Skip to main content Skip to accessibility
  Non-Javascript users can confirm they have successfully signed out of MyAccount by clicking here

Fun events for families at Rochdale festival

01 October 2018

A little girl wearing headphones.

There's lots for children and families to look forward to at this year's Rochdale Literature and Ideas Festival.

On Saturday, 20 October 2018 at Rochdale Central Library author and storyteller Richard O'Neill presents a live interactive reading of his latest enchanting story – Polonius the Pit Pony. He'll also read other stories, and provide tips on how to create your own picture book.

That will be followed by the much loved ventriloquist and magician John Piper who performs his popular Puppet Show, which is suitable for children aged 3+. Extra tickets have been released after the show originally sold out.

At 1pm on Saturday, 20 October 2018 there's a Kid's Silent Disco, presented by 'Our Kids Social' at Touchstones Rochdale – promising lots of fun for families with children aged 4+. With kids' pop on one channel and adults' guilty pleasures on the other, it could be Candi Staton or Little Mix and The Stone Roses or One Direction – you decide!

Kids in a cake class.  

On Sunday, 21 October 2018 local company Brown's Cakes on St Mary's Gate host a Dennis the Menace and Friends Cupcake Faces class, giving everyone a chance to make a character from icing with lots of fun along the way!

'Fantastic family events'

On Monday, 22 October 2018 you can walk like an Egyptian, right into the treasure vaults of ancient history! A magical 'Hidden Treasures tour' begins with a secret - you'll only find out the location (somewhere in Rochdale) 48 hours before the event. You'll then be taken on a guided tour of the treasures of Rochdale's Egyptology collection by museum curator Karen Heatley. Get up close and personal with historically significant and precious objects and hear about their secret stories.

Littleborough Library hosts an Art Junkies workshop, suitable for ages 7+ with artist and recycling junkie Maryanne Royle teaching you how to turn everyday rubbish into art whilst Dr Karl Williams explores the scientific approach to recycling and how a few tricks can turn one person's garbage into another's masterpiece!

All the children's events are featured in this year's programme which you can pick up free at your local library, Rochdale Town Hall, Touchstones Arts and Heritage Centre or visit the festival website.

A man with a puppet.

In addition to the children's programme there's a full line-up of shows for grown-ups from 15 to 22 October 2018 during the festival organised by us. The festival features poet Simon Armitage CBE, BBC presenter and triathlete Louise Minchin, actress, author and presenter Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE, author and poet Gervase Phinn, broadcaster Stuart Maconie and women's rights activist Dr Helen Pankhurst. Author Stephanie Butland will be discussing her uplifting life-affirming novel The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae over afternoon tea at Rochdale Town Hall.

For young people aged 14 to 25, there's another 'Generation Z' programme.

Councillor Janet Emsley, our Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Community and Culture said:

"We've some fantastic family events again this year. Whether you've got a toddler looking to be entertained or children who are looking for something a bit different, you'll find it at this festival. Activities are very good value, with tickets no more than £4 and a couple of shows are free."

Polonius the pit pony illustration.

The festival is aimed at celebrating and promoting the Maskew Collection of classic literature and philosophy at Rochdale Central Library, encouraging people to engage with books and ideas. Annie and Frank Maskew, a Rochdale couple who shared a passion for reading and thinking, met in Rochdale Library in the 1950s and left a sum of money to be used on resources and events related to literature and philosophy to ensure classic works are available for future generations.