Young people with experiences of living on Blackpool’s streets will be sharing their stories - and a special meal - as part of a series of events this week.
Banquet takes over the Pavilion Theatre at the Winter Gardens on Friday and Saturday, teaming up with local community groups as well as nationally recognised artists and foodies to stage a series of events.
Getting the two-day festival under way on Friday night will be Walk, Talk, Eat With Me, which sees Unfinished Business team up with Streetlife, the Blackpool homelessness charity, whose young people will guide diners on a tour of the town through their own eyes, before everyone sits down to enjoy a meal put together with raw ingredients brought along by those attending.
The event is being hosted by arts body LeftCoast with the meals the culmination of a summer-long series of workshops and artistic commissions taking place across Blackpool and Wyre.
“The Friday event is made up of the premise of socially eating and conversing and listening,” Kerenza McClarnen, LeftCoast’s creative engagement manager, added. “Sharing is a very important element of the whole Banquet weekend.”
Commissions have included the creation of 30 sets of plates and bowls being made, Wabi Char tea rituals, the Lost Orchards - where free growing fruits have been harvested and turned into produce.
Local groups, such as Blackpool Young Carers, Blackpool Embroidery Guild, the Dementia Cafe, have all been taking part in sessions.
Kerenza added: “It was an opportunity to do something, rather than one event like we have done in the community previously, that gets people involved from the early planning stages right through and at their own levels.
“We’ve run a series of commissions through the summer which will all come together.
“The meals in the Pavilion Theatre will be quite magical.
“Even the very table people will eat at has been commissioned, and the table cloth and crockery, so there’s a real sense that every element has been made by people in some way.
“The ticketed meal on Saturday, Dishing The Dirt, will be a Heston Blumenthal-type idea, followed by an afternoon picnic hosted by residents of Grange Park.”
From 11am until 5pm on Saturday the Banquet Food Hall will be open, as artists and community groups share their works, then at noon and 2pm environment artist Kerry Morrison and FoodRiot chef Gill Watson host ‘performance meal’ Dishing The Dirt with the aim of making guests question where their food comes from.
Then at 3pm and 5pm, Homestead sees Grange Park residents work with Squash Nutrition to ‘share the fruits of the harvest with a farm kitchen menu of seasonal tastes’.
Tickets to dine at Dishing The Dirt and Homestead are limited, but visitors to the Food Hall will be able to watch what’s going on too.
* Visit www.leftcoast.org.uk for the Banquet programme and tickets.