Last night Oldham's new 'Old Town Hall' swung its doors wide to the public after a grand opening. A local youth performance group told a story of a young girl called Freya and her granddad... and the Oldham Giant.
Pretty moving story in all fairness, and hopefully instilled a sense of local pride in youngsters today. Our town's been bashed by the national media for decades now- think the race riots of 2001, the Panorama investigation into Yorkshire St's nightlife and the violence that came with it, and of course the Moors Murders. None of that was mentioned of course, but Freya still felt her options and her future were limited as she grew up in Oldham. But with the help of her granddad, and of the introduction of the lumbering papier mache giant, and a rousing theme tune, Freya begins to believe her town can be great again- like it was in her granddad's stories.
Impressive visuals, featuring aerial dancers and surrealist projections onto the facade of The Old Town Hall. Also decorated with projected images were the buildings opposite the Old Town Hall: The RBS and local coffee shops. After a short speech from Cllr Jean Stretton, MP Jim McMahon cut the ribbon and the crowds filtered into the renovated 175-year-old Grade II listed building. I joined the back of the queue and took a look around- the layout is quite unique with the Costa Coffee looking out onto Yorkshire St but the entrance to that unit down a corridor. The Odeon and all their signage has been designed to look modern but also to contrast against the vintage tiling which has been left exposed.
I'll drop in over the next few days to get food and a movie.