Some twelve years ago Valerie Warr decided to run a couple of orchestral concerts in Heswall Hall supported by conductor Edward Peak and many musician friends.
Valerie said, “This rapidly expanded to more than a couple of concerts, a play, a dance and, hey presto … ‘Why don’t we create an Arts Festival?'”
Valerie called in many favours from her career colleagues and stage contacts and in six months, with help from the Rotary Clubs of Wirral, they had staged the first Heswall Arts Festival comprising 54 events spread over two weeks.
Sir Stephen Hough CBE, who is·an international concert pianist, was delighted to asked to become the festival’s patron. He was born in Heswall and spoke warmly of this community undertaking, saying, “It promises to be a most auspicious beginning to a new stage in the advancement of the arts in Wirral.”
After five years of hugely successful Heswall Festivals, Stephen came to play a Celebrity Concert with Orchestra dell’Arte in St George’s Hall to a 400-strong audience.
As the festival grew, it was renamed Wirral Arts Festival, not to increase the number of events, but to give a similar excitement to other places in Wirral.
Wirral Arts Festival (WAF) 2022 will see a new and much-appreciated development. The Floral Pavilion in New Brighton has asked to be a participant and will be hosting three events, including the closing concert by Orchestra dell’Arte on Saturday 15 October.
Valerie said, “We are delighted to be able to work with them and expand the Festival’s coverage and fun to include even more members of the public and performers. We also have a new and exciting partnership with the Arts and Media department of The City of Liverpool College, as many of their students are from Wirral.”
As well as running an Open Day for prospective students, The City of Liverpool College will be in the Floral Pavilion showcasing their work in art, design, and fashion .
Science Day returns courtesy of its great organiser Keith Foggin with support from Heswall U3A. Rob Keeley will be in the Floral Pavilion with A Family Creative Writing Workshop. Artist Sylvia Hikins and musician Mette Royden will be in St Luke’s Church Hoylake. With Heswall Concert Band Play-Day and Concert in Heswall, there’s Folk Dancing in Bebington.
Engineering Day is Monday 3 October in Heswall Hall. There will be jazz with Dave Dixson and the Merseysippi, Belly Dancing and Veils in Wallasey, and a superb mixed musical programme in West Kirby Arts Centre.
Other events include Freddie Smith’s Big Band in Bebington, The Singing Cate in Heswall, Chamber music in Southport and Heswall.
Valerie continued, “And then to close WAF 2022, our Gala Concert from the fabulous Orchestra dell’Arte: The Magic of Vienna in the Floral Pavilion. This will be an evening of the best waltzes, polkas and marches from Johann Strauss, Lehar and Kalman together with our star singers Heather Heighway and Joseph Buckmaster. Do join us at 7 .30pm on Saturday 15 October: tickets now on sale from the Floral Pavilion Box Office.”
Image: Valerie Warr