Playground of Wonders (2013-2016)




Artists and communities came together in October 2015 for a two-day celebration of all things food in the splendour of the Pavilion Theatre in Blackpool’s Winter Gardens. Banquet combined performances, installations, talks, and shared meals that all explored:

  • Food
  • What it means to us
  • Where it comes from
  • The pleasure of eating together



Walk, Talk, Eat with me

Friday evening saw theatre company Unfinished Business create a new show called Walk, Talk, Eat With Me in collaboration with young people from Blackpool based homeless charity Streetlife. Starting with a personal tour through the town and ending with a meal which audiences helped to create, the show aimed to share stories and experiences of homelessness in Blackpool.

Dishing The Dirt

In-Situ, environment artist and food activist Kerry Morrison and FoodRiot chef Gill Watson, hosted Dishing The Dirt, a performance and meal combined which questioned where our food comes from. Not always for the faint hearted, the meal included a host of culinary surprises as science and art collided to create an unforgettable experience for audiences.

Food Hall

The Horseshoe area around the Pavilion Theatre played host to the Banquet Food Hall organised by Sustainable Food Lancashire on the Saturday. The Food Hall offered a delicious array of food themed stalls, installations and talks exploring all aspects of food, sustainability, and health. Children were able to start their foodie journeys with specially created activities and, if you were feeling peckish, you were able to taste some grub from some of Lancashire’s premier food producers.

Homestead Pancake House

Residents of Grange Park, alongside Squash Nutrition, came together to create the Homestead Harvest Pancake House in the Pavilion Theatre. People were invited to come along and try a plate of tasty free pancakes with fruit fillings fresh from the allotments harvest.

The People's Pottery by Emilie Taylor & Victoria Dawes

Working with residents and participants on the Cherry Tree allotments, hosted by Grow Blackpool, ceramic artists Emilie Taylor and Victoria Dawes spent months helping people make 50 ceramic plates and bowls, which illustrated their makers’ food stories to be used in the Banquet meal events.

Bread and Butter Stitches by Harriet Riddel

Textile performance artist Harriet Riddel, created a huge table cloth which was displayed at Banquet. Harriet worked with the Blackpool Embroiderers Guild and older people in Dementia Care Homes in the area to create live stitching portraits of participants as they talked about their most abiding food memories and recollections, to create a visual social history of food in Blackpool.

Wyre Salters by Maya Chowdhry and Jessica Mauthers

Over the course of a few months, Maya and Jessica worked with a group of Wyre residents to create a cottage industry of artisan salt-making to explore how to make salt with the unique taste of Wyre, all the way from the sea to the table. Wyre salt was available for the meals throughout Banquet.

The Lost Orchards of the Left Coast – A project of discovery by theatre maker and story teller Phillip Parr

Over the course of the summer and autumn 2015, Philip walked the streets of Blackpool and Wyre asking people about the fruit trees in their area in order to create local maps of ‘Orchards. He watched the fruit develop and ripen over the summer and picked what he could at harvest time to make produce to taste at the Banquet event.

Banquet Table by Michael Powell

Artist Michael Powell worked with Blackpool Carers Centre Woodworking group and local schools during September to create a giant banquet table, which was used at the Banquet meals.

Wabi-Cha – The art of tea by Caroline Jupp

Wabi meaning beauty found in simple things

Cha meaning tea

Jupp’s Wabi-cha project surveys and celebrates the aesthetics of tea drinking, adapting some of the principles of Japanese Wabi-Cha to explore regional and individual tea rituals in Blackpool & Wyre. The artist presented her tea-drinking research as a series of chapbooks that document people’s teapots and teacups, favourite blends of tea and the best company to share a brew with, highlighting the important social role that tea plays in everyday community life. At the Banquet events, Jupp served tea in small ceremonies inspired by her tea encounters with Blackpool & Wyre residents.