Peterloo 2019 Anniversary Weekend: Peterloo Soapbox

HOME, together with Manchester Histories are offering an exciting opportunity for artists and creatives to be part of the Peterloo 2019 Anniversary Weekend, marking 200 years since the public protest and massacre at St. Peter’s Fields on the 16 August 1819.

They are inviting performers and creatives of all kinds to come and take the mic to perform a ten-minute piece on our Peterloo Soapbox. This is an open call for submissions of spoken word pieces, ranging from poetry, music and short stories to speeches, open letters (and more) around the topic of protest, democracy and freedom of speech.



  • The work should fit into a 10-minute maximum time slot when performed
  • The work needs to be spoken out loud by the writer or another person
  • The work can be presented in any language
  • The work can be performed by two people max
  • The work needs to adhere to Article 10, Freedom of Speech Act, which means the performance should contain no hate speech or incitement of physical violence and libel against other individuals.



On 16 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. Manchester Histories in partnership with key cultural organisations will deliver Peterloo 2019, a Heritage Lottery Fund supported project that will bring together people, organisations and partners to explore through events, learning and artistic exploration how the Peterloo Massacre of 1819 came to define Manchester as a radical city like no other and to mark the turning point of democracy in Britain.


About the Event

The Peterloo Soapbox, hosted on First Street by HOME, will explore the festival’s core themes of democracy, protest and freedom of speech through spoken word and performance. Speakers will be given a platform from which to voice their creative responses to the events of Peterloo, and what it has come to represent for them now. Democratic society cannot function without an active commitment to freedom of expression which enables citizens to access and exchange information, share ideas, form judgements, communicate opinions, promote causes and thereby participate in their governance. Moreover, the freedom to express minority or dissident views is not only a test of democratic government but also, through their contest with orthodoxy, the means by which values are affirmed or amended and social progress is made. In the current political climate the themes of protest, democracy, and freedom of speech are resonating around the world and HOME, together with Manchester Histories are offering you the opportunity to be part of this dialogue through your participation in our Soapbox event. It will form part of Manchester Histories programme of events ranging from June-August 2019 across Greater Manchester to commemorate this vital moment in our history.



Friday 9 August.

Artists will be informed of the outcome of their submission by Tuesday 13 August.

The event will take place on Friday 16 August from 2:30pm-5:30pm. You must be available for at least 30 minutes on the day – enough time for arrival, preparation and your allotted time slot.


A small fee of £10 will be offered to each artist who is chosen to take part, to help cover the cost of travel and expenses.



Peterloo Soapbox

Published on:
31 Jul 2019


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