Sunday, 8 June 2008

Hungry for tickets? Let the feast begin

Arts Festival box office prepares for flood of visitors

Ticket-hungry festival-goers will be rushing to Albert Street next weekend, after news that one show in the Hebden Bridge Arts Festival has already sold out.

Postal booking began last month and many regulars, knowing how popular Festival events are, made sure they got their seats booked early. The box office opens for bookings on Saturday, June 14.

The London Bulgarian Choir is sold out,” said Festival Co-ordinator Rebecca Yorke, “and we have a waiting list, as we see if the venue can increase its capacity. That said, with more than 40 theatre, music and comedy events to pick from, no-one should be disappointed.”

And the range is impressive. The programme includes Baghdad Lullabies, a completely new work by Frances M Lynch and The Electric Voice Theatre, which will be the debut Festival event at the new Ted Hughes Theatre in Mytholmroyd on June 27. It brings together epitaphs by Robert Burns with a Brazilian requiem mass, a world premiere of Paul Barker’s third in the Three Lullabies series, and the Baghdad Monologue, using the now infamous words of Bush and Blair in a haunting setting.

Word and Violin at the Little Theatre, Hebden Bridge on July 4 weaves together the words of Sri Lankan poet Pireeni Sundaralingam and the music of Irish composer/violinist Colm O’Riain. Each a prize-winning artist in their own right, they combine voice and violin in inventive, astonishing ways. 

Genre-busting music has always been a highlight of the Festival, but so too has virtuosity. This year, countertenor Barnabus Hegyi (see photo) will be singing early and contemporary music including Schutz, Buxtehude, Purcell and Samuel Barber; and pianist Martin Roscoe will be performing works by Beethoven at Heptonstall Church.

Drama is always a major draw. This year, The Elephant Man, devised and written by Mary Swan and Saul Jaffé for Proteus Theatre Company, comes to the Little Theatre. The Elephant Man is the moving and ultimately uplifting story of the life of John Merrick, and Proteus have created a version for the 21st century in a highly physical, one-man tour–de–force.

Then, there are literature events, including two literary lunches and opportunities to hear from award-winning authors.

Perhaps the strangest offering, though, will be conceptual artist Richard Dedomenici, who launches his specially commissioned Hebden Bridge Arts Festival Treasure Hunt with a presentation at the Artsmill. Is it live art? Is it a stroll around the environs of Hebden Bridge in the pursuit of small but significant pieces of loot? Special secret Festival Treasure Hunt clues will be available at Richard’s performance at the Artsmill and then from the box office from Sunday, July 6.

The opening of the box office also means the opening of the two main Festival exhibitions – one of paintings, prints and collage by 11 up-and-coming illustrators, and the other of covetable textiles and ceramics by Nadia Sparham, who has earned a reputation for herself in the world's style bibles. All the works are for sale and a sensible range of prices means that everyone can take home a piece of art.

For more information, copies of the programme or photos, please contact Rebecca Dearden on 01422 842765 or at

Postal booking for the 40-plus performances and workshops is now open. The box office on Albert Street opens on June 14.

The 2008 Festival runs from Friday, June 27 to Sunday, July 13.

If you’d like to be kept in touch with what’s planned, e-mail or visit

Hebden Bridge Festival


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