Living in electric dreams

Lancashire Electric will be screened from November 1-7 in The Storey Gallery.
Lancashire Electric will be screened from November 1-7 in The Storey Gallery.

Images of lives spent at work and play in Lancashire will be moving in more ways than one when they are screened in Lancaster this November.

Lancashire Electric will see rare archive footage from a century of life in the county projected into the Storey Gallery combined with music and lighting from November 1-7.

The last Morecambe Bay shrimp fisherman to use a horse will be seen in Lancashire Electric. Clip courtesy of the North West Film Archive.

The last Morecambe Bay shrimp fisherman to use a horse will be seen in Lancashire Electric. Clip courtesy of the North West Film Archive.

Among the clips due to be shown will be holidaying in Morecambe in the Forties, a Heysham boy’s sixth birthday celebrations in 1978, the opening of the motorway through Lancaster, and the last Morecambe Bay shrimp fisherman to use a horse.

West Coast Holiday shows many of the attractions which drew thousands of visitors to Morecambe in its heyday including the mechanical ‘jumbo ride’ as well as simple pleasures such as children building sandcastles on the beach.

Nikil Kapur’s sixth birthday celebrations are captured in a charming clip including shots of bathing in the River Lune at Kirkby Lonsdale.

Another film from the Seventies is Netting The Tide, a student documentary profiling Tom Smith as he prepares for a day’s shrimp fishing, along with his horse in Morecambe Bay.

The birthday celebrations of Nikil Kapur from Heysham in 1978 feature in Lancashire Electric. Clip courtesy of the North West Film Archive.

The birthday celebrations of Nikil Kapur from Heysham in 1978 feature in Lancashire Electric. Clip courtesy of the North West Film Archive.

Images from these films and many more including scenes of Silverdale, Preston and Blackpool will be projected into the gallery and screened on deckchairs hung in the space.

Themes include the changing relationship between people and the landscape – from rural Lancashire to the coast – particularly focusing on those who worked the land and those who enjoyed spending leisure time there.

It will also depict the changing face of the landscape including developments in housing and the impact of environmental change.

Visitors will be able to move around and immerse themselves in moving images of childhood, work and play chosen by Imitating the Dog, the company co-founded by co-artistic director, Andrew Quick, professor of performance and theatre at Lancaster University’s Institute of Contemporary Arts.

Women at work in this blast from the county's industrial past captured in Lancashire Electric. Clip courtesy of the North West Film Archive.

Women at work in this blast from the county's industrial past captured in Lancashire Electric. Clip courtesy of the North West Film Archive.

For Lancashire Electric, Imitating the Dog has also worked with lighting designer, Phil Supple whose previous projects include lighting the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red ceramic poppy installation at the Tower of London in 2014.

The clips will be accompanied by a stunning soundtrack by Leeds-based band, Hope & Social whose members include Simon Wainwright, also an Imitating the Dog co-artistic director.

“We wanted to make something which looked back and celebrated the wonderful characters of this part of the world, but also to add a new, creative layer,” said Simon.

“We spent plenty of time looking at the amazing films held at the North West Film Archive and it was a tough job to whittle them down to the clips we finally used,” Simon added.

A Blackpool promenade scene which features in Lancashire Electric. Clip courtesy of the North West Film Archive.

A Blackpool promenade scene which features in Lancashire Electric. Clip courtesy of the North West Film Archive.

“We wanted to look at change over time, particularly how people over the last hundred years or so, have worked and played in their environments. We selected film clips which showed peoples’ relationship with Lancashire’s glorious countryside and the miles of coastline.”

Geoff Senior, collections assistant at the North West Film Archive said: “We are always keen to work with others to help bring our collection to the people the films were made by and for, and as such this Lancashire Electric project fits neatly within those aims.”

“The films range from cinema newsreels to educational and promotional films, but also home movies shot by members of the public.”

Lancashire Electric will be launched on November 1, as part of Light Up Lancaster and continues until November 7. Each screening lasts 15 minutes.

Three free talks will further explore its themes.

On November 2 at 2pm chief executive of Morecambe Bay Partnership, Susannah Bleakley will explain the complex relationship with Morecambe Bay and on November 4 at 6pm, Sarah Hughes of Northumbria University will explore the legacies of sanctuary in Lancashire.

Farm work in the county is reflected in Lancashire Electric. Clip courtesy of the North West Film Archive.

Farm work in the county is reflected in Lancashire Electric. Clip courtesy of the North West Film Archive.

Both talks take place in The Storey Lecture Theatre.

In The Storey Gallery at 6pm on November 6, Simon Wainwright will talk about the making of Lancashire Electric. Admission to Lancashire Electric is free. It is open from 5.30-10pm on November 1 and 5.30pm-7.30pm on November 2.

Visitors are also welcome on November 4-6 from 10am-8pm and November 7 from 10am-5pm.

Lancashire Electric is a partnership project with The Dukes.

It is supported by the BFI Film Audience Network as part of Changing Times: Shifting Ground, and North West Film Archive at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Anyone inspired by Lancashire Electric to find out more about the North West Film Archive’s collection can visit www.nwfa.mmu.ac.uk.