On Saturday 7 July TrAction, Crewe’s festival of science, movement and the arts returned for its third year running. Blending art, transport and technology, the festival took over the centre of Crewe.
Live performances as part of Spare Parts Festival mixed into the bustling Crewe shopping centre, allowing members of the public to stumble upon short, exciting displays. In Market Square, performers used machines and acrobatics to create art pieces. Drum God by Ulik Robotik used a drum attached to a machine to create an energetic slapstick performance combining acrobatics, music, humour and even bullfighting, as the machine was summoned to life under a red cloth. The performer played the drum whilst sat on a seat attached to the robot, which swirled him around, delighting the crowd. It was a completely unique performance, which demonstrated the ability of robotics to transform art.
The same machine was used in RoboPole, with the drum replaced with a pole. The performer showcased gymnastic tricks on a moving pole. The robot allowed him to make his performance even more impressive, as his ability to balance mid-air on a pole was demonstrated alongside his strength. Another performance, the dramatically named Vander Wheel of Death, saw two men dressed as superheroes keeping balance on two rotating wheels.
Children had the opportunity to get involved in creating art themselves, bringing bright colours and children’s flair to Crewe city centre. Make a Splash by Carlos Cortes in Lyceum Square encouraged children to splash colourful paints with a car as the canvas. Earle Street also became a canvas as children collaborated to make street art. Both activities allowed the children to experience creating art in an outdoor setting and expanding ways they can be creative.
In Memorial Square, there was the opportunity to take part in a Virtual Reality Playground by Thrill Laboratory. VR headsets attached to swings allowed members of the public to experience adventures in virtual worlds all whilst playing on a swing.
The day concluded with the Spareparts Super Scrap Parade, with floats themed on transport making their way through Crewe town centre. There were actors on vehicles from paddle boats to hot air balloons, with some in Around in the World in 80 Days-style costumes, telling jokes to the crowd. Other floats included a large lion, women from the local community dressed as suffragettes, and at the end of the parade, a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang themed float to promote the show coming to the Crewe Lyceum Theatre in November.
Overall, the event was a huge success, celebrating the links between art and transport and providing opportunities for Crewe residents to experience unique art experiences. We look forward to it returning to Crewe next year.
This is a guest blog post written by Sarah Newman.