Monday, July 13, 2015

Audiences in Frome are wonderful

Sumptuous sunshine returns to the southwest, happily in time for a glintingly gloaming opening night for Midsummer Dusk, the Dissenters Cemetery glittering with tiny candles and the audience filling our hay-bale- auditorium.  And happily too, expectations raised by our show's 'hot ticket of the festival' tag were fulfilled. The atmosphere was amazing and all three performances massively well received. Here's our fabulous cast with director Rosie, and there's a great review on our Nevertheless page. Feedback has been fantastic, with some extraordinary synchronicities and moving connections that are a story in themselves.

And a really lovely audience too for the Time Walk around Rodden Meadow on Saturday as Annabelle and I gave our version of earth's story over 4.6 billion years before bacteria evolved, as Bill in Midsummer Dusk put it, from primeval slime into the intelligent beings we are today - all based on scientific theory but aiming not so much to instruct as to amaze and entertain. Which we were happy that we did.
Annabelle had yet another role at the Childrens Festival on Sunday, as explorer Dora led groups of small seekers on a quest to find the mysterious bower bird in Victoria Park. Little princesses and tiny superheroes posed in the dressing-up area and marquees offering activities from painting to pool were busy all afternoon despite occasional downpours. Downtown in the Market Yard the Art Car Boot was enlivened by a demonstration of how to make molten iron, and workshops for writers were on in the Library all day culminating with the announcement of the Festival Short Story Competition results by novelist Samantha Harvey, who commended the "extremely strong collection" of shortlisted stories. Winners and photos will be posted on the Words at Frome Festival page, as will the results of the Writers in Residence.

All of which left hardly time to see many of the lovely Hidden Gardens open during the last weekend of the festival, but I did manage to scamper round town to find some gorgeous ones with lush ponds vivid with water-lilies and swirlings of iridescent fish. Brandishing the map of gardens is a good way to locate the most impressive, as others similarly armed will share tips as they pass. Similar recommendation led me back to the Open Studio trail too, to see Kate Dixon's amazing exhibition at Venue 8, an exotic Alhambra alchemised into a riverside house on Willow Vale.

My festival ends with more music ~ dancing to brilliant early evening blues from the fantastic Pete Gage band at the Cornerhouse (pic shows the vibe but omits the fab tenor sax & guitar) and then the final party at the festival Green Room in the Granary with Geniology jazzing the night away and a really fabulous support set from Coralie Hyde. It's been an amazing week. Let's do it all again in 2016!

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