Community arts activities in Alfreton herald the return of Ofton Festival

Ofton Festival
Ofton Festival

Ofton Festival, a locally driven artistic project in Alfreton, will take place in the streets and forgotten venues, such as the Houses of Confinement.

The festival will run on September 28 and 29 will all activity free to attend and participate in. It follows a pilot festival three years ago which saw events oversubscribed.

Together with the festival, an outreach participatory arts programme will include immersive mixed-medium artistic installations, participatory

workshops and street activity for people in the community.

Grant funding has come from Arts Council England following a successful bid by Platform Thirty1 and local partners. The grant is paying for a team of more than 15 people to programme and lead activity for the festival, providing free opportunities for schools and residents to take part on the lead-up and during the festival weekend itself.

Jodie Cresswell-Waring, director of Platform Thirty1, said: “We were delighted to gain this grant from the Arts Council, but equally heartened by the amount of support and contribution our partners have collectively resourced to make this festival a possibility.

“As a local resident I know the area has many strengths and it’s very exciting to be celebrating them through a creative catalyst. The festival brings an

opportunity to unlock forgotten buildings and spaces whilst making more visible the existing venues in the town and putting local artists on the

stage for local audiences.

“As the lead of the Local Cultural Education Partnership (Black Shale) in Amber Valley and Bolsover, we strive to close the inequality of the local arts offer in the area. Ofton Festival is allowing us the opportunity to be creative, playful and inventive together in the community and work with some

exceptional artists to bring some fantastic arts experiences to people in and around Alfreton.

“The lead artists/creative organisations for the festival (The Alfreton Pottery, Face Up Theatre, Rachel Carter and Creative Forum) are currently working

in local schools, nurseries and with the community to co-create the headliner pieces for the festival. It’s very exciting to watch the headliners come together in a collaborative process with so many people involved and we can’t wait for the individuals who have helped create the pieces return and see them in all of their completed glory at the festival.

“We’re especially proud to be working with some outstanding local talent for the festival and it’s great for these talents to have the opportunity to work

with local people and importantly to showcase their skills and creations to the local people at our good old town ‘Ofton’.”