2024 Festival Dates: 6 & 7 July

Church of Rare Souls – Martyn Ware’s Art in Manufacturing Soundscape

An exclusive invitation to commune with the songs and stories of Ware’s haunting soundscape in the decaying splendour Tony’s Empress Ballroom

‘Don’t touch a thing.’ So Martyn Ware instructed our producers when he first stepped into the abandoned grandeur of Tony’s Empress Ballroom. The legendary home of Northern Soul all-nighters has lain nearly untouched since its closure in the 1990s, preserving the creaking dance floors and lipstick-marked glasses of those heady nights.

Northern Soul classics from the Ballroom’s heyday whisper through Ware’s immersive three dimensional soundscape, intertwined with human voices and industrial sounds taken from the factory floor. Driving towards a sonic conclusion, the haunting piece comments on the ‘work hard, play hard’ cultures of Northern towns where work ruled the week and dancing ruled the weekend.

Join Ware & Illustrious Company and commune with the Rare Souls to the sounds and stories of the workers, before the ballroom comes unexpectedly to life…



2019 Trusts & Foundations

The National Festival Of Making Delivery Team

National Festival of Making is supported by the Arts Council England, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, Brian Mercer Trust and Foundations and Partners. This project is part-funded by the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

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