Festival gives a platform to proud voices of dissent and rebellion ...

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Hebden Bridge Arts Festival

Various locations

From June 22 to July 1

Poet Laureate Dame Carol Ann Duffy, internationally renowned photographer Martin Parr and straight-talking comic Bridget Christie are some of the non-conformists who are heading to Hebden Bridge as the town’s Arts Festival opens on Friday, June 22, writes Paul Clarke.

The retrospective of Martin Parr’s photographs taken along the Calder Valley in the 1970s at the start of his career have already drawn hundreds of people into the Town Hall, and there are few tickets left for his talk at Hope Baptist Church on Monday, June 25 June where he’ll talk about his work as a non-conformist photographer of everyday life here and abroad.

Non-conformity is the theme of this year’s festival and Bridget Christie has never been one to conform to comedy stereotypes, and she will be talking about everything from Trump to nuclear apocalypse at the Picture House on Wednesday, June 27.

Carol Ann Duffy is a poet who has always challenged orthodoxy in her work and her fearlessness helped her become our nation’s first female Poet Laureate. Sincerity is her last collection before stepping down as laureate and she will read from her rich back catalogue closing the festival at Hope Baptist on Sunday July 1.

Other non-conformists who will have their say include Jackie Hagan who brings her ‘This is Not A Safe Space’ to the Little Theatre on Thursday, June 28. Writer, comedian and underclass amputee Hagan’s new show features the voices of real skint disabled people, and discusses the weirdness of being human.

Local poet Clare Shaw will launch her third collection Flood on Saturday, June 30 at the Town Hall as she reflects on the great Boxing Day deluge that flooded her house interweaved with the end of a relationship. She’ll be joined by special guest choirs from Burnley.

The same day Folktronic composer Minute Taker is at Hope Baptist with his new show Wilderness exploring his own experiences as a self-employed artist that inspired piano based songs with multilayered sonic textures interspersed with stories.

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The next generation of young local artists will showcase new work on Saturday, June 23 as Nova Collective’s ‘Disparate Youth’ show makes a return in the basement of Salem Mill. This semi-installation, part-story exhibition will focus on what it is like to grow up in Hebden Bridge.In a very busy festival programme there is also time to reflect at Gibson Mill as British-Chinese landscape photographer Yan Wang Preston stages Forest until July 22. She is using Hardcastle Crags as a backdrop to examine the hidden complexities behind the surface of physical landscapes . Forest won first prize at the Syngenta Photo Awards.

Poet John Hegley began his career busking outside a shoeshop in Hull but more than a dozen books of verse later he is back at Hebden Bridge Arts Festival with a show that features some of his best work from the last 30 years - plus a special family workshop.

Hegley was born in Newington Green, London, home to Britain’s non-conformist tradition which is the theme of this year’s festival.

He will lead an offbeat family workshop on Saturday, June 23 from 3pm in Hebden Bridge Town Hall and return in the evening for his show ‘New and Selected Potatoes’ at 7.30pm.

He will read new work and classics from his Genius Collections 1984-2013, as well as songs and drawings.

lTickets from Hebden Bridge Town Hall or www.hebdenbridgeartsfestival.co.uk