Lucy Carter: Tangles

“strength” “love” “travel” “positivity” “life” “unity” “friends”

These are just some of the words that you said came to mind when you think of the future, or what you hoped the future might hold.

Using words gathered from a call out to Macclesfield’s communities, Lucy – a Macclesfield-based artist – has created a work that reflects our hopes for the future, inspiring reflection and positivity.  Imagine that moment when you pull your Christmas fairy lights out of the box only to find they’ve become a tangled mess, and the joy they bring when they’re finally up and twinkling on the tree.

Lucy is a light artist and a critically acclaimed, award-winning, lighting designer. A long and successful career in live performance and events has included working with, and for, many of the best dance, ballet, opera and theatre companies in the world, including The National Theatre and The Royal Ballet in London, The MET Opera in New York and La Scala, Milan. Current credits include lighting design for Everybodys Talking About Jamie at the Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue.

Her lighting installations and light artworks embody a sense of both theatricality and unfolding kinetic narratives.

Sounds of our Stories 2 with Jan Blake

Much loved by Macclesfield families, and making a welcome return to LIT, world-renowned storyteller Jan Blake is hosting a very special workshop and performance double bill.

Another chance to join Jan’s workshop in the morning and help her create a soundscape for her storytelling performance in the afternoon. Discover how you can create the sounds of the animals, the birds, the creatures, the children that inhabit her magical worlds. Your voices and songs will transform the story! Come back and perform your soundscape with Jan at the afternoon storytelling session.

This is the second story, with even more characters and sounds to have lots of fun with!

For families of all shapes, sizes and ages.

Fantasy Adventure Stories – and Me!

Calling all 9+ readers (and their families) who love fantasy fiction! Anna James, author of the Pages & Co series, Dominique Valente, creator of the Starfell series and Francesca Gibbons, debut author of A Clock of Stars: The Shadow Moth will be talking to us about their inspirations, how they create entirely new fantasy worlds and how and why they began writing – amongst lots of other things. You could pick up some tips! Have your questions at the ready!

Anna James is the author of the Pages & Co series about young bookwanderers who can jump in and out of the pages of books. The third book for readers aged 9-12 has just been published. Anna is a writer and journalist. She was Book News Editor at The Bookseller magazine and was Literary Editor of Elle UK. She was shortlisted for the Kim Scott Walwyn Award for Women in Publishing in 2015, and the London Book Fair Trailblazers Award in 2016.

Dominique Valente is the author of the brilliant Starfell series which follows young witch Willow Moss and her band of hotch potch friends on a series of adventures. For readers 9-12. Dominique is fairly certain she has a Benjamin Button type of disease where you grow younger the older you get, as apart from an odd blip in her twenties where she was a journalist for ten years, she came to her senses and decided to make up stories about witches and grumpy monsters instead.

Francesca Gibbons is the debut author of A Clock of Stars: The Shadow Moth an epic fantasy adventure for readers 9+. Francesca worked as a copywriter at a marketing agency before leaving to focus on her career as a children’s author. The Shadow Moth is her debut novel. It was inspired by the gardens she visited as a child, and her love of folklore and monsters. It is the first book in Clock of Stars trilogy.

The Magic Lanterns – Nocturnal Fauna


Magic Lanterns is a trail of eight beautiful mini-projections hidden in the nooks and crannies of Macclesfield Town Centre. Discover the projections and watch as a host of enchanting dancing animals play in their winter habitats. Listen to specially-composed music via Soundcloud on your phones. Enjoy this FREE outdoor family treat.

The eight projection locations span the Town Hall (x2), Chestergate, St Michael’s church, King Edward Street Chapel, Sparrow Park, Backwallgate and Mill Street – forming an easily walkable trail around the centre of town.

Magic Lanterns has been created for LIT by Fabric Lenny, who was part of the team that brought us Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in West Park and artists Urban Projections, creators of some of the most awe-inspiring projection work in the country. Music will be created by musician Nick Lewis.

Booking details

You’ll need to book your places on a Magic Lanterms slot for either 5pm, 6pm or 7pm on the 3rd or 4th December. Bookings are limited to a maximum of six tickets. The walk shoud take you around 40 minutes to complete.

You can listen to the Magic Lanterns soundscape via Soundcloud on your phone. Details will be shared with you closer to the event date.

The event will take place in all weathers so come dressed for it! Only in extreme weather circumstances will we think about cancelling. All event details may be subject to change according to the latest Covid-19 restrictions and guidelines.

Sounds of our Stories 1 with Jan Blake

Much loved by Macclesfield families, and making a welcome return to LIT, world-renowned storyteller Jan Blake is hosting a very special workshop and performance double bill.

Join her at a workshop in the morning and help her create a soundscape for her storytelling performance in the afternoon. Discover how you can create the sounds of the animals, the birds, the creatures, the children that inhabit her magical worlds. Your voices and songs will transform the story! Come back and perform your soundscape with Jan at the afternoon storytelling session.

Over two days, Jan will be telling two different stories, so there’ll be plenty of characters and sounds to have lots of fun with! You can sign up to one or both sessions.

For families of all shapes, sizes and ages.

A Dawn Smartphone Walk with Simon Buckley

Best known for the dawn and dusk photography of his Not Quite Light project, as well as his now famous mobile phone shot of A Deansgate Rainstorm, Simon Buckley invites you to join him on an early morning walk around Macclesfield. Pick up some tips for taking dawn shots on your smartphone and enjoy stories from Simon’s dawn and dusk wanderings.

Be sure to wear comfortable and sensible footwear and be aware that not all areas will be easily accessible or necessarily slip free.

Find out more about

A Dusk Smartphone Walk with Simon Buckley

Simon Buckley makes a very welcome return to the streets of Macclesfield for LIT 2020 with a new walk for the Saturday afternoon and early evening. As the day fades, discover ways of photographing the shapes that emerge from the lowering light and the shades that begin to envelop the town.

All you need is a smartphone and some comfortable and sensible footwear and be aware that not all areas will be easily accessible or necessarily slip free.

Find out more about

Elizabeth Garner & Dr Tim Campbell Green Objects Tell Stories

Where do creativity and history meet? How do folk tales and archaeological finds combine to reveal traditions that have survived across centuries?

Author Elizabeth Garner joins archaeologist Dr. Tim Campbell Green for a fascinating evening of readings, discussion and demonstration. Stories will be told and objects will be shared.

Elizabeth and Tim will unpack ‘caches’ of ritual objects discovered in the boundary places of chimneys and doorways and match these to the tales of the characters who dwell there – the welcome and the not so welcome guests.

They’ll be revealing how ordinary objects are transformed by ritual into extraordinary objects of protection: the prayer held in a bent coin, the placing of the pins to keep the Changelings at bay and many more besides…

Expect magic, mystery and mischief in this exploration of a treasure trove of folklore belief that still speaks to the modern world.

Elizabeth will be reading excerpts from her collection of Folk Tales, Lost & Found which is being published by Unbound. A percentage of the proceeds from the evening will also be donated to The Blackden Trust.

Macc Advent Window Trail

Macclesfield’s communities come together from all quarters to celebrate the season with gorgeous shop window designs revealed throughout December.

Shops, bars, restaurants, community organisations, cafés, churches and other businesses will either create their own displays or work with local schools and Macclesfield artists Jacki Clark and Ralph McGaul to create a magical trail of window displays on the theme of ‘stories’. Each afternoon through December another window will be revealed. Most are viewable from 4 – 8pm.

Schools participating include; Park Royal Primary School, Pussbank School and Nursery, Dean Valley Community Primary School, Broken Cross Primary School, Hurdsfield Primary School and Tytherington High School.

Take time to explore the trail and support Macclesfield town centre this Christmas.  This is the full map with all 24 windows!

Share your pics of the trail using #MaccAdventWindowTrail

Window viewing times:

A wee update on viewing times for #MaccAdventWindowTrail.

Remember the closer we get to Christmas, the more windows you can see:

1.The Snow Goose, 52 Sunderland St | 10am  – 10pm

2.Spivey’s Web, 85 Chestergate | 10am -10pm

3.Shopmobility, Churchill Way | 10am – 10pm

4.Tilly’s Sweets and Treats, 54 Mill St | 10am  – 5.30pm

5.St Michael’s Church, Market Place | 10am – 10pm

6.Monacle Deli, 72 Chestergate | up till 4.30pm (Wed – Sat)

7.Crafty Corner, 80 Mill St | 10am – 6pm (closed on Sunday and Monday)

8.St Alban’s RC Church, 39 Chester Road | 10am  – 10pm

9.The Hope Centre, 16 – 18 Park Green | 10am – 10pm

10.Space4Autism, 15 – 17 Mill Lane | 10am – 10pm

11.Bridgfords, 38-40 Mill St | 10am – 10pm

12.The Salt Bar, 23B Church St | 10am – 10pm

13.Cheshire Melts, Dukes Court |10am  – 10pm

14.Library, Jordangate | up till 5pm Mon – Fri

15.Henbury Travel, 127 Chestergate | 10am  – 10pm

16.Red Willow, 32A Park Green | 10am  – 10pm

17.Waterstones, 47 Mill St | 10am  to 5.30pm

18.Plums Kitchen, 1 Market Pl | 10am  – 10pm

19.Gastown, 15 Chestergate | 10am  – 10pm

20.Margin Music, Market Pl |10am  – 10pm

21.Cheshire Balloons, Market Pl | 10am  – 10pm

22.Visitor Information Centre, Market Pl | 10am  – 10pm

23.Button Warehouse, Stanley St | 10am  – 10pm

24.United Reformed Church, Park Green | 10am  – 7pm

Message in Lights – The Macclesfield Christmas Tree

This Christmas, send a message to a loved one through the lights on Macclesfield’s Christmas tree.

In previous years, the people of Macclesfield have been invited to write messages to loved ones on paper stars which are hung on the Christmas tree in Market Place. This year, because of continuing restrictions around the pandemic, Macclesfield Town Council and the organisers of LIT have commissioned an artwork from Macclesfield-based art collective, IDST!, which will display messages on the tree’s lights in the form of Morse code.

When people send a text message to a special phone number, their message will be turned into Morse code and will flash on a light bulb in their chosen colour. Messages will be transmitted to the world via the same light until the tree comes down in January.

And every time people text #show to the phone number, all the other lights on the tree will disappear and your light will blink their message alone.

People can now send their messages to the Christmas tree by following the instructions below.

Your Message in Lights – a step-by-step guide

  • Create your message of no more than 60 characters including your name or your family name if you like.
  • At the end of your message (in addition to the 60 character limit) let us know which colour of the rainbow you’d like for your light by including the colour with a hashtag eg #red or #yellow etc.
  • Send your message to 07840 148462 (*texts are charged at your standard mobile rate. Please dial carefully.)
  • You’ll receive a text confirming that we’ve received your message and that it’s live on the tree going out in Morse code.
  • Every time you text #show back to 07840 148462 all the other lights on the tree will extinguish and only your message will be displayed.
  • You can send one message per phone, but you can change your message at any time. Just repeat the steps above.

Please remember that you should only leave your house for necessary journeys or exercise. We’re hoping that restrictions will be lifted on Wednesday 2 December and we can visit the Christmas tree safely again.

Message in Lights has been devised and created by IDST!, a group of Macclesfield-based makers, artists, technicians and experimenters working together to make community artworks. Creating performances, games, artworks and events that are playful, purposeful and people-powered, and celebrate community strength. Collaborating with others, training and running experiments, workshops, and projects so people can learn and get involved and communities can own their ideas.

Winter Songs and Stories with Nick Hennessey

As the sun sets and the nights draw in, gather around the virtual fire, and enjoy the hauntingly beautiful songs, stories and sounds of the harp from the internationally acclaimed storyteller and musician Nick Hennessey.

There’ll be the chance to ask Nick any questions you may have: perhaps you’d like to find out more about harp-playing or the art of storytelling. Join us for this fascinating hour of music, song and story for the whole family.

Nick is known around the world for bringing together the song, the note and the spoken word, in ways the harpers of old would recognise. With a unique talent for powerful and evocative language and an innovative style of harp playing, Nick has performed at the London Barbican, the South Bank Centre, the Royal Northern College of Music, the Birmingham MAC and the Sage at Gateshead as well as numerous town and villages across the country.

My Self-publishing Journey: Janey de Nordwall

In this online talk and Q&A, first-time author of a wonderful new memoir, Janey de Nordwall, shares the dos and don’ts of self-publishing.

In 2019, BAFTA-winning film producer, Janey, packed her bags (and her cat), fired up her 1970s VW van and headed off from her London home to Scotland for a journey that would change her life.

What followed was a heart-warming, fresh and joyful book, which captured the beauty of her journey. But it took a different kind of journey to get into print (as well as onto Kindle and audiobook!).

Join Janey in this illuminating talk and Q&A session and discover the benefits and pitfalls of self-publishing. You never know, this could start you on your very own journey of a lifetime.

Taking Folk Tales, Making Stories with Elizabeth Garner

Here and now, in the 21st-century, we need our folk tales more than ever…they have survived across time, because they are necessary tales; they are tools for living…and when they eventually deliver us home, we have a little more understanding with which to negotiate our own treacherous paths ahead.”
Elizabeth Garner

Anyone with an interest in the magic and power of folk tales, should join author and fiction editor Elizabeth Garner to discover how she takes traditional folk tales and rewrites them in a way that speaks to today’s readers and listeners. In this workshop, Elizabeth will look at how to work with traditional folk tale material to create character-driven stories which still retain the magic and mystery of the original source material – offering insights into research and story structure. You’ll also have the opportunity to discuss your own areas of interest and any works in progress you might have.

Elizabeth is the author of two novels: Nightdancing and The Ingenious Edgar Jones both of which were influenced by folk tale narratives and motifs.  Her collection of rewritten folk tales – Lost & Found – will be published by Unbound.  She works as a freelance fiction editor and teaches Creative Writing at Oxford University. She is also the arts trustee at The Blackden Trust – a creative and educational charity founded by her parents Alan and Griselda Garner.