Discovering the Remarkable Life of Albert Wainwright: Empath Action CIC's Exciting New Arts Project Shines a Light on Forgotten History

Albert Wainwright, a remarkable artist whose life intertwines with history, politics and LGBTQIA+ identity, is poised to take centre stage as Wakefield moves into Our Year: Wakefield District 2024, thanks to an exciting new project called “Albert Untold” by Empath Action CIC and supported by Wakefield Council’s Culture Grants.

Born in Castleford and a contemporary of the renowned artist Henry Moore with whom he went to school, Albert Wainwright is a name that should be known across Wakefield District–but he’s often barely a footnote in Moore’s story. 

Wainwright achieved so much in his relatively short 45 years: He was an accomplished watercolour and gouache artist, a teacher, a frequent traveler to Germany before World War II, and reportedly served as a camoufleur during the war; he worked as a writer, costume designer and set designer for theatre; and he was a gay man at a time when being so was illegal and dangerous. Much of his story has been overlooked or uninvestigated, but Empath Action CIC’s “Albert Untold” project will change that. 

Made possible through Wakefield Council’s Culture Grants, which work to enhance the creative and cultural offer across the district by supporting cultural and heritage projects, events, and activities, the project will embark on several months of in-depth research that will see Empath visiting key Wakefield venues like The Hepworth Wakefield, where a number of Albert’s paintings and letters are held.

Then, leveraging the transformative power of the Arts, Empath will release a zine based on its research about Albert’s life and the wider “Albert Untold” project, which will be made available through the libraries service. There will also be several engaging arts workshops to learn gouache painting and Peasant Pottery, and a groundbreaking professional touring play based on the research, developed with the support of the acclaimed Red Ladder Theatre Company. The project is also supported by two amazing District venues, The Cluntergate Centre of Horbury and Queen’s Mill Castleford. Furthermore, the project will showcase the talents of four professional actors who trained in Wakefield. This will all culminate in February 2024 for LGBTQIA+ History Month with a blue plaque to Albert’s life and work. 

Albert’s story is a rich, winding and somewhat hidden fusion of art, history, and personal identity, and “Albert Untold” will ensure that by the culmination of the project, Albert takes his place on Wakefield’s cultural map. 

For media inquiries and further information, please contact:

Steven Busfield –


Social Media: @EmpathAction 

Hashtags: #AlbertUntold #CultureGrantsWFD #WakefieldArts

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