We are hiring!

Skylight Circus Arts are seeking an inspirational leader with extensive experience of working in the cultural sector.

Chief Executive Officer £30,400  .8  4 dpw. (£38000 pro rata) 

  • 12 months, then subject to funding. 
  • Application by email, referring to all items in the Person Specification
  • Deadline 31 December. 

  • Virtual interviews week beginning 11th January.

Applications Email to: jimriley@skylightcircusarts.com  

CEO - Job Application Details

Positive news!

We are thrilled to tell you that we have secured Henry Smith Community Match Challenge Funding!  We will be working with people in Rochdale who are disadvantaged by Covid19.  We’ve put a short video together of some of our work during the pandemic.  Maybe you might spot yourself?

“This is fantastic news!  We’re looking forward to working with local people and spreading some circus joy!”  Jim – Chair of the board of Trustees

Pre Lockdown Classes 3rd and 4th November

Unfortunately, this is Skylights’ final week for youth circus before lockdown.  Please note that Friday night Youth Circus has now been moved to Wednesday.

Midi Youth Circus 3 November 6.00 – 7.00pm
Youth Circus & Spotlight group Wednesday 4 November 5 – 6.15pm

Classes will unfortunately cease until further notice.  If you have any questions please contact our mobile number which is monitored during office hours 07421008192. Alternatively contact mick.c@skylightcircusarts.com


Extinction – What our young people think

Funded by National Lottery Heritage fund, ‘3 intriguing fossils and the landscapes they came from’ project took Skylight’s participants on a journey of exploration around the Borough!  Research inspired a show called ‘Mammoth’  which was sadly cancelled due to the pandemic.

This page contains all the details of our fascinating research and maps for you to enjoy the fossil walks!  Below you’ll find the video which contains the  thoughts of our young people and our journey across the Borough.  




You can also read our blog posts about the different research that took place throughout the project: 

Sparth Bottoms – The scorpion trail research and photos

Syke – The woolly mammoth trail research and photos

Newhey Quarry – The seabed trail research and photos

If you would like to try the Rochdale walks, please find the walk map PDF’s below.  


The seabed at Newhey Quarry

Newhey Quarry – The Seabed Walk

A group of young people, Silver circus members, Skylight staff and volunteers ventured out on a walk up to Newhey Quarry. This was just a try out of the route, we will be organising a bigger group once the guides are published and the Covid crisis allows, possibly September or October.

Prior to our trail we asked our young people to find out some information about the Quarry, this found that: 

Newhey Quarry is located just off Huddersfield Rd in Rochdale,  it is a great place to explore for anyone interested in Fossils. The fossils that you may find in this area are from around the Permian-Triassic period (around 250 million years ago), with many Calamites (fossil stems of giant tree-like horsetails), bivalves, and brachiopods. It is known to be a great place to find plant fossils!

Though it is a great place to explore, it is advised not to go climbing on the scree slopes below the unstable high cliff faces. The quarry is now disused  and used for recreational walks by the local community. More information about visiting the quarry can be found here https://ukfossils.co.uk/tag/newhey-quarry/

A young person in the group said

The floor of the quarry is an ancient seabed. We went to see if we could find any fossils, I loved going on a little scavenger hunt trying to find fossils, it was like we were looking for treasure at the bottom of the sea, when Jim (the group leader) told us he had found one we were so excited! We think that the fossil that Jim found on the path was of a worm tube. We looked around the smooth sloping floor of the quarry, an ancient seabed. We couldn’t find the marks left by fish

HLF Funded Project - Skylight Circus Arts - Young People Research Group - Newhey Quarry - Seabed
HLF Funded Project - Skylight Circus Arts - Young People Research Group - Newhey Quarry - Seabed

A Silver Circus member gave an insight into her walk to Newhey Quarry


I went on the Sparth Bottom walk on a fairly windy, cloudy day, after a long period of rain and just before Lockdown was declared. It was a walk of varied landscapes. It took in woodlands, wide-open spaces, muddy fields, streams and nature corridor pathways between the Rochdale suburbs and beyond. Although I’ve lived in the area for over 30 years, I saw routes I’d not seen before and the experience has opened up new walking possibilities for the future.

There were many points of interest along the way, but the end of the walk culminated in the vast openness of Newhey Quarry, which I found particularly interesting.

I’d never been to the quarry before, although I had heard it was a good spot for fossil hunting. There is quite a lot of walking and exploring to do in the quarry itself. The area is a vast bowl edged with cliffs and slopes, originally cut for the local sandstone which was used for building. Apparently, underneath, lies layers of mudstones and siltstones over a marine bed where bivalves can be found. The quarry is obviously now disused and has become a place for dog walkers and picnickers. I was particularly drawn to the scree slopes (where I believe the best fossils can be found) and certainly it did not take long before I found something of interest – a rock with the slight traces of a pattern along its surface in a kind of feathery ripple effect – a definite fossil! This made my day and it has been added to my collection of fossils and geological curiosities displayed in the bathroom at home.

Our walking group had to head home, but I felt we could have explored for longer. I left promising myself I will return to search for more fossils.  I have since discovered, worm tubes and nodule type fossils are also quite commonly found on the site.

HLF Funded Project - Skylight Circus Arts - Young People Research Group - Newhey Quarry - Seabed
HLF Funded Project - Skylight Circus Arts - Young People Research Group - Newhey Quarry - Seabed