Published: March 4, 2010
Mayor opens 63rd annual Highbridge Festival Of The Arts

Highbridge's 63rd annual Festival of the Arts got underway in Burnham-On-Sea on Wednesday (March 3rd).

Town Mayor Derick Cooper officially opened the popular festival, which shines the spotlight on talented youngsters from the ages of three upwards at The Princess Theatre.

The festival is affiliated to the British and International Federation of Festivals for Music, Dance and Speech, and first originated in Highbridge in 1948 but has been held for many years at the Princess in Burnham-On-Sea.

Dance is this year being featured from March 3rd-7th, with 71 classes covering ballet, tap, modern, contemporary, cabaret and Greek.

"Sessions start with the youngest entrants aged 4 and rise to the age 21 with one adult class. These sessions are always well supported and spectators are encouraged," festival spokesperson Wendy Deahl told

The festival's dance adjudicator will be Nathan James, who is world renowned for his tap expertise but also has experience of theatre, having performed in 'Spirit of the Dance', 'Hello Dolly' and '42nd Street' amongst other productions.

Speech and Drama takes place on March 8th and 9th. Poetry, Prose and Choral Speech will be performed on stage before Eleanor McCleod, a professional actress for more than 20 years.

Singing and instrumental music take over for the final part of the festival from 10th-13th March. Vocal contributions from soloists, duettists and choirs will take place on the first two days and on the Friday pianists will take to the stage.

On Saturday, recorders, strings, brass, orchestras and Concert Bands shall take over. The adjudicator for this section is David Bruce-Payne, Assistant Organist at Westminster Abbey and an examiner for the Royal Schools of Music.

The Highbridge Festival features all that is best in the Arts and seeks to encourage the young to participate and seek excellence. The public is invited to attend with daily sessions starting at 9.30am and approximately 2pm. On some days there is also an evening session. Refreshments will be available.


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