VIDEO: Beast of Belper performance at town’s arts festival

Around £50,000 has been pumped into the local economy during the Belper Arts Festival, organisers estimate.

The celebration, which drew to a close this week has prompted several spin-offs - including an arts market, new gallery, collaborations and an anthology of short stories.

Beast of Belper: Live Performance in the River Gardens

Beast of Belper: Live Performance in the River Gardens

A series of short plays performed during the festival are also set to tour Derbyshire at the end of Summer.

More than 11,000 visitors are estimated to have been to the festival with 300 artists, actors, musicians and dancers taking part.

“Way beyond our expectations,” said George Gunby, the Festival Co-Ordinator. “For a first event organised by volunteers the end result has been tremendous. This is a start towards building an arts economy. It’s not just a bunch of arties saying look at my stuff. There is a long term plan for economic development behind the festival.”

Highlights of the final weekend included three sell out nights of theatre. “Fright Night” featured five short plays with adult themes including a stunning monologue from Sheila Kay Sly as “The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband”.

Friday saw a performance of “Educating Rita” featuring Ellie Ward and Ed Telfer. The two 17 year olds showed why they are considered among the best young actors in Derbyshire.

Finally, Saturday was “Laugh Night”. The winner of the Short Play Competition, Janice Hallett, was in the packed audience to see RIOT! performed. Her prize was presented by the Managing Director of George’s Tradition, Andrew Constantinou who were an event sponsor. However it was Rebecca Holmes who stole the show as “LILETH”, the receptionist from hell.Another popular performer was the Derbyshire Poet Laureate Matt Black at the Strutt Centre and the festival closed with a brand new piece of outdoor theatre in the River Gardens.“Beast of Belper” was created specially for the Belper Arts Festival.

Throughout the week local artists have also been exhibiting in 30 houses and studios around Belper as part of Belper Open Houses.