This year marks the 100th anniversary of The Representation of the People’s Act – a law that reformed the electoral system in Great Britain.
It’s also the 150th anniversary of the TUC, which was formed at the Manchester Mechanics Institute by the Manchester and Salford Trades Council, and the 60th anniversary of the formation of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
And next year marks the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre, when 15 people were killed and hundreds injured when armed militia attacked a crowd of peaceful protesters gathered to hear orator Henry Hunt speak.
It’s fitting, therefore, that this year’s Manchester Histories Festival has protest, democracy and freedom of speech as its theme.
A long weekend of events will take place in All Saints Park which will have its very own Speakers Corner.
Soapbox 2018 will provide a platform for individuals from all walks of life to perform or present their ideas.
“Democratic society cannot function without an active commitment to freedom of expression which enables citizens to access and exchange information, share ideas, form judgements, communicate opinions, promote causes and thereby participate in their governance,” says Karen Shannon, CEO of Manchester Histories.
“Soapbox is a way for anybody to have their say on whatever is important to them and expressed in whatever way they want.
“We have already had applications from poets, rappers, musicians, dancers, and orators, and are looking forward to receiving further applications.”
Whether you want to delve into the subject of data freedom, stir up conversation about social media or just want a really satisfying rant about our rights – this is the place for you.
So why not get involved? The event will run from 1pm – 7pm on Friday 8th until Sunday 10th June. The closing date for applications is Friday 13th April.
Performances should fit into a 15 minute maximum time slot and can be in any language, but need to be spoken out loud by the writer or another person.