The 2016 Petworth Festival begins!

Stewart Collins Artistic Director

Stewart Collins Artistic Director

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Petworth Festival gets under way today (Thursday, July 14), promising a “multitude of show-stopping performances for families” running through to Saturday, July 30.

Artistic director Stewart Collins said: “Highlights include brilliant touring theatre company Illyria with their latest production of Roald Dahl’s Danny the Champion of the World adapted by David Wood; Science Blast: The Great Scientists, a must for any family with a budding Professor Brian Cox in its midst; and Showstoppers! The improvised musical whose current West End show won an Olivier award earlier this year for Best Entertainment & Family Show.

“And the National Youth Chamber Choir of Great Britain and National Youth Jazz Orchestra pay tribute to Shakespeare in his 400th anniversary year with a national concert tour entitled The Play’s The Thing.”

Stewart added: “As always, family audiences are very much part of the festival’s focus. Our offering for families is designed to be educational, inspiring as well as entertaining and this year’s acts promise to combine the very best of music and theatre from the West End whilst promoting the talents of the brightest young musicians in the UK.

“We’re also sharing in the Nation’s celebrations of Shakespeare with a repertoire that brings the school curriculum to life in a meaningful, inspirational and highly entertaining way.”

Audiences are invited to participate in a variety of family performances:

2.30pm on Sunday, July 17 at Bignor Park, Pulborough. In their 25th anniversary year, Petworth Festival welcomes back touring theatre company Illyria. Recognised as one of the country’s most inventive interpreters of Roald Dahl’s work, Illyria presents Danny the Champion of the World.

12 noon on Sunday, July 24 at Leconfield Hall, Petworth. Actor Ben Crystal reveals Shakespeare man and work as relevant, accessible and alive. His book Shakespeare on Toast is for everyone, smashing down the walls that have often made Shakespeare untouchable and reminding us that the Bard actually invented popular culture, Stewart said.

3pm on Sunday, July 24 at Leconfield Hall, Petworth. Science Blast: The Great Scientists. “Our guide, Professor Kaos, introduces us to the lives of nine of the world’s great scientists with the help of highly-dangerous experiments involving explosives, chemicals, high-voltage electricity and cheese sandwiches!”

7.45pm on Thursday, July 28 at Leconfield Hall, Petworth – Showstoppers! “The Improvised Musical is a great show for all ages 14 years and over and delivers spontaneous musical comedy at its best. So whether you fancy Sondheim on a ski lift or Cole Porter in Poundland, audiences suggest it and the Showstoppers will sing it!”

7.30pm on Friday, July 29 at Midhurst Rother College – National Youth Chamber Choir of Great Britain and National Youth Jazz Orchestra. “Some of the most talented young musicians in the UK have joined together to bring The Play’s The Thing, a programme that features a diverse range of music inspired by Shakespeare’s plays and poetry, including Duke Ellington’s Such Sweet Thunder suite, and Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Three Shakespeare Songs.

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