You can't have missed the parade of pink wheelbarrows dotted around Goring & Streatley - the shops, the cafes, the pubs, the dentist and even the Golf Club. Local businesses have filled their wheelbarrows with a delightful mix of plants, paraphernalia and a plethora of other delights. One of them has a giant highlighter pen (and it works - how cool is that!) and one even has a bottle of champagne! AND, these lovely pink wheelbarrows now need new homes. Would you like one? YES? Then come and make a bid.
The wheel barrows are being auctioned on Festival Sunday in the Gardiner Recreation Field, next the marquee. You can inspect the wheelbarrows and make your bid during the morning. The grand auction will take place at 3pm. Now you can make your garden pretty in PINK!
Our first review is in for Festival ExtrA! Burke & Hare
As my husband will tell anyone who listens, I am obsessed with true crime. So, the performance of Burke and Hare by The Watermill Theatre on May 24th at the Morrell Room, which combined my love of true crime and comedy with theatre, had the potential to be a good night out. Having not attended anything like this in the village before, I didn’t know what to expect but as Festival Manager, I was hoping for something good.
The Watermill's production far surpassed every one of my expectations. From the moment the three cast members came on to the beautifully and very cleverly designed stage to tell their somewhat unbelievable story, it was an assault on the senses. An immersive theatre experience that had every audience member fully engaged (and participating, in some instances) and emotionally involved with the characters. The three cast members, Katy Daghorn, Alex Parry and Hayden Wood had fantastic on stage chemistry and did an exceptional job of making a gruesome and sombre topic completely farcical. Their ability to switch so easily between so many characters and such distinct personalities was effortless and their commitment to the characters, their mastery of regional accents and the clever use of manmade sound effects all added to the hilarity on the night. The chaotically comical scene when Burke meets Helen's family was expertly done and had the audience in stitches. The clever use of music throughout the performance gave a real energy and pace to the show, and the harmonies were absolutely on point. And whilst the play may well have been about the notorious Burke and Hare, the standout performance of the night was, without doubt, Katy Daghorn, who owned the stage with her performances of Helen, Mrs Hare and Professor Monro (among many others).
All in all, a fantastic first introduction to The Watermill Theatre and an explosive start to this year's Gap Festival.
On the Home Front
First up is Rachel Siegfried of Green & Gorgeous
Rachel is a pioneer in sustainable, seasonal floristry and is known as the ‘flower grower’s flower grower’. She regularly features in titles such as Homes & Gardens, Country Living and Gardens Illustrated. She has been recognised by British Flowers Week as one of ‘the twenty most creative florists’. Not only will Rachel present a Hand Tied Bouquet Master Class, you’ll even be able to take a little bit of Green & Gorgeous home with you as she’ll be selling some of her amazing blooms.
Get the Gossip from Chelsea Gold Medal Winner Joe Swift
So what really happens behind the scenes at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and Gardeners’ World and what does it take to win a Chelsea Show Gold Medal? Joe Swift the cheerful award-winning garden designer, journalist and TV presenter will take to the floor and reveal all in a fascinating, humorous and anecdote filled presentation that promises to be a sellout. His talk, Designing a Gold Medal Chelsea Garden, won’t be limited to inspiring gardening tales, you’ll discover the other side of Joe Swift…. There’s more to this man than a national controversy over raised beds. Joe will end his session with a Q&A section. Don’t miss it!
Get the Knowledge - Weird Plants and Wise Advice
Follow up Joe's talk with Local Gardening Experts Gardeners’ Question Time
This is your opportunity to test the knowledge of our unique panel of experts who promise to answer your wonderful questions and identify your weird plants!
The panel will be chaired by Rob Jones, founder of ‘The Garden Design Co Ltd’ who knows a thing or two about creating inspirational gardens. The team will also include:
Paul Barney, Edulis nursery founder and an expert in rare and eclectic plants (to say nothing of being a great raconteur)
Clare Hastings, keen cottage gardener and author of ‘Gardening Notes from a Late Bloomer’ (book signing after the event)
Jeremy Brudenell, Root One founder and former star of film, TV and stage
Tim Martin, Head Gardener National Trust (Basildon Park, Greys Court, Nuffield Place)
Then we round off with Open Gardens on Festival Sunday. After all this top advice and inspiration we’ll look forward to some magnificent Gap gardens in 2019!
International Women’s Day is a good time to look how this year’s Gap Festival is celebrating the role of women in the Arts. We hope we’ve created a platform where female artists play a major part and demonstrate so many success stories.
Our music strand is headlined by soul supremo Mica Paris who has not only conquered the world of music but is also well known for her work on TV, radio and the stage – a truly multi-talented woman!
Val McDermid is widely regarded as the queen of crime fiction. She’s proved her equality throughout her career, starting out as one of the youngest undergraduates at St Hilda’s college Oxford and has been vocal in her support of women’s rights.
Harriet Braine, winner of Funny Women Awards 2016 is a great example of an area of entertainment where women have really taken the high ground (think of all those fabulous female comedians - – Victoria Wood, Jennifer Saunders, Jo Brand, Isy Suttie. Miranda Hart …. the list goes on).
And of course, we have a wonderful female a Capella group with Papagena to celebrate the female voice.
Our Arts programme is strongly represented by local female artists, from Sarah Rushbrooke’s ceramics, Mandy Monkcom’s pastel portraits & Chris Scoby-Smith’s mixed media collages to Merete Hawkin’s textiles.
As 2018 is the centenary of (some) women being granted the vote, we’re delighted to have an illustrated talk from Janet Hurst on some of the unsung heroines of WW1 who helped take the right to vote forward.
And last, but not least, so many of the volunteers behind the scene at the festival are women, from Artistic Director Heather to those leading the teams behind social media, marketing, programme development, health & safety and more. We’re making it happen! #PressforProgress #vote100
The Festival team are working hard to come up with a spectacular four days of fun. Here’s a taster of what we are planning to bring you:
Opera ... A dance with a big band ... A queen of crime fiction discussing her work.
Gardening will feature because gardening is an art and a celebrity garden designer will give us insight into designing a stunning garden.
There’ll be an Art Trail with local artists opening their studios and a visual arts exhibition to include textile art for the first time.
Of course there will be music including a very special woodwind concert for children and babies.
Poetry and drama will also feature we're planning a fabulous Family Day for Festival Sunday.
There will be much, much more going on around the villages from 9th June onward so look out for details of workshops and children's events – more ideas are being investigated and more events will be generated as we approach the Festival, so watch this space!
I aim to build on the success of the past two Festivals and, with help from the rest of the team, ensure that 2018 will be another wonderful time full of entertainment and celebration.
Work on the 2018 Festival programme is underway and I can tell you that there will be something for everyone of all ages - great music, inspirational speakers, comedy, new things to try out in a range of workshops, family fun and some unexpected sights around the village. I hope you will find yourself spoilt for choice!
You’ll already have seen the first of our Festival ExtrA! events, an evening with Simon Evans. We’re planning more of these during the year so you don’t have to wait until 2018 to get into the Festival spirit!
As you may know, the Festival is run entirely by volunteers – from the governing board to those who help on the day. Without these generous, community-spirited people the Festival wouldn’t be possible. If you can help in any way, please get in touch. We need people right now to help us in the planning stages. Have a look at our Volunteers Page and get in touch if you’d like to get involved!
I look forward to meeting you.