The curtain was this week raised on the 2013 Arundel Festival.
An extraordinarily diverse programme promises one of the best festivals and will cement the town’s reputation at the heart of the Sussex arts calendar.
More than 100 guests joined the Duchess of Norfolk in the enchanting Earl’s Collector’s Garden at Arundel Castle on Monday for the launch of this year’s event.
In addition to showcasing the best of Shakespeare – with alfresco performances of The Merchant of Venice and a Midsummer Night’s Dream – the August programme includes drama, music, street entertainment, community events, and the famous gallery trail.
At the launch, Ash Kent and Andy Heggadon, Co Chairs of the Festival introduced acts that depicted the quality, style and variety expected in this year’s programme.
Guests including the Mayor of Arundel Micheal Tu, volunteers, community leaders and businesses were treated to canapés by the Waterside Tea Garden and Bistro as well as being given a taste of the festival with bite-sized performances from some of the stars.
Among these were David Davies, from the GB theatre Company who will bring Shakespeare’s epic plays to life at the Arundel Castle.
Sharon Blaikie sang with The Sirens as well as showcasing acts expected in the Jubilee Gardens, organised by Landon Sounds Events.
Actors from the Arundel Players provided a short taster of the eagerly awaited Amadeus by Peter Shaffer at the Arundel Priory Theatre.
Drip Action Theatre ensures drama reaches the masses with the Theatre Trail. The company will take centre stage at the Jubilee Gardens.
The Gallery Trail was well represented with a live chainsaw carved sculpture by Simon Groves. The proceedings finished with a saucy song by comedian David Jordan, who is headlining the Jailhouse Screamers.
Arundel Festival 2013, August 17-26, takes on a travel theme this year as it utilises all modes of transport in the town, past and present, from wacky bath tubs on the river Arun, to stunning Arundel Brewery helicopters rides.
Southern Railways are linking up with this year’s Festival as they celebrate 150 years of the Arun Valley Train Line.
They will be hosting a journey into the past with vintage trains and traditional children’s games at Arundel Station on Saturday, August 17. They are proud sponsors of the Jubilee Gardens, which will be the focus of live music, family entertainment and creative themes such Circus Fantasia.
The opening parade and fireworks sponsored by Green Wright Chalton Annis solicitors will ensure the celebrations are a signal for a spectacular ten days of music, drama and art.
Andy Heggadon said: “Seeing so many supporters here today at the Launch 2013 at Arundel Castle, echoes the continued commitment from local businesses, volunteers and community spirit that makes this Festival the success it is.”
He continued: “We are thrilled that businesses such as Southern Railways, Arundel Brewery and Green Wright Chalton Annis solicitors among others have come on board as sponsors allowing the historical town of Arundel to be shown at its most vibrant.”
Full details and updates about this year’s festival will appear in this newspaper and its website.