Top Five: Summer 2016 calendar

Admittedly, it doesn’t feel much like summer as I write this considering there is rain lashing down against my window and I’m wearing a jumper. Nevertheless, I’m sure we’ll soon see enough sun to be able to wheel our BBQs out for the final time this year, before returning them to the back of the garage and waving goodbye…

For the most part, I will be spending my summer in Stoke this year as I am required to carry out my dissertation research over the holiday period and this bizarre city is my topic of choice. It doesn’t sound quite so interesting when you compare it to the 6 weeks my housemate is currently enjoying in Mexico researching sea turtles, but each to their own eh?

I imagine when it comes to transcribing my interviews and analysing data, boredom will become my greatest friend and so as a preemptive measure, I’ve been investigating what the area has to offer in terms of events and activities over the next couple of months…it would appear we are spoilt for choice! Here are my top 5 things to do this summer:

  1. Stoke-on-Trent’s Big Dance Festival: This weekend will see Hanley alive with a huge dance extravaganza! With outdoor performances along the ever-more-quirky Piccadilly, an evening show at the Mitchell Arts Centre headlined by Company Chameleon and dance workshops at The Regent, it will be difficult NOT to get involved. More information at

  2. Appetite’s Big Feast 2016: In case you are yet to encounter Appetite Stoke, they are an organisation seeking to get more people in Stoke interested in the arts, as research found Stoke-on-Trent to be one of the most ‘culturally-deprived’ areas of the UK. ‘The Big Feast 2016’ will undoubtedly be one of their programme’s highlights, bringing a vast array of predominantly free events right to the city centre. Across the August bank holiday weekend you can expect to find dance, theatre, music, comedy and even cabaret- there really is something to suit people of all ages and tastes. Take a look at their website for more details:

  3. Middleport Pottery’s Summer Programme: Ever since its regeneration efforts – led by the Princes’ Trust- Middleport Pottery has been going from strength to strength. Monthly craft fairs, clay courses and specific school holidays activities are all on offer throughout July and August and if this isn’t enough to tempt you over, they also have a cafe and a lovely canal-side location. Find out more at:

  4. The ‘Costumes from Downton’ exhibition at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery:  Until the beginning of October, our very own PMAG will be home to a collection of costumes worn in series’ 1 & 2 of ITV’s Downton Abbey. For Downton-enthusiasts and fashionistas alike, this exhibition will provide an interesting afternoon of both re-living the series and appreciating the design work. For ticket info and opening times:
  5. Back the bid for Stoke-on-Trent to become the 2021 UK City of Culture: Hull is the latest city to win this award for 2017 with Londonderry enjoying it before that in 2013. The title is awarded every 4 years and brings real benefits to the winning cities in terms of jobs, growth and quality of living. Various organisations across the city have began discussing Stoke’s bid and they need everyone to get behind it and bring their own ideas to the table. Head over to to pledge your support.

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