Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Lots going on over at the Village Green this summer

ARTS organisation, Metal, have announced the first phase of the arts programming and family-friendly activities for their much loved boutique family festival Village Green, which will take place this year on 9 July 2016 in Chalkwell Park, Southend-on-Sea, Essex. The brilliant mix of local and international talent, of literature, art and music, all presented in an urban park in Chalkwell, is one of the key events on the Southend cultural calendar. This year’s festival is set to attract a diverse audience of people of all ages and from all walks of life.

Outdoor Arts and family-friendly highlights include:

• A new mini village, Mini Green, for Under 5’s which comes with its own chill out area. Mini Green features an array of kiddy-friendly arts activities including such interactive performers as Mrs H and the Sing-Along Band. Mrs H and the Sing-Along Band appear regularly at the Union Chapel in London, where they perform live music for children and families with a strong emphasis on audience participation, theatrical engagement and communal singing. You’ll also find the Buttercup Club nestling in Mini Green. Here the whole family can take part in activities that encourage sensory play and getting messy!

• Outside Mini Green you are likely to spy choreographer Kate Flatt’s new project – A Step Ladder and a Goat. This is a dance-based promenade performance combining both ancient tradition and urban context, music and dance. This lively and intriguing new work will be performed by a company of international performers: an acrobatic, hand balancing masked figure of a goat, the step ladder she climbs, her energetic companions and an accompanying accordionist. A Step Ladder and a Goat will be a skilful, playful and surprising event, which culminates in a winding chain dance where audience and performers unite to welcome the isolated creature amongst them. Â

• Make sure you look out for Angela Auphery, an eccentric fallen debutant brimming with stories about doormen and dustbin men, tales of woe and delight who lives somewhere in Village Green in a skip. This darkly comedic tale by Izzie Major, looks at the invisible people of our cities and towns, the homeless and the loveless, and notes how easy it is to become one of them.

• Over on the Global Village Stage you will be able to immerse yourself in trying out dances from Brazil, Africa, India and Hungary alongside interactive Bollywood dancing lessons led by Indi Sandhu.

• The Atlas Movement Theatre will also be returning to Village Green this year with their latest dramatic production, Postal Service, an interactive piece which incorporates street theatre, storytelling and outdoor performance.Â

• Keep your ‘eyes’ peeled for Goya Arts who can be spotted about the festival following the curious story of a child born with roses for eyes and who falls into the world of The Rose-eyed Queen. Centred around the themes of deception, power and repercussions, this is a live storytelling experience bursting with magic, violence, disgusting characters and beautiful creatures. The show combines movement, live music, ‘blade on cutlery’ swordplay and spectacular costumery to create a display that is just as exciting for the eyes as it is for the mind.

• The record-breaking Craft Club are also back at Village Green by popular demand with yet more of their fantastical and spectacular yarn bombing.

• Whether spoken, performed, written or imagined stories live around us, through us and within us. This year at Village Green Jacqson Diego Story Emporium is inviting children and families to to explore stories in many different forms and be inspired to create their own. Four different zones all over the park will provide opportunities for families and young people to experience stories with storytellers, children’s poets, authors and artists in story tents and spend time sharing stories together in the story corner. Guests include James Carter, Joshua Siegel, The Storycycler, Archie Kimpton, Duncan Rendall, Justin Coe, Tiny Tales Storytellers and J.D. Irwin.

• Pluto Jugglers will be dazzling festival-goers once more with their circus skills workshops. These will offer up the opportunity to learn juggling, tight rope and stilt walking from the world of ground circus skills.

• T3G and the Wrinkly are a street theatre company who will be performing their homespun variety of commedia dell’arte across the park. This is a form or theatre, that often uses masks, and has strong links with the celebratory atmosphere of carnival.

• Essex Wildlife Trust will also be back with festive activities and information exploring for pollinators and bees with children and parentzzz.

• Creative workshops which hope to work with participants to expand the mind and human brain will be on offer too! The ‘Brain & Body messages’ will be a physical movement based workshop. ‘What’s in your brain’ involves drawing. Hosted by Southend Adult Community College

Musical highlights include Billy Bragg, Stereo MCs, The Turbans, Dream Themes, Sharon Rose, Mahalia, The Sundowners, Charlie Cunningham, Sound of the Sirens, Primo Nelson and Youth Club.

For the first time this year our Village Green Artist’s Village will consist of eight visual artists from around the UK living and creating on site at Chalkwell Park in the weeks leading up to the festival. Expect an array of visual art installations, performances and ‘interruptions’ across the site – curated and led by Southend artist, Jon Kipps.

Sean McLoughlin, the Village Green festival director said, ‘This year’s festival is set to highlight some of the most eclectic international, national and regional talent. We are absolutely delighted with the range and breadth of outdoor arts on offer, from Kate Flatt’s mythological dance piece to the Mrs H and the Sing-Along Band. There really is something for all the family. And there’s a huge amount more in the pipeline to announce in the coming weeks too.’


• FREE for 10 years and under;

• £5 for 11-17 year olds

• £12.50 for an adult ticket

Tickets are available online 24 hours at www.villagegreenfestival.com or by telephone from the Skiddle Ticket Sales hotline on 0844 884 2920 (open Mon-Fri 9am-6pm; Sat 10am-5pm; Closed Sunday).


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