King Street was once the hub of entertainment in Wigan, and a new project called Streets Apart intends to celebrate this history, uncover hidden stories, and kick start a cultural revival. Created by a consortium of 9 Wigan and Leigh based organisations on a mission to bring world-class cultural activity to King Street, Streets Apart is a three-year project supported by £120,000 investment from national funder Historic England.
Over three years, this locally-rooted programme will commission artists, local creative partners & community groups to co-create unique street art, podcasts outdoor performance and more, culminating in a celebratory festival for the whole community in 2023.
Image Courtesy of Archives: Wigan & Leigh
Performance by Jordan Akkaya. Writing and direction by Martin Green. Direction, filming and editing by Matty Andrews for Aposs Video Production. Images courtesy of Archives: Wigan & Leigh, and Joel Goodman.
4 artists have been commissioned to work alongside local creative partners and community groups, to co-create unique multi-artform projects on King Street.
These commissions mark the beginning of Streets Apart, a cultural programme that seeks to unearth and celebrate diverse histories and imagine a different future for King Street, through artist-and-community led projects.
Ciara Leeming Photo Walks
Rebecca May Workshop
‘This workshop was the first creative making session with the women of Ekhaya Empowerment & Artist Rebecca May. A starting point for a new co-created artwork for Wigan’s King Street. The session begins with clay, exploring surface design through natural forms & personal objects, learning new making techniques with a focus on play & experimentation. Through the session each person explores their own making style and as a group we weave in to the process collective ideas, conversation & connection. This session was full of energy, ideas & creativity captured beautifully by Photographer Haya Aref. The women of Ekhaya Empowerment are an inspiration to co-create with, I’m excited for the next workshops & to experience together the project evolve in to an artwork.’ – Rebecca May
WLT is a voluntary organisation run by and for anyone interested in providing high quality, wide-ranging, traditional and innovative theatre, accessible to all. WLT has contributed to the cultural life in the borough for over 75 years and believes that everyone can benefit from involvement in the arts, whatever form they choose. We welcome volunteers with skills on stage, back stage, front of house, technical and administrative.
“The Streets Apart project is a platform to encourage participation in the arts which will lead to awareness about Wigan’s long history in entertainment. It will open up memories of the past and how our town has always valued ‘having a good night out’. It will also inspire us to revive and develop our view of how we continue to enjoy ourselves well into the next decades.”
WLHHS promote and help to maintain an interest in the rich heritage and history of Wigan, initiating and encouraging research and also raising awareness and campaigning publicly on issues where heritage is at risk. The society’s aim is to excite and engage people of all ages to discover and preserve Wigan heritage by bringing it to life creatively for the present and future generations of Wigan.
“We are pleased to be part of the King Street Project and look forward to the new awakening of this important historic area of the town.”
Healthy Arts is a not-for-profit organisation of North West arts professionals who deliver workshops and events using heritage and the arts to improve peoples’ lives.
“It is a very exciting time for culture and the arts in Wigan and we are looking forward to bringing fresh creativity to King Street by sharing our skills within the cultural programme that is Streets Apart!”
Elise is a company Director of Stolen Thread located at The Way Theatre/Studio in Leigh Spinners Mill. As a theatre/film/events producer she aims to support her hometown in bringing high quality art through the medium of the performing arts. She is currently studying Creative Events Management at AUB but continues to run her business locally and works nationally on a range of projects from theatre productions to widely known music festivals.
“It’s an honour to be part of such a large project, supporting our community to revive the arts in the Wigan and Leigh Borough on such a huge scale. Truly amazing!”
Wigan Building Preservation Trust is a charity formed in 2016 with an objective to record and preserve the historical, architectural and constructional heritage structures in and around Wigan. The Trust maintains close links with the Wigan World and the Local History and Heritage Websites.
“King St has been the barometer of the fortune of Wigan for almost two centuries, I am pleased have been given an opportunity to get involved in this project which may help to reinstate the Street as a ‘shop window’ for the town.“
SL Leisure Facilities is a company local to Wigan specialising in hospitality and has a vested interest in King Street with three venues on the street. Morty’s – a sports bar & restaurant; Partyhaus – a live room & late night bar; Reef – a late night bar/nightclub. We also have the historic Wiend Bar up on The Wiend which is a friendly cocktail bar in a building dating back around 200-300 years.
“We’re excited for what the theatre will bring to King Street and help to follow the suit of Morty’s & Partyhaus in further diversifying the street.”
Nikki is Deputy Head at Wigan Youth Zone and also part of the local cultural education partnership. Nikki has worked in the arts sector as a musician, songwriter and facilitator for 10 years. She is passionate about all young people having access to the arts, to high quality facilities and opportunities and creating pathways into creative industries.
“I’m really excited about the streets apart project, I think it will be great for Wigan and another example of Wigan’s pioneering approach to culture and community”
Twitter: @NikkiWYZ @WiganYouthZone
Facebook: Wigan Youth Zone
"The cultural programme will unearth stories that bring King Street’s diverse histories to life; celebrating the rich assortment of past, present and future users of the high street. The programme, designed by the consortium, will include 7 commissions offered to artists based both nationally and within the Wigan and Leigh borough. We are excited to be working with The Creative Activators in the design and delivery of this programme. The Creative Activators are a group of 14-19 year olds shaking up the arts scene in Wigan, supported by Culture Unlocked, Wigan & Leigh’s Cultural Education Partnership."
Rosie Scudder, Streets Apart Producer