[Press Release] Elements Launch will be a UK Festival First for Cumbria

Florence Mine Arts Centre 05

For immediate release                                  27 September, 2016


Elements Launch will be a UK Festival First for Cumbria

A month-long celebration of diversity and Age

The launch takes place this weekend of a bright new month-long Cumbria-wide high quality arts festival celebrating age and diversity.

Elements, which is the only event of its kind in the UK, puts the emphasis firmly on the achievements, joys, needs and interests of mature people in one of England’s most rural regions.

Tonia Lu, Festival Producer, said: “Older people are often overlooked in today’s society – especially those from minority groups – and it’s time that changed. Elements, which is the first festival of its kind in the UK, is one way to help make that happen.

“It brings together high-quality cultural events aimed at everyone over 50, with a special emphasis on those from the LGBT community, people from ethnic minorities and those with disabilities.

“The idea is to celebrate their joys and achievements while recognising the challenges in their lives – and it’s also about providing an inclusive environment for them to enjoy a programme of great events.”

The core programme features film, photography, history and literature and the festival also embraces a host of associated events all across the county.

The launch, which is at 7pm on Saturday, 1 October, at Penrith Old Fire Station, will include a chance to hear new poetry from Elements’ West Lakes Writer in Residence Pascale Petit.

Pascale will also be in conversation with Adele Patrick, co-founder of Glasgow Women’s Library, who was among the three panelists invited to select the festival movies. This will be followed by a screening of one of her choices Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement.

Adele said: “I was delighted to be asked to select some of the movies for a festival that is so unique and ambitious in its aim of celebrating diversity.

“Like all moviegoers I want to see things that engage, entertain and surprise, so I hope this selection will do just that, while illuminating some of the issues the festival is trying to address. The films I chose are ones that have touched me, moved me and changed my perspective – so I hope other people will enjoy them just as much.”

Pascale is leading a writers’ group, made up of older people from minority groups in the Copeland area. Readings of their work, and hers, will take place at a series of venues throughout October.

Pascale said: “This is a really exciting moment for me and for the writers’ group. Cumbria has always been a wonderful and inspiration place for writers and I am very much looking forward to going to venues around the county and presenting some of the new work that we have created during the residency.”

Elements has grown out of CELEBRATE, the region’s Heritage Lottery funded LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans) history project. It brings together partners, including Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, where the CELEBRATE: LGBT History in Cumbria exhibition is being held.

Eden Arts, which runs Penrith Old Fire Station, is not only hosting the launch but is also one of the main film venues.

Heather Walker, Head of Projects, Eden Arts, said: “Eden Arts are extremely pleased to host both the launch and some of the festival’s excellent film nights. The festival is exploring important themes that need to be highlighted and celebrated.”

Films will be shown in small venues throughout Cumbria including the Florence Arts Centre in Egremont.

Jenni Payne, Exhibitions Organiser at Florence Arts Centre, Egremont, said: “We’re very pleased to be part of the Elements festival and look forward to welcoming audiences for a selection of excellent movies of the sort you rarely get to see at mainstream cinemas. We are also very pleased to host the West Lakes Writers’ Group.

“It’s great for a rural county like Cumbria to have a festival that puts the emphasis on older people and on groups who are often isolated and overlooked.”

Accessibility is an important aspect of Elements – all films will be shown with subtitles and BSL language assistance will be available at talks and discussions.

For the full programme see www.elementsfest.com – you can also download it to your own computer.


– Ends –

About Elements

  • Elements is a legacy of CELEBRATE: LGBT History in Cumbria project.
  • Elements is organised by OutREACH Cumbria, with partners across Cumbria.
  • The festival is funded by Arts Council England, Copeland Community Fund, Cumbria. Community Foundation and Heritage Lottery Fund.
  • It involves a variety of partners such as Age UK West Cumbria, Florence Arts Centre and the Wordsworth Trust, and is supported by Arts Council England and Copeland Community Fund.


The movies

The movie selection has been put together by:

  • Ruth Gould, director of DaDaFest, which celebrates disability culture
  • Adele Patrick, co-founder of Glasgow Women’s Library
  • Lindsay River, former director of Polari and LGBT advisor for Age UK

We work with venues that are accessible for most wheelchair users, all of our films are screened with close captions. British Sign Language interpreters will also be at our core events.

The selection of films:

  • Freaks (1932) Dir. Todd Browning
  • Women Like Us (1990) Dir. Suzanne Neild & Rosalind Pearson
  • If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000) Dir. Jane Anderson, Martha Coolidge
  • Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement (2009) Dir. Susan Muska, Gréta Olafsdóttir
  • Salma (2013) Dir. Kim Longinotto
  • Margarita with a Straw (2014) Dir. Shonali Bose & Nilesh Maniyar
  • Annie Dearest (2009) Dir. The Miracle Worker
  • Blueprints for Change (2011) by DaDaFest
  • A Last Farewell (2013) Dir. Casper Andreas

About CELEBRATE: LGBT History in Cumbria

  • CELEBRATE is the first project to explore and uncover the living history of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) community in Cumbria.
  • CELEBRATE is a partnership project between OutREACH Cumbria and Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery, funded by Heritage Lottery Fund.
  • You can contact Tonia on 07956 336872 or by emailing tonial@outreachcumbria.co.uk
  • The website is at www.celebratecumbria.co.uk.