First Ripon Theatre Festival declared a success
From intimate dance theatre in a café back room to sparkling Shakespeare in the grandeur of Fountains Abbey, more than 40 events including drama, puppetry, circus, comedy and dance were staged across the four day festival.
The weekend was organised under the auspices of The Ripon City Festival Trustand spokesman Tim Jones said: “We were pleased to bring this new event into our schedule of activities because the Festival matches our aims of celebrating the unique city of Ripon and bringing the arts to local people.
“It is wonderful that local organisations, businesses and volunteers all stepped forward to support the event and make it such a success.
“We look forward to working with partner venues again in the future as well as forging new partnerships as the Festival develops.”
The city streets and open spaces came alive with a variety of characters and acts, children attended workshops, free open-air theatre and puppet shows and adults were entertained with some of the best touring drama that the region has to offer.
Community performers took part in a variety of ways, surprising audiences as part of “flashmob” dance events, performing in one of the festival zones with their choir or theatre group or through the Jubilee at the Workhouse project which culminated on Sunday afternoon with promenade performances.
Dry, if breezy, weather helped bring out the crowds for the open-air entertainment, with plenty of ticketed indoor events too for theatre-lovers and families.
Big hits on Festival Saturday were The Comedy Waiters, with their hugely entertaining blend of slapstick and circus, The Green Finger Folk in their huge flowerpots and the birds from the Frolicked Ripon Trail Game.
Serious drama was to be found over the weekend at the Arts Hub and the Bowling Club with appreciative audiences enjoying Red Ladder’s performance of The Damned United and the one-man Crusoe’s Island from Fell Foss Theatre.
The Festival Team was supported by more than 30 volunteers who helped keep the events running smoothly and safely.
Main sponsors Wolseley provided a “Wolseley Walkabout Squad” to support the roaming acts and venue volunteers from partner venues such as the Ripon Arts Hub, Ripon Library, Ripon Museums and Fountains Abbey gave their time and event management expertise.
The newly-established Ripon Business Improvement District supported the festival and was delighted at the event’s success in creating a vibrant atmosphere and increasing footfall.
Lilla Bathurst, Ripon BID Manager said: “We spoke to a number of visitors, some who had come especially for the festival and some who happened upon it.
“All said they would definitely return to both Ripon and the Festival next year.
“We agree that Ripon is the ideal spot for a festival of this kind.”