Skip to main content Skip to site map (in footer)

Wiltshire Valley welcomes new arts festival in May

  • Date: 15 April 2014
  • Area: South West
Woman with noose round neck in theatre play

The Ballad of Martha Brown by Angel Exit Theatre, to be performed at Deverills Festival. Credit: Courtesy of Angel Exit Theatre

A new performing arts festival will grace villages in Wiltshire over the first bank holiday weekend in May.  

Deverills Festival, featuring the best of drama, music and dance, will be held in seven village venues 2-5 May, supported with an award of £5,000 from Arts Council England's National Lottery funded Grants for the arts scheme.

The packed - and eclectic - programme of more than 20 events will be hosted in churches, village halls, a pub and a large barn in the centre of the valley, converted into a comfortable theatre. Audiences will be offered a range of events from classical orchestral works commemorating the centenary of the start of World War I to acrobatic dance by an African troupe and from a folk concert and ceilidh to mumming theatre shows.

The festival, in its first year, sprang from the founders' recognition of the dearth of performing arts in the Wiltshire valley of Deverill, made up of six villages.  It aims to bring excellence in performance to community audiences whilst also providing a platform for aspiring artists.

True to its conception and steeped in community spirit, the festival is managed and staffed entirely by volunteers and on the final day the local professional theatre and Arts Council England National portfolio organisation, Salisbury Playhouse, will be facilitating 'Play in a Day', to be produced and performed by members of the community.

Talks from local professional theatrical and musical personalities and guided valley walks will accompany the festival activity.

Richard Munro, Festival Director, said: 'This wide-reaching, highly accessible performing arts festival is ambitious but we have had so many offers of support and encouragement that we were determined to go for it: bringing top-quality professional and amateur music, drama and dance to people who would not otherwise have the opportunity to experience them. Arts Council England have been incredibly generous and have shown such welcome confidence. Without their grant I suspect we would not have been able to lever a huge amount of financial support from trusts and businesses, both local and regional. We are very grateful. It's going to be a great weekend!'

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said: 'This project is a great example of how a small investment can go a long way; demonstrating the value of our Lottery funded Grants for the arts programme. We are committed to ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to experience and be inspired by the arts and hope that, buoyed by this award, Deverills may become an annual event, providing great art to these communities in Wiltshire.'

For more detail about the festival and to book tickets, click here