Young people from Mahdlo Youth Zone took over Parliament Square on Saturday as artists, writers, poets, and musicians from Oldham commemorated the bicentenary of the Peterloo Massacre.
The Soapbox event, which established a Speaker’s Corner in the town centre, also gave a platform to young people from Oldham Youth Council and Oldham Theatre Workshop. It was part of a Manchester wide celebration of the ideas of protest, democracy, and freedom of speech.
A number of performances took place throughout the three-hour event on a gloriously sunny afternoon in Oldham town centre. Oldham Theatre Workshop produced a series of poems and musical numbers before a Q&A conversation with Oldham Youth Council.
Mahdlo were represented by Milly, Cara, and Boris who together are 3Bless and got the crowd going with a fantastic set before an open mic featuring other Mahdlo musicians.
Steve Beal, Arts Coordinator at Mahdlo Youth Zone said: “It’s been fantastic to see so many creative young people showing off their talents. The quality of the performances and the confidence with which everyone performed is a testament to the incredible amount of hard work and passion these young people put into their craft.
“I want say a huge thank you to Manchester Histories for putting on a great show, and providing a platform for our young people in Oldham to celebrate democracy and freedom of speech through the arts.”
On 16th August 1819, 60,000 people gathered on what was then known as St Peter’s Field in Manchester to peacefully demand the reform of parliamentary representation. When troops, including local government forces, charged the crowds, the tragic result saw 18 people lose their lives and around 700 injured. This was to become known as the Peterloo Massacre.
The event is particularly relevant to Oldham as a high percentage of protesters travelled from the town.
Mahdlo is a registered charity and state-of-the-art Youth Zone in the heart of Oldham for 8-19 year olds (up to 25 for young people with a disability). Open 7 days a week, 52 weeks of the year, we offer an exciting range of activities and opportunities that all young people from across Oldham can access for just 50p as a member.
For more information visit www.mahdloyz.org