Wonderland theme to Melbourne Festival

DSC00846Flamingo croquet, giant chess, a Cheshire cat and a white rabbit. A mix which can only mean one thing – there’s a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party on the horizon.

And on this occasion the Alice in Wonderland theme is planned to celebrate ten years of the Melbourne Festival.

The festival team will be taking the town Through the Looking Glass during the Art and Architecture Trail weekend on September 13 and 14 with strategically-placed picture frames in gardens, parks and shop windows, highlighting works or art or fantastic views.

There will be a Mad Hatter’s Parade from a themed tea party in Alice’s Garden at the Vicarage and you can expect to see some marvellous hats created at school workshops and the library with the help of local milliner Joanne Rost.

Alongside all this madcap fun will be the work of nearly 120 artists in more than 70 venues including homes, businesses, halls and churches.

As always there will be a huge variety of work on display all of which will be for sale from £5 to £5,000.

Included among the artists are several who have been featured in artsbeat in the past year including John Rattigan, Tez Marsden, Elizabeth Forrest, Kerri Pratt, Steven Tandy, Hannah Larkam, Nicki Dennett and David Sampson. Duncan Pass who is featured on page 11 is also going to be there as is Paul Johnstone who is featured in agenda, from page 61.

Thanks to its location in the heart of Melbourne’s conservation area the trail has some fantastic gardens for exhibiting sculptures.

This year Melbourne has a broad spectrum of sculptural media exhibited, from stone to wood and willow, and metals from bronze to copper, iron and steel.

Rachel Carter first exhibited at Melbourne when she was still a student at University of Derby and she has remained a regular exhibitor.

She specialised in creating willow spheres and she has recently developed her work into brass and bronze.

At The Chelsea Flower Show this May and she received Four Gold Stars for her stand and she will be bringing her new work to Melbourne.

The metal sculptures of Roger Davies vary from garden sculptures of life-size deer, rams and birds to sea creatures such as turtles and fish.

Paul Higginson makes willow sculptures inspired by nature and the English garden.

Nita Rao has exhibited widely, including Burghley Sculpture Garden and Sculpture at Greyfriars, Worcester. Working in bronze, clay and willow she explores the ideas of journey, both physically and spiritually, as well as changes over time due to the seasons and climate change.

One of the highlights of the festival is the presentation of a £1,000 prize to the winner of the Emerging Talent Award that takes place on September 13.

The award is targeted at artists aged 16 to 25 who are in education, or have just left it, and interested in a career in art. It is aimed at artists in the East Midlands area.

The festival which runs from September 6-27 is also packed with great performance art and entertainment including the popular comedy club, the nine-piece band Miss 600, a magic show, folk music from Breeze and Wilson and an acoustic rock night from Derby’s own Furthest From The Sea Festival.

One of the highlights of the festival will be Flamenco Express on September 20, with the exciting talents of dancer and artistic director La Joaquina, guitarist and musical director Chris Clavo and special guests Emilio Ochando and Antonio el Pola-Cantaor.

A production of a new play by Daniel David Webber is being staged by Life Theatre Limited at the Assembly Rooms on September 26 at 7.30pm.

American Goddess is the story of a young photographer who gets the assignment of his dreams – three days alone with Marilyn Monroe. It is a funny, moving and fascinating portrayal of the woman everyone knew, but hardly knew at all.

More details of all the events are available online at http://www.melbournefestival.co.uk