A Look Back At 2021

A Look Back At 2021

The end of any year is traditionally a time of reflection. It’s a chance to take stock and look back on the past 12 months. 2021 is no different, so join us on this trip down memory lane.

It’s been a rollercoaster of a year at The Atkinson. Here is a shortlist of the things we are especially proud of! Thank you for joining us and coming along for the ride. We hope to see you again in 2022!


Launched Our Online Talks!

As we rolled into a brand new year, we knew how much our audiences were missing their Talks fix. So we went digital…

Like most projects, we weren’t quite able to follow the programme we had planned for 2020 so we decided to take matters into our own hands and launch our Online Talks programme for 2021.

The talks are delivered by a wide range experts and offer insight into their field as well as deep-dives into exciting elements of our collection.

They proved to be a huge success and are a now a mainstay in our eclectic programme for all to enjoy. The switch to digital meant people could join us from all around the world. We have had e-visitors from Dubai, Australia, Paraguay and beyond!

We have also had so many exciting and well-known hosts who may not have previously been able to offer talks at The Atkinson in person.

For more online talks in 2022, check out our events calendar.

Our Full Events Calendar


Award Winners!

We were the proud recipients of not one but TWO Liverpool City Region Culture Awards.

After a challenging year for arts & culture, The Atkinson was proud to be nominated twice for these special awards. In February 2021 we found out we were the winners!

🏆  The People’s Choice award for Outstanding Contribution to Culture.

🏆  Impact Award – Covid-19 Creative Response.



History Hunt with Seaforth Schools!

An expedition to discover some ghosts from Seaforth’s past to remember how our local community was made.

Made in co-operation with the wonderful Dot Rogers, The History Hunt is an active, interactive game to discover how it used to be and how people lived in Sefton in the past.

So as more people stretched their legs for their daily exercise, we experienced a surge in historical hunters across Seaforth led by a map and QR codes. The trail was fun for adults as well as children and encouraged us all to learn more about our community!

Find Out More


So Much Talent!

The Young Artist of the Year competition showcased the emerging artistic talent in Sefton. We were overwhelmed by the response from local young people.

The Atkinson, in partnership with The Arts Society Southport, invited Young Artists aged 11-18 living or going to school in the Sefton Borough to submit one photograph of an original artwork to the competition.

Entries were received from both individual young artists and local schools across Sefton including Formby High School, Peterhouse School, Presfield High School & Specialist College, Newfield Specialist School, KGV College, St Mary’s College.

It was so great seeing such talented young people in our borough! Who knows, they may have an exhibition of their own at The Atkinson one day?!

The winners were awarded prizes donated by The Arts Society Southport.

The online exhibition of all the fantastic entries as well as the incredible winners’ pieces are still available to view on our website.

View Online Gallery


We launched ‘Inspirations: Poetry & Creative Writing Competition’

The Atkinson, in partnership with The Arts Society Southport invited anyone with links to the Sefton Borough to take part in a new poetry and creative writing competition.

The past year has taught us to appreciate the landscape on our doorstep and explore Great Britain with staycations. So we challenged our audiences to respond to artworks featured in an upcoming exhibition at The Atkinson called Natural High in the form of poetry and creative writing.

Each entry contemplated our current situation, memories of past holidays and dreams for the future. They complement our Natural High exhibition perfectly.

You can download the winning entries or see them displayed in our gallery.

Download Winning Entries


Three New Exhibitions!

As the UK opened up again partially, our museum and galleries could welcome the public again! So we went BIG with three amazing exhibitions to enjoy…

Natural High allows us to reconnect with nature in this contemplative exhibition of British landscape scenery from The Atkinson’s fine art collection. T
ake a meditative and relaxing journey through mountains, lakes and seashore as we follow in the footsteps of artists from the early 19th century to the present day.
FREE ENTRY until Saturday 26 March 2022 

Paul Kenny: Seaworks explores artist Paul Kenny’s creations working without a camera. This exhibition provided abstract compositions on small glass plates with objects found on beaches and crystallised sea water.
Exhibition closed October 2021.

Courage & Devotion remembers the lives of the Polish Airmen based at RAF Woodvale, the iconic Spitfire and some of the stories associated with the area during World War 2. FREE ENTRY until Saturday 12 March 2022


Paul Curtis’ Iconic Mural!

Central to our Red Rum exhibition was a mural by Liverpool-based artist and Liverpool City Region’s Artist of the Year 2020, Paul Curtis.

The mural depicts Red Rum’s hattrick at the Grand National in 1977 with Churchtown Boy ridden by Martin Blackshaw coming in 2nd behind him.

Red Rum is the world’s most famous racehorse, and he is much-loved in his home town of Southport. His unequalled record of three wins and two seconds in the Grand National actively saved the race itself when its future was in serious doubt.

In this 2021 exhibition, we traced his life through a racing career which took him over 300 miles and 1800 obstacles to his becoming an iconic sports celebrity in retirement.

Exhibition Available Online


What’s Your Flavour?

August saw The Landing exhibition space displaying pieces by local artists under the name; Flavours. The response was amazing!

Lisa Langan, Carole Dawber & Caroline Kaye gave us the exploration and personal perception of still life and provided a contemplative and silent eloquence in Flavours. Forever trapped in time, these showcased objects gain an unassailable permanence, as if poised, waiting for the page to be turned that will free them to speak directly to each viewer.

By portraying familiar scenes from everyday life, the artists are following in the footsteps of the pioneers of the genre who ambushed the ordinary and made it unique. These watershed moments in artist practice provided the basis for their joint exhibition.

We wish to say a massive thank you for such a fantastic display!


Our Theatre Reopens!

After many long months, our performing arts spaces opened again once more! Hurray! 

And what better way to kick it off than a side-splitting comedy performance by TV legend and comedy connoisseur; Jason Manford?!

“Effortlessly entertaining” **** – Evening Standard

“He’s blessed with the sort of laid-back charm and sharp turn of phrase you can’t manufacture” **** – Daily Telegraph

“Engaging and Witty” – The Sunday Times

“Manford, in short, is a total pro.” – The Times

“Manford successfully straddles the line between contemporary stand-up and old-school mainstream entertainment.” – The Guardian

We were also honoured with the following industry standard awards to ensure all our guests are safe in our building:

We’re Good To Go is the official UK mark to signal that a tourism and hospitality business has worked hard to follow Government and industry COVID-19 guidelines and has a process in place to maintain cleanliness and aid social distancing.

See It Safely
We have been granted the use of Society of London Theatre & UK Theatre’s See It Safely mark. The mark certifies that we are complying with the latest Government and industry COVID-19 guidelines, to ensure the safety of our staff and audiences.


Ahoy Thar!

We asked all salty seadogs to climb aboard and sail with us for Pirate Day.

The dastardly Captain Gatling brought his plethora of magic, mind bending trickery and juggling skills to our shores.

We watched as the Captain performed his tricks learnt from years on the high seas, took on daring challenges and shared his rarest treasures!

It was all hands-on deck as we set off on a hunt for buried treasure and even rewarded the most swashbuckling shipmates with a handsome bounty after a super fun Pirate Parade.


We Exclaimed “I Remember That!”

Pull up your leg warmers and scramble your Rubik’s Cubes, as I Grew Up 80s has arrived at The Atkinson!

Curator Matt Fox shared with us his incredible collection of 80s memorabilia. Everything from fashion to films is covered in this time capsule of the era.

You’ll travel through the cultural landscape of 1980’s Britain through the eyes of a child – revisiting the vibrancy, quirkiness and innovation that defined the decade.

The feedback from this exhibition has been mind-blowing and we’re even asking for YOU to send in your photographs from that era; the fashion, the hair, the memories! Tag us on social media or email your photos to info@theatkinson.co.uk. We will display our favourites in the galleries.

FREE ENTRY until Saturday 19 March 2022


Panto Arrived In Southport (Oh! Yes It Did!)

Accomplished actress, incredible singer and TV personality Claire Sweeney starred as Fairy Godmother.

To round off an incredible year, we were lucky enough to host Southport’s spellbinding Christmas Pantomime; Cinderella.

Cinderella, her wicked Stepmother, the jealous stepsisters, the loveable Buttons, a dreamy Prince Charming and of course Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother all made an appearance onstage in this classic tale with a modern twist.

We even had real life Shetland ponies on stage to share the magic!

The perfect way to end the year and set us up for 2022 in style.

What are your favourite memories from The Atkinson in 2021?

Let us know by emailing info@theatkinson.co.uk or messaging us on social media. Feel free to include images of your time spent at The Atkinson.

We will share our favourites!

Posted on 20 December 2021 under General news

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