Street theatre fun as Holt Festival gets underway

PUBLISHED: 20:53 20 July 2014 | UPDATED: 20:53 20 July 2014

French duo Qualite Street performing in Holt town centre. Photo: Karen Bethell

French duo Qualite Street performing in Holt town centre. Photo: Karen Bethell


A French theatrical invasion saw Holt’s High Street and Market Place taken over by continental mime artists, dancers, and circus performers as the town enjoyed an afternoon of free street entertainment today.

North Norfolk painter wins art prize open to all UK

A north Norfolk painter has won this year’s Holt Festival Art Prize, which attracted 300 entries from all over the UK.

Francesca Perkins, who lives in Weybourne, was presented with a cheque for £1,500 by actor John Hurt at a ceremony marking last night’s start of the arts festival.

Ms Perkins, a former pupil of Gresham’s School, Holt, earned the prize with her oil painting Taking Water Home.

Priced at £495, it had been snapped up by an unnamed buyer before it was announced as the winner.

Ms Perkins said she was thrilled by her win which made her want to paint even more. After school she attended the Camberwell College of Art and Design, and the Old Guildhall, in East London. She and friends founded the Coastal Collective exhibition at Wiverton Hall, where she shows her work.

Her winning painting, together with the other 34 short-listed pieces, will be on display until July 27 in the Auden Theatre foyer, Holt, from 11am-5pm.

The event, part of Holt Festival’s launch weekend, included Carnage, who abseiled down the side of a building in a send-up of a crack SWAT team. Cie Kitschnette drew the crowds as a furious woman took her revenge on a man, apparently hacking him to pieces with a chainsaw, and the De Fakto duo danced and mime-acted in a variety of styles.

There were also trapeze antics from Lost in Translation, and dramatic and artistic fun and games from Qualite Street, and Les Cubitenistes.

The town centre was closed to traffic and large crowds of all ages gathered to watch, admire and laugh.

Festival director Delaval Astley was pleased at the turnout.

“In the past we used to have a little bit of street theatre all through the week but it didn’t have the same impact as having it all in one afternoon.

“It’s a great day of entertainment and celebration for the town. Looking at the faces, it seems that everyone is having a good time,” he said.

Cabaret duo Kit and McConnel opened the week-long festival last night with a sell-out show and tomorrow evening The Bloody Ballad – Gagglebabble, at Holt’s Auden Theatre, will tell a tale of murder, arson and betrayal.

Tuesday’s programme at the Auden Theatre includes former Labour Party deputy leader Roy Hattersley talking about The Devonshires, at 2pm, and cabaret artiste Meow Meow at 9.30pm.

Highlights later in the week include comedian Rich Hall’s Hoedown on Friday, comedienne and broadcaster Sandi Toksvig, and The Bad Shepherds with Wreckless Eric, all on Saturday; and on Sunday, the festival’s final day, Orchestra of the Swan, The Stranglers, and broadcaster Melvin Bragg in conversation with scientist Richard Dawkins.

Visit or ring the box office on 01263 711284.

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