Cotton Carnival Logo

Cotton Carnival 2023

Cotton Carnival is BACK and ready to hit the streets in 2023!

This is your invitation to join us in creating a special carnival performance to celebrate the relaunch of Stalybridge’s high street following redevelopments.

200+ community performers from across Tameside and beyond will have the opportunity to work with internationally acclaimed Carnival artists to develop a breath-taking performance piece which explores our cultural, industrial and globally connected heritage, while celebrating and nurturing our communities’ incredible talent and creativity.


Through workshops and performance, our Cotton Carnival invites communities across Tameside to consider: 

How have textiles shaped our towns?  Be that the ‘fancy flannel’ mills – which once served Queen Victoria – now converted into arts centres and community hubs; or the Ghanaian fabrics and designs, which for over 100 years have connected Hyde with West Africa, facilitating the flow of ideas, stories, people.  We’ll learn, share and be creatively inspired by the threads running through our communities.

How does our music connect us?  From marching bands, to carnival Morris groups, to Indian Dhol drummers, to Brazilian street bands, Tameside’s streets have always been alive with music.  What happens when we explore these traditions, uncover lost music, learn new skills and fuse soundworlds together?

How has dance shaped our communities? Dance has been part of human history since its earliest origins, bringing transcendence to spiritual rituals and creating bonds within communities. Dance styles have changed through history, but dance itself remains one of the most expressive physical art forms. How can reflect and share the spirit of our community through dance?

What do we carry?  With honesty, sensitivity, openness and respect, we’ll invite participants to engage and celebrate our shared histories and identities together.  Though creative conversations around how we choose to represent ourselves, each other and our community, we’ll create stunning banners for Tameside which will intrigue readers with poetry rather than polemic.

Most importantly, our diverse community cast will walk side by side, together carrying a heritage that is complex, rich, colourful, and ours.

On the 9th September 2023 the production will hit the streets of Stalybridge animated by the energy of 200 fully costumed percussionists, dancers, brass players and community performers drawn from locality. And you can be part of it.

Through generous support from Historic England and TMBC, Global Grooves and EEA are delighted to be able to invite you to join us on this adventure and form part of the cast for this amazing event. This is your opportunity to share your energy and talents with our borough, and to shed some love and light after what’s been a challenging time for many. 

All levels of experience are welcome, and all we ask is your commitment. To register your interest sign up here


Dates to add to your diaries:

  • Rehearsal 1 – Drummers and Dancers – Saturday 2nd September 2023 : 11:00am – 4:00pm (The Vale)
  • Rehearsal 2 – Drummers, Dancers and Brass – Sunday 3rd September 2023 : 11:00am – 4:00pm (The Vale)
  • Final Rehearsal – Drummers, Dancers, Brass, Puppeteers and Costume Wearers – Friday 8th September 2023 : 6:00pm – 9:00pm (Stalybridge Locations TBC)
  • Carnival Day – Everyone – Saturday 9th September 2023 : ALL DAY 9:00am – 4:00pm