Altofts’ treasured stories trail

LIT FEST: Lead artist Becky Cherriman has created a Treasured Stories Trail around Altofts.
LIT FEST: Lead artist Becky Cherriman has created a Treasured Stories Trail around Altofts.

A celebration of Altofts will be part of Wakefield Lit Fest this month.

Arts charity Beam has been busy working with The Friends of Altofts Library and lead artist Becky Cherriman to create a one-day festival that champions the village.

The lead artist has created a Treasured Stories Trail around the village with the aim of capturing the essence of Altofts through a series of bespoke poems inspired by conversations with residents.

An except from her poem, The Mill Worker, reads: “We learned to lip read, to tie our hair back and save our scalps, ring spinning, ring twisting, cap spinning, cap twisting, drum winding, automatic winding, reeling, you’d always be flitting about, they wouldn’t have you stood idle.”

The Our Treasures festival hub is at The Brig on St Mary’s Road on Saturday, September 24. Drop in between 10.30am and 4pm for bookbinding workshops with artist Timid Elk. There will also be pop-up readings with Normanton-born Frank English and local poet Steve Beddard and a performance from ‘That Poetry Bloke’, Craig Bradley.

You can also play Walk the Plank and Dialect Dominoes to test your mother tongue. Alan and Carol Walker will provide a unique performance of poems, prose and laughter in the Yorkshire dialect.

Visitors can also enjoy a performance by local school children from Altofts Junior & Martin Frobisher Infants Schools who will share some of the work they’ve been doing with writer and poet John Irving Clarke about the treasures of their home village.

The festival fun continues into the evening with the Altofts Wrap Party. It’s an evening packed with performances and spoken word. Catch performances from A Firm of Poets, Wakefield-based spoken word activist Jimmy Andrex and live music with singer songwriters Lisa Hambleton, The Driven and Scarlet Rain.

Festival favourite Kate Fox, who makes a welcome return, will finish the night by presenting her unique brand of stand-up poetry.

But first organisers are calling out for Altofts residents past and present to take part in a free pre-festival workshop. It’s entitled Mining For Memories and it will run from 10am to 1pm on Saturday, September 17 at The Brig.

Join Jimmy Andrex and Becky Cherriman and share your memories to unearth stories about Altofts and it’s fascinating past.