Past, present and future are coming together in a season of free, Covid-safe cultural and heritage events launching in Warrington town centre on 15 August, the 75th anniversary of VJ Day.
Under the banner of ‘Time Machine’, the programme of ‘live’ and online activities will mark the national commemorations of VE Day and VJ Day and remember Warrington’s role in World War II.
The activities are being delivered by Culture Warrington, Warrington BID, Ludovico and Technically Brilliant Art, working in partnership with Warrington Borough Council.
The programme is being delivered with no static exhibition or activity which might encourage people to congregate in a space at one time. Activities, which have been planned to disperse people around the town, include:
• Step Back in Time – The shutters will be lifted on the old Lepp’s jewellers building on Bridge Street (opposite Hancock and Wood) to reveal the shop window transformed into a people’s history pop-up display. Over the coming weeks, the space will showcase a 1940s display, a knitted townscape of Warrington buildings by Warrington Crafters and treasures from heritage groups, including Warrington Armed Forces Community Support Hub, Burtonwood Heritage Centre and venues around the borough.
• Warrington Celebrates – A special trail around the town centre will reveal how the area celebrated the end of the war and how American servicemen stationed here contributed to the VE and VJ celebrations. The trail will start at Technically Brilliant Art Gallery in Golden Square (near Primark) and finish at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery, using simple QR codes. To find out how to join the trail, visit warrington.gov.uk/events/warrington-time-machine-launch
• Knitting Victory – Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival winner, local artist Marie Jones, producing a live machine-knitted celebratory banner for the 75th anniversary of VE and VJ day at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery, using designs donated by the public. Entry to the museum is free but booking is essential to comply with Covid-19 regulations and face coverings must be worn. Visit the museum website to book your place https://wmag.culturewarrington.org
The activities continue online with digital contributions from Warrington-based company, Ludovico. The VE Monologues are written by award-winning playwright Alexandra Keelan. Performed by professional actors alongside Warrington youth actors and filmed at Walton Hall, this local series of short films highlights Warrington stories from World War II. The films will be available at https://wmag.culturewarrington.org/news and will be shared across various social media channels across the borough.
To mark the launch of Warrington’s Time Machine project, a replica Delorian car made famous by the time travelling Marty McFly in the film ‘Back to the Future’, will be making an appearance on Bridge Street on Saturday 15 August, between 11am and 3pm outside the Time Machine pop-up exhibition, providing a perfect ‘selfie’ opportunity.
Time Machine continues throughout the autumn season with safe and accessible culture and heritage events which will include Heritage Open Days (11 – 20 September) and the annual Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival. Though scaled back this year due to Covid-19, Culture Warrington will be presenting an exciting open programme, including heritage-inspired art work and performances taking place throughout the town centre.
The Time Machine project is a £15,000 pilot funded by Heritage Open Days at the National Trust, brought to the town by manager of Warrington Business Improvement District, Harriet Roberts, who worked alongside colleagues at Culture Warrington.
Harriet said, “Warrington is the perfect location for Time Machine because we have so many stories to celebrate and an exciting future to look forward to with the transformation of areas like Time Square.
“During the challenges of lockdown, Time Machine has enabled us to explore new ways to celebrate history on the high street and to test how heritage can be used to bring organisations together to support regeneration.”
Warrington Borough Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for culture, Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, said: “This fantastic programme will bring Warrington’s World War II stories to life and will give local people the opportunity to commemorate VE Day and VJ Day, safely.
“From displays and exhibitions, to performance and walking trails, there will be something for everyone. I’m delighted that, despite the restrictions in place, we are able to mark this significant period in our history, through these diverse cultural and heritage activities.
“As the town centre springs back to life, it’s a great way to start a new season of cultural and heritage events in Warrington and to continue building people’s confidence to take part in events safely, in the heart of our town.”
For more information on the Time Machine project, visit warrington.gov.uk/events/warrington-time-machine-launch