Oldham Council can reveal exciting plans for the Old Town Hall’s highly-anticipated public opening event – a unique free family show not to be missed.
‘On the Shoulders of Giants’ will be the most spectacular outdoor show ever hosted in the borough and people can enjoy it from the new public space at Parliament Square on the evening of Friday, October 21.
Written by Sarah Nelson, this is a showcase celebrating the rebirth of this iconic civic building – and the end of the town centre’s 30-year wait for a cinema.
The story takes its inspiration from a local legend, the Oldham Giant*, who will wake from his slumber in the crypts of Oldham Parish Church, opposite the Old Town Hall.
Oldham Arts Development has woven together spellbinding light projections from Illuminos, a six-metre tall illuminated giant puppet created by Handmade Parade, local actors and musicians – plus dazzling aerial silk performers from Upswing suspended from a crane high above the crowd – to make it a night to remember.
When a little Oldham girl befriends our gentle giant they take the audience on a journey together: passing through our town’s rich local heritage and getting a glimpse of the bright future ahead.
The fun and thrills continue after opening night with a full weekend of events in Parliament Square – including an array of live music, street performances and movie-themed entertainment – (October 22 and 23) offering something for all generations.
Jean Stretton, Oldham Council Leader, said: “The opening of the Old Town Hall is a massive moment for Oldham – so we were determined to deliver a very special family event.”
“We’ve worked hard to create a real spectacle with this show, the likes of which I don’t believe our town centre has never seen before, so that we can celebrate the restoration of the Old Town Hall as a symbol of civic pride with a show that is uniquely about Oldham.
“This will be a visually stunning experience with 3D projections onto the Old Town Hall’s front façade, a six-metre tall giant, aerial acrobatics, and performances from local actors.
“The story is being told by some very special local actors and guests** including Olivia Cooke and Mina Anwar, plus comedian Bobby Ball and musician Clint Boon. It also has a specially created music score from James Atherton of Oldham Theatre Workshop and a live solo performance from Oldham violinist Faz Shah.
“The story is about a small girl who, when raised on the shoulders of a giant, finds that she can see much further – and that she can also see a brighter future for herself and her town.
“This will capture and inspire your imagination when you see it brought to life – and I hope as many people as possible will come along to witness this amazing free show.”
The Old Town Hall opening event starts at 7.30pm on Friday, October 21 with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting event with Jim McMahon, Oldham West and Royton MP, before ‘On the Shoulders of Giants’ gets underway, running until around 8.15pm.
As some of the first ODEON guests then enter the building to watch a film, the Oldham Giant will continue strolling around Parliament Square with music and projections onto the Old Town Hall façade continuing until around 11pm.
The public are advised to arrive early for the opening event and use public transport, whenever possible.
If you’re visiting the Old Town Hall and park your car at Town Square shopping centre – accessed via Ascroft Street – you can get your ticket validated at the cinema or restaurants and pay £2 for up to a maximum four hour stay between 9am and 6pm. Parking there is free after 6pm until 3am when the car park closes. (Note – this offer does not apply to the Spindles car park).
There’s also up to three hours of free town centre parking on weekends at council-owned sites. Find out more at: www.oldham.gov.uk/parking
On Saturday, October 22, Parliament Square will host a Celebration of the Silver Screen event from 11am to 4pm with movie cars and themed performers, plus the best in local music.
‘Birth of the Boulevard’ then comes to the venue on Sunday as we relive the swinging sixties with special musical performances, plus the best in brass and street and local youth bands.
For more information about these events visit www.visitoldham.com