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Top comedians announced for Frome Festival

THE stage is set for this year’s Frome Festival, with a star-studded line-up just announced including comedian Phill Jupitus and American funny-man Rich Hall.

Festival organisers are delighted to welcome the top notch funny men, ‘straight off the telly and on to a stage near you!’ An exciting range of other events which will appeal to the whole family have also been planned.

The Festival will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of Benjamin Britten’s birth with a semi-staged version of his opera, ‘The Turn of the Screw’ at Cooper Hall, in collaboration with Bath Philharmonia; expect a 16 piece chamber orchestra and ghostly goings on.

For real opera lovers there’ll also be a rare chance to hear world-renowned bass-baritone and great favourite of Britten, John Shirley-Quirk, put six talented young singers through their paces in a ‘The Turn of the Screw’ masterclass.

The festival is also celebrating a 21st birthday for stones, ‘ECOS’ stones to be exact. 21 years ago this summer these massive monoliths were carted across Europe to their final resting place in Frome, where they form the backdrop to the ECOS amphitheatre, snug beside the Merlin Theatre. Join them there for a night under the stars with The Afrobeat Messengers.

John Power will be performing too, formerly of the LA’s and CAST, he returns to the Cheese & Grain with a pared down acoustic set.

Expand your musical horizons with alt-folk rising star, Olivia Chaney, hailed by Jarvis Cocker as ‘one to watch’, she’ll be playing solo at Cooper Hall. Look out too for pianist Ashley Wass, currently making waves on the international music circuit. He’ll be bringing Beethoven, Barber and Liszt to Cooper Hall. Don’t miss. And to round off the 10 day extravaganza that is Frome Festival they’ll have Hank Wangford to see everyone out with style. He’ll be partying hard at the Cheese and Grain. Do join him.

If words are your thing the festival has them in abundance this year. Novelist Michelle Roberts will be joining entrants of the ‘Frome Festival Short Story Competition’ to award the prizes for best entries. Writers can also come face to face with literary agents, rattle off haikus and write flash fiction for prizes at Rook Lane Chapel.

The Archangel is hosting poetry, with the effervescent ‘Hip Yak Poetry Shack’, featuring Johnny Fluffypunk and friends. National treasure, Ian McMillan will be teaming up with his mate, Luke Carver-Goss at the Merlin to bring us ‘words, music, glee and delight’, and dear festival friend, Prunella Scales, will be on hand tobreathe life into the poems of Leo Aylen, live at Rook Lane Chapel.

Aside from these headliners visitors can enjoy an amazing array of events, including the annual Food Feast curtain-raiser, mysterious tunnelling, secret gardens, fabulous art at The Black Swan and Toolshed galleries, sculptors, open studios and hands-on opportunities. None of them costing the earth. Prices range from free to middling, with plenty in between. Keep bang up to date with all the latest festival news on twitter, facebook and via the Festival website. Listen out for Festival Up-dates on Frome FM. And bag yourselves a copy of 2013 Festival Brochure. Available mid-May, and   featuring a front cover by the ever-inventive Sholto Walker.

As of today, Frome is officially one of the coolest places to live in Britain. As rated by The Times newspaper. So come join the party down by the river this summer.   Kick up your heels, Frome style. The organisers will be delighted to show you how.