Second festival is building to a fantastic finale

Launch of Brighouse's second Arts Festival at Smith Art Gallery, Brighouse. Pictured are organisor Tom Ratcliffe, Mayor of Calderdale coun Ann Martin, consort Mohammad Naeem and Steven Lord from BBI.
Launch of Brighouse's second Arts Festival at Smith Art Gallery, Brighouse. Pictured are organisor Tom Ratcliffe, Mayor of Calderdale coun Ann Martin, consort Mohammad Naeem and Steven Lord from BBI.

With sell-out performances and packed venues, the second Brighouse Arts Festival got off to a flying start at the weekend.

The festival was opened by the Mayor of Calderdale, Coun Ann Martin, who praised the variety and quality of the programme. The Field Quartet played at the opening reception at the Smith Art Gallery and visitors enjoyed an exhibition of monochrome photography.

Festival organiser Tom Ratcliffe said being involved in the arts had saved his life. After failing his 11-plus, he was given the chance to go to art school at the age of 16. “That started me on a journey which has given me some of the best times of my life,” he said. “I’m pleased to be able to share my love of the arts with my home town. There’s a definite sense this year that the festival is established and people have been coming to us for information about the programme. We have more than 1,000 followers on Twitter and a similar number on Facebook.”

The festival attracted a capacity audience to the Smith Art Gallery for a recital by former Rastrick High School student Aidan Edwards and Juliet Montgomery. There was also a near-capacity audience for a concert by Roger Davies at St Martin’s Church and a tea dance to the sounds of the Flashback band at the Salvation Army.

Drama was a new addition to this year’s programme and Talking Stock Productions’ two one-act plays ‘The Last Memory’ and ‘Deathwatch’ will be presented at the Salvation Army on Saturday at 7.30pm. Written by Alan Stockdill, the plays have been performed as part of the Halifax Festival and won awards at a one-act play festival in Glossop.

Another highlight this year has been the number of exhibitions. Anne Brooke, a teacher at Brighouse High School, is one of those taking part with an exhibition of textiles at Prego Italian Restaurant in Brighouse.

The festival is now building up to a fantastic finale with An Evening with Rachel Crisp at Prego’s and a rock and roll evening with Marc Robinson and the Counterfeit Crickets at Brighouse Civic Hall. Both events start tonight at 7.30pm.

There are also workshops, musical performances, poetry events and exhibitions running until Saturday. For details visit www.brighousefestival.co.uk