Just caught sight of the fantastic cultural events on offer this year, in and around Liverpool, celebrating the ten years since Capital of Culture. Really looking forward to the offering that will take place in the city centre and dockland. Installations, music, visual arts and theatre, not to mention the return of the Giants. My message to all is…get involved!
Capital of Culture was started by a movie star and pop singer from Greece called Melina Mercouri. A famous film of hers is ‘Never on Sunday’. She hit the headlines by trying to get the Elgin Marbles back from the British Museum, the Parthenon Marbles as they are known. They said. “You can’t possibly have them back because you’ve got nowhere to house them”, so she built a museum to house them.
She started Cities of Culture and became the Greek Culture Minister, and through the EU, they made ‘Cities of Culture’.
If you would like to know more about the story of Melina Mercouri then venture to the Bombed Out Church of St Lukes at the top of Bold Street, where this will be their theme for celebrating City of Culture.
Dark mornings, dark evenings and the cold may just turn us all an unusual shade of blue but let’s look on the positives in and around the cultural sites of our city these coming days and try to get out and about.
My Cultural events this year began last night at the Open Eye Gallery Mann Island. Hundreds flocked to see the Tom Wood photo exhibition of a bygone time set around the Pier Head. His photo works will be on view for a number of weeks and it’s well worth a drop in just to see if you’re in the frame. Toms photographs range from the 70’s to today and spell out a social history and lifestyle ‘time capsule’ of fashion and architecture in and around his ferry crossings during that time.
With the pantomime season still with us, it’s not too late to get your tickets for The Little Mermaid at the Everyman, on till January 20th. Really enjoyed this usual rock and roll caper the other night and would certainly recommend it for a top pick this season before it’s too late.
Dick Whittington at Gladstone Theatre, Wirral till 14th, and Beauty and the Beast at The Atkinson till the 21st January with several afternoon performances to choose from.
For foodies…..well Number 1 Castle Street does it for me, especially when you get to meet Gino himself!!!! Have the pic’s to prove it! When you arrive there, you know you are in for a treat and it’s not just the open kitchen, or the prosecco bar which houses 40 different kinds of prosecco.
This is the UK’s largest youth drama festival and one not to be missed. Make your way to the Knowsley Leisure and Culture Park, Longview Drive, Huyton L36 6EG for a performance that starts at 7pm.
Ticket prices: £9.50,£7 or Group rate £6.50 call 0151 443 2200.
With refreshments and free parking available for what could cost a lot more in the city centre!
Shakespeare Schools Foundation (SSF) is proud to present the world’s largest youth drama festival at the Culture Park venue. Whether you are a parent, friend or another local school, you are invited to an exhilarating evening of theatre where you will see Shakespeare’s stories brought to life like never before.
SSF is a cultural education charity transforming lives through the unique power of Shakespeare. In the celebratory finale of their festival journey, 30,000 young people from primary, secondary and special schools across the country will unite in their local professional theatre in thrilling performance evenings. It promises to be the most exciting festival yet!
With Knowsley set to have the ‘Globe Theatre of the North’ and become a Shakespeare centre of excellence in the near future, then this is a fitting tribute to all the work going on to develop this venture. This festival will certainly put Knowsley on the map as a port of call for the arts, literature and Shakespearian drama.
Just returned from central China where, as part of a team, we have been developing long term partnerships and sharing best practices in education. This project has enabled NW educationalists to study the education system in China, build effective partnerships and develop future opportunities for Liverpool schools to develop their cultural programme.
This is also a unique opportunity for schools to introduce Mandarin into their curriculum. Already in Liverpool, several schools have made trips to China and provided language classes to develop the skill. Schools in Liverpool, from Primary to Secondary, will have the opportunity to develop links with Chinese schools and establish cultural partnerships, with Headteachers and school management being given the opportunity to visit schools in China.
I am already in the process of organising a conference in the New Year for those wishing to expand their schools programmes, linking China with project based partnerships that support teaching and learning, English language, sports -especially football, teaching philosophy, the professional development of teachers and the exchange of teachers and students.
In the UK, foreign language A-levels are being dropped by sixth form colleges because not enough people want to study them. However there have been increases in students taking Arabic, Chinese and Italian at A-level and GCSE.
This Chinese cultural programme has been running for several years and is aiming to deliver a minimum of 5,000 speakers of Mandarin on their way to a higher level of fluency by 2020.
Already Liverpool John Paul II School has established cooperation with one of China’s biggest schools. The Education Department of Sichuan Province University Experimental Middle school with 4,000 pupils will develop a learning partnership with the Liverpool school, based on school management issues and creative thinking.
This opportunity to globally reach out to another culture will help raise standards of learning, attainment and school improvement, giving teachers a professional development opportunity like no other. An opportunity to visit China’s pop-up cities, high tech infrastructure, advanced classroom practices and supersize schools is not to be missed.
After a visit to China, teachers will return with renewed enthusiasm, and a dynamic confidence, prepared to motivate and lead their schools to a higher level of attainment and show a glowing CPD portfolio of professional development gained through their comparative study and examination of Chinese educational practice.