The Leek Polish Connection events – 18 May to 8 Jun

The fascinating story of Leek’s Polish community

Commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Monte Cassino

Various locations in Leek, 18 May to 8 June 2024

To commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Monte Cassino, and to tell the fascinating story of Leek’s Polish community, a programme of events and exhibitions will be presented by The Leek Polish Connection working with OUTSIDE, Borderland Voices and the New Vic Theatre Borderlines.

The Leek Polish Connection Exhibition

The Nicholson Museum & Art Gallery, Stockwell Street, Leek, ST13 6DW

Sat 18 May – Sat 8th June

Open Mon – Sat 10am – 4pm (closed Sundays and Bank Holidays)

FREE

The exhibition tells the story of the Polish soldiers and families whose journey took them from labour camps in Siberia, through the Middle East, to fight in Italy and finally settle in Leek. The exhibition features details of the journey, archive footage of the Battle of Monte Cassino and what life was like in Leek for the soldiers and families. Visitors will also be able to hear recordings from members of the Polish community and explore props which bring their stories to life. For anyone with memories of the Polish experience to share, oral histories will be collected on Saturdays throughout the exhibition.

Poppies installation

Den Engel courtyard archway, 11 Stanley Street, Leek, ST13 5HG

Friday 17th May – Saturday 8th June

FREE

As part of the commemoration of the Battle of Monte Cassino, OUTSIDE has worked with pupils from St Mary’s Academy in Leek to create felt red and white poppies for an art installation. The artwork will be unveiled on Friday 17th May, ready for the commemoration on Saturday 18th May at the Den Engel courtyard archway dedicated to the Polish community.

1940s Extravaganza

Foxlowe Arts Centre, Market Place, Leek, ST13 6AD

Sat 18th May

11am – 10pm

FREE

As part of the Borderland Voices 1940s Extravaganza at the Foxlowe Arts Centre – the programme includes free traditional Polish craft activities, exhibition materials about Blackshaw Moor (11am – 5pm) and a special performance by traditional Polish dance group Polonez in the evening (8pm – 9pm) – bring your dancing shoes as you can join in!

Special Screening of EO (15)

In partnership with Foxlowe Films

Foxlowe Arts Centre, Market Place, Leek, ST13 6AD

Tues 28 May

Doors: 7:00pm, film starts: 7:45pm

Tickets here

Screened to coincide with the project celebrations in May celebrating Polish culture, EO is a strikingly beautiful and mesmerising vision of modern Europe seen through the eyes of a grey donkey with melancholic eyes and a curious spirit. EO begins his life as a circus performer before escaping across the Polish and Italian countryside, encountering an eclectic cast of characters, including a countess (Isabelle Huppert), a young Italian priest and a riotous Polish football team. This film contains flashing images which may affect viewers who are susceptible to photosensitive epilepsy.

Poland 2022 88 mins Dir: Jerzy Skolimowski (subtitled)

For more information or to express an interest in the project and group:

Join The Leek Polish Connection Facebook group or email hello@outsidearts.org 

Thanks to the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Manchester – Polish Heritage Day for supporting this project.