OBE for Fringe Festival singer!

Gruff Rhys.
Gruff Rhys.

ONE of the stars of the forthcoming Harrogate International Festival Fringe, jazz singer Claire Martin has been awarded an OBE.

Martin, who is presenting the Irving Berlin songbook with famed pianist Sir Richard Rodney Bennett at Harrogate Theatre on Sunday, July 24, said she was delighted to be recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

She said: “It is a terrific feeling and an honour to gain such public recognition. I owe enormous thanks to my record label, Linn Records, who have given me total artistic freedom throughout my career. I look forward to keeping the jazz flame burning brightly.”

The Fringe, which kicks off with Kamamica’s production of Noel Cowards’ Hay Fever at Harrogate Theatre next Friday, July 1, is packed with exciting and exclusive events.

As well as a showcase concert by Gruff Rhys of the amazing Super Furry Animals at Harrogate Theatre on Monday, July 18, his only date in the north of England of the entire summer, new arts group Humruddy Productions are to premiere a new musical at the theatre from July 14-16.

Called Boiling Frog, with the help of director Phill Ruddy and orchestrator Matthew Sharrock, its creator Keith Humphrey has assembled an amazing mix of local talent.

He said he was excited to be unveiling the show and cast. He said: “Christan Lunn is obviously a star in the making with a fantastic work ethic but Charlotte Atkinson also has an amazing voice so soulful and gritty for someone so young.

“There are a number of members of the cast that I am in no doubt will go on to do great things in musical theatre and Ed Leigh, who plays Lewis Angel, is definitely one of them.”

Fringe programme coordinator Graham Chalmers of the Harrogate Advertiser said he was most looking forward to a show by Julian Cope, former frontman of The Teardrop Explodes, a champion of obscure music and the occult, at Harrogate Theatre on July 30.

Edwyn Collins, once of Orange Juice, will pay a visit to 108 Fine Art gallery on July 22 for an exhibition of his bird drawings while famous rock photographer Gered Mankowitz is to attend an exhbition of classic Hendrix photograph at RedHouse Originals gallery, on Cheltenham Mount, on July 29.

Other highlights include Toyah Wilcox at Harrogate Theatre on July 22 and a Fringe Crawl Day on July 30 with 40 indie acts from Harrogate, Leeds and York.

Harrogate-based literary group Poems, Prose & Pints have two events, including Writing on the Move on July 16, while Reginald Perrin writer David Nobbs talks at St Aidan’s High School on July 19.

www.harrogate-festival.org.uk www.harrogatetheatre.co.uk (01423 502116)