Heritage Open Days: Memories from The Old Electric

A spoken word journey through time is being created at The Old Electric, highlighting all it has been through the years as part of this year’s Heritage Open Days.

Heritage Open Days, England’s largest celebration of history and culture finds venues across the country, and many in Blackpool, inviting members of the public to explore the past. The Old Electric is opening its doors to share all that the space and venue now has to offer, but also to collect your memories of your visits to the venue in its previous guises.

Over time, the venue on Springfield Road has witnessed the ebb and flow of cultural evolution. The site once served as a theatre, became a cinema, a music venue, and a number of nightclubs. Today is houses The Electric Sunshine Project CIC a community theatre organisation that has given new life to the venue, reconnecting it to its theatrical roots, with community and creativity at its heart.

“The venue has been witness to countless emotions and experiences,” says artistic director Melanie Whitehead. “We believe that each memory shared adds to the rich tapestry of our history.”

“We want to create a bridge between the past and the present, forging a vibrant connection that will continue to resonate for generations to come.”

To bring the open days to life, The Old Electric is collaborating with a team of local spoken word artists that includes Nathan Parker, Becky Doran Brown, Rob Mason and Anthony Briscoe. They will be on hand to listen and capture memories, reworking them to create some legacy stories for the place. Members of the public are invited to take an audio tour of the building and discover all The Old Electric now has to offer before sharing their memories and witnessing them reimagined into spoken word performances.

Project coordinator Buzz Bury says the event is a celebration of “the magic of art, music, theatre and camaraderie that has defined the venue’s legacy.

“We want to create a bridge between the past and the present, forging a vibrant connection that will continue to resonate for generations to come.”

Last year the space celebrated 100 years of cultural and creative offerings in the town. When people visit they often start to remember moments from previous encounters there such as visits to the ABC North Shore, stories of meeting loved ones at the Princess Electric Theatre. The Venue, as it was known, hosted many great gigs including New Order and their local label mates Section 25 on August Bank Holiday weekend in 1981. Many will have memories to share of great nights out in the early ’90s, when the venue was The Bizness and Main Street, and later The Waterfront, Sanuk, Domain and Crystals.

The Old Electric’s Heritage Open Days are Friday 15th September and Sunday 17th September from 1pm – 6pm. A special concluding Spoken Word and Poetry showcase event will be held on the Sunday at 7pm where poets and spoken word artists will take to the stage to share peoples reworked memories. The Open Days and Sunday Evening event are free but must be pre-booked here.

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