Steyning Festival in full stride

Steyning Festival offers plenty of delights to come as it moves towards week two.

Spokeswoman Jerry Doyle points out some of the highlights ahead:

• The Queen of Children’s Authors, Julia Donaldson will be in Steyning town with Gruffalo (7 June) much to the delight of many local 5 and 6 year olds. But a special bookshop marquee is hosting lots of other well-known children’s authors too. Names include Gillian McClure who wrote the award-winning Selkie, Jo Simmons, author of the Pip Street books, and Eleanor Hawkin and Adam Stower. A children’s creative writing workshop will also be run by Shelia Rance on 27 May.

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• Theatrical treats for kids can delight them and this production – ‘The Story of Little Red’, a re-telling of the famous Red Riding Hood fairytale, is one of those. Herringbone Arts use puppetry/music to tell the story for 1 to 8 year olds on 30 May.

• The Emerald Crown– local children volunteered for this production and will be making their debuts in a World Wildlife Fund inspired ‘green’ musical called The Emerald Crown featuring a great plot about animals protecting their rainforest from the greedy exploiters who want to chop it down. The organisers want a big turn out of local children and families to cheer them on X factor style! Simon Cowell, if you are reading this, stay at home! (7 June – 2 performances) (See attached photo)

• Jonathan Dimbleby’s, probing ‘Any Questions?’ show will be broadcasting from Steyning for the first time. (30 May)

• THE ARCHERS - But it’s not all about serious questions. Ever wondered if Victoria Wood really did pull a pint in the Bull? Or how big Tom’s sausages really are? You don’t need to be a fan of the Radio 4 soap either! Sunny Ormande, who plays the slightly off-beam “outrageous and raunchy Lilian Bellamy” in Radio 4’s The Archers , with her penchant for extramarital affairs and G&Ts, plans to regale us with hilarious tales of celebrity and answer questions like ‘ Did Victoria Wood really ever pull a pint in the Bull? And ‘how big really are Tom’s sausages?’ (1 June)

• Foodies will not go hungry either. BBC TV Chef, Valentine Warner (BBC 2 ‘What to Eat Now, Autumn’ ) is launching his new book ‘What to Eat Next’ . (5 June).

• TURNING THE TABLES. A DJ vinyl mash up featuring artists,DMC competitors and record label owners playing everything vinyl from Heavy Funk to Raw Soul,‘60s R’nB & Hip Hop.(30 May)

• THE WEIRD AND WONDERFUL – we are always on the look-out for unusual things and Steyning Festival has one event that really stands out. Everyone has to meet at the crack of dawn by Mouse Cottage, in Mouse Lane (shhhh… how cute is that!) at 7am to be precise. Andrew Armitage will then take you on a 2 mile stroll through woodlands to experience the early morning ‘Sounds of Dawn’ and nature. You will learn to know the sounds of the Nightingale, the Whitethroat and the nasal song of the Yellowhammer. Afterwards you get a cooked alfresco breakfast. Now that is what I call different! (31 May).

• HAVE A LAUGH! Laughter-lovers should also grab tickets for The Raymond and Mr Timpkins Revue. Back by popular demand they are reputed to be ‘the maddest, silliest, stupidest, cleverest, strangest and everything else-ist as well as the funniest double act of comedians on the circuit.’ Find out if you dare on 31 May.

• WALKING (HOPEFULLY, IN SUNSHINE, NOT RAIN) generally is a popular Festival pastime and a lot of them involve creative pursuits. There’s the story-telling walk at Daylands Farm with traditional tales of country folk, a creative writing walk, the poetry trail where you’ll be reciting Wordsworth while stepping over cow pats, and a kind of pub crawl walk around the taverns of Steyning which is bound to be the most popular. But one walk that spills the beans and takes the biscuit while you lose the calories is one of Steyning’s most famous, the Scandals walk with Janet Pennington, which is very definitely not for children and has been assigned an X rating.(1 June)

• OUT OF THIS WORLD! Those fascinated by science and exploration will not want to miss finding out about the amazing European space agency mission, Rosetta and its planned landing and rendezvous with a comet this summer after a 10 year journey in outer space powered only by solar energy. Discover how this remarkable spacecraft could answer how life began on Earth with space mission expert, Professor Andrew Coates on 3 June.

• THE ENDS OF THE EARTH - Back on terra firma, but going to the ends of the earth, are the adventurers who explore the polar extremities of our planet. Tim Jarvis will be speaking in person about his incredible attempt to follow in Shackleton’s footsteps in the Antarctic in: ‘Recreating Shackleton’s Epic Journey’ (6 June).

• 400 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER (celebrating the 400th birthday of the Steyning Grammar School) linked to the Festival’s finale event, a unique ‘1614 dance’ (with callers) with music from the Jacobean period and a hog roast on offer. (8 June in the fine surroundings of Wiston House). A never-to-be-repeated night to remember! There is still one costume workshop to go to if you want to dress the part a bit but it is not compulsory!

Tickets and info from and Steyning Bookshop 01903 812062. Steyning Festival – 24 May – 8 June.