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Issue 326 – Frome Festival line-up revealed

FROME Festival’s 2011 programme is now available online and the printed version will be around town from mid-May. The box office will be open for personal callers on Sunday 22nd May and all other bookings can be made from 23rd May.

The distinctive Frome Festival brochure, featuring former Frome resident Christina Rossetti, is available to download on-line now from the website: www.fromefestival.
The clamour for tickets is expected to begin in earnest as Frome Festival has emerged as one of the most highly respected and entertaining in the country.
With over 180 events, featuring comedy, visual arts, theatre, dance, workshops, walks, talks, and every musical genre from classical to hip hop, this year’s colourful programme promises to attract thousands of visitors to the town between 8th and 17th July.
Musical highlights requiring early booking include Irish folk singer Cara Dillon, who won the Radio 2 folk album of the year, and singer-songwriter Sandi Thom, who first broke the international music scene with I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker. Mercury Music prize nominees Turin Brakes, world fusion pioneers Transglobal Underground, and festival favourites Praying for the Rain, all make for top-notch headline acts.
The classical music programme boasts the European Union Chamber Orchestra, which draws the world’s greatest soloists. Another first for the festival is the 90-piece National Schools Orchestra, who will accompany Tim Hugh, one of Britain’s finest cellists, who is this year’s Artist in Residence.
As always, the festival features comedy, and this year John Shuttleworth, Lucy Porter, Jo Caulfield and Three Bonzos and a Piano, amongst others, will be supplying the laughs.
One of Frome’s best kept secrets is that Pre-Raphaelite writer Christina Rossetti once lived and worked in the town. Amongst other Pre-Raphaelite tributes this year, the festival celebrates with a combined musical and literary event: Christina Rossetti – ‘Her Life in Frome’. The Amati String Quartet will share the stage with Tina Waller, narrating Rossetti’s letters and poems, including Goblin Market and In the Bleak Midwinter, which were influenced by her time in Frome.
The festival’s many literary events spill over from the Writers and Publishers day, which is jammed full of workshops, one-to-one advice surgeries, talks, competitions, and even a writers question time. Hosted by literary agents, creative writing tutors, publishers, screen writers and published authors, this is a one-stop shop for all aspiring adult and young writers.
Events for young audiences and families include Miracle Theatre’s outdoor family comedy: The Death of Sherlock Holmes. Presented on the last night of the festival in the ECOS Amphitheatre, it promises to be a mystery that will keep you guessing until the end. For those wanting to take part in the dressing up, poet Muriel Lavender invites the whole family to help the festival enter the Guinness Book of Records, for the largest gathering of fancy dress storybook characters. And for those preferring to dress down, the Outdoor Swimming Society’s Big Jump is a perfect opportunity for water lovers to take a summer dip in the River Frome.
This year’s visual arts programme is a kaleidoscope of exhibitions, collaborations, workshops, talks and happenings. Frome famously has more than its fair share of resident artists, and every year more open their doors and welcome in the public, as part of the Open Studios extravaganza.
The Silk Mill Gallery will present paintings by American abstract expressionist, Hassel Smith, whose work has not been shown since his death in 2007. In celebration of the artist, percussionist Jeremy Little and guitarist Adam Khan will be performing a one-off evening of minimalist classics, surrounded by this exhibition.
A summer festival with many outdoor events, the fortnight sees none bigger than the famous Food Feast, mixing international music with global cuisines. Also pairing fine food with music are the Acoustic and Jazz Breakfasts, hosted by the Archangel, a new festival venue with rave reviews.
Hunting Raven Bookshop and Frome Library have teamed up for a new and exciting Frome Festival 2011 event – the first ever children’s literature day is planned for Thursday 14th July.
The ABC Day will host sessions from successful, popular West Country children’s authors; Peter Bently (The Great Dog Bottom Swap, The Shark in the Dark and Vampire School), Emma Craigie (Chocolate Cake with Hitler), Jeremy de Quidt (The Toymaker), Rachel Ward (Numbers triology) and Brenda Williams (Home for a Tiger, Home for a Bear).
Sessions will be available for all ages, from 4 years to 14+ years. The event will take place throughout the day at Frome Library and Holy Trinity Church Hall.
All tickets are priced at £1 – all local schools will be sent an ABC information pack with full details.

Teatime Treats is a free event for all festival-goers.
If you have an interest in children’s books, come along to Frome Library at 4.00pm for tea, cake and a chance to meet a wealth of (local) talent from the world of children’s literature.
Participating writers and illustrators include Mike Brownlow, Annabel Claridge, David Gatward, Kate Maryon, Helen Moore, Emma Newman, Jeremy de Quidt and Joffre White … and maybe more.

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