Northern Soul

If you love the North, then Northern Soul is for you. Written in the North of England by Northern writers, Northern Soul is a celebration of culture and enterprise, from theatre, music, authors and art to heritage, small businesses, food and leading figures, as well as everything in-between.

Talking to people who work, rest and play in the North of England and scour the region for interesting stories, histories, ambitions and events. Want to read a carefully crafted article about an oddball museum or go behind the scenes of a leading institution? You can find that on Northern Soul.

Start the fans please! Northern Soul attempts The Crystal Maze

Locating the entrance to The Crystal Maze Experience in Manchester is a bit like taking part in one of its infamous challenges. As we wait for our team to congregate in the rare March sunshine, the early-comers discuss tactics, or lack thereof, and strategy. I’ve been avoiding putting any serious thought into the upcoming tasks, […]

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Wed, 29 Mar 2017 21:14:32 +0000

Northern Soul talks to Bradford’s Brick Box about gentrification, folklore and community arts

Sitting upstairs at the Forks cafe in front of the enormous window overlooking Bradford’s up-and-coming North Parade high street, Rosie Freeman is holding forth about the many attractions of her newly adopted city. The 31-year-old is co-director of The Brick Box, the highly regarded arts organisation and community interest company that last year relocated from […]

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Wed, 29 Mar 2017 19:31:51 +0000

Preview: ¡Viva! Spanish and Latin American Festival 2017, HOME, Manchester

Over the next few weeks the spirit of Franco will be looming large at HOME in Manchester – and no, that’s nothing to do with Robert Carlyle’s character in Trainspotting. The venue is about to open the doors on this year’s ¡Viva! Festival celebrating Spanish and Latin American culture. A popular annual staple from back […]

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Wed, 29 Mar 2017 18:34:57 +0000

Review: The Commitments, Palace Theatre, Manchester

It’s unlike me to be picky or to sound even vaguely like a music bore, but it doesn’t reflect well on any production when the programme is full of all sorts of howlers. Setting aside the blithe assertion that ‘soul is the marriage of gospel, rock ’n’ roll and the blues’ or its beneath simplistic […]

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Wed, 29 Mar 2017 17:28:17 +0000

Are we snobbish about art? The Northern Soul Podcast

Hurrah and huzzah! It’s time for the Northern Soul Podcast. This month Laura Brown asks, are we snobbish when it comes to art? She explores the concept of ‘threshold phobia’ – the physical act of walking into a room when you don’t know what to expect. After all, the unknown is incredibly daunting and ‘art’ can sometimes come with […]

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Fri, 24 Mar 2017 21:14:27 +0000

The book that changed my life: Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury’s landmark 1953 dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 is not a book about censorship. Nor is it a book about firemen or the physical destruction of books. It’s not even, as Bradbury suggests, a book about how the increasing pace of modern life slowly erodes and destroys human capacity to appreciate literature. No, Fahrenheit 451 […]

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Fri, 24 Mar 2017 18:51:06 +0000

The Lawrence Batley Theatre: we go behind the scenes of a Huddersfield institution

It’s snowing as I alight at Huddersfield train station. It’s the kind of snow that falls in fine sheets, more slush than fluffy snowflake, but as I reach the entrance to the Lawrence Batley Theatre my arctic trip from Stockport becomes worth it. The theatre is a Grade II listed building, yellow-brick and stately, like […]

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Fri, 24 Mar 2017 17:52:17 +0000

Review: The Witchfinder’s Sister, Waterstones Deansgate, Manchester

There’s something about Waterstones Deansgate in Manchester. It’s the welcoming, colourful displays and the passion with which they celebrate local talent and history alongside bestsellers that makes it feel like a local bookshop. I’m here for the launch of Beth Underdown’s debut novel, The Witchfinder’s Sister. Hailing from Rochdale and a lecturer in creative writing at […]

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Fri, 24 Mar 2017 15:42:46 +0000