In Haunt

Come and see The Bones of Paine in a whole new light – as a specially-designed puppet by Walk the Plank in association with the Working Class Movement Library will be at the heart of an exciting Fun Palace event taking place at the Cobden Works in Salford on Sunday 6 October 2019.

By Chris Payne

Previously covered by Haunt Manchester here, the Bones of Paine Puppet is a unique creation intended to spread the story of the pioneering 18th century political theorist Thomas Paine – and more about his life can also be discovered at The Working Class Movement Library. His ideas on concepts such as human rights and representation proved highly influential – and 2019 marks the 200th anniversary of when his bones arrived in Salford!

So what is the story?  Although Thomas Paine died in America 1809, in 1819 his bones were dug up from their original New York resting place by the campaigning journalist William Cobbett, who wanted to give Paine a proper burial… and he attempted to bring the bones to England! This involved a journey across the Atlantic, arriving in the port of Liverpool in 1819 and yet on reaching Manchester, Cobbett and Paine’s bones were refused entry to the city. In turn, they only got as far as Salford! The bones later disappeared.

But now they are back – in the form of Walk The Plank’s larger-than-life puppet; a skeleton sitting in a chest atop an adult tricycle! The public will be able to see it again for themselves – following earlier involvement in the Peterloo 2019 commemorations – as Walk the Plank’s home of the Cobden Works (we previously featured their fundraiser for an eco-friendly roof here) becomes a Halloween-inspired Fun Palace for a family-friendly Sunday.

Throughout the day on the 6 October, visitors will be able to see the Bones of Paine puppet plus other ‘Skelly bobs’ puppets. There will be creative sessions with Salford Victorian Theatre Trust, including badge making and activities such as a pumpkin tombola, part of the Veg Show. Other features include information from the National Trust, and catering on-hand thanks to an outdoor stone baked pizza oven!

By Chris Payne It certainly sounds like fun – and Walk The Plank are no strangers to the Fun Palace concept, having been involved in two previous events. Fun Palaces are part of a community-driven initiative intended get the community at the heart of creating, making and exploring – involving people of all ages and backgrounds. This interaction and innovation matters to Walk the Plank – outdoor arts experts who have been based in Salford for a number of years, with their Cobden Works base going on to win a RIBA North West Award 2018 and bouncing back despite a devastating fire.

Therefore The Bones of Paine Fun Palace offers an exciting opportunity to visit this unique venue and get up close and personal with fascinating figures from history, pre-Halloween treats and plenty more. Visit the website https://walktheplank.co.uk/project/fun-palace/  for further information.  Don’t forget, for more Halloween fun, Walk the Plank are also bringing back a skeleton of a different kind…  The Strolling Bones – a brilliant procession – as part of Halloween in the City 2019, across the weekend of 26-27 October.

For more on The Bones of Paine, the puppet is set to be part of an exciting procession down The Crescent in Salford on Saturday 30 November and there is more information about the project online. https://www.wcml.org.uk/about-us/projects/bones-of-paine/

By Emily Oldfield

Photography - from Salford’s Big Day Out, with thanks to/credit Chris Payne

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