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New show at Oldham Library and Lifelong Learning Centre offers fun escapades into childhood

Oliver Sykes in Fishing for Rainbows. Image: Dawn Kilner

An award-winning children's writer, Oliver Sykes, is bringing a funny and empowering one-man show for children, Fishing for Rainbows, inspired by his own family's fishing escapades this half term in February.

Suitable for audiences aged five and above, the Fishing for Rainbows stage adaptation tells the story of strong-minded siblings Kezia, Duke and Danior Boswell. 

Since their mum passed away, the family has fallen into a strict routine. The boys and dad go fishing while 12-year-old Kezia stays home to tidy up and cook. But Kezia has a plan to transform herself from a modern-day Cinderella into a cool fisher girl!

The author and performer, Oliver Sykes, 34, who grew up in the Peak District in north Derbyshire and now lives in North Wales, said: "Fishing for Rainbows is inspired by my childhood when I would often go out fishing with my dad and brothers.

"The character of Kezia was created for my little sister, Amber, who says she always felt sad not to be invited on the fishing trips.

"It is a story about families, loss and reaching for the stars."

Oliver was one of six kids brought up on the breadline by his single-parent dad on a rural council estate.

When the children's mum suddenly walked out on the family, dad Chris quit his factory job to look after his children. They survived on free school meals and yellow-stickered, cut-price items from the supermarket, supplementing their diet by hunting and fishing, as was common in his dad's Romani culture.

So, fishing became an important part of Oliver's childhood, as both an adventure-filled family day out and a way to put a cheap and nutritious meal on the table.

The book Fishing for Rainbows is Oliver's second children's book, and has just been longlisted for the 2024 Children’s Literature Festivals Book Awards. It was published in May 2023.

Fishing for Rainbows follows Oliver's successful stage version of his first book, Alfie's First Fight. The book was published in 2022 and named Illustrated Young Reader of the Year at the 2023 Children’s Literature Festivals Book Award. Influenced by his family's love for boxing, Alfie's First Fight show toured 60 venues across England and Wales, including libraries, theatres, schools and even boxing clubs.

The Fishing for Rainbows stage show is supported by Big Imaginations, Z-Arts and Touchstones and was created using public funding from Arts Council England. It is written and performed by Oliver Sykes and directed by Dominic Berry.

You can see the show at Oldham Library and Lifelong Learning Centre on Friday, February 23, at 10.30am. A free children's writing workshop follows at 12pm.


*Info: Fishing for Rainbows


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