Wirksworth will be buzzing during festival

The annual arts festival in Wirksworth will transform the town into a buzzing cultural centre from September 9-25.

The highlights include the thrilling and dramatic Mugenkyo Taiko drummers, the Bristol-based four-piece band Get the Blessing, Afro-dub band Soothsayers, Theatre Témoin’s wonderful mask and puppetry and the intergalactic epic SCI-FI? by theatre group Sleeping Trees.

One of the most moving and inspiring events is expected to be a performance by Ava Hunt with local performers on behalf of the Wirksworth and District Amnesty International group highlighting the plight of refugees fleeing conflict and arriving in Europe.

New for this year are two comedy nights with three great acts – on September 22 you can see Shazia Mirza (pictured above) with her acclaimed show The Kardashians Made Me Do It about love, life and Jihadi brides, and on September 15 taking to the stage will be Holly Burn with I am Special and Hattie Hatstar who writes and plays her unique brand of acoustic-comedy-punk-folk.

The highlight is always the Art and Architecture Trail which this year is on from 10am-5pm on September 10 and 11.

There will be more than 150 artists and designer makers exhibiting in the homes, historic buildings, gardens and courtyards, shop windows, churches and unconventional gallery spaces all over the town. You can read about one of them, Graeme Reed, on the following pages.

Forming part of the trail is the 2016 Curated Exhibition entitled Nature: Here and Now.

The curators Geoff Diego Litherland and Dermot Punnett, both artists from the town, wanted artists to challenge their own perceptions to create new ways of seeing and comprehending the natural world.

They have pulled off a great coup for the festival by securing a stunning site-specific installation in St Mary’s Church created by international artist Wolfgang Buttress.

Bee Cello is inspired by the sound elements of his work, The Hive, the award-winning UK pavilion from the Milan Expo, currently installed in Kew Gardens.

The rest of the curated exhibition is in the Parish Rooms and features the work of Dermot himself, Olivia Punnett, Peter Matthews, Mariele Neudecker and Katja Hock. The exhibition will be open again on September 17 and 18 from 10am-5pm.

For more details about all the events and the rest of the artists taking part in the trail go to http://www.wirksworthfestival.co.uk