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Operatic highlight

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: July 06, 2005

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THE grounds of Tissington Hall saw one of the highlights of the first full week of Ashbourne Festival on Friday, when The Garden Opera Company made a return visit in a production of Cinderella (La Cenerentola) by Rossini,.

The hugely successful production, which included children from Ilam and FitzHerbert primary schools, went ahead despite the rain, interrupted only by a short weather break in the first act.

The week also offered a series of workshops for all ages and abilities, including an open day at the Ashbourne Community Education Centre, a children’s art workshop, the Woodcraft Club open meeting and a photography workshop by Paul Hill, Professor of Photography at De Montfort University. Work from the children’s art workshop — some of which is very impressive — is on display at Ashbourne Leisure Centre until Sunday, July 10.

Teenage Kicks — 10 live bands at the Green Man on Saturday —gave young people in Ashbourne the chance to see and hear some of the region’s established and rising performers in a wide variety of genres, including local band, Pressure. The high standard and tremendous enthusiasm of the performers made for a great day’s entertainment, despite the competition from Live 8, and it is hoped that some of the bands will return to Ashbourne at a later date.

Dove Cottage, Clifton, was a perfect setting for Poetry in the Garden on Sunday, when a range of carefully selected poems was read by the Peakland Players.

Sunday evening saw the first performance in Ashbourne of young Derby-based pianist Oliver Grant Brugada at Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School. His accomplished playing of works by Chopin, Liszt, Brahms, Debussy and other composers delighted the audience.

This week there is a fantastic night out on Saturday when Ashbourne Arts introduces Hohodza, a musical and visual feast of Zimbabwean music and dance.

With 11 musicians and dancers led by Portia Gwanture, they play fast-paced, highly danceable music with pulsating rhythms and rapid-fire guitar combined with visually stunning dance routines and excellent harmonies.

This promises to be a superb night for everyone, young and old. In the afternoon Hohodzu are also giving a dance workshop at QEGS which should be great fun.

Tonight (Wednesday) Ashbourne’s own Keith Kendrick offers songs, music and humour from the "Derbyshire coast" in Ey Up, Mi Duck! at Cary’s Wine Bar and, tomorrow night, follow The Course of True Love, as The 1623 Theatre Company, who performed scenes from Much Ado About Nothing and The Taming of the Shrew at Ashbourne Alive!, appear at St Oswald’s Church Hall in a unique collection of Shakespeare love scenes. 1623 recently performed for the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at BBC Gardeners' World Live at the NEC.

On Friday night the Festival welcomes back singer/songwriter Gillie Nicholls and her band to the Beresford Arms for another great night of jazz and folk-rock with music from her new album, and on Saturday there is an all day creative writing workshop at The National Trust Learning Centre at Ilam Park.

The young, vibrant East Midlands Youth Jazz Orchestra return to the festival for Sunday afternoon’s Picnic in the Park, and then you can enjoy two Alan Bates films at St Oswald’s Church Hall as Ashbourne Arts pays tribute to its former patron as a festival finale: Whistle Down the Wind and Far From the Madding Crowd.

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