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West Dean Arts and Craft Festival

Photo credit: Claire Collinson © The Bowes Museum
Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 14.35.12

2 - 4 June 2017 10am to 5pm at West Dean College, Near Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 0QZ


2017 West Dean Arts and Craft Festival brings together 200+ artists, makers, writers and performers for the UK’s definitive arts and craft festival. Taking place at West Dean College, the former home and gardens of Edward James, poet, Surrealist and arts patron, the festival will deliver a wide range of dynamic workshops, drop-in creative sessions as well as exciting live demonstration, performances and installations. Browse and buy unique pieces from 120 designers and makers, curated by MADE, and visit the dedicated Print Show.

Visitors will discover the secrets of West Dean House, with its intriguing arts heritage, along with the surrounding award-winning restored West Dean Gardens. The festival will run at West Dean College from 2-4 June 2017. Festival-goers will be able to try their hand at a variety of new techniques by participating in creative workshops run by professional tutors in subjects as varied as stone carving, machine embroidery and oil painting. Artists will be revealing their practice through demonstrations in blacksmithing, tapestry weaving, painting, printmaking and metalwork. Visitors will learn the secrets of etching, watch expert potters turn clay into beautiful objects and follow the Drawing Theatre around the grounds. These will be complemented by insightful talks and theatrical performances around the site throughout the weekend.

The Festival includes West Dean House Opening, an annual event that offers visitors a rare opportunity to explore the Grade II* listed historic house and learn more about the West Dean Collection. Guided architectural tours will run throughout the weekend taking participants on a journey through time from the 17th century Jacobean manor house through to the late Victorian alterations and on to the present day college.

The exhibitions on display include artwork and artefacts from the thirteenth to the twentieth century, combining the acquisitions of two generations of the James family. The fascinating history of West Dean contrasts a fashionable Edwardian interior with the eclectic collection of Edward James – which includes work from the Surrealists and Neo-Romantics. Full-time students will be showcasing their work including: the launch of an anthology of writing by graduates of the MA in Creative Writing and Publishing; installations by Visual Arts students; and live heritage projects from the School of Conservation.

The Old Library, home to an array of antique books, artworks and furniture, will host a series of talks by curators, conservators and artists. One of the highlights will be a talk by Matthew Read, (MA, ACR) about his conservation work on the Silver Swan, the famous automaton that featured at Robots, the Science Museum’s recent blockbuster exhibition. Close to 120 exhibitors will display and sell their work in the marketplace, curated by the team behind the successful MADE London and Brighton Art Fair with an impressive array of hand crafted objects to buy.

Tours of the garden will be led by the Head Gardeners and there will be a variety of drop in sessions held throughout the ‘Hut Trail’, which features thatched summer huts scattered around the gardens. Activities include ‘creating a floral headdress’ and potting up colourful tubs of herbs. Each hut will feature artists and craft makers offering visitors the opportunity to knit, draw, print and craft paper sculptures to take home. The Emergency Poet will also be prescribing poems as ‘treatments and cures’ from her 1970’s ambulance. Artist Caroline Wendling will present her unique grass maze and will be giving a talk on her artist residencies at Cambridge School of Art, Wysing Arts Centre and Deveron Arts.

West Dean Arts and Craft Festival offers plenty to see and do for all ages in a glorious location, plus local food to enjoy throughout. Children aged 5-12 will have their own creative workshops where they can paint, make felt models and learn to work with clay.

Early Bird ticket prices: £10 adult (until 26 May) offering a saving of 20% (£12 on the gate), Children free, Students 16+ early bird £5 (£6 on the gate). For further information and to book tickets and workshops visit www.westdean.org.uk.

Go behind the scenes at Glyndebourne this autumn

DSC_0363_photographer Andy Orwell

Tread the stage and go behind the scenes at Glyndebourne

This autumn Glyndebourne is offering an expanded programme of backstage tours to give an insight into the history and workings of its internationally-famous opera house.

The tour takes in the theatre, including a chance to tread the Glyndebourne stage which has played host to opera stars including Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Alfie Boe and Danielle de Niese. It also visits the backstage area, dressing rooms, rehearsal spaces and the historic Organ Room, where the very first musical performances at Glyndebourne took place in the 1930s.

During the tour, visitors will be given a brief history of Glyndebourne, learn about what’s involved in staging an opera and hear anecdotes of singers forgetting their lines, and an occasion when the cast of extras for one production included a number of live chickens.

Glyndebourne launched backstage tours for individuals in the autumn of 2012 and has increased the number on offer this year. The half-day tours until 16 December. Morning visits start at 10.15am and afternoon tours start at 2pm. To book visit glyndebourne.com

John and his opera singer wife, Audrey Mildmay, founded the Glyndebourne Festival in 1934. In 1968 the Glyndebourne Tour was established to bring opera to new audiences across the country and create opportunities for talented young singers.

Today Glyndebourne is a twelve month operation. The Festival runs from May to August with a programme of six operas in a 1,200-seat opera house. The annual Tour takes place from October to December and a widely respected education programme is active year round staging new work and delivering projects to enhance the understanding and enjoyment of opera.
IMG_0292_photographer Andrew Batty
Together the Festival and Tour present 120 performances annually to an audience of 150,000 with many more people experiencing Glyndebourne’s work through its yearly programme of cinema screenings and free online streamings. Glyndebourne has pioneered specialist recordings to share its work with a global audience through these channels and as part of this mission to reach new audiences, also offers
reduced-price tickets to under-30s.

Since its founding, Glyndebourne has remained financially independent and, whilst receiving valued Arts Council support for the Tour and education work, the Festival receives no public subsidy. As a registered charity, our work is funded by Box Office income, our Members and supporters.