Play Me, I’m Yours (in Bolton)

(The Bolton News)

New York, Barcelona, Sydney, Sao Paulo – now Turton, near Bolton, has become the latest place to host a quirky art project which has brought music to hundreds of thousands of people all over the world.

From next month, pianos will be installed in the street outside the Barlow Institute in Edgworth and in the grounds of Turton Tower, near Chapeltown. Anyone who wants to tickle the ivories will be able to do so, free and unrestricted.

The pianos are part of a huge international art project, called “Play Me, I’m Yours”, and is the idea of Bristol-based artist Luke Jerram. He said that he has installed 160 pianos in towns and cities all over world, and so far only three have been vandalised.

Mr Jerram said: “I’ve brought the project to Turton because I’ve been invited to, and people are going to have a great time. It’s important that we reach a broad and diverse audience, and that means taking some risks.”

Mr Jerram opened his largest Play Me, I’m Yours installation yet on Monday in New York, where 60 pianos were placed all over the city, including outside the Cathedral of St John the Divine in Manhattan, a post office in Jackson Heights and a zoo in Staten Island. He says the aim of the project is to give people a chance to express themselves and share their creativity.

He said: “Disrupting people’s negotiation of their city, the pianos are also aimed to provoke people into engaging, activating and claiming ownership of their urban landscape.”

Mr Jerram was invited to set up the project locally by the local councils in Blackburn and Burnley, and Turton’s pianos are two of 23 across the two boroughs. The pianos will be in place from July 8 to July 29, and a launch event is due to be announced. There will also be a number of events in which pianists give short performances before allowing the public to take over.

All the pianos have been donated, and community groups will be able to apply to keep them after the project finishes. They will be locked shut at night to prevent disturbances.

Cllr Jean Rigby said: “It sounds like a fine idea. There aren’t enough people playing instruments, and I hope it will encourage more kids to get involved in music.”

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