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Grand opening event to celebrate new arts space

15 August 2023 

Crewe’s Lyceum Square has been transformed into an exciting events and performance space, known as  Ly, and this weekend sees its official grand opening event. 

 Lyhas seen the centre of Lyceum Square becoming a mixed-use space to host events, festivals, performances, and activities throughout the year and this Saturday all the stops are being pulled out to allow people to celebrate in style with free performances and lots of entertainment on offer.

Award-winning, touring company Autin Dance Theatre are the centrepiece for the weekend’s big opening event, as they put on three performances of their outdoor physical theatre show ‘Out of the Deep Blue’, featuring ‘Eko’ - a 13-foot-tall puppet operated by five puppeteers.

They will lead a parade around the town centre bringing people along as they go, before stopping in at the Market Hall on their way to Ly for their performances. 

Kicking the event off from 11am there will be a puppet workshop and street theatre performance, followed by one of the UK’s finest steel bands called Pantasy, who are no strangers to Crewe having played at the Market Hall previously.

The Creative Connections programme – which has seen arts activity at  Ly every Saturday throughout the summer – has been funded by Arts Council England via National Lottery funds, Cheshire East Council and Crewe Town Council.

Mannion-Nick-223x280Councillor Nick Mannion, vice chair of Cheshire East Council’s economy and growth committee, said: “Saturday’s event is the culmination of a lot of people’s extremely hard work, and this dates back to the time when creating Ly2 was still in the planning stage. 

“The initial events over the summer have been very well attended and I’m sure Saturday’s will be as well, as the local community come together to celebrate this brilliant arts space. As I said earlier in the year, our focus remains on all the events that we have planned into September but our commitment to the success of  Ly will extend well beyond that.”

Doug Kinsman, the outgoing chair of Crewe Town Board, said: “Being part of the team which has driven the creation of this tremendous new arts space makes me feel very proud. We are already blessed with a wonderful theatre and the market hall is another key part of our cultural offer. 

“This is another step up for our arts scene in Crewe – a truly transformative project for Crewe’s town centre.”

The vision for  Ly was developed by the Crewe Cultural Forum – a collaboration of more than 100 residents, organisations and businesses in Crewe – and it aims to enhance the setting of the Lyceum Theatre and Crewe Market Hall and create a cultural heart for the town centre.

As well as a new raised events stage with an integrated digital screen, the new Ly scheme includes colourful and multi-functional street furniture and improvements to key gateways into the square. Artists have taken inspiration from Crewe’s railway heritage to create the stage and shed designs, as well as a huge eagle mural on ‘Crewe Central’ operated by the Crewe Market Hall team.

Crewe Town Board was allocated £750,000 from the government’s Accelerated Towns Fund for an improvement scheme for the Lyceum Square and adjacent areas. The project is also supported by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and Crewe Town Council.

The  Lyproject was delivered by Cheshire East Council and overseen by Crewe Town Board with Crewe Town Council and Lyceum Theatre also key partners.

Here are the full listings and information on all the events taking place throughout the summer.