Welcome to the website of Stroud Arts Festival, a charity promoting and supporting all types of artistic activities throughout the Stroud District. Founded in 1946, it’s the ‘grandparent’ of all the wonderful festivals this area has to offer.
To celebrate our 75 Year Anniversary, we are holding a world-class Season of Events, curated by our Guest Artistic Director Dave Ayre, in various venues around Stroud, stretching from Autumn 2021 through to Spring 2022.
COVID SAFETY: We want everyone to feel as safe as possible whilst still coming out to enjoy and participate in social events once again. We have taken the following COVID safety measures: We restricted our ticket sales to 50% capacity, with our events taking place in the spacious Sub Rooms Ballroom. Please read their COVID policy here.
Coming up in November we highlight local talent with the mighty Stroud Symphony Orchestra and soloist John Pearce, with music which is firmly rooted in the local landscape. Conductor Jonathan Trim, has put together a programme of local composers’ music, including Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance, Holst’s Jupiter, Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending and the world premiere of Trim’s own Symphonia Pandemica.
December brings us the Hewletts Opera directed by Louis Mander for two performances of Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, one of which is a Relaxed performance for those whose needs make it difficult for them to access live music events. The performance will be sung in English and we can expect fine singing and engaging performances from this young Cheltenham- based opera company
You can see all our upcoming events here: https://stroudartsfestival.org/events
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The Season so far……………….
A highlight of the Autumn Season was a visit from Sinfonia Viva, featuring violinist Sophie Rosa. This is a world-class orchestra with a passion for bringing music to those who often miss out – the young, the elderly, those with special needs – and a desire to share live music as widely as possible. We showed our support by bringing them to Stroud with a concert of sublime classical music and a rapt, very enthusiastic Stroud audience showed their approval of their choice of music and the high quality of their playing. A wonderful evening and for many, a very special return to live music.
The following day Sinfonia Viva introduced families with babies and small children to their informal, fun, interactive event Flutter & Fly with Jack Ross and Eleanor Meredith. Sell out performances saw children making music along with the professionals, watching a story unfold with live illustration happening on the big screen in front of them and the show magnificently interpreted by BSL’s Donna West. The children all left clutching their free CD and book of the story and songs they had just experienced. A wonderful family occasion.
Our October exhibition was a week long show of contemporary art at the George Room in the Sub Rooms, Stroud, showcasing work by 18 local artists who had all been involved with our charity in some way during the past decade. This free entry exhibition received over 300 visitors. Comments from visitors:
‘wonderful variety of work – some exceptionally lovely pieces’
‘thought-provoking and some powerful themes‘
‘how fortunate we are to have such a collection of talented artists‘
‘great exhibition – best I’ve seen in a while!‘ ‘inspiring!’
Visitors were also given information on the work of Stroud Arts Festival during its 75-year history and were able to read about the legacy bequeathed by founder Netlam Bigg.
In September we sponsored the production of Peace In Our Time, a Noel Coward play set in an alternative WW2, with performances at St. Laurence Church and the Cotswold Playhouse. This was a masterly production by the Cotswold Players, with music from the local Capriol Orchestra and Stroud Choral Society showing the combined talents of performing groups in this area.
Our Autumn line-up started in September with the wonderfully moving and uplifting Gratitude – A Song Cycle for our Times– staged in the Museum in the Park Pavilion. These sell-out performances by the Acapellies Community Choir, led by Eleanor Holliday, were inspired by prize-winning poet Alice Oswald’s poem ‘Gratitude’, written during lockdown.
The musical journey led us through the cycles of Lamentation, Healing and Gratitude which we have all experienced during this Covid pandemic and provided a gentle way for people to come together again and give thanks.
Later this year, Stroud Arts Festival will relaunch our grant application process, to allow as many people as possible to apply for and benefit from grant money. Meanwhile, all our funds have been allocated so no new grant applications can be considered at this time.
To see our latest events, please see our ‘Events’ section.
To learn more about our work, please read our ‘About Us’ section.
To receive updates on our 75th anniversary plans, please subscribe to our newsletter.
2020 FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS
Many of our planned events in 2020, including the annual visit from our favourite ballet company, Ballet Cymru, have been put on hold whilst Covid -19 restrictions are in place.
Stroud Arts Festival is delighted to have been able to support the following projects in Autumn 2020, all delivered digitally:
December 2020 until early 2021: Stroud Arts Festival continue to help fund EVERYTHING IS LIGHT at Stroud Subscription Rooms, a fantastic family attraction featuring a maze of illuminated tunnels and hidden rooms bathed in colour – all from the unbridled imagination of Jack Wimperis. See information and updates on the exhibition here.
November 26: Stroud Arts Festival supported Stroud Subscription Rooms for their very special evening of world-class music featuring Stroud’s own Dave Ayre Trio, the award-winning Carducci String Quartet and author, historian and BBC presenter Anthony Burton, live-streamed from inside Jack Wimperis’s incredible exhibition EVERYTHING IS LIGHT. Full details here.
November 5: Stroud Arts Festival continued its long-standing support of Stroud Book Festival in funding the Poetry event, IN NEARBY BUSHES with Kei Miller, introduced by Adam Horovitz.
October 29 and upcoming event 5 February 2021: The Robert Wedderburn Project from Last Legs Theatre has been funded in part by Stroud Arts Festival. You can find out more on our events page here and on their website here: www.robertwedderburnproject.com
2019 FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS
In collaboration with a number of other organisations in Stroud we brought you a diverse range of events in 2019, all with Revolution in mind. Thank you to the wonderful artists,performers,technicians and venue staff who made it all happen and of course to the audiences who made it all worthwhile.
Playground was a great hit with children of all ages. A weekend of fun and creative play for all the family.
R is for Revolution was an inspired and inspiring community project led by Christine Felce and Rachel Oram from the Gloucestershire Printmaker’s Co-operative.
We supported the wonderful Wool and Water Festival which ran throughout the month of September.
The Selsey Common rally in support of the Chartist Movement was commemorated with a performative walk from Radical Stroud.
Music which caused a riot! But only when first performed in 1913. Stroud was thrilled with a stunning performance of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring by 2 very talented pianists.
The specially commissioned song recital from Clare McCaldin and friends brought the musical performances to an end.
And Cotswold Players showed us a revolutionary version of the great ‘revolution’ play by William Shakespeare.
Dance: Our favourite dance troupe Ballet Cymru returned to Stroud for their annual performance, this year with their creative (revolutionary?) production of Romeo and Juliet.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org for further information on any aspect of Stroud Arts Festival’s work.