Launching the new Storey Artist Studios – a space for artists, makers and designers to work alongside each other in the heart of the city.
Drop in and meet the first resident artists: Jenny McCabe, Fernando Oyon and Bonnie Craig

North West Literary Salon
Waterstones, King Street
Join us as North West Literary Salon welcomes two authors, Dennison Smith and Sarah Dobbs, for a magical evening of vivid stories, engaging conversation, tasty food and lively music. Both readings will be followed by a discussion along with locally catered food and music by a local artist.
7pm – 8pm

I Was A Wife
A new play by Polly Lister

The Dukes
A funny, powerful, new show for anyone who has loved, lost and who wants to love again.
Join Polly Lister (winner of the 2015 UK theatre award for best performance in a play) backstage in her dressing room for an autobiographical journey through the comic highs and painful lows of the most difficult part she has ever played… a wife.
£5 – £18.50

Future Shock!: Film and Q&A
The Dukes
Future Shock! explores the history, and highs and lows of the iconic British comic  2000AD.
Join us after the film for a Q&A with former 2000AD editor Andy Diggle and writer Eddie Robson.
Chambers of the Lune: Ellie Denvir & Elephant in the Room
Lancaster Priory Church
A river sculpture in words and music, by poet Ellie Denvir and improvising quartet Elephant in the Room. (Paul Clarke, sax; James Wood, guitar; Miles Doubleday, piano and keyboards; Clayton Jackson, drums, percussion, hang drum)
8pm (finishes approx 9.30pm)
Free.  Donations welcome
The Three Mariners Folk night
9.30pm – 12am
Lancaster Arts at Lancaster University presents an innovative three-week programme of arts, special events and panel discussions exploring the social, economic and political climate of our time. The following arts events bring international culture to the heart of Lancaster.
Festival of Questions runs 2 Feb – 20 Feb.
Tania El Khoury: Gardens Speak
Immersive Theatre
The Auditorium, The Storey
Across Syria, many gardens conceal the dead bodies of activists and protect their living from the violent thrusts of the regime. These domestic burials play out a continuing collaboration between the living and the dead, the dead protect the living by not exposing them to further danger at the hands of the state and the living protect the dead by conserving and nurturing their identities and their stories in the ground, by not allowing their deaths to become instruments to the regime through potential disappearance, anonymity and forgotten history.
Gardens Speak is an interactive sound installation containing the oral histories of 10 ordinary people who have been buried in Syrian gardens. Each narrative has been carefully constructed with the friends and family members of the deceased to retell their stories as they themselves would have recounted it. They are compiled with found audio that evidences their final moments.
Various times 1pm – 9pm.
Allow 45 mins
Action Hero: Extraordinary Rendition
Immersive Theatre
The Storey
How does culture become a weapon of war? What connects a Britney Spears song to a global network of secret prisons?
Enter a cabin built from the same materials as the temporary detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, with the internal dimensions of a detainee’s cell.
Extraordinary Rendition uses video, sound and live performance to interrogate the colonisation that begins with the battle for hearts and minds.
Various times 1pm – 9pm.
Sarah Vanhee: Oblivion
The Gallery at The Storey
Sarah Vanhee has collected a year’s worth of real and virtual trash and brings it together in a performance.
Imagine this place where you find yourself reconnected to everything you have discarded, deleted or thrown away. Objects, thoughts, relations you had already cut yourself loose from and forgotten about, now they are all there again. They are yours, you care about them. You reverse, re-value, re-invest. Every thing is worth something. When does your trash stop being your trash?
Oblivion is a performance with everything Sarah Vanhee would have thrown away during one year working and living. It is a slow celebration of things unhidden.
7pm (Allow approx 165 mins)

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