Wellingborough Stories Festival
The Wellingborough Stories Festival starts today, Friday 12th May 2023, the culmination of a community heritage project by Made With Many, which aims to capture untold stories from the town’s many communities.
This project, made possible with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund thanks to National Lottery players, has been gathering stories from the Wellingborough community over many months. Throughout March and April, local residents attended a variety of workshops with three artists, who were selected by a community panel to help Wellingborough people bring their own stories to life and to create new artwork for the festival.
The resulting stories, films, writings, and artworks are now ready to be presented back to the community at the Wellingborough Stories Festival from Friday 12th to Sunday 28th May in various locations around the town centre. You will find Kremena Dimitrova’s beautiful large scale collages of local people’s artwork in shop windows around the Swansgate Shopping Centre throughout the festival. Makers of Imaginary Worlds have built an interactive exhibition of objects and stories that you can explore in the Festival Hub every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. And every Saturday you can watch Ruth Pigott’s puppetry film retellings of local people’s stories at Wellingborough Library.
This new work is presented alongside more Wellingborough Stories gathered by Made With Many over the last few years, from tales of local heroes, hauntings and homelessness, to experiences of the Windrush generation, South Asian and Romanian communities – all to be found at the Festival Hub, Wellingborough Library or online.
As well as the audio and visual displays, there are lots more activities to get involved with, from storytime for children and crafts for all ages every Saturday to a poetry film-making walkabout around the town on 20th May. Or enjoy an evening that celebrates Wellingborough on film past and present on Thursday 25th May at the Castle Theatre from 7pm to 9pm.
You can also find more events created by local groups and artists to tell stories in their communities. Have a go at Poetry & Print workshops every Friday evening from 6pm- 8pm at the Victoria Centre with Emma Matthews to explore what makes Wellingborough so unique. Or find out what stories young people will tell their future generations about their lives at a performance in the Kingsway Centre from 6.45pm on Sunday 14th with GLJ Theatre. Many Flavours of Wellingborough CIC will also be presenting poetry and scenes written by young people with Coventry Poet Laureate Emilie Lauren Jones on Saturday 20th May from 1pm – 2pm at The Castle Theatre.
“We’re really proud to be showcasing so many unique stories from the people of Wellingborough, it’s a place that is alive with fantastic tales, from haunted hotel rooms, to unexploded bombs, stories of neighbourly kindness and first impressions of this fascinating, diverse town. More than 600 people have already shared their Wellingborough stories with us and we can’t wait to share them with you.”Tom Briggs, Producer at Made With Many
All Wellingborough Stories workshops and events are free to attend, but some are advisable to book in advance to guarantee entry. You can pick up a timetable of events at the Festival Hub in Unit 11 of the Swansgate Centre, opposite Roman – where you are welcome to drop in and chat to a member of the Made With Many team.
You can also listen to Tom Briggs chatting to Daisie-Belle on BBC Radio Northampton about the Wellingborough Stories Festival via BBC Sounds – listen from 1:14:30.