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Another Catch For Fable Arts

Local arts organisation, Fable Arts, has won a commission to create a soundscape about a North West fishing community that will see the company build on its recent work with the fishing community of Lytham St. Annes and create a unique collaboration with Northern Rail. It is one of three artworks commissioned for ‘Catching Tales’, a new programme, led by Morecambe Bay Partnership, that will celebrate the unique fishing heritage of Morecambe Bay.

Fable Arts, will create a soundscape piece called ‘Fleeting’, a temporary, site-specific sound art installation in which personal memories from Morecambe Bay’s fishing community, music and obsolete sounds of the bay have been fragmented and transformed into an emotive reverie. On special Sundays throughout September 2017, Northern Rail will host these magical mini-broadcasts on some of its trains travelling along routes around the bay as memories are mixed with the natural sounds of the Bay allowing people to learn and reflect on the landscape passing by their window.

Alex O’Toole, Lead Artist and Director of Fable Arts, said, “Sometimes commissions come along that feel like they were written just for you. The Catching Tales project was exactly that. The brief aligned perfectly with the knowledge we have gained from all the work we have done with Lytham’s fishing community and allowed us to expand on it.

The fishing community at Morecambe is as old as the fishing community at Lytham and there are lots of similarities, as well as lots of differences, in the way that they work and in the stories that they tell. In the late fifties, the, Lytham Shrimp Co-operative joined forces with the existing Morecambe Trawlers’ Co-operative Society to become the Lytham and Morecambe Bay Trawler Society. Though now defunct, the fishermen in Morecambe and Lytham still check in with each other by telephone every now and then to share information about their catch. This two way communication is part of their natural ongoing scrutiny of the conditions they’re fishing in, which all help to provide a steer of what to expect tomorrow, or just some reassurance.

When the soundscape goes live in September, I hope it will attract visitors from Lytham St Annes community interested in listening to a little bit of their shared history.”

Fable Arts was awarded the commission by Michelle Cooper, H2H Community and Heritage Training Officer at Morecambe Bay Partnership, who said, “Alex’s idea for ‘Fleeting’ struck an immediate chord with Morecambe Bay Partnership. The train route around the Bay features greatly in our work as we encourage people to explore Bay. The idea of a project that could enable the unique fishing heritage to be shared in such a dynamic way as people journey to and fro, looking out over the very land and seascapes worked by the fishing community, is wonderful. We are excitedly looking forward to September to see how people react to Alex’s sound piece, the memories of our fishing men and women, and the chance to share our archive in new ways through Alex’s creative activities at Stations and festivals around the route.”

Martin Keating, Community Engagement Manager at Northern Rail, said, “A key element of my role is developing connections with the diverse communities that Northern serves and connects. We welcome the opportunity to work with Morecambe Bay Partnership and Fable Arts on Fleeting and wish the project all the success it deserves.”
Further details about FLEETING can be found at and you can follow Alex’s creative journey as she develops the soundscape online at

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