Shoreham’s Local and Live Festival offers online events

Shoreham’s Local and Live Festival – scheduled to run from October 23 to December 5 – has been stopped in its tracks as we enter a second period of national lockdown.

Chris Hare
Chris Hare

After months of planning, the organisers have put the remainder of the programme back until 2021.

In the meantime, they will be offering online versions of some of the events which have already happened.

Rosalind Turner, Shoreham Wordfest programme director, said: “Shoreham’s Local and Live Festival started on October 23 and managed to run eight of the 23 planned events before the announcement of the latest lockdown for November.

“There were packed audiences at Ropetackle Arts Centre for talks by Trevor Povey, Chris Hare and John Froude, a splendid evening of music by Alfonso The Magnificent and two excellent shows by The Noise Next Door, along with a children’s author event and poetry workshop.

“The organisers were looking forward to the next five weekends of events, but everything will now be postponed until the New Year.”

Rosalind added: “We are really sorry to have to stop the shows, not just for the audience but also this was an opportunity for local creative people to perform, and provided employment for the technicians and front of house staff after such a long gap.

“We recorded a number of the events and they will gradually be going on our website for everyone to view.

“The videos are free to watch although donations are always welcome!

“Chris Hare’s talk on Hilaire Belloc is already available on: along with Dr John Froude’s talk on plagues, including coronavirus, which was streamed live at the event.

“This was a riveting talk, delivered by an international specialist in infectious diseases.

““We really recommend everyone watches this as it adds to our knowledge and understanding of the impact of plagues throughout history, and in particular the current virus which is dominating our lives.

“John is a fascinating speaker and is a resident of Worthing, while working in hospitals in New York.”

The festival was supported with funding from the Arts Council and Adur District Council and was run in partnership by Shoreham Wordfest and Ropetackle Arts Centre.

The aim was to showcase local talent performing with smaller audiences, in line with government and public health guidelines. It is hoped the shows can resume early in 2021.

The funding enabled Wordfest to set up parallel recording and online broadcasting of events so that they could be seen by people not able to attend the venue – with the expert support of Dermot Boyd, local TV director and Akhilesh Padmajan, Wordfest’s technical director, and some of the Wordfest volunteers.

As Wordfest programme director Rosalind explains, they began working on this project once they knew that live indoor performances would be permitted again.

However, operating with reduced audience numbers to allow for social distancing and Covid-safe precautions, meant it was impossible to fund the events just with ticket income.

The grant from the Arts Council meant that they could go ahead with their plans, “knowing that we can bring an exciting programme of live entertainment while also recording the events to show them on-line.

“This will reach a wider audience and will develop a new way of broadcasting events.”

Now, for the moment, it is just the recordings which remain until they can reschedule dates for the New Year, once the second lockdown is over.