Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Festival begins with Shakespeare classic

THIS year’s Wargrave Festival will kick off on Wednesday with Shakespeare on the Green.

THIS year’s Wargrave Festival will kick off on Wednesday with Shakespeare on the Green.

Wargrave Theatre Workshop will perform Love’s Labour’s Lost on Mill Green, using St Mary’s Church as a backdrop.

The play will be performed on four nights and some tickets are still available.

The festival has a theme of Carry On Wargrave and will feature more than 40 events in 13 different locations for the next fortnight.

Events include a magic evening with TV magician and village resident Paul Daniels, Brass on the Grass, open gardens, a jazz night and a Mamma Mia singalong evening.

New to the line-up this year is a Strictly Come Dancing-style event in a marquee on Mill Green with a panel of celebrity judges. The competition is open to dancers of all ages and abilities.

Another new event is the Wargrave triathlon, which will take place on Sunday, June 16.

Competitors will swim 750m in the Thames, then cycle 20km, looping round Burchetts Green and up Remenham Hill before descending Kentons Lane and returning to Mill Green.

The final leg is a 5km run, starting and finishing at Mill Green.

Organiser Adrian Pagdin said: “This is a fun event for all abilities and will be fun to watch too.

“Triathlon is a sport that is contested by men and women of all ages and abilities. It’s not uncommon for a mother-of-three to line up next to a 50-year-old investment banker and a 30-year-old computer programmer.”

Recommended viewing points are Mill Green, along the swim exit at Ferry Lane, the cycle exit at the top of Station Road and at the George and Dragon car park where the cyclists will be completing their leg.

The Great Wargrave Menu Competition is also new to the programme.

Teams of cooks will be pitted against each other at Woodclyffe Hall in High Street on June 20.

Festival chairman Kevin Southworth said: “It is important to add three or four events every time as it refreshes the festival. There are some traditional favourites that sell out every time. The village loves anything to do with Paul Daniels.

“The wine tasting event is always popular as is the comedy night, where three or four circuit comedians come in. That always packs out the marquee.”

Mr Southworth, who has been chairman of the biennial festival for six years, hopes to match the 7,000 tickets sold at the last festival in 2011.

He said: “There are a couple of events that normally sell out which still have tickets available. I guess people are being a bit more selective as money is a bit tight.

“We try to be really inclusive and there is a number of events for children, including a travelling circus and a festival fun day.”

More than 100 people have helped organise the festival.

Mr Southworth said: “We are ready to go now — all we are waiting on is the weather.

“The beauty is the buzz in the run-up to the festival. It brings everyone together, which is great.” In 2011 the festival made more than £50,000, which was divided between local charities and organisations.

Prayers will take place at St Mary’s Church throughout the festival, which will run until June 30.

For more information, visit www.wargravevillagefestival.co.uk

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