Hi! Street Fest, a landmark nation-wide project with Emergency Exit Arts, will see free activities take place in the form of street parties and carnival celebrations that everyone can engage with on six high streets across England including Wigan.

Historic England and EEA will work with Wigan Council and a consortium of Wigan borough-based organisations, led by The Old Courts to excite, and interest local people to create a unique carnival to celebrate Wigan.

Project marks the final year of the £95 million High Streets Heritage Action Zones Programme which is revitalising more than 60 high streets across England.

In summer 2023, Historic England will celebrate the future of our high streets in a landmark nation-wide project in partnership with Emergency Exit Arts – the pioneering outdoor arts company famous for their celebration of the country’s diversity and strong communities at The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant.

Hi! Street Fest is an ambitious collaboration project spanning two years, aiming to bring life and vibrancy to high streets in six places across England, including Wigan.

Through street parties and parades, Hi! Street Fest will bring a touch of carnival to each town and city, encouraging local people to come together to create performances that let their creativity loose. EEA will work with a consortium of Wigan borough-based organisations, led by The Old Courts to collaborate with residents in Wigan to bring their unique brand of unforgettable events and participatory experiences to each high street.

Rosie Scudder, Project Director (Producing) at The Old Courts, Wigan said: “We are really excited to be partnering with Historic England and Emergency Exit Arts on Hi! Street Fest. The festival will be a highlight of Streets Apart, a three-year cultural programme that has been unearthing and celebrating diverse stories on Wigan’s King Street, through artist and community-led projects. Hi! Street Fest will be a celebration for the whole community – an outdoor multi-arts festival taking place in and around King Street, co-designed by a consortium of Wigan and Leigh based organisations, Wigan Council and The Old Courts.”

The project aims to reimagine the high street, attract visitors, and bring people together to celebrate Wigan’s culture. The concept of Hi! Street Fest is open and flexible, giving room for co-creation in each place. In 2023, after weeks of outreach and community workshops the project will culminate in a free, spectacular, home-grown procession in Wigan around King Street on 7th – 9th July 2023.

Daniel Bernstein, CEO of Emergency Exit Arts, said: “Emergency Exit Arts are so excited to be working on this important, co-created national project. We are determined that there are opportunities for hundreds of local people in each place we are working with to get engaged in the culture of their high street and help make a real long-term difference to their place. We will bring spectacle – but the development opportunities for people to put on more events in their place, is paramount.”


Collaboration is at the heart of this project and the next step is to appoint a local Assistant Director/Producer who will work together with community groups and artists in Wigan to develop local works in different art forms.

There is also an open call for three local Community Producer Trainees to take part in a 10-week online training program with EEA, starting in January 2023. The Community Producers will learn how to put on projects and events in their area, and apply what they’ve learnt directly to Hi! Street Fest. They will be networked together to help them design and develop participation opportunities in their hometown.

To find out more about the Assistant Director and Community Producer roles in Wigan, click here.

Supported using public funding by Arts Council England.