Two weeks of culture across the city

Vasily Petrenko
Vasily Petrenko
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Preston Arts Festival begins next week, and festival secretary Mike Cracknell thinks this is the best one yet

More than two weeks of music, art, theatre and culture of all kinds will begin next Thursday when the 14th Annual Preston Arts Festival is opened by the city’s mayor Coun Margaret McManus.

The Red Rosettes

The Red Rosettes

The Mayor will again be on hand Sunday afternoon to officially launch the festival in the Minster, followed by a free concert with music from the Red Rosettes ladies barbershop chorus, pianist Graham Jackson and the Preston Musical Comedy Show Choir.

Thursday’s early start is in recognition of the National Day of the People’s Republic of China, and will enable a Chinese Martial Arts and Tai chi demonstration in the Healthy World free book shop in the Fishergate Centre, to be part of the festival programme.

That evening you can go the Charter Theatre to see one of the most iconic plays of the 20th century, Waiting for Godot or visit the Ale Emporium in Fylde Road to hear the Silver Bell jazz band.

This first day gives an indication of the vast range of arts events you can attend to be entertained, enlightened or both or for the more adventurous to try learning new skills.

Ethan Castle

Ethan Castle

The festival include performance events, theatre, cinema, talks, guided walks, workshops, exhibitions and fairs. All in all about 60 events in nearly 30 venues and we are grateful for the support from the Guild Hall and the new principal sponsor, the Cumberland Building Society which has enabled us to carry onwhen a number of similar festivals have folded.

For music lovers there are recitals, choral music from the Orpheus Choir, St Leonard’s G&S Society will combine Gilbert & Sullivan with songs from Disney films, and there will be another Celebration of Youth concert again at the Playhouse.

This will showcase young talents from the Whelan-Joyce School of Irish Dancing and Broughton Music Academy performing alongside flutist Brioni Crowe, Preston’s Got Talent winner hip hop dancer Ethan Castle and classical guitarist Bradley Johnson.

Performing in the festival for the first time is the world renowned Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under charismatic conductor Vasily Petrenko.

The finale concert will also be given by a world class ensemble in the form of the wonderful Leyland Band, who recently finished ahead of the world number two ranked Black Dyke band in the British Open competition.

For something a little different you might try the variety show at the Playhouse or a cabaret evening with a cimbalom group from Moravia.

If your taste in theatre is for comedy Broughton Players stage No Dinners for Sinners, or you may wish to sample new writing with The Preston Bill at the Continental

For cinema goers there is a season of five films in the Foster Building at UCLan with free entry and preceeded each evening by a free Chinese tea tasting session.

A range of exhibitions can be found at the Harris, Oxheys Mill Studios, Barton Grange, New Longton Village Hall, Korova Arts Cafe, Brockholes Nature Reserve and the Beautiful Planet.

If you want to participate the possibilities include ballroom dancing, circle dancing, poetry with famous poet Pascale Petit on national Poetry day, the amazing effects of illusion knitting, embroidery, mixed media printing, life drawing, singing, pottery and glass fusing.

Olga Tabachnikova, the ‘Queen of Russian Poetry’ will be reading at a Korova Poetry Special

For full listings see the Festival Brochure, available either in hard copy from venues across the city including all public libraries or at