Holt Arts Festival shows it’s young at heart
- Credit: Archant
Children as young as three are being invited to take part in what has been described as one of the most important cultural events in Norfolk.
Holt Festival brings outstanding theatre, music, comedy, literature, children's and visual art events to the picturesque Georgian town for eight days, from July 23 to 31.
And, this year, with the full programme just announced for the eighth annual event, there is a notable increase in the number of events for children – and they are all free.
Among the highlights at the festival, which makes a substantial donation to the Holt Youth Project, Norwich Puppet Theatre bring Oddly, a re-imagination of the much-loved book by author Joyce Dunbar with a magical mix of puppetry, visual tricks, masks and original music.
Acclaimed international film actress Nandana Dev Sen will read from her new book, Kangaroo Kisses; and Sheringham Little Theatre present Play in a Day, a one-day drama workshop to create and rehearse a play to be performed to an audience of friends and family. There's also the return of the Comedy Club 4 Kids and Street Dance Workshops.
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Former MP and TV and radio regular Gyles Brandreth opens the festival proper with his five star comedy smash Word Power.
There's a preview of Bucket Club's new watery tale Fossils, directed by former Greshams student Matt Lister, before it heads to the Edinburgh Fringe in August.
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In other highlights, award winning journalist Kate Adie examines the role of women in the First World War as she speaks about her latest book.
Polar historian Michael Smith celebrates the centenary of Shackleton's Antarctic expedition with an illustrated talk based on his book on the explorer; Pip Utton takes on the Iron Lady in the largely unscripted Playing Maggie; and Norfolk TV legend Helen McDermott, who almost represented the UK at Eurovision in the 1970s, teams up with Adrian Wright for a romp through some lesser-known Noel Coward songs.
Meanwhile, in addition to the already announced delights of Dire Straits' John Illsey, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown and The Searchers, music fans can look forward to a rare seated concert from Norfolk roots rockers The Vagaband.
The festival's artistic director, Charles Pugh said: 'This year the list of famous artists grows even longer: Gyles Brandreth, Colin Cloud, Julie Christie, Joanna Trollope, Kate Adie, Jenny Eclair and Mark Watson – not to mention famous name bands from the rocking 60s, 70s and 80s. But of course fame is not the only kite mark of excellence.
'Diamonds shine very brightly in our programme, with some names to look out for in the future. Believe me they will not disappoint.'
Chair of the Board of Trustees Adney Payne added: 'I hope many people of all ages can have a wonderful week with us in Holt, enjoying the remarkable programme that Charles has assembled.'
Tickets for the new shows are on sale from today to members of the Holt Festival Friends Scheme, with general booking opening on May 16 via 01603 598699. For more details, and to book, visit www.holtfestival.org