COLUMN: Belper Arts Festival events seek to include everyone

NBENBE120319c2, local writer George gunby launching a short play festival, Belper.
NBENBE120319c2, local writer George gunby launching a short play festival, Belper.

By George Gunby

Belper Arts festival organiser

Work on the Belper Arts Festival began in June last year and will culminate in a month of performances, workshops, classes, talks and special events during May. It begins with a performance of “Educating Rita” and ends with “Four Strings and the Truth”, a ukulele concert that features Phil Doleman and Manatoba Hal, one of the finest players in the world. Sandwiched inbetween is the Arts Trail, Open Houses Art and the innovative Belperamble, an outdoor event that will take walkers around town with performances along the way.

With almost two hundred events there really is something for everybody.

Inclusivity, not exclusivity is the banner under which the festival operates.

From the very beginning the organisers have been determined to make events as accessible as possible for everyone and I think that is something we have achieved. We are constantly looking to lift the quality of events but we won’t do that by becoming elitist.

Getting details of events out to the public is one of the more demanding aspects of organising the festival. Twenty years ago it was simple.

You put an ad in the local paper – which is still a good option. Now we have so many different routes to follow.

The arts festival has a web site ( that includes all events and an online box events.

In addition to brochures and leaflets we use email, Facebook and Twitter.

The central box office is situated at the Cherry Orchard Gallery on the Market Place. There is still time to take part.

During the afternoon of Sunday, May 25, Belper’s Got Junior Talent will take place in a marquee on the Rugby Club ground.

If you are under 16 and an entertainer of any kind contact me to book a slot.

On Monday, May 26 the New Found Festival will fill the same tent with new music. If you are in a band or a solo musician this is a great opportunity to play.

Contact me to make the most of the opportunity.

The Belper Arts festival will be officially opened by Pauline Latham MP on Thursday, May 1 prior to the unveiling of Belper Arts “Guernica” and the performance of Educating Rita which takes place at Number 28 Community Hall on Market Place.

Venue : NUMBER 28, The Market Place, Belper. The evening starts at 7:30pm.