Discover a new side to life in the city centre

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The hidden stories of Peterborough are being brought to life through the touch of a mobile phone.

Artists Idit Nathan and Helen Stratford are designing a new playful phone application (app) which will divulge people’s favourite experiences of Peterborough and some unknown facts about the city.

Peterborough’s residents are now being asked to get involved with the app and reveal their favourite stories.

The free app, named ‘Play Peterborough Now Or Never!’, will send an alert to a user’s phone when walking around the city centre.

The phone holder can then tap on their mobile and will be given video or audio prompts suggesting actions or tasks as they walk around.

The prompts will encourage them to look, listen and interact with other people with suggestions such as: ‘Take a seat - smile at your neighbour’ and ‘place your hands on an old building- caress the past.’

The app will be launched during the Peterborough Arts Festival on September 5 and 6.

It will cover a 10 minute walking radius from Cathedral Square, stopping at the Lido and Mayor’s Walk.

Idit (51) from Cambridge said: “This will make people look differently at a place they have looked at a hundred times before.”

Idit, who teaches theatre at Central Saint Martins in London, and Helen (42) an architecture tutor at the University of Sheffield who lives near Ely, have been working with arts group Metal Peterborough.

The idea for the app came from working with Metal a couple of years ago. Idit and Helen made a video in Peterborough with instructions on what to do and how to enjoy yourself. With Metal then showing an interest to take things further, the pair began searching for funding.

After receiving a combined £19,500 from Metal, Peterborough Presents and the Arts Council, they pushed on with putting the app together.

In April, Idit and Helen met with community groups and local artists to begin the process, and there will be walks around Peterborough to encourage people to share their memories for the app.

The walks take place on Saturday, May 9 and June 27. Both start at 2pm from Chauffeur’s Cottage, St Peter’s Road, and will last two hours.

Idit said: “We’ve had a nice bunch of anecdotes and I never knew you cannot sit on the grass in front of the Lido.

“We chose Peterborough because we were fascinated by the city and we were immediately drawn to its residents who seemed interested and open to sharing their stories, ideas and memories.”

The app, which will be available from iTunes and Google Play, is set to go next to Southend, but the potential remains to develop the Peterborough version further.

Places on the walks can be booked at www.playthecitynowornever.com or on 01733 893 077.