Illustrious Patron for Simonsbath Festival
|Author: Victoria Thomas||Published: 4th May 2012 08:32|
The organisers of the Simonsbath Festival are over the moon that leading opera, theatre and film director Phyllida Lloyd has agreed to be patron of the festival. Phyllida's films Mamma Mia and more recently the Oscar- and BAFTA-winning The Iron Lady have been hugely successful box-office hits, placing her at the very top of her profession.
Planned is a festival with a difference, featuring a variety of events and activities with a multi-cultural flavour. Organisers believe there will be something for everyone to enjoy at the first Simonsbath Festival this Spring.
Maypole dancing by local children will form part of the traditional May Day celebrations to open the festival on Monday May 7 and herald the arrival of Spring in the heart of Exmoor. The event starts at 6pm with live music, dancing, food and a bar at Ashcombe in Simonsbath.
For the next six weeks the tiny village of Simonsbath, and the magical moorland that surrounds it, will be the setting for an exciting mix of events, including classical, world music and jazz concerts, talks, walks, activity days, live theatre, a beer festival, wine tasting and an exhibition of work by local artists.
Interior St Luke's Church, Simonsbath,
by Jackie Cooper
One of the focal points of the festival will be the newly renovated church of St Luke's which, with its warm and welcoming atmosphere and its excellent acoustics, is already a popular concert venue.
The first festival concert on May 12 will be performed by the prestigious Hermitage Ensemble of the Russian Orthodox Choir from St Petersburg, on their final UK tour, and tickets are already almost sold out.
But tickets can still be booked for later events, including a talk by Baroness Ann Mallalieu who will reflect her varied life on Exmoor, at the criminal bar and in politics at St Luke's on Wednesday May 16.
harpist Keziah Thomas
On Saturday May 19 the internationally-renowned concert harpist Keziah Thomas will perform a varied programme of music, from the familiar to the less well-known. Combining Keziah's ebullient personality, the warm acoustics of St Luke's and the rich sounds of the harp, the concert promises to be a match made in heaven.
A welcome return of the popular Dixieland jazz band from North Devon the Alan Lewis All-Stars on Saturday May 26 completes the May line-up of events at St Luke's.
Meanwhile elsewhere in Simonsbath an exhibition of work by local artists, including paintings, photography, sculpture and ceramics will be displayed at the Exmoor Forest Inn from Thursday May 10. The historic Simonsbath Sawmill will host open days, while walks and activity days will be organised by Exmoor National Park and the Exmoor Society.
June at St Luke's promises another eclectic mix of events, including world music concerts from the Afro-Caribbean band Baraka and Indian classical music performed on sitar and tabla by Ricky Romain and Jon Sterckx.
A live theatre performance of Peter Nichols's comedy Born in the Gardens by the hugely talented and inventive local theatre company Creative Cow will be introduced by festival patron Phyllida Lloyd.
The festival will run from May 7 to June 23
For full details of events - Click Here
While some events are free, concert tickets costing £10 (student/unemployed concessions £7.50) are available from:
- Robin Ashburner (01643 831199),
- Ann Chown (01643 831491),
- by email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Or in person at:
- Exford Post Office
- Exmoor House, Wheddon Cross.
• Simonsbath landscape shot by Nicola Friedrich