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Created in collaboration with 18–25-year-olds, Stones After Sunset will centre around the famous Calder Stones, megaliths built as a gathering place for the ‘first Scousers’ more than 4,000 years ago.
“There will be a range of activities,” says Holly Gilson, heritage co-ordinator at The Reader, “from interactive tours of the stones, crafts and music, and fireside stories harking back to things people might have been doing in the Stone Age when they were first built.
“And there’ll be food and drink to purchase if people wish, with a prehistoric inspired menu including Stone Age Scouse and Foragers Salad!”
Being held on Wednesday, September 15, Stones After Sunset is part of the New Wave Project organised by Heritage Open Days, which is aiming to push the boundaries as to what people expect from HODs and make them more accessible to a young adults.
Heritage Open Days are running from September 11-19 and, organised by the National Trust with support from People’s Postcode Lottery, aim to celebrate England’s History and Culture with this year’s theme, Edible England.
It’s a chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences – all of which are free to explore.
Stones After Sunset is open to over 18s only and is a drop-in event between 6pm-11pm, with last entry at 9pm.
It will explore whether prehistoric people travelled to the stones to help them celebrate life, share stories or connect to their community.
Holly adds: “If you’re looking for a fun evening out which is a little bit different, where you will be able to learn something new and have a really good time, it’s for you.
“For many people in the area, these stones are a mystery. We have people coming to the Mansion House and they had no idea these stones were here.
“That’s one of the best bits of the job when you can explain to people how the history of Liverpool goes back 4,000 years and the stones are the record that we have of the very first people that settled in the area and the kinds of life that they were living.
“They must have been so important to people because they put so much effort into carving them.”
And she adds: “They are still important today, they are a local landmark that will be here for thousands of years in the future and events like this are great because they are making younger people aware of them, safeguarding heritage for the future and making sure more people care about them.”
The Reader at Mansion House at Calderstones Park is a national charity hoping to bring about a ‘Reading Revolution’ to enable everyone to experience and enjoy great literature, which it believes is a tool for helping people survive and live well.
With the help of volunteers and partners, it brings people together each week to share and discuss novels, short stories and poems. It reads with a host of groups, from schools and families, to adults in community spaces, people in care homes, people with physical and mental health conditions, and those coping with or recovering from addiction, or who are in the criminal justice system.
And, as well as Shared Reading, it organises events and activities to bring people together and books to life.
Holly says that events like Stones After Sunset also raise awareness of The Reader itself, and its aims to enhance people’s well-being and mental health.
And she adds: “We know that young adults have suffered over the last 18 months during the pandemic, so if we are able to let more of these people know about the kind of things we have on site which they might find really useful, then that’s a really good thing.
“The big link between the Calder Stones and what we do now at The Reader is that when we do our Shared Reading, people gather round and they find meaning which is important to them in the literature; and we have obviously got these carvings on the Stones and we very much see it that these carvings were also people making meaning from the world around them, connecting to each other, so we see it that we are continuing a tradition they started 4,000 years ago.”
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