New neon installation to light up Rotherham as part of Children’s Capital of Culture

A new neon art installation called ‘I’d Rather Rotherham’ is to be unveiled at an open mic night at Rotherham Civic Theatre on Thursday 14th April at 6.30pm.

The neon artwork, which has been produced by local artist Patrick Murphy, uses words from a poem co-created by Rotherham’s young people and South Yorkshire poet Ian, McMillan.

Ian will open the event at the Civic with a reading of the poem and share the inspiration behind it, before young people from Rotherham take to the stage to share their own poems and spoken words.

Working with Ian and Patrick, the project has empowered Rotherham’s young people to express their thoughts about the town and any future aspirations. From this, they created a powerful poem, choosing the most charged words to use within the neon art installation.

Speaking about the project, Ian said: “It’s been a delight to work with such talented young people on this project. We wanted to capture the positive experiences and future hopes of young people in Rotherham and light the town up with their words in neon.”

‘I’d Rather Rotherham’ has been commissioned by Rotherham Council and the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority to celebrate the Children’s Capital of Culture pilot programme. From now until June 2022, children and young people can attend events, join creative networks and take part in skills training programmes.

Leanne Buchan, Acting Assistant Director for Culture, Sport & Tourism at Rotherham Council, added: “It’s a really meaningful piece that highlights what our town’s young people think about Rotherham, and we hope everyone who visits the theatre enjoys seeing it.”  

Tickets for the event are free and can be booked at via the Rotherham Civic Theatre website

For more information about Rotherham becoming the world’s first Children’s Capital of Culture in 2025 and how you can be part of it, head to Or follow the story on social media: Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and share your experiences using the #Rotherham2025 hashtag.

(Featured image credited to Keith Turner at Turning Images)