A cultural year of seeing inside the creative process.

This year has been one of the busiest I’ve ever had and the city has continued to make massive strides; just a nocturnal walk around the city centre will show at no other time of the year, the city’s most potent powers of enchantment and persuasion, all giving the visitor an unforgettable and magical time…..and I don’t mean Shrek and the DreamWorks lights lantern experience…..but that spectacular does help!
It grabs the attention of travellers as soon as they get off the train and channels them into some of the city’s more bigger and culturally versatile attractions.

Events like this at St George’s Hall and others in and around the city, propel the city forward and pave the way for bigger and better entertainments that will enliven the future 2018 big show, a show to say that after ten years of culture we are still going strong.

Despite working abroad on a “connecting classrooms” educational project that took me to Belgium, Holland, Eastern Europe and just before Christmas…Spain, I managed to view ‘Beauty and the Beast’ at the Everyman and then ‘Little Red and the Big Bad Wolf’ at the Unity.

Addicted to the Everyman’s panto every Christmas, the regular writers Sarah Nixon and Mark Chatterton never cease to please with their witty portrayal of an old favourite that will ‘Simply be the Beast.’ Certainly enjoyed this one. So dig out your laughing trousers, break out the glitter and wave your flashing wand as the legendary Rock ‘n’ Roll panto shakes, rattles and growls at the Everyman till Sat 21st Jan 01517094776.

Supporting one of Liverpool’s smaller theatres, the Unity produced a funny, inventive Christmas show filled with music, dance and song. Audience participation will definitely get you out of your seat, onto the stage and having a howl of a time……. so book asp http://www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk until Sat 7th.

Sifting through some old newspapers, I found an advert for ‘A Christmas Carol’ performance at the Dome and this was an added bonus just before the shopping madness and the big day.

But, with all this festivity flying about, there became a time, just after the sherry and mince pies, for quiet reflection upon all the years activities. My work in education is one side, involving reviews, evaluations, data, travelling, projects, funding, bids, and planning to name a few of the behind the scenes activities working with local schools.

For the cultural experiences, I thank all the organisations this year for support and time in allowing the team to pursue their interest in supporting and helping to make Liverpool one, if not, the best city in the UK.

A lot of my time is spent developing the education opportunities for some of the twenty+ International schools in Merseyside. This work has on many occasions linked up with the Mayor during the past year where we both share a passion to develop a forum where diverse communities can come together and share their stories and experiences and rich culture, whilst socialising and creating awareness of the beauty and wealth the diverse culture of Liverpool brings to the city, to promote integration, inclusiveness and community cohesion. These are the Supplementary Schools that strive to obtain a Quality Framework Mark with evidenced Code of Practice good governance and detailed management, teaching and partnership work. These schools and communities have a lot to offer.

On several occasions this year, I have been involved in the academic discussions in Liverpool about ‘culture’…….but they never involved the other culture….Yes Liverpool has the museums, art galleries, buildings, statues, parks and zones of academia but let’s not forget the importance of the people’s ‘culture’………the culture of the thousands here that bring that touch of magic to the carnivals of L8, the Arab Festival and Brazilia to name. These festivals are delivered on a shoe-string to a massive audience not unlike the Giants and Queen’s but some events command huge expense and are delivered to a miniscule audience without the full engagements of the communities. The role of the Culture Champion is to knock on the doors of the hard to reach and open up the world of ‘culture’ to them. Today, there is a greater proportion of society in a cosmopolitan world and their world needs to lead the cultural focus to get more involved and without the added expense.
The Chinese New Year can do it! And it’s done in a big way. I’m sure there are many more cultural communities in Liverpool that if given the chance, would relish in the engagement.
Thought for 2017.
Happy New Year.

Remember Blackler’s Father Christmas!

Do you remember the giant Father Christmas from Blackler’s department store?
Height: 5m
Chest: circumference nearly 5m
Waist: circumference a little less than 5m
Boot size: 45

When on display, more than 10,000 visitors a week marvelled at him and the magical scenes from the ‘Winter Wonderland’ and told Santa what they’d like for Christmas.

I will always remember the fantastic atmosphere the giant Santa and the Christmas scenes evoked especially, a time when the grotto was opened one Christmas by ‘Pinky and Perky’ Oh memories…but I’m sure a lot of readers will have their very special memories of the store.

Historically,the giant Father Christmas from Blackler’s department store was in the Liverpool store between (1957-1988) and is now back in public display for the first time in over 20 years in the Museum of Liverpool’s atrium.

Made by Peter Blazey and his colleagues in the display studio in 1957, this very special Santa will bring back many happy memories for generations of local people. You can see and listen to Peter in a special on-line report, in which he explains how the giant Santa came to be and how it has been returned to its former glory.

So, please, this Christmas holiday, make sure you tell granny or granddad and make a very special visit to the Museum of Liverpool where Santa will be until 30th December, and if you have any old photo’s of him and memories then share them on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #giantsanta.

This is a real iconic piece of Liverpool’s modern day history and all praise goes to the team that developed and researched the idea to bring the model back to life.

Check liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/giantsanta

The Dash has arrived! Sunday 4th December 9.30am

Yes, when the Santa Dash arrives in Liverpool, you know Christmas has arrived! It’s Liverpool’s big kick-start to Christmas.

This is the 13th annual Liverpool Santa Dash and Liverpool’s dashing Santa’s are being invited to pull on their trainers and Santa suits for a day of fun while raising much-needed cash for charity.

The Radio City Liverpool Santa Dash is this Sunday 4th December and it’s the UK’s biggest festive 5K fun run.

If you can make the event then you will not be disappointed because the atmosphere there is just electric. Eventer or onlooker, you are certain to be caught up in this ecstatic atmosphere all morning.

I love it when Liverpool is transformed into a sea of red, blue and Oh Yes, mini Santa’s. But it doesn’t end there, for the rest of the day, Santa’s seem to appear non stop popping up entering and exiting in and out of shops getting their retail therapy fix.

It all starts at the Pier Head at 9.30am and finishes outside the Town Hall – where you will find that there is even real snow as the Santa’s cross the finish line!

For the kids 12yrs and under, there is the 1K Mini Dash, starting in Castle Street 11am.

The Radio City’s Cash for Kids, Everton in the Community and Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice are the three official charities for this years Liverpool Santa Dash 2016.

With more than 5,000 Santa’s already registered on http://www.btrliverpool.com, it really looks like making another massive international hit again this year.

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