THE popular Knutsford Promenades festival, the multi-site event staged as part of Heritage Open Days, launches its programme for September at the RHS Show at Tatton Park.

“Our theme is Extraordinary Women, so we have also collaborated with Mid-Cheshire Community Rail Partnership’s Amazing Women by Rail project,” said Sarah Flannery, chairman of Knutsford Promenades.

“This has opened up a rich opportunity for us to celebrate the women that Dame Jenni Murray DBE calls ‘our cultural powerhouse’ in the centenary year of the first group of women being given the right to vote.

“We wanted to highlight two former residents of Knutsford, Elizabeth Gaskell and Alison Uttley, and reflect how their influence extends far beyond Knutsforsd.

“So in addition to a fascinating mix of themed and curated events, talks and displays in the town, we have commissioned a new community theatre piece called From Station to Station.”

From Station to Station has been written by Steven Downs, who wrote last year’s acclaimed Regina v Turing and Murray.

Inspired by one of Alison Uttley’s own novels, it imagines Mrs Gaskell and Alison Uttley meeting in the modern world due to a ‘time slip’, weaving into their lives and views the influences of other notable women along the Mid-Cheshire line including Elizabeth Raffald, Mary Fildes, Helen Allingham and Charlotte Bronte.

The props are being made at community workshops in towns on the route including Northwich, Knutsford, Altrincham and Stockport led by artist Russell Kirk.

Performances will take place in Knutsford, at Manchester Piccadilly railway station and even on a train travelling from Chester to Manchester.

“Hot off the press, our programme will be available at Bruntwood’s fabulous Show garden at RHS Tatton with a props-making workshop taking place there on Saturday, July 21 so that visitors can get involved,” added Sarah.

“We are grateful for the support of main sponsors Bruntwood, Mid Cheshire Community Rail Partnership, Manchester Airport, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Edmundson Electrical, Altrincham Unlimited, Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council, Northwich BID and Tatton Park.

“Bruntwood has also invited Brook Street Chapel and members of The Gaskell Society to attend in period costume for readings on Thursday, July 19 so we are really flying the flag for our ‘Amazing Women’.”