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Discover | Explore | Learn

September to December 2017

Exhibitions | Events | Performances | Participation

At a Glance Exhibitions

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Susan Collis: When we loved you best of all Orientation: Landscape Toil, Trade & Titans

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Sutapa Biswas: A hundred songs for Kneeze and Vijay Rachael Clewlow: My paths are my ideas of imagination Jessica Rankin: Stone/Folding Ancient Egypt: Life along the River Nile Rochdale’s collections

Opening up II… memories, conversations and heritage Health & Wellbeing Fashion: Dress and Accessories from the Museum Collection Talk & Tours


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Egyptian Talk with Dr Margaret Serpico Tour: Who’s Afraid of Contemporary Art? Talk: Evangelia Spiliopoulou & Rachael Clewlow Talk: Lauren Sagar on Call for Cloth

Touchstones Rochdale

Talks: Friends of Rochdale Art Gallery Talk: Sutapa Biswas In Conversation Performances

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2 Sept | Aleena’s Garden - Colour the Clouds 29 Sept | Tickle Your Fancy

Touchstones_ Rochdale

30 Sept | To Walk in Your Shoes 27 Oct | Northern Soul Night 28 Oct | A Happily Ever After 10 Nov | BALLISTIC

Touchstones Rochdale

24 Nov | Chloe Foy 22 Dec | Touchstones Christmas Party Literature and Ideas Festival

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14 Sept | Superheroes of Slam 3 Oct | Hidden Tales Trail


18 Oct | Jane Austen 19 Oct | Jessica Rankin’s Poetic Commission 21 Oct | It’s In The Blood Celebrating Rochdale Festival


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25 Oct | Tales of Birbal 26 Oct | Celebrating Rochdale Festival It’s Christmas!!

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9 & 16 Dec | Cabin of Curiosity 16 Dec | Christmas Ceilidh 22 & 23 Dec | Santa’s Grotto Regular Activities

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Mindfulness & Wellbeing Knitty Gritty Touchstones Creative Writing Group Homework Club Family History Drop-in Sessions Rochdale Ghost Walks Tiny Touchstones Make Art! Workshops

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Paper Beads Willow Serving Platter Introduction to Calligraphy Beaded Brooch


Friends of Rochdale Art Gallery

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Visitor Information

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Welcome Welcome to our exhibitions and events guide, listing everything happening at Touchstones Rochdale, and by our teams across the borough over the next 4 months. We hope you will enjoy visiting, participating and engaging with our ever-growing offer.

It’s been a tough few months in our communities, and rarely do we need culture as much as we do today. Museums, galleries, libraries and theatres are more important now than they ever were; a place to meet and interact with people beyond our social media bubble, they are a safe space for reflection and relaxation. Culture is there to challenge and make us think, and is also there to offer an escape from some of the recent trials, tribulations and heart breaking events which have plagued our region and our country. The programme presented in this brochure is, I hope you’ll agree, a bold statement that Rochdale is an ambitious centre for high quality arts and heritage. Whilst I hope that everyone will be able to find something in these pages which appeals; the offer is broad and varied, there’s never been a better time to try something new. Touchstones Rochdale is a friendly and welcoming place and if you aren’t a regular at the theatre, or you’re unsure about contemporary art, why not give it a go? We would love to hear your thoughts and feedback, especially if you’re taking a leap into something unknown! PS: As some of you may have noticed the annual People’s Art exhibition normally taking place in Autumn is absent from this season’s Art Gallery programme. This is because we are currently developing plans for an exciting new open art competition to launch in January 2018.

Tom Besford Arts & Heritage Manager Image credit: Contemporary Artist John Cooke

More details will follow soon… 3

Exhibitions Susan Collis: When we loved you best of all Until 30 September 2017 Gallery One, Three & Four Image: Susan Collis, By the way, 2014. Courtesy of the artist and Seventeen, London

Much of Susan Collis’ work deals with objects, surfaces and the residue of actions that have been covered up, hidden from view, discarded or forgotten. Her individual pieces act as memorials to the labour, hopes and aspirations that cause certain things to exist for a short while in the world, only to be deemed worthless further down the line. Using a wide variety of materials and craft processes she recreates these ordinary and ‘unworthy’ subjects in profound detail, often using craft processes such as inlay, marquetry, and embroidery. In so doing, her work encourages a reassessment of labour and craft, themes that link strongly to Rochdale’s collections and location as a former mill town. Having exhibited world-wide, When we loved you best of all is Collis’ first institutional solo show in the North of England. Spanning three of our gallery spaces, the exhibition will feature key existing work focusing on her sculptural practice and the premiere of several brand new pieces. Part of

Funded by

Supported by Friends of Rochdale Art Gallery. Image: Evangelia Spiliopoulou, Nowhere, 2017 (from the ongoing series of Microsoft Office Drawings, 2009). Courtesy of the artist

Orientation: Landscape 7 October – December Gallery One Originally ‘classically’ trained in figurative or academic art, Evangelia Spiliopoulou has since developed a practice that seeks to expand the rules that she was taught and traditionally underpinning the act of making an artwork. For example, in her drawings she frequently imposes strict limitations or parameters that govern the development of the final imagery and employs unconventional tools that hide the evidence her own hand in the creation of the work. For her latest exhibition Spiliopoulou has turned her critical eye to painting. Inspired by the post-industrial landscape of Rochdale and the language and creative options borrowed from the tradition of painting by today’s digital technology (for instance, the ‘landscape’ page orientation and the ‘artistic tools’ provided by the Microsoft Office Word programme), she has created a new body of work that aims to redefine our understanding of what a painting might be. Part of

Funded by

Supported by Friends of Rochdale Art Gallery.


Toil, Trade & Titans Image: Harry Kingsley, The Cooling Tower, Stockport, 1960. Photo: Rochdale Arts & Heritage Service

Until December Gallery Two Rochdale rose to prominence during the 19th century as a major mill town and centre for textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution. It was a ‘boomtown’ of the period, and amongst the first ever industrialised towns. Toil, Trade & Titans explores how the social, economic and cultural impact of industry is manifest in the borough’s rich Fine Art and Museum collections. Featured artists include L.S. Lowry, Cornelia Parker, Taslim Martin, Nora Fok, Lesley Halliwell and Rosa Nguyen. It also provides further reflection on some of the same themes of labour, work, wealth and manufacture still being ‘mined’ by the artists in our contemporary art programme.

Explore our under 5s interactive boxes in the Art Gallery with tactile toys and beautiful books linked to the exhibition.

Portraits of Recovery at Touchstones Gallery presents Sutapa Biswas: A hundred songs for Kneeze and Vijay

Image: Sutapa Biswas, silver grey against dark navy, 2015. Courtesy of the artist

15 September - 21 October 2017 Gallery Two Sutapa Biswas’ artworks are spatial stories that explore some key ideas and concepts of space and time. Drawing from literature, art history and oral narratives of people she has often collaborated with in the early stages of making her art, Biswas’ pieces possess a poetic resonance with the human condition and everyday life. Words, sounds, textiles, travel are all recurrent themes in her artworks. As part of a project called UNSEEN: Simultaneous Realities, Biswas was commissioned by PORe to create a new artwork that reveals the hidden histories and transformed identities of South Asian people in recovery from substance use. Drawing on the oral narrative and lived experience of people from the Rochdale area and, in part, inspired by Rumi’s Sufi poetry A hundred songs for Kneeze and Vijay aims to poetically distil new perspectives that more authentically re-frame recovery identities. This twopiece neon artwork will be on show at Touchstones and another location in Rochdale town centre to be revealed.

Funded by

UNSEEN is a Portraits of Recovery exhibitions project with Amanda Ravetz from the Manchester School of Art at Manchester Metropolitan University.


Rachael Clewlow: My paths are my ideas of imagination 21 October – December 2017 Gallery Three Rachael Clewlow creates rigorous and detailed recordings of her everyday movements. Meticulously documenting this mass of information in diaries, this abstract record of the banal to the unexpected becomes a form of trace from which Clewlow begins to construct paintings and prints. For her first solo exhibition, Clewlow has created a new series of paintings, presented in groups and focusing on a set of specific pre-defined walks in Rochdale, Newcastle and London. Each walk represents a performative journey made to explore place through the demands of the related paintings. Alternative and at times absurd, her ideas about exploring the world merge with her interest in exploring her own language of painting and abstraction.

Image: Rachael Clewlow, Longitudinal Geometry, 129.53 Miles Walked, Newcastle (Key), 2017. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Colin Davison

Funded by

Jessica Rankin: Stone/Folding 21 October – December 2017 Gallery Four Appropriating methods traditionally identified with ‘feminine’ pursuits - embroidery and needlework - New York-based artist Jessica Rankin’s work often takes the form of organdy ‘embroidered paintings’. Having learned to sew as a child in Australia, Rankin returned to embroidery after graduating from art school in the USA. In its nature methodical and repetitive, needlework has the capacity to let the mind wander. Drawing on this, and combining text and image, her embroideries resemble mental maps (or ‘brainscapes’ as she often refers to them), working through recollections, impressions of places and immediate experience. Stone/Folding premieres a new series of drawings and embroideries inspired by one of the Parthenon Sculptures at the British Museum, believed to be the Greek goddesses Aphrodite and her mother Dione. From this starting point, Rankin’s work expands to explore a range of seemingly disparate, yet interwoven, subjects from the complex relationships between mothers and daughters and the constellations in the night sky to the British Empire, Brexit and the refugee crisis. Echoing the importance of language in her practice, Rankin has also invited the critically acclaimed poets Amy Key, Sarah Howe and Brenda Shaughnessy to explore and connect with both her work and the same Parthenon Sculpture. Their words will form part of the exhibition display and also be performed at a special live event organised in conjunction with the Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival. For further details see page 15.


Image: Jessica Rankin, She Oaks, First Poem, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and White Cube. Part of

Funded by

Supported by Friends of Rochdale Art Gallery.

Ancient Egypt: Life along the River Nile On show until 21 April 2018 Heritage Gallery Be transported down the river Nile into ancient Egypt and discover this fascinating world through centuries-old exhibits from the land of the pharaohs. Preserved and buried for thousands of years, the stunning objects in this exhibition range from a set of canopic jars to small pieces of intricate jewellery. Featuring objects from Rochdale’s own Egyptian collection, this exhibition spans over 4,000 years of history. Many of the items in the exhibition were excavated by the famous Egyptologist, Sir Flinder Petrie and donated to the museum by Charles Heape, a Rochdale industrialist. Learn about the incredible story of Petrie and his amazing finds which transformed our understanding of ancient Egypt and archaeology. Vessels and pots, amulets, jewellery, mirrors, tools and animal mummies tell the story of the everyday life of its people and their beliefs. Discover what beauty meant to the ancient Egyptians through the personal belongings that accompanied them into the afterlife. Take a glimpse at a civilisation whose focus on appearance is not dissimilar to our own. Through our special youth project, Reflection, explore the similarities and differences in the ways that we transform our bodies today. Visitors of all ages can journey through the centuries to write their name in hieroglyphics, wrap a mummy, have a go at our exciting exhibition trail dressed as an Egyptian and take a ride in an ancient Egyptian river boat.


Opening up II… memories, conversations and heritage At Heywood Sports Village Until October 2017 Part of a community led project and exhibition which invites people who attend Alzheimer’s Society Memory Cafes to take part in art activities. By challenging perceptions of people living with dementia which can be seen as an obstacle to revealing the true person, the group explored historical objects to trigger memories which sparked inspiration for the exhibition.

Fashion: Dress and Accessories from the Museum Collection At Middleton Arena Until January 2018 A chance to see a selection of the museum’s collection of female dress and accessories. This exhibition features a beautiful 1950’s outfit and a 1960’s Jaeger woollen suit alongside a blue Victorian wedding dress. As well as clothing, a striking selection of accessories such as shoes, jewellery, handbags and hats are included in the exhibition.


Health & Wellbeing At Heywood Sports Village From October 2017 Learn more about the development of health and well being in Victorian Rochdale through to the advent of the NHS in the 1940’s with our new exhibition at Heywood Sports Village. Featuring a range of objects from the collection, from home medicine chests to poison bottles and a nurses uniform, this display will look at how medicine and healthcare went from being a luxury for those who could afford it to a service available for everybody.

Rochdale’s collections Museum Ongoing As well as our changing exhibition spaces, we have a dedicated permanent museum which aims to tell a potted history of Rochdale in a fun and friendly way. The museum is ideally suited to families and people with an interest in the history of Rochdale. There are interactive displays, hands on exhibits, films, audio and a wide range of objects from the Borough’s collection on display.

Talks & Tours Egyptian Talk with Dr Margaret Serpico

45 min talk

Age 14+

Thursday 7 September 6pm-7.30pm | FREE Come along and find out more about the amazing ancient Egyptian objects on display in the Heritage Gallery. As part of Heritage Open Days, join Egyptologist Dr Margaret Serpico for a talk about the Egyptian collection at Touchstones. Refreshments will be served 6pm - 6.30pm

Tour: Who’s Afraid of Contemporary Art?

Booking Required

Image: Courtesy of Lauren Sagar

Last Saturday of every month (excluding December) 30 September | 28 October | 26 November 2pm-3pm | FREE Have you always felt a little mystified by recent developments in art? Join one of the Art Gallery team for a chance to take a closer look at some of the key contemporary works in the current exhibitions. Continue the discussion over a cuppa and a cake in The Art CafĂŠ with 25% discount for attendees.

Talk: The Rochdale Blanket & Other Textile Stories

Just turn up

2 December 2017 | 2pm-4pm | FREE

Image: Evangelia Spiliopoulou. Courtesy of the artist

Image: Rachael Clewlow. Courtesy of the artist

Talk: Evangelia Spiliopoulou & Rachael Clewlow

Booking Required

18 November | 2pm-4pm | FREE

In 2016 Lauren Sagar was one of the artists included in the Tall Tales, a group exhibition that toured to Touchstones Rochdale. As part of an ongoing project called Call for Cloth Sagar invited people to share their beautiful textile stories. These stories have been transformed into a rich patchwork of narratives - the Rochdale Blanket. Come and meet Sagar and see and hear about this and the other UK blankets created so far.

To coincide with their exhibitions at Touchstones Rochdale Evangelia Spiliopoulou and Rachael Clewlow will each lead tours and share an exclusive insight into their practices.

To book: visit, call 01706 924928 or pop in to Touchstones Rochdale


Talks: Friends of Rochdale Art Gallery Second Tuesday of every month 12 September | 10 October | 7 November | 12 December 12.30pm-1.45pm | £4 (£3 members) – pay on the day The Friends organise monthly talks by invited speakers about art and craft and an annual trip to visit other regional art collections. For more details about the next season of events please visit www.link4life. org/touchstones/frags.

Image: Sutapa Biswas. Courtesy of the artist

No Booking Required

Petrus and Community Arts North West present Hidden Tales Trail Tuesday 3 October to Saturday 28 October 2017 | FREE The Hidden Tales Trail takes you on a journey through Rochdale town centre; revealing the untold stories of people from the Petrus Community, Rochdale’s largest homelessness charity.

Talk: Sutapa Biswas In Conversation with Sunny Dhadley and Dr Anandi Ramamurthy 7 October | 1pm-3pm | FREE Sutapa Biswas will discuss her new work A hundred songs for Kneeze and Vijay at Touchstones Rochdale with Dr Anandi Ramamurthy (Reader in PostColonial Cultures, Sheffield Hallam University) and Sunny Dhadley (Founding Director of the Recovery Foundation). The event will include an off-site visit to Biswas’ neon art work at a town centre location in Rochdale.

Told with unique wit, dark humour and honesty, these narratives are inspired by stories of change and overcoming adversity, from learning to manage adult ADHD to recovering from alcohol addiction. Starting at Touchstones Rochdale, pick up a map, and follow the trail to find posters in Rochdale town centre, which uncover these inspiring hidden stories; told through images, writing and a web link to a poignant video portrait about each person. Supported by Arts Council England and The Granada Foundation

Booking Required


To book: visit, call 01706 924928 or pop in to Touchstones Rochdale



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GYM SWIM CLASS RELAX Your 4 centre access membership includes: FREE Health check & 12 week review Over 150 fitness classes per week Aqua fitness classes for all ages

Track your fitness goals using boditrax Fantastic steam rooms** Luxury sauna & steam rooms***

**Available at Heywood Sports Village and Middleton Arena. ***Available at Rochdale Leisure Centre.



*T&C’s apply. Correct at time of print.

01706 924200 01706 923170

01706 927560

01706 927202

Link4Life is the trading name of Rochdale Boroughwide Cultural Trust. Registered Charity No: 1118610



Colour the Clouds Presents Aleena’s Garden Saturday 2 September | 11am and 2pm |£3

Aleena’s Garden is an interactive sensory adventure through the seasons for early years (0 – 3 years old) and their grown-ups. Underneath the canopy of Aleena’s tree, the young audience will be led on an exciting journey through the natural world with lights, colour, touch, original music and Makaton sign language. “I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to parents with young children, I even found the show really relaxing but I loved watching my daughter’s face as she took in the flowers growing.” 5/5 Rebecca Banasko, What’s Good To Do Includes a meet & greet with Aleena and the animals 1 Hour


Tickle Your Fancy Friday 29 September | 7.30pm | £6

Tickle your fancy is a cabaret night that has been running to sold out audiences in south Manchester for nearly two years. We are delighted to be bringing the successful night to Rochdale! A typical ‘tickle’ involves an eclectic mix of standup comedy, acoustic music, funny poets and other weird and wonderful acts such as one-man bands, vegetable theatre and dancing by numbers. Tickle your fancy is hosted by comedy music act ‘Doolally’, a trio of women who write and sing daft songs that’ll have you in stiches. For Adults

Friday Nights

Redbobble Theatre Company Presents To Walk in Your Shoes Saturday 30 September | 2pm | £6

Based on real life interviews with asylum seekers and refugees living in the North of England. This heartfelt, funny and engaging play explores the strength of the human spirit and the myths perpetuated by the media.



1 Hour & 15 mins

To book: visit, call 01706 924928 or pop in to Touchstones Rochdale

Northern Soul Night Friday 27 October | 7.30pm | £6

Fresh from successful runs at summer festivals such as Kendal Calling, Festival Number 6 and Mostly Jazz Funk and Soul the Northern Soul Dance School is stopping by Rochdale. Aimed at beginners, the emphasis is on having fun and giving it a go in a relaxed atmosphere. For Adults

Friday Nights

Mini Mall Theatre Present BALLISTIC by Alex Packer Friday 10 November | 7.30pm | £6

Action Transport Theatre in partnership with The Proud Trust present Happily Ever After Saturday 28 October | 1pm and 3.30pm | £3 Created by Action Transport Theatre and The Proud Trust in late 2014, Happily Ever After is inspired by Dutch children’s book ‘King and King’ by Linda De Haan and Stern Nijland - banned and challenged in some countries – which tells the story of two princes who fall in love and live happily ever after. This ground-breaking show has toured to over 50 primary schools across the North West, delighting and captivating both children and teachers. The unique show has now been developed into a full touring show for theatres and venues in 2017. ‘What an absolute privilege to sit and watch such a wonderful and innovative piece of theatre. I was spellbound and quite emotional! Thank you. Yesterday afternoon will stay with me’ Eccleston CE Primary School (Headteacher) Part of the Big Imaginations Children & Family Theatre Festival, 19 October - 5 November Age 5+

50 mins

He tries his best with girls. He tries his best with mates. But for all his efforts, things just don’t seem to be going right. So he’s making a change. Something’s triggered him to stand up for himself. They made him feel small but with just a few clicks he’ll become the biggest thing on the internet. But does he have the balls to go through with it? Ballistic is a darkly-comic thriller that asks vital questions about the stories that increasingly define our 21st century narratives.


65 mins

Chloe Foy Friday 24 November | 7.30pm | £6

Chloe Foy writes a brand of melodic, homegrown pop that has been likened to such artists as Laura Marling and Sharon Van Etten. Her songs are imbued with lyrical and textural inflections evocative of much of the music she loves - taking inspiration from classical music as much as wider trends within British and American Indie pop, Chloe’s music comprises of carefully constructed arrangements that delicately compliment her cryptic lyrics. Chloe’s most recent single, ‘In The Middle Of The Night’, received generous support from Steve Lamacq on his BBC Radio 2 & 6 shows, as well as favourable reviews from mainstream media across the country. For Adults

Friday Nights

To book: visit, call 01706 924928 or pop in to Touchstones Rochdale


Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival

Commonword presents Superheroes of Slam Thursday 14 September | 6pm | £3

Commonword presents the Superheroes of Slam, their quest to find an incredible slam poet with spoken word superpower! Heats take place across the northwest and the winner of the Rochdale heat will go forward to the Grand Final in Manchester. Take a seat in the audience and watch the lyrical drama unfold. Alternatively, put your name down on the night and see if you can run away with the Superheroes of Slam crown! Contestants have 3 minutes to rock or shock the mic and are judged by audience responses and guest judges. Superheroes of Slam was created to encourage audience participation and increase popularity of poetry, in particular slam poetry, nurturing and celebrating the live performance stars of the future. Past winners of include Ben Mellor, Dominic Berry, Joy France, Mark Mace Smith and Paris Kaur. All have gone on to achieve national, some international, profiles.



2 Hours

LipService Theatre presents Thrills and Quills: Jane Austen’s Life in Letters Wednesday 18 October | 7pm | £5

Award-winning theatre company, LipService, have been creating original comedies from a distinctly female perspective since 1985. Here, in a brand new work, they examine the world of communication from quill pen to SnapChat. With a comic look at Jane Austen’s letters, they consider the vagaries of the Georgian postal system and wonder what witty words Jane could have conjured up with a Twitter account. With extracts from Jane Austen’s novels, letters to family members and wickedly funny observations on her neighbours, they look at the vivid accounts she conjures of everyday life. This event includes a post-performance Q&A with the writers and actors. “LipService, Britain’s favourite literary lunatics” The Guardian


1 Hour & 30 mins

To book: visit, call 01706 924928 or pop in to Touchstones Rochdale

Image: Jessica Rankin. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Frida Sterenberg

Jessica Rankin’s Poetic Commission Thursday 19 October | 8pm | £5

Visual artist Jessica Rankin’s exhibition (Stone/ Folding) at Touchstones Rochdale premieres a series of new drawings, paintings and embroideries inspired by the Parthenon Sculptures at the British Museum and the broader themes of female intimacy, mother and daughter relationships and mythology. During this event, Jessica will talk about her work and writers Amy Key, Sarah Howe and Brenda Shaughnessy, will give their own poetic response.

It’s In The Blood

Amy Key’s poems have appeared in The Poetry Review, Poetry Wales and Poetry magazine. Her debut collection Luxe was published by Salt in 2013. Sarah Howe is a Hong Kong-born British poet, academic and editor. Her first collection of poems, Loop of Jade, was published by Chatto & Windus in 2015. Brenda Shaughnessy is winner of the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. Her work has appeared in such publications as Yale Review and Best American Poetry.

love affair with our great northern game - Rugby League! Stories drawn from players and fans alike will serve to explore and celebrate its enduring appeal in terms of family and community, everything apart from the actual rugby!


1 Hour

Saturday 21 October | 1pm | £2 Is a brand new play exploring the people’s abiding

Births, deaths, the stuff of life all lived in relation to the game and the chilly afternoons that come with it! Using film and live music this very funny but very heartfelt piece of verbatim theatre will look at rugby in terms of its social, human, emotional bonds, its role in the shared history of town and place, and why it is so much more than just a game…


1 hour & 15 mins

To book: visit, call 01706 924928 or pop in to Touchstones Rochdale


Celebrating Rochdale Festival Mashi Theatre presents Tales of Birbal

by Sayan Kent from an original concept by Trina Haldar

Wednesday 25 October | 2pm | FREE Timeless and treasured fables from the Indian sub-continent. Travelling storytellers Mashi and Bhanji earn their keep by recreating en-chanting tales of the great Moghul King Akbar and his wise companion, Birbal. How can a man survive a night in a freezing lake? How many crows are there in a kingdom? Only Birbal knows! Using humour, puppetry, music and the occasional fake beard, Mashi and Bhanji bring to vivid life these famous tales that have been treasured for generations. In association with The Spark Arts For Children. Supported by Z-arts. Supported using public funding by Arts Council England (lottery funded). Part of the Big Imaginations Children & Family Theatre Festival, 19 October 5 November

Age 6+ & Families

50 mins

Celebrating Rochdale Festival Thursday 26 October | 11am-2pm | FREE

All Ages

Come and join us at Touchstones Rochdale for a family fun day to celebrate ROCHDALE! Music, dance, craft activities and much more to be enjoyed. Supported by Rochdale Township Funding. No booking required

A festival of brilliant children and family theatre, across the North West. #BIGImaginationsfest


To book: visit, call 01706 924928 or pop in to Touchstones Rochdale

It's Christmas!!

Christmas Tipple Tasting

Saturday 16 December 6pm | £15

For Adults

2 Hours

A special event, celebrating all the various Christmas tipples. Wine, port, sherry and brandy; everything to get you merry for Christmas! Supported by Vineyard Wines Ltd

Cabin of Curiosity Saturday 9 & 16 December 11am and 2pm | £3

Age 7+


It’s Christmas time in the Cabin of Curiosity and Professor Jigget, explorer, goblin scientist and storyteller, had lost all the presents meant for his Magical and nonsensical friends. But he hasn’t got the time to find them - what with a live show to perform. Who will look out for the Christmas gifts while the Professor interviews his ridiculous guests? Could it be you? The Prof. Hopes so! A Christmas show with a difference! Expect stories, adventure and nonsense!

Christmas Ceilidh Saturday 16 December 7.30pm | £10

All Ages

The now (in) famous Christmas Ceilidh returns to Touchstones Rochdale. Dance the night away in raucous style with this festive celebration of music and merriment. If you’ve never been to a ceilidh before, imagine a wintry night of fun, dancing and great music from a live band, topped up with seasonal drinks and snacks from our resident Art Cafe. No experience necessary, all dances will be explained by our expert caller, Nicola Beazley. SPECIAL OFFER Tipple Tasting and Ceilidh combo package £20

Touchstones Christmas Party Santa’s Grotto Friday 22 & Saturday 23 December 10.15am-4pm | £8 per child*


Although Santa has been very busy preparing for Christmas Eve, Touchstones Rochdale has managed to convince him to take a couple of days off to visit the Museum. Meet the elves who will help you have some creative fun before meeting Santa in his magical grotto. Each child will receive a gift to take home. Spaces are limited and booking essential. 45 Mins– last booking 4pm) *include gift, creative activity and no queues!

Friday 22 December 7.30pm | £15

For Adults

Come and celebrate Christmas at Touchstones Rochdale! Ticket price includes: food, a glass of Christmas punch and a special festive game show! Celebrity Tackle - a live game show that smashes together trivia, games, and celebrity items into a great big stinking, Christmas themed mess. Perfect for the office Christmas Party! A FREE Christmas Cocktail, hot food and a mince pie!

To book: visit, call 01706 924928 or pop in to Touchstones Rochdale


Regular Activities

Mindfulness & Wellbeing

Touchstones Creative Writing Group

Last Friday of every month | 6pm-7pm 29 September | 27 October | 24 November 22 December | £5

First Thursday of every month | 2pm-4pm FREE

Join us in our peaceful Gallery setting to explore the popular practice of Mindfulness. Learn how to become more aware of your thoughts and feelings through activities and breathing techniques that have been proven to reduce stress and improve wellbeing. Just bring your own yoga mat or towel & get ready to relax. Just turn up

Now independently constituted, the group meets monthly to inspire and promote creative writing. Encouraging the positive health and well-being benefits which can be gained through expressing yourself with creative writing. The group welcomes new members, both would-be and existing writers, to join in. Just turn up

For Adults

For Adults

Knitty Gritty Last Tuesday of every month 26 September | 31 October | 28 November 2pm-3.30pm FREE – just buy a brew! Join our monthly knitting circle in The Art Café. Feel free to bring along your own knitting projects, share ideas or start something new inspired by our current exhibitions. Just turn up


All Ages

Homework Club Local History Centre Every Wednesday | 3.30pm-4.45pm | FREE Saturdays | 1pm-4.45pm | FREE Got a project to finish, need a picture printing out? Come along to our Homework Club. Children under 11 years must be accompanied by an adult. Just turn up


To book: visit, call 01706 924928 or pop in to Touchstones Rochdale

Rochdale Ghost Walks Now in its 7th year Rochdale ghost walks are on the 1st and 3rd Thursday every month throughout the year. Your guide will take you through the narrow alleyways and hidden courtyards of Rochdale delving into its murderous past. From tales of The Baum Rabbit to the gruesome story of the Half Moon Horror you will also learn about the rich history of Rochdale. Walks start from The Baum Pub 33-37 Toad Lane Rochdale OL12 0NU and are suitable for adults, children and wheelchair users only £5pp. To book visit or call 07774 152620

Family History Drop-in Sessions Local History Centre Every Thursday | 2pm-4.30pm | FREE Need help with your family tree or don’t know where to start? Call in to our weekly Family History drop in sessions where friendly staff will be able to help you. Just turn up

All Ages

Tiny Touchstones 7, 14, 21, 28 September | 5, 12, 19 October 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 November | 7, 14 December £2 per session Our weekly early years sessions are a great place to meet other parents/carers and enjoy being creative with your child.

Babies – 10.30am

Make Art! Last Saturday of every month (excluding December) | 11am-2pm


A welcome space for babies and their parents to relax and explore the arts through sensory play.

Saturday 30 September – Decorative Shopping Bags

Toddlers – 11.45am

Saturday 28 October - Curious Codes and Maps

An active session for toddlers and their parents focusing on a different art form each week to explore, create and build adventure.

All under 5s – 1pm

A creative session for under 5s and their parents making music, telling stories and exploring the world. No booking required, just turn up & pay on the day


Saturday 25 November - Embroidered Poems Extra Half Term Session! Wednesday 25 October - Computer Coded Artworks Join an artist-led drop-in workshop to make your own crafty creations inspired by the current Art Gallery exhibitions. Just turn up


To book: visit, call 01706 924928 or pop in to Touchstones Rochdale


Workshops Inspired by the Ancient Egypt: Life along the River Nile exhibition, try your hand at something new in our fun and friendly adult craft workshops. Cost £8 per session, payable on booking. Price includes all materials. Spaces are limited and booking is essential.

Paper Beads Saturday 9 September 10.30am-12.30pm | £8

For Adults

Inspired by the jewellery in the Touchstones Egyptian exhibition come and learn how to make beautiful paper beads with local artist Vincent James. Transform recycled paper into your own unique jewellery and accessories.

Introduction to Calligraphy Saturday 11 November 10.30am-12.30pm | £8

For Adults

Discover the scribe in you. Take the opportunity to learn and experience modern calligraphy using traditional writing tools. Enjoy the ancient art of beautiful, unique writing with Rosana Ibarrola.


Willow Serving Platter Saturday 14 October 10.30am-12.30pm | £8

For Adults

Weaving techniques have been used for thousands of years by many different cultures using a range of different materials. Join local artist Joevanka Gregory and learn about the importance of weaving in the ancient Egyptian culture before making your own woven willow serving platter.

Beaded Brooch Saturday 9 December 10.30am-12.30pm | £8

For Adults

Lots of beautiful beads and colourful jewellery was excavated from ancient Egyptian sites. Be inspired by the objects on display and join artist Alison Cooper to create your own beaded brooch.

To book: visit, call 01706 924928 or pop in to Touchstones Rochdale

Shone Productions Presents

From CITV's The Sooty Show









Thu 30 Nov - Wed 27 Dec 2017 Box Office: 0300 303 8633 Book Online:

The Hilarious


Get Involved! Friends of Rochdale Art Gallery


The Friends of Rochdale Art Gallery have been essential to our continued growth and development as an important regional art gallery.

In Touchstones Rochdale, we’re always looking for volunteers to help out both inside and outside of the building. Whether you’re helping out with our loans boxes, giving tours of the galleries, collecting feedback or supporting our workshops and activities, if you would like to get involved, please email

Through their generous donations over the years we have been able to conserve and acquire countless key works of art for the collection. Annual membership is ONLY £10 and in addition to supporting the Art Gallery, you will discounted rates on the annual programme of talks and trips organised by the Friends and invitations to private views for all exhibitions at the Art Gallery. Take a closer look below at one of the artworks the Friends of Rochdale Art Gallery have helped us acquire.

How to join

Schools Service

You can join in a number of ways:

If you are a school or educational group looking for exciting and engaging learning experiences, then why not visit Touchstones Rochdale.

• Post a cheque (made payable to FRAG) c/o Touchstones Rochdale, The Esplanade, Rochdale OL16 1AQ (please make sure you include a cover letter giving your full name, address, postcode, telephone number and email address). • Ring 01706 924928 and pay over the phone. • Come along to one of the talks organised by the Friends and pay in person.

Further information To discuss any aspect of the Friends or membership please contact Jenny Buckley (Chair, FRAG) on 01706 358686 or Mark Doyle (Art Gallery Curator & Collections Manager, Touchstones Rochdale) on 01706 924555 or

Venue Hire Touchstones Rochdale offers a unique venue for meetings and events. Our studio space and meeting room are available for hire. Email for more details.


Our expert led sessions support the new national curriculum and we have been awarded the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge which is a nationally recognised indicator of high quality educational provision.Download our Schools Programme from our website or ring the Education Team on 01706 924931.

Arts & Heritage Resource Centre Ever wanted to see where we keep and care for the Borough’s museum, art gallery and local studies collections when they’re not on display? Have a look on our website to see the new Virtual Reality Tour of our Resource Centre. Visits of the centre itself can be arranged but must be booked in advance, please enquire at Touchstones for more information.

Visitor Information As well as our museum, art gallery and events programme, there are plenty of other reasons to visit Touchstones Rochdale. Touchstones Rochdale is the home of Rochdale Borough’s Arts & Heritage Service and is operated by Link4Life. The Art Café Open 10am-4pm Tuesday-Saturday, serving a wide selection of fresh hot and cold food, drinks and snacks. With free wi-fi and a relaxed atmosphere, it’s the perfect place to catch up with friends, meet colleagues, or simply relax after enjoying our exhibitions and displays. Shop The place to get that unique card or gift. We stock a range of souvenirs, postcards, local crafts, jewellery, books and pocket money gifts for children. Local History Centre Discover the past for yourself first hand. Whether you’re interested in local history, want to trace your family roots or just want to know a little more about the street you live on, we can help you find out more. Our collections include maps, photographs, ephemera, archives and local newspapers on microfilm. Free internet access including ancestry. com is also available. Just pop in and our friendly staff will help with your enquiries. Visitor Information Centre Our Visitor Information Centre staff will be happy to help you learn more about the local area. They have information about local and regional events, accommodation and hospitality; and are full of suggestions for things to do and places to visit for all ages, backgrounds and interests. Access Touchstones Rochdale is fully accessible for people using wheelchairs. There are three designated parking bays for blue badge holders outside the venue. Travel Information Touchstones Rochdale is located close to Rochdale town centre approximately 5 to 10 minutes walk from Rochdale Transport Interchange with bus and tram access and 10 minutes from the Rochdale Railway Station. We are 10 minutes drive from J20-M62. Cycle parking is available outside Touchstones Rochdale with Pay & Display car parking available close by. Opening Times Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm | Art Cafe: 10am-4pm FREE Admission Christmas hours: Closed on: Sunday 24, Monday 25, Tuesday 26 December Sunday 31 December 2017 & Monday 1 January 2018 Open as normal on Wednesday 27 to Saturday 30 December 2017 and from Tuesday 2 January 2018. Contact Us Main Reception: 01706 924492 Visitor Information Centre: 01706 924928 Email: Online:

Follow us on: Facebook (Touchstones Rochdale) Twitter (@Touchstones) Instagram (Touchstones_Rochdale) Pinterest (Touchstones Rochdale)


Art Gallery • Museum • Local History Centre • Visitor Information Centre Events Programme • Education Service • Shop • Cafe A671 from Burnley

Where to find us







A640 from Milnrow and J21 - M62























































n tio ta T s S ER S

dale Roch Hall n Tow



Ground Floor







From Bury and Bolton
























A680 from Blackburn

A58 from Halifax

Train Station

A671 from Royton and Oldham

A58 from Sandbrook Park and J20 - M62

Heritage Gallery Toilets Education Studio Performance Space


The Art Café

Visitor Information Centre


Shop Entrance

Museum Local History Centre

First Floor Gallery One Lift

Gallery Four

Gallery Two Gallery Three

This information is available in large print on request. The Esplanade, Rochdale, OL16 1AQ

01706 924492

Link4Life is the trading name of Rochdale Boroughwide Cultural Trust. Registered Charity No: 1118610

Touchstones Rochdale Events Guide - September-December 2017  

Welcome to our exhibitions and events guide, listing everything happening at Touchstones Rochdale, and by our teams across the borough over...

Touchstones Rochdale Events Guide - September-December 2017  

Welcome to our exhibitions and events guide, listing everything happening at Touchstones Rochdale, and by our teams across the borough over...