Superheoes and a coronation

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Birthdays, brass and boogie woogie all combine in Petworth for this year’s Festival which also includes a coronation, an Olympic artist, a giant lobster and a superhero or two.

Mary Hamilton, Festival spokeswoman, said: “Festival fun begins on July 9 with the Town Fete held in the grounds of Petworth House. The festival’s contribution to this wonderful community event comes in the form of four outstanding street theatre acts – astonishing stilt walkers, exuberant comedy with Dan The Hat, strolling music with the Swervy World Band and the completely daft Lobster a la Carte.”

Mary added: “Recognising that the lovely church of St Mary’s lies at the heart of many festival performances, the churches of the Petworth area come together for a joyous ecumenical service on Thursday, July 14 where the guest speaker will be David Hill. David was formerly organist at Winchester Cathedral and is now director of ,usic at St John’s College Cambridge as well as conductor of the world renowned Bach Choir.

“The opening performance on July 15 involves more than fifty local school children working alongside the imaginative and engaging Armonico Consort, recreating the pomp and majesty of the Coronation of Henry VIII. Narrated by Shakespearean actor Jeffrey Dench and featuring trumpeter Crispian Steele Perkins, this spectacular fully staged event will launch the Festival performances in royal style.

“Central to the Festival this year is the celebration of the birthdays of three pre-eminent musicians. Cellist Julian Lloyd Webber performs in his sixtieth birthday year complementing his sell-out concert the Spring at London’s Southbank Centre. Award winning musician Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, 70 this year and known for his compositions for Dr Who and Four Weddings And Funeral, will also perform at Petworth with jazz supremo Claire Martin. And composer Anthony Payne celebrates his 75th birthday with a concert which will feature a world premiere of a miniature by Sir Edward Elgar.”

Classical music remains at the heart of the Petworth Festival and this year’s programme includes performances by Cuban piano virtuoso Jorge Luis Prats, the Vienna Piano Trio and the New Zealand String Quartet and concludes with a mighty performance blending the talents of Australian Baroque Brass with the only British performance by the organist of St Marks in Venice, Maestro Roberto Micconi.

More details on www.petworthfestival.org.uk.