The Old Courts Digital Festival – streaming events online 15-18 APRIL

The Old Courts presents Digital Fest – streaming comedy, film, music, and family events direct to audiences in the comfort and safety of their homes.

Thursday 15 – Sunday 18 April 2021

The April digital fest includes an exclusively curated event for The Old Courts with BBC

Radio 6 Music’s Chris Hawkins who is also a patron of the arts centre. Chris Hawkins will be in conversation with British Songwriter and broadcaster Tom Robinson. The in conversation follows a screening of the film White Riot – Rubika Shah’s award-winning and energising film that charts the story of a vital national protest movement, when a group of artists joined together to form Rock Against Racism in 1976.

After a tough year in lockdown, audiences will be in much need of a good belly laugh and what better way than with Britain’s Got Talent Daliso Chaponda who is used to getting the nation laughing. For more laugh out loud comedy, The Old Courts have short bite sized Improv comedy sketches The Children of Captain Von Trapp Wish To Say Goodnight and Caroline Bay from Wigan based Casino Improv!

Music lovers can get involved with Manchester-born singer-songwriter James Holt’s bandlab workshops.

For those fed up with sitting still or for too long in their makeshift home offices, it is time to get up and vogue with Manchester’s dance and movement director Darren Pritchard.

Keep the little ones entertained with family shows that encourage young minds aged 3 to 7 to become Curious Investigators or enjoy Dust – a joyous reminder about just how playful the world can be.

The mix of film, comedy, music, dance, and family events have an accessible pricing structure with some events streaming for free and others using a ‘pay what you decide’ ticketing model suitable to all budgets.


White Riot (film) + Q&A with Chris Hawkins and Tom Robinson

As part of the evening on Saturday 17 April from 7.30pm, audiences will be able to watch an exclusive recorded Q&A with BBC Radio 6 Music’s Chris Hawkins and Tom Robinson, one of the founders of the movement. This event has been specially curated for The Old Courts as part of the Digital Fest programme.

Rubika Shah’s award-winning and energising film charts a vital national protest movement. Rock Against Racism (RAR) was formed in 1976, prompted by ‘music’s biggest colonialist’ Eric Clapton and his support of racist MP Enoch Powell. White Riot blends fresh interviews with queasy archive footage to recreate a hostile environment of anti-immigrant hysteria and National Front marches. As neo-Nazis recruited the nation’s youth, RAR’s multicultural punk and reggae gigs provided rallying points for resistance. As co-founder Red Saunders explains: ‘We peeled away the Union Jack to reveal the swastika’. The campaign grew from Hoxton fanzine roots to 1978’s huge antifascist carnival in Victoria Park, featuring X-Ray Spex, Steel Pulse and of course The Clash, whose rock star charisma and gale-force conviction took RAR’s message to the masses.


Daliso Chaponda

On Friday 16 April from 8pm, audiences can have a laugh with Daliso Chaponda who is a familiar TV personality best known for his stand up gigs on The Royal Variety Performance (ITV), Britain’s Got Talent 2017 (ITV), Britain’s Got Talent Champions 2019 (ITV), QI (BBC2), The Apprentice: You’re Fired (BBC2), Good Evening Britain (ITV), The News Quiz (BBC Radio 4) and The Now Show (BBC Radio 4).

With over 300 million views of his stand up online, Daliso is also the writer, creator, and host of his Rose d’Or nominated BBC Radio 4 show Citizen of Nowhere that has aired for two series.

He has performed around the world and at the Edinburgh, Melbourne, Singapore, and Cape Town comedy festivals. He has also toured the UK twice to sell out audiences and rave reviews. On the eve of his third tour Apocalypse Not Now, Daliso has created an exclusive set of his absolute Greatest Hits. This is an online show featuring witty, intelligent comedy and non-stop laughs.

The Children Of Captain Von Trapp Wish To Say Goodnight

From 9pm on Thursday 15 April Wigan’s Casino Improv are bringing their show to The Old Courts with a little bout of short form improv before their bedtime. Join others and virtually shout suggestions at them for this completely improvised games and scenes.

Casino Improv present Caroline Bay: An Improvised Soap Opera

For those who enjoyed the first dose of improv there’s a chance to come back and join Casino Improv for Caroline Bay on Sunday 18 April from 7.30pm. This is an improvised Soap opera performed via zoom.


James Holt Songwriting & Bandlab (Under 18’s + Over 18’s)

These zoom workshop taking place on Thursday 15 April 5.30pm and 7:30pm with singer-songwriter James Holt is perfect for budding musicians who want to have a go at recording a song and bring their music ideas to life.

Confirmed as a main stage artist for a sold-out Kendal Calling later this year and long championed by music industry giants, such as legendary producer Brian Eno – James is a Manchester born, gifted songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.


Beginner’s vogueing workshop with Darren Pritchard

Manchester’s Darren Pritchard is known in the industry for his dance and movement body or work. His workshop on Saturday 17 April, 4pm is a practical introduction to Vogue. It takes a playful approach to drawing an association between fashion portraiture and the hyper-stylised form of dance commonly termed as ‘vogue’ or ‘voguing’. Made popular in mainstream channels by the likes of Madonna (“Strike a pose!”) and the classic documentary Paris is Burning (1990), voguing is characterised by model-like poses integrated with angular, linear and rigid arm, leg and body movements.


Curious Investigators (age 4-7)

This is a brand-new LIVE Zoom where families can meet ‘Investigator Toni’, who’s stuck at home with nowhere to go – but is still determined to discover something amazing. She needs the help of young inquisitive minds to solve a problem.

Families can enjoy this show on Friday 16 April, 10am, 12pm and 2.30pm from the comfort of their homes, all they need is a laptop, phone or tablet with Zoom enabled; a few bits and pieces from the recycling bin; and a helpful adult. It’s the perfect show for children ages 4-7 who ask a lot of questions!

DUST – A joyous reminder about just how playful the world can be (age 4-9)

On Saturday 17 April at 9am families with young children are invited to take a front row seat with this digital production of Dust, recorded live at Half Moon Theatre in London.

When Little Titch and her scruffy rucksack arrive at the giant, pink house it is not what she expected – a blanket of thick grey dust covers everything in sight, and it is wild and overgrown. Her new home is cold and unwelcoming until she meets Nelly, a flamboyant and loveable hoarder. Together the pair discover they have more in common than they first thought, and that friendship can heal hidden wounds.

Written by acclaimed award-winning children’s author Laura Dockrill (Darcy Burdock book series, Big Bones) Dust uses exquisite poetic language to explore a heartfelt story about love, loss, identity, and memory. With haunting music by Hugo White of The Maccabees, this striking and emotional new play is a joyous reminder about just how playful the world can be.

Dust is a Half Moon and Z-arts co-production: an exciting collaboration by the UK’s leading

small-scale young people’s venue and touring company and Manchester’s unique and

award-winning venue for children and families. This live-recorded play has closed captioning for d/Deaf and hard of hearing audiences and is also available with British Sign Language.

Emma Lloyd, Head of Programming said: “This festival was curated to promote the spirit of The Old Courts as we haven’t let a pandemic stop or slow us down. This long weekend of events also acts as a teaser to get people excited for our reopening happening soon!

The Old Courts could not have put this programme of events together without the support of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA). We are grateful for all the support we have received from GMCA, Wigan Council, Arts Council England, DCMS and the public.”

For more information and to book tickets visit