Wirksworth gets ready for festival

wirksworth festivalWirksworth Festival will see the whole market town transform into a gallery and performance venue for three weeks in September.

The opening Art and Architecture Trails Weekend, September 7 and 8, is a vibrant celebration throughout the town.

More than 170 artists and makers will be showing and selling work in homes ranging from charming stone cottages to imposing Georgian townhouses, historic and quirky buildings, gardens, shop windows and churches.

The Trails Weekend is the perfect day out to meet artists, buy affordable art and take a look inside some beautiful Derbyshire homes. Street entertainment and live music will be on all weekend.

Many homes and venues also offer homemade refreshments and there’s a range of street food on offer.

Highlights of the trails weekend include the Designer Maker Markets in the Town Hall and Memorial Hall bringing together some of the region’s best contemporary jewellery, ceramics, textiles, glassware and other crafts.

Trails Weekend tickets cost £6 (under 18s free) for entry to all markets and venues, plus an illustrated guide.

But there’s plenty of free street entertainment to enjoy as well. Look out for Pen & Cil, two cleaning ladies set to sweep, dust and polish up the people and places they encounter.

The first weekend will also see film installations dotted around the town and for the second year the Parish Rooms of St Mary’s Church will be devoted to a showcase for arts graduates from the Universities of Derby, Loughborough and Staffordshire.

This year there will be ten new commissioned works. Curator Rose Lejeune, has commissioned four artists to make major new works alongside six smaller commissions by regional and local artists.

Using an eclectic range of media from installation and painting to video and performance, the commissions all have some poetic, architectural or organic relationship with Wirksworth.

The middle weekend of the Festival, September 14 and 15, will focus on these visual art commissions.

You can join artists, architects and thinkers to find out more about how this year’s commissioned artists have approached working in Wirksworth, its history and current situation.

Discussions will also explore the town itself and look at how the commissions and its architecture lend themselves as sites for display and reflection.

This special weekend of tours, talks and films is for anyone that loves contemporary visual art and the town of Wirksworth. It is being hosted by the recently-opened Northern Light Cinema.

The commissioned works are:
l Rachael Champion’s Forced Landscape, a large scale installation in the grounds of the National Stone Centre.

l Hannah Maybank’s Fontus’s Posie, inspired by the custom of well dressing, gently explores the subject of decay and renewal through water, watercolour and flora.

l Johannes Vogl’s Lantern, transported from Buenos Aires directly to Wirksworth, nestles amongst the other street lamps in St Mary’s Churchyard, and at night, will burst into flame.

l Emily Speed’s film The Construction Workers is inspired by the community and restoration of Wirksworth.  Emily worked with the all-female Morris troupe Ripley Green Garters. Costumes and props inspired by their Wirksworth rehearsal rooms are exhibited with the film.

Other commissioned artists are Eddy Dreadnaught, Ella Hurman, Sally Lemsford and Sally Newham, Olivia Punnett, Tim Shore, Katherine Vaughan and Greg Storrar

There will also be an exhibition of the work of Gerry Vaughan, the renowned artist and educator, who was central to the regeneration of Wirksworth in the 1970s.

Wirksworth’s performance programme brings in rising stars from around the world and shines a spotlight on homegrown talent.  Highlights include Public Service Broadcasting, fresh from festivals including Glastonbury, who will fill the Town Hall with spellbinding music and visuals.

Public Service Broadcasting weave samples from old public information films, archive footage and propaganda material around live drums, guitar, banjo and electronics – they teach the lessons of the past through the music of the future – beaming our past back at us through vintage TV sets and state of the art modern video projection.

Public Service Broadcasting are a Time Out Tip for 2013.

Theatre Témoin, judged  ‘seriously good’ by The Guardian, present their hilarious and visually stunning, internationally acclaimed production, The Fantasist.  The show uses amazing life-size puppetry, created in collaboration with War Horse’s Robin Guiver.

Salamanda Tandem will transform one of Wirksworth’s ancient quarries with an evocative audio visual dance piece. Festival-goers are invited to take part in the action in this exploratory sound walk.

From Australia, Arts OutWest presents The Australian Pavilion, totally transforming the Derbyshire Eco Centre, plus exhibiting on the trail and bringing a performance double bill.

Actress and singer, Kim Deacon presents her one-woman show, Of Henry Lawson and His Loves – weaving together songs adapted from the iconic Australian poet’s works and accompanying herself on harp, banjo, guitar and piano.

Physical theatre company, Lingua Franca, present Right Behind You – a new work inspired by the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.

Young talent features in the final ‘Up and Coming’ weekend September 21 and 22, leading into the Festival Finale, the massively popular Community Celebration on Sunday 22 September.

There’s plenty for families and younger audiences, including the storytelling of The Man Who Planted Trees by Puppet State Theatre and the brilliant Babbling Vagabonds who launch their tour of Brothers Grimm.

For the third year running Wirksworth’s Performance Fringe offers a variety of dance, theatre, cinema, music and poetry.

The Festival will come to a spectacular end with a Community Celebration on Sunday September 22, with a captivating performance of Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy’s powerful fairytale, The Princess’ Blankets, at Stoney Wood, with a procession leading to an stunning outdoor festival venue.

For the full Festival programme and for more information about all of the events and artists featured in the festival, visit http://www.wirksworthfestival.co.uk