Happy is a festival developed and created by The Hamilton Project, working in partnership with our funding partners, Bury Council and the Victoria Wood Foundation. Happy is a wide ranging and exciting six-month arts programme, with a festival at its heart. Happy is inspired by the legacy of Bury-born Victoria Wood, her work and how she made her audiences feel. It was borne out the reaction to both the exhibition of her archive at Bury Art Museum (which saw a 50% increase in visitor numbers, many of whom were first time non-traditional gallery attendees) and the installation of a statue of Victoria by Graham Ibbeson, which attracted large numbers of fans and local people to its unveiling creating a real ‘moment’ of shared experiences and memories as well as celebrating an inspiring local hero.
The Hamilton Project raised £160,000 for this, the first year of the festival, initiating a three-year partnership with the Hallé Orchestra, a funding commitment from the Victoria Wood Foundation for the next two years and a successful bid to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority for Bury to become the first Greater Manchester ‘Town of Culture’.
We are developing a partnership across local organisations and services to extend the reach of the programme as far and wide as possible, whilst keeping a curatorial steer on the programme working with Victoria’s literary estate and former colleagues.