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Maria Whatton
Maria Whatton

The months of waiting for arts fans in the area are over as the nationally-renowned Wirksworth Festival 2014 gets under way this weekend.

The festival runs from September 5-21, and will once again see all manner of venues in and around the town offer showcases for the visual arts.

The entire town becomes a gallery, with over 170 artists exhibiting in more than 60 venues. Add to this an exhilarating selection of music, dance, drama, community celebrations, family events, film, street performers to the very best home grown talent, and you’re getting close to the Wirksworth Festival experience.

This year, organisers are celebrating 20 years of the Art and Architecture Trail.

This part of the festival has now become one of the event’s highlights, an opportunity to experience a wide range of art from makers, designers, fine artists, ceramicists, sculptors and many more, an opportunity to browse, buy and sample a massive range of unique artworks as well as to take a peek inside some of Derbyshire’s most beautiful homes.

The Art and Architecture Trail Weekend is on Saturday and Sunday, September 6-7, from 10am-5pm on both days. It is £6 (under 18s free) for all-weekend entry to all trail venues and markets, plus an illustrated guide. Buy your entry badge at the Festival Office, Town Hall, Memorial Hall and Traid Links.

Find out about artists exhibiting on the Trail through www.wirksworthfestival.co.uk

There will also be an Exhibition of Contemporary Visual Art on all three weekends of the festival in the Parish Room, and around town, plus online.

Live in the Parish Room over the Trail Weekend, you can see Ladies of the Press*, a multi-disciplinary artist duo that re-imagines the role of the publisher and publicist into a theatrical persona, mixing live art performance and print media.

Using the concept of publishing as a medium they explore notions of ‘the press’ and art as publishing. their work is live and interactive with an end product which may be anything from book form, to printed ephemera to performing to camera for live broadcast and everything in between.

Through an exploration of the exhibition, the Festival and the Town through history, LotP* will create before your very eyes a theatre of the bizaare; a celebration of all things print, press and publishing, through role-playing and performativity, involving chance elements and audience participation.

In addition, there is an extensive performance programme. On Tuesday, September 9, from 7pm, see The Lunar Men at the Star Disc. Tickets for this outdoor event are £10/£8. Bring a seat, blanket and/or picnic.

This is an exciting collaboration between storyteller Maria Whatton (pictured) and folk musician Sarah Matthews.

For more on the many, many events, see www.wirksworthfestival.co.uk