Arts Alive plans to bring together a host of talented performers for a Winter Festival of Stories and Songs on January 22 and 23 at SpArC in Bishop’s Castle. The event will feature artists from across the UK and Ireland in a Covid safe format, so that audiences across the region can enjoy a live performance again.

Cerin Mills, Live Events Programmer at Arts Alive, said, “Throughout 2020 live performance in every genre has been taken from us. This has hit so many performers and artists really hard, not only with the loss of earnings and creative outlets, but the loss of engagement with a live audience and the electric atmosphere it creates. Arts Alive are really looking forward to reigniting that electrifying atmosphere at our Winter Festival in January, which will showcase some phenomenal talent from across England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.”

Tickets can now be booked for four separate shows at the festival on Friday evening, Saturday lunchtime, Saturday afternoon and Saturday evening.

Friday evening’s first act is English folk duo, Whalebone, and local poet, Jean Atkin, who will be performing a musical collection of poems and Shropshire folklore – Understories – underpinning how history is ravelled around memory and community. Welsh folk musicians, Oli  Wilson-Dickson and Dylan Fowler will also be performing their traditional range of music.

At the Saturday lunchtime show, you can enjoy a light lunch whilst local storytellers tell tales. Sal Tonge from Stiperstones celebrates the music of language by telling a winter tale of the dying of the year with the hope of what could be around the corner. The award-winning author and storyteller, Amy Douglas, will tell traditional tales from Shropshire and Scotland. Finally, Helen East and Rick Wilson will tell traditional stories drawn from first-hand experience of places they have worked in and visited worldwide.

The Saturday afternoon show is Pedlar’s Tales performed by local touring theatre company, The Fetch theatre. This is an interactive performance featuring puppets, music and a mysterious traveller. Silver Joan’s fantastical world promises to engage the audience with bite-sized stories inspired by Herefordshire history and folklore.

On Saturday evening two of Scotland’s most versatile and popular musicians, Wendy Weatherby and Sandy Breichin, will combine vocals, cello and accordion to play a mixture of traditional and original material. The final act will be internationally acclaimed artists, singer-songwriter Michelle Burke from rural East Cork and pianist and composer James Ross.

Visit www.artsalive.co.uk for more information.

Caption: Sandy Breichin, who features in the Saturday evening show.

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