How To Begin workshop by Louise Orwin (deadline Feb 21, 2021)

In 2019, I was delighted to invite Louise Orwin to Preston, as part of Lancashire Fringe Festival with her show Oh Yes Oh No. The brilliant show was one of the cornerstone performances of the festival. Delivering complex subject matter with technical and tehatrical brilliance, Oh Yes Oh No is contemporary performance at its best. You can read about the show here.

Louise Orwin is one of the UK’s leading contemporary performers. I was delighted to be able support the development of her latest project, a digital artist workshop called How To Begin, designed to inspire, re-boot and develop your work. Apply here:

These workshops are now open to all practicing artists, with the first week-long workshops beginning on March 1, 2021 (application deadline Feb 21, 2021).

More details:

Dates of workshop: March 1st – 7th 2021 and March 8th – 14th 2021
Price: £45 / £30, with scholarship places available
More info and application:

HOW TO BEGIN is a week-long digital artist workshop designed as a space to reignite, reawaken, or re-encounter your artistic practice. It is a place for anyone who feels blocked, uninspired, bored, fed up, or out of love with their artistic practice. You can think of this as an artist’s call-to-arms, an invitation to commune with your art-self, or a love letter to your burgeoning art practice.

Applications open 1st Feb, and closes 21st Feb at midnight.
Access: Workshop content is fully captioned, and is designed to be approached at your own pace through the week. Tasks can be done anywhere/any time each day, we just ask that participants set aside 1 hr minimum a day. The final session on zoom is the only fixed time session of the week (Sunday 2-5pm), and we ask that all participants be available for this session. 

Lancashire Photography Festival progress report

Pendle Hill and villahe of Barley, Lancashire.

Pendle Hill and village of Barley, Lancashire.

Avenham and MMiller Park, Preston, Lancashire Sunday January 17, 2021.

Avenham and MMiller Park, Preston, Lancashire Sunday January 17, 2021.

Longridge Fell, Lancashire.

Longridge Fell, Lancashire.

Longridge Fell, Lancashire.

Longridge Fell, Lancashire.

I’m working hard on organising Lancashire Photography Festival, which will exhibit stunning documentary photography images outdoors in the city of Preston, Lancashire, in the spring of 2021. We’re working for an April launch. I’ve spoken to one or two brilliant photographers about displaying their work. And will confirm their participation once the right venues are secured. Conversations are ongoing with dozens of independent businesses and property owners, so I’m really hoping they will get on board and make Lancashire Photography Festival a major cultural event in the city. Support and practical help from the city council has been a bit slow so far but hopefully when they are ready to get in touch they can contribute to what I hope will be a long-term annual project. This city – like any city in the UK or around the world currently in lockdown – needs innovative cultural events and exhibitions to maintain arts engagement and encourage all the health and wellbeing benefits which come from this. Lancashire Photography Festival addresses all of these issues by displaying all art works in an outward facing way so they can be viewed outdoors in a totally safe way, whatever the lockdown restrictions are. I believe this is will be a truly innovative festival, bringing an under-used but highly respected art form – documentary photography – to an area where similar festivals are not held. That area is Preston, Lancashire, the North West, Northern England. While other countries do outdoor photography festivals brilliantly, we in the UK are far, far behind. This is the first step in redressing this imbalance and I hope Lancashire Photography Festival can become a hugely respected event internationally – but it starts from small beginnings and we need support from the city of Preston Get in touch with Garry Cook at if you feel you could offer us support through venues, wall space, window space, sponsorship or with the physical installation of the images. Thank you Garry Cook
Pendle Hill and villahe of Barley, Lancashire.

CALL OUT: Take part in Lancashire Photography Festival via workshops leading to an exhibition of your work.

Preston City Centre, Lancashire – people wearing face masks the day after compulsory wearing in shops came into force in England
Moor Park, Preston, Lancashire on Weds, May 27 during UK lockodwn.

Open Call / call out – photography festival

Create your own photojournalism/documentary photography project

Lancashire Photography Festival is seeking people to take part in a photography project.

Follow us on social media: @EnjoyTheShowUK

The project will see participants produce a short photo story (a series of photographs which tell a single story) which will be exhibited outdoors in Preston as part of Lancashire Photography Festival 2021. The festival is provisionally planned for Spring 2021.

The workshops will be held online because of lockdown – but are free and open to anyone.

The workshops will focus on basic photography techniques and how to tell a story in a series of images. You will produce a set of images which will be viewed as a set. These images will be in the style of either photojournalism or documentary photography – both genres are closely linked. The workshops will go into detail on both styles of photography and how to produce these types of images. All images must have been taken in 2021 as part of the project.

During lockdown, photographic stories are harder to create. But photography is able to be carried out during lockdown conditions, either at a safe social distance (because you can photograph things/people from a distance) or images can be taken within home environments. Some of the best photojournalism and documentary projects over the past 12 months have shown life in lockdown through creative imagery. These workshops will show you how to apply photojournalistic techniques to your own images.

Participants will be expected to photograph a story in approximately six images, and can expect some or all of the images to be exhibited in an outdoor or outward facing location – such as a wall or shop window in Preston.

There is no cost to take part in this project. Workshops are free to attend. Printing costs of images will be paid for by Lancashire Photography Festival. For anyone wishing to take part but who is unable to join online workshops, communication will take place via printed worksheets delivered in the post.

Workshops will be held on weekday evenings (dates to be decided) beginning in February 2021. There will be approximately three workshops. Support materials will be available for those unable to attend a meeting.

The festival is being held in Preston, Lancashire. People taking part in the project DO NOT have to be from the area – or even the UK – to take part in the project. Images taken for the project DO NOT have to be taken in Preston or Lancashire.

Spaces on the workshops will be limited. Apply now by emailing gazcook [@] (applications can be on a word doc, pdf or in the body of an email).

To apply give your:

Contact details (phone and email):
Give a short statement about your photography and why you want to take part (no more than 200 words):

Optional – send up to five images of your photography with this application (please label images with your surname first i.e cook_001, cook_002 etc).

DEADLINE: 11.59pm, Jan 31, 2021

For more information about documentary photography, watch this video:

On YouTube:
On Facebook:

NOTE: If you run any kind of social or community group and would like to take part in this project, get in touch with Garry Cook at gazcook [@] to discuss the possibility of taking part in the photography festival.

Garry Cook @EnjoyTheShowUK

Lancashire Photography Festival 2021

In 2021 we are delighted to continue our arts work the Preston’s first OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL – bringing brilliant documentary photography to the streets of Preston.

This festival will mix work of some of the UK’s best documentary photographers with new comissions and the work of local photographers. Our aim is to get as many local photographers involved as possible – and get their images displayed across the city.

Enjoy The Show wants LANCASHIRE PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL to become the leading outdoor photography festival in the North of England – making Preston the home of documentary photography, bringing tourists to the city and making Preston proud of arts and culture.

The festival is perfect for 2021 and beyond, bringing art into the city in a safe socially-distanced way. With The Harris museum also set to close for several years for refurbishment, this festival will help ensure arts events carry on in Preston.

Follow @EnjoyTheShowUK on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to keep up to date with festival developments – and look out for further announcements.

@EnjoyTheShowUK is run by @gazcook

You, Me & Cold War Steve exhibition at The Larder, Preston

2020 has been a disaster for live shows, arts and culture – but Enjoy The Show was delighted to bring the cult You, Me & Cold War Steve exhibition to Preston in an outward-facing window exhibition during the lockdown, ensuring that the arts continued in Preston and Lancashire.

This was the press release:
Cold War Steve’s latest exhibition comes to The Larder, Preston

Britain’s leading political satirist Cold War Steve is exhibiting his latest work You, Me & Cold War Steve at The Larder, Preston, for a month from April 4.
 You, Me & Cold War Steve – The International Exhibition of the People is the third exhibition by the cult artist and is being exhibited by The Larder, a social enterprise cafe from April 4 to May 2, 2020.

Under the pseudonym Cold War Steve, artist Christopher Spencer has built an international reputation for his satirical artworks, which he began publishing on Twitter in 2016.

His artworks, often featuring images of political leaders alongside Cilla Black, Noel Edmonds and the eponymous EastEnders actor Steve McFadden, have been featured in publications around the world and even graced the cover of TIME magazine last June. It has also been featured heavily in The Guardian and The Big Issue.

Midlands-based Spencer began creating his work on a photo editing app on his iPad and publishing them on Twitter – where they soon began grabbing attention through a mixture of cutting political criticism and absurd visual storytelling.

Cold War Steve has published two books with Thames & Hudson and received commissions from National Galleries of Scotland and the Whitworth in Manchester. His work has also been printed on a giant billboard in Liverpool and at Glastonbury Festival, collaborating with Led By Donkeys.

In December last year, one of his pre-election images featuring Boris Johnson was set in Preston Bus Station’s former cafe.

The exhibition at The Larder, Lancaster Road, Preston, runs from Saturday, April 4 until Saturday, May 2.

You, Me & Cold War Steve – The International Exhibition of the People, is exhibiting at dozens of venues across the country simultaneously, has been organised by local events promoter Garry Cook.

Cook said: “Cold War Steve is the most iconic artist working in Britain today. His work, which is so simple yet cuttingly satirical, appeals to so many people and I’m delighted to bring the exhibition to Preston.

“Christopher Spencer is a genuine post-modern cult hero who helped make sense of the non-sense of Brexit through his daily collage creations. It’s absolutely  brilliant that Preston is part of this unique exhibition by a genuinely unique and remarkable talent.

“Cold War Steve’s work relates to real people and I know he is delighted to have it exhibited in a venue like The Larder in a city like Preston, which is home to the kind of people and ideals that the artist stands for.

“If you only go and see one exhibition or artwork this year – make it this one. These images will give you huge enjoyment, they will make you laugh and you will be staring at them for much longer than you ever thought you would stare at a photograph.

“You will also be supporting a relatively new and brilliant social enterprise cafe in The Larder, whose community work and ethical message is already having a huge impact on the city.”

CALL OUT: Preston’s creative community commission (deadline July 24, 2020)

CALL OUT: Targeting PRESTON’s creative community affected by lockdown (i.e. you lost income).
DEADLINE: JULY 24, 2020 – 5pm.

This call out is for all creatives in Preston – artists, musicians, photographers, performers.

I’ve been trying to raise £1,000 so that I can commission several Preston creatives to produce new work, and help ease their financial strain during these difficult times. Fundraiser details here – you can still donate:

One of the commissions will be picked by Preston’s No.1 independent music venue The Ferret, with the aim of that to be performed/displayed at their venues after lockdown.

The other commissions will be exhibited or performed in the city sometime after lockdown.

All you have to do to apply is send some brief details of yourself and your idea, and demonstrate a link to Preston (i.e. you live in the city or work in the city.

Thanks to everyone for their support so far – shares and donations – including The Ferret who have made a big donation in order to be part of this community funder for Preston.

As lockdown is slowly lifting, the fundraiser must now come to an end so the deadline to apply for funding is Friday July 24, 5pm.

Here are the details:

Email with:

Your name, address and contact details
Your connection with Preston (one sentence)
Brief description of new work you would like to create (300 words max)

NOTE: Photographs/videos/web links of proposed work/previous work are welcome (and are not counted as part of the 300 word project description)


Preston Artists Coronavirus Hardship Fund

NOTE: The crowdfunder is for artists of any kind, including (but not limited to): performers, poets, actors, writers, photographers, painters, sculptors, sound artists and musicians.

IN A NUTSHELL: This crowdfunder is raising money for artists and creatives in Preston to produce new works to be performed/displayed after the covid-19 lockodwn is lifted.

My name is Garry Cook, I’m a freelance photographer and arts producer based in Preston. I’ve been putting on theatre and spoken-word performances in the city and around the North West for the past few years.

I’m launching this Go Fund Me campaign for two reasons. As a freelance creative, I know how difficult this coronavirus lockdown has been for artists. Many already work on tight budgets and are now really struggling after having commissions and jobs cancelled. And secondly, because of this covid-19 lockdown, this city and its people have been starved of live theatre, performance and art experience – and I want to make sure we bounce back with a celebration of this area’s brilliant creativity.

The initial idea of the fundraiser is to provide five artists with £200 each. If more money is raised, more artists will receive £200. The money will be paid upfront to artists in order to give them immediate financial support during a period where many of them will not have any income.

Then – when all this is over – the aim is to get as many people as possible to see the new works (whatever they may be) so that the people of Preston and the wider area of Lancashire can experience great art and performance – and feel proud of the city and the place they live.

However, this crowdfunder differs in two ways from others currently active in cities across the country.

Firstly, the money is essentially payment for artists to produce a piece of new work of their choice. I would like that work to be performed or displayed in Preston, Lancashire, on one night or more, sometime after this covid-19 lockdown is lifted (date(s) to be confirmed, possibly in October 2020). If an artwork, the artist should be willing to attend the opening and introduce their work.

Secondly, unlike other hardship funds this WILL NOT be done on a first-come, first served basis. All applications will be assessed on artistic merit. I will assess them (and may ask a trusted arts-based practitioner to help me).

Please share this fundraiser with all your friends and contacts, particularly local businesses and organisations who you think may like to be involved. I’m hoping some of the city’s bigger institutions will step forward and donate to this fundraiser, and stand alongside the people of this city in supporting its great and growing creative sector.

For the artists getting the money:

My only firm stipulations for suitability of work are that the applications demonstrate high artistic quality. I will be looking for a diverse range of art forms.

My own work in the arts has seen me put on a load of performance shows in several venues across the city, often bringing nationally and internationally acclaimed performers and shows to Preston. But part of my work, particularly during Lancashire Fringe Festival in 2019, has been developing new, emerging and local talent – which is where this crowdfunder is focused.

Preston has made huge strides in arts and cultures over the last ten years and I want the creatives instrumental in this growth can be supported during this hugely difficult time,

If £1,000 is raised, I will immediately assess applications and commission five creatives. This process will be repeated after every additional £1,000 (with ALL applications reconsidered, so no need to re-apply.

Information and how to apply
For any performances or exhibitions of new art works, I will organise venues and logistics, working with all artists involved. You can see some of the performers I’ve brought to the city – but please don’t let these examples limit your ideas.

The only criteria needed to apply for this funding is that you can demonstrate a connection with Preston and are willing to perform/display your new work in the city later this year (possibly in October as stated already). The money raised for this crowdfunder is available to anyone who works as a creative, including students. Individuals or groups can apply. If it is successful, I expect a lot more applications than I can commission and appreciate that too many people will not be funded by this project – but I’m hoping it will really make a difference to some of the fantastic creatives currently living and working within this city.

I’ll do my best to answer any questions (within a reasonable time).

To apply for this fund email with:

Your name, address and contact details
Your bank details
Your connection with Preston (one sentence)
Brief description of new work you would like to create (300 words max)
NOTE: Photographs/videos/web links of proposed work/previous work are welcome (and are not counted as part of the 300 word project description)

Further information:
I appreciate that for some artists £200 will not cover materials costs. For example, this money would not cover the printing and framing of photographs for an exhibition – but I would not want a photographer to be deterred from entering. I appreciate that a meaningful photography project could not be carried out under lockdown, but new/recent work – not previously exhibited – is welcome to be submitted.

If you are submitting a single piece of new artwork, exhibiting existing additional work may be possible.

Unfortunately, there will be no additional funds available above the £200, but where possible I will aim to assist in reducing production costs either through support of local businesses, loan of equipment or support in kind.

Lancashire Fringe Festival feedback

Lancashire Fringe festival had an audience of almost 1,000 people for 14 performances over 10 nights in May 2019.

Here are some of the fabulous audience comments:

Absolutely  amazing. I really enjoyed it. I hope this festival will become a tradition in Preston and grow bigger and bigger. Fantastic.

Excellent. More please. Let’s make Preston the centre of culture.

Enjoyed immensely. Preston has been crying out for this for a long time. Special mention to Amy Lee Tempest and Richy Integer – great.

Fantastic mix of spoken word performances. Great to see emerging talent.

Absolutely fantastic. Funny, moving and thought-provoking (and I’m not being patronising) Superb night out.

Wonderful. Lovely to hear a litany of language fast, sad, sorry. I’ll be back for more.

It was a great introduction to the art of spoken word. very good variety of work and a high standard of performance. Can’t wait until the next one.

Excellent – great to see fringe theatre of such high calibre in Preston. Lovely stories – warm, funny and thought-provoking.

Brilliant content v well acted. Funny stories, poignant moments, sometimes strange heart-warming. Great energy, the actors seemed immersed in the stories, like they were really their own.

Original, moving, entertaining, inspirational – can’t wait for the next one! Brilliant acting, high quality performance – a great night with a convivial atmosphere and leaving me with plenty to think about.

I loved the range of monologues, the commitment from the actors. I liked the traverse staging. It meant everyone could see and it meant we could really feel transformed into a different place at each monologue. Lovely night out! Thank you. I felt the sounds were a little distracting – especially as we were near speaker. Really liked the monologues! Maybe that could be your next theme.

Excellent, very expressive. Full of emotions and understanding of various views of society these days.

Two terrific performances nice to see strong work in development, both are already appealing – look forward to what comes next. Katie is a brilliant improviser and Karen’s insights are relatable, plus gags are great and glad she kept them in!

Enjoyed the show. Initially felt nervous but liked the performance and how Katie switched from her 15-year-old self into ideas about recovery.

Don’t know how to describe it, not just a play, monologue [just a] one-woman show. And it worked! Well paced, kept my attention. Resonated. Will stay with me – which is the sign of a good story/play.

An absolutely phenomenal event, amazing job and a fantastic atmosphere! Well one Bob!

Good. Nice to see something different in a lovely location. Hope to see more events like this in Preston.


Brilliant performance. Challenging perceptions, asking questions.

Excellent. It made me cry.

Honest, raw, outstanding.

Facebook invited. I came, loved both shows. Absolutely awesome.

Amazing, the female stand up was inspiring and so real!. Need to see more female acts being appreciated. Rock N Roll was emotional and hilarious. Truly Moving.

Mind bending.


Absolutely awesome. Nannas so so current. Bras So much info and heart felt.

Great evening (unexpected protest withstanding). Great performances giving insights into women’s battles for having a say and being remembered.

Good quality, Ben put lots of effort into his performance.

Loved Ben’s performance and great to see platform given to new poets too.

Absolutely brilliant






PREVIEWS and REVIEWS: For Lancashire Fringe Festival (and other shows)

Lancashire Fringe festival had an audience of almost 1,000 people for 14 performances over 10 nights in May 2019.

Press coverage for Lancashire Fringe Festival 2019

Blog Preston Mar 9, 2019.

Lancashire Evening Post May 6, 2019.

The World News, May 6, 2019.

Visit Preston.

CCGUK, May 10, 2019.

British Theatre Guide, May 12, 2019.

Theatre of the Wild Beautiful and Damned.

North West End, May 18, 2019.

Lancashire Fringe Festival launches, Blog Preston July 7, 2016

Press coverage and other shows:

Louise Fazackerley, Blog Preston, Jan 10, 2020

Louise Fazackerley, Lancashire Post, Jan 3, 2020

Women Who W*nk, Blog Preston, November 25, 2019

Lancashire People’s Theatre, Blog Preston October 28, 2019

Lancashire People’s Theatre, Lancashire Post October 25, 2019

Mike Garry, Blog Preston October 22, 2019

Cole Moreton, Blog Preston Oct 14, 2019

Welcome to Paradise/Essex Girl, Blog Preston Sept 25, 209

Kevin P Gilday, Blog Preston Sept 16, 2019

Kevin P Gilday, Lancashire Post Sept 10, 2019

The Community Centre, Blog Preston, Aug 9, 2019

The Community Centre, Edinburgh Reporter, August 14, 2019

The Community Centre, Garstang Courier August 22, 2019

The Community Centre ITV Granda Aug 8, 2019

The Community Centre North West End Aug 8, 2019

The Community Centre, The Play’s The Thing August 2019

The Community Centre British Theatre Guide August 2019

Blackpool, What a Sh*t Place To Die, Blackpool Gazette Apr 12, 2019

Women Who W*nk, Blog Preston Mar 17, 2019

Garry Cook’s Worn, Lancashire Post Jan 8, 2019

Garry Cook’s Worn, Lancashire Post Nov 2, 2018

2019 aug 13 lep comm centre2019 sept 26 cole moretonIMG_20191001_165431lancashire peoples theatre lep oct 2019Lancashire Post, Sat. Sept. 14 2019 Page 14