The Lytham Lives exhibition sets the scene for the Festival of Stories

PUBLISHED: 00:00 06 March 2015

Lytham Windmill

Lytham Windmill

Ruth Brooks-Carter

The lives of people in Lytham will be on show this month as a precursor to a major new festival in the town

Lytham LivesLytham Lives

An exhibition in Lytham this month will put the spotlight on the lives of the people who live there. Their stories have been gathered as part of a project which will also see a major new arts festival take place in the town this summer.

The Lytham Lives exhibition will feature photographs and paintings as well as stories, poems and recollections of the town.

An accompanying book, which was launched last summer, was edited by Jane Brunning and Alex O’Toole who said: ‘We have used the pictures and the writing to create a different type of history of Lytham. The book has set the theme of the exhibition and every piece in the book is mentioned in the exhibition, as a lead in to an issue or story.’

Some of the stories were gathered partly by children from St Bede’s High School who held interview sessions last year at Park View, the playground-cum-community hub where the Festival of Stories will be held in August.

Mum-of-one Alex, who has written two fairy tales set in Lytham, said: ‘We staged a series of conversations between pupils at St Bede’s High School and members of the community. One of the children conducted the interview, another filmed it and a third made notes.

‘We also held creative writing workshops and invited people to send us their stories about Lytham. We received about 50 entries, not all from people who live here and not all by people who have written before. The idea was that it would be an inter-generational project and the result is a real mix of stories, memories and poems.

‘It’s community writing, so the standard isn’t necessarily the highest but that wasn’t the point. It creates a picture of Lytham – of growing up here in the 40s, 50s or 60s, of the changing landscapes and of the things we all associate with Lytham.

‘We commissioned Ruth Brooks-Carter to take photographs influenced by the writing but we didn’t want the usual images you see of Lytham, we asked her for something different, something perhaps a little darker.’

The book sold out its first two print runs and a third edition will be on sale at the exhibition, which will be staged at the Heritage Centre on Henry Street from March 3 to March 29.

A new story

From August 7-9 the fields at Park View will host the town’s first Festival of Stories which it is hoped, will become an annual event. ‘It will be unlike anything Lytham has ever seen before,’ Alex said. ‘Park View will be transformed into a wonderland filled with tents, sculptures, artists, performers and events.

‘There will be something for all the family with story telling for babies, dub poetry on the skate park, art activities for all ages and even granddad graffiti.’

The organisers are now recruiting volunteers for the festival. To find out more, go to parkview4u.org.uk.

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