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'Off the rails' - performance piece

Having been working with Bolton North East Wildlife Trail, unearthing and restoring the footings of an old railway footbridge, I wondered how to engage the public in its history further.

I then thought, wow, I've always wanted to do some performance art and get into role and the platforms seemed like the perfect stage. I decided to dress in 30s clothes, to emphasise history and to have two chairs on the platform. One for me and one for anyone who wished to join me. The idea was that I would turn up and wait for 3 hours. The audience might have thought that I was waiting for a train, but actually I was waiting for a person. I pretty much knew that they would not turn up and so it was quite a delusional waiting - hence 'Off the rails'. It was an experience I had lived about 13 years ago and so was interesting and emotional to relive it.

Simon Gilkes shot the stills in his inimitable style. I am so pleased with the outcomes, he really captured the moods and the atmosphere. Thank you Simon.

Chris Banks the filmed the experience, his post production is amazing with its ghostly effects. My friend Sandra came to join me near the end and she provides a surprise end to the piece. Thank you Chris and Sandra.

The public walking past were interested in this strange happening on the Bolton to Bury cycle route and Chris and Simon talked with them about the railway history. One lady remarked how she used to play there as a young girl and that the restoring of the footings had brought back happy memories for her.

Mission accomplished.

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