Visitors double at arts festival

Afternoon tea with Jane Austen event at No. 28 community hall as part of the Belper arts festival.
Afternoon tea with Jane Austen event at No. 28 community hall as part of the Belper arts festival.

Organisers of Belper Arts Festival have expressed their delight that visitor numbers are so far double last year’s figures at the same point.

More than 4,000 people are so far thought to have enjoyed the various arts attractions around the town, compared to nearly 2,000 at the half-way point in 2013.

“It’s very rewarding,” said festival chair, George Gunby. “The organisers’ hard work has been vindicated and long may it continue.”

“Things are booking up and we are having full houses booked in for some events.”

Over the May Bank Holiday, Belper’s streets were busy with people during the inaugural arts trail. Meanwhile, the arts, crafts and literature festivals have attracted visitors to the Strutt Centre.

Belper School has opened its doors for performances by students. “Night Vision”, a photography exhibition by Roger Morgan attracted in the region of 400 visitors over two days. And “Cream Tea With Jane Austen” was a sell out and dance was featured with a ceilidh and Morris dancing.

The coming weekend features one of the real highlights with the Belperamble, a walk around Belper town centre with performances throughout in usual and unusual places. Director Sali Gresham has attracted a wealth of writing and performing talent that promises a unique and fascinating afternoon. The amble will take place on Saturday, May 17, starting at Number 28 Community Hall on the Market Place. Tickets are £3.

The weekend also features comedy act Three Men In A Bow Tie on Friday, May 16 (for more details see page 20) and Belper Singers on Saturday. Storyteller Sophie Snell is performing on Sunday, May 18. Her “Seven Deadly Sins” show has received rave reviews. Number 28 The Market Place is the venue for all three events.

Check for details. Tickets are available on line and from the Cherry Orchard Gallery. Market Place, Belper. at 1pm, 2pm and 3pm.

Don’t miss next week’s Belper News for the full updated programme for Belper Open Houses, which takes place over the weekend of May 24, 25 and 26 May from 10.30am to 4.30pm on Saturday and Sunday, and 10.30am to 4pm on Monday.

The event is now in its third year and 30 houses and other venues are taking part.

Please check the list to make sure the house you want to visit is open on Monday, as this day is optional and there is some variety of opening days and times.

For more information log-on to