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Firsts for Holt Festival

The full 10th anniversary programme for Holt Festival 2018 has just been announced.
The festival brings outstanding theatre, music, comedy, literature, talks, children’s and visual art events to the town for eight days, from July 21-29.
For the 10th anniversary year Stash Kirkbride has taken the helm as artistic director, and has delivered a programme that combines the best of national and international talents with the cream of Norfolk performers.
Introducing the programme Stash said: “It is said that if a festival can make it to its 10th year then it has truly arrived, and having long admired the achievements of Holt Festival I am thrilled and honoured to be invited to assemble the 2018 programme. I hope it does justice to the fabulous legacy left by my predecessors Tony Britten, Delaval Astley and Charles Pugh.”
Major new announcements include a Norfolk Day special appearance by the county’s best loved, most popular and rudest(!) comedy duo The Nimmo Twins (pictured). Making their first appearance at the festival the Nimmo’s outrageously hilarious and hugely popular Normal for Norfolk shows have entertained sell-out crowds for over 20 years. Two major exhibitions put Holt firmly on the international art map. A world-first exhibition of the paintings of one of Norfolk’s best loved adopted sons, Sir John Hurt, will show just how accomplished a painter he was. Another exclusive sees letters from George Orwell to his Southwold lover on public display for the first time ever. Leading political figures will also be in Holt to discuss their lives and careers with well known TV and radio presenters.
Box office: 01603 598699 or online at www.holtfestival.org

John Hurt as Artist is the first exhibition anywhere in the world of the late screen legend’s paintings (above). Sir John Hurt painted all his life. Aged 17, he attended The Grimsby Art School (now the East Coast School of Art and Design) and in 1959 won a scholarship to St Martin’s School of Art (now Central Saint Martin’s) in London. Most of the paintings in the exhibition have been loaned by his wife, Lady Anwen Hurt, who said: “He took art every bit as seriously as he took his acting career.”

Inspired collection by local photographer goes on show in Cromer

North Norfolk District Council’s public art gallery is showing work by local photographer Paul Macro.

The Inspired by Norfolk exhibition highlights the sights of the Norfolk coast with its dark winter skies, rough seas and fiery sunsets.

“The sights, sounds and smells of the Norfolk coast are woven into my soul and my happy childhood is a bright tapestry of memories,” Paul said. “I’m a Norfolk man, born and brought up in Norwich, and seaside holidays at Burnham Overy Staithe played an important part in my childhood.

“Several times a year, at all times of the year, my family spent holidays and weekends in our caravan, where the beauty of Norfolk’s unspoiled beaches and wide skies provided the backdrop to our other world, where there was peace and contentment and sibling harmony.

“My passion for Norfolk’s dark winter skies and rough seas, fiery sunsets and tough, wind-slapped greenery was born from an early exposure to these beauties – before I knew they were beautiful.”

Paul is proud that his work has helped local charities, and he has received orders for his charity calendars from every continent. The RNLI, Nelson’s Journey, Break and Red Balloon are amongst the charities that have benefited from his support.

“My life has been shaped by the landscape and the people of Norfolk and this is my way of giving a little bit back,” he said.

Maggie Prior, cabinet member for leisure and culture, said: “This is another fantastic display, and it’s lovely to see our exhibition space being used for such wonderful work. Paul brilliantly combines his natural skill and the wonderful Norfolk landscapes in his work.”

The exhibition runs until September 13 at the NNDC offices gallery in Holt Road, Cromer. The 1st Floor Gallery is open to the public 8.30am-5pm on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays; at 10am-5pm on Wednesdays; and at 8.30am-4.30pm on Fridays.

Any inquiries about the pictures, which are for sale, should be made to Paul through his website at www.paulmacrolandscapes.com, via info@paulmacro.com or by calling 07727 644092.

Art prize renamed in honour of film legend

Holt Festival is paying tribute to actor Sir John Hurt by renaming the art prize competition in his honour. And the Sir John Hurt Art Prize is now open for entries.
The honour has been made to celebrate the screen and stage acting legend, who, before his sad death in January had been a great enthusiast for the prize. He served on the panel of judges and presented the award to the winning entry as often as acting commitments allowed.
The Sir John Hurt Art Prize is open to artists everywhere. In previous years there have been entries by artists from all over the UK. There is a cash prize of £1,500 for the winner and in addition the winning artwork will be exhibited at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in the autumn.
All types of visual art are welcome but entries must be submitted before the deadline of midnight on Sunday, June 18, 2017. Judges will select a shortlist of 25-30 that will be exhibited at the Auden Theatre, Holt from July 23-30. The winner will be announced at a private view on the evening of July 23.

The exhibition is part of the Holt Festival Art Trail that also takes in many other galleries and exhibition spaces around the town.
Last year’s competition once again attracted an extremely high standard of entries with Norfolk artist Lara Cobden winning with her painting The Enchanted Garden, unanimously selected from almost 200 entries.
Alongside his amazing acting career the late Sir John Hurt was a gifted painter. At the age of 17 he attended The Grimsby Art School (now the East Coast School of Art and Design) and in 1959, he won a scholarship to Saint Martin’s School of Art (now Central St Martin’s) in London. He continued to paint throughout his life. He was also passionately interested in encouraging others, in recent years becoming Chancellor of Norwich University of The Arts.
Holt Festival Art Prize organiser and international art appraiser James Glennie said: “Holt Festival was keen to acknowledge the support and friendship Sir John offered the festival. It seemed an obvious move to rename the art prize in his honour.”
This year’s judges are well-known modern and contemporary British art specialist Robert Upstone, who spent 23 years as a senior Tate curator, Amanda Geitner, director of The East Anglia Art Fund, and Sainsbury Centre acting deputy director and head of collections Calvin Winner.
Entry forms can be downloaded from www.holtfestival.org <http://www.holtfestival.org>  http://www.holtfestival.org/whats-on/arts-prize/ <http://www.holtfestival.org/whats-on/arts-prize/>

Sir John Hurt is pictured here presenting the Holt Festival art award in 2014 to winner Francesca Perkins.

Artist Lucy signs up for Holt shopping night

Renowned local artist Lucy Loveheart will be autographing her exclusively designed Christmas cards as part of Holt town late night shopping.

Norfolk-based Lucy, whose work is recognised internationally, penned two card designs for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) to raise valuable funds for the charity this festive season.

On Thursday, December 8, 6-8pm at the EACH shop in Station Road, Lucy will be in store signing her cards for lucky customers. She will be asking for a £1 donation in return for her signature.

The Christmas card designs depict an angel flying in harmony with butterflies and a snow-filled scene of joy in Lucy’s distinctive style, focusing on childhood memories and the world of make-believe.

Jill Gould, EACH Holt shop manager, said: “We are thrilled that Lucy Loveheart will be joining us to sign cards as we open for late night shopping. Our EACH Christmas cards have been hugely popular with customers, particularly Lucy’s designs, so it’s great she’s able to join us for the evening. If you are out for late night shopping please do pop in to see us. We have sell quality items, ideal if you’re doing Christmas on a budget.”

EACH cares for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across the region and is a lifeline to so many families at an unimaginably difficult time. Retail income is a very lucrative income stream for the charity.

For more information on the card signing event please contact Jill Gould, EACH Holt Shop Manager on 01263 713864 or to buy EACH Christmas cards online visit www.each.org.uk/online-store.

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New exhibition inspired by farming heritage

A bold new exhibition Back to the Barn by local artist Catherine Hall is currently running at North Norfolk District Council’s public art gallery.

The exhibition runs until July 12 and reflects Catherine’s upbringing on her family’s Norfolk livestock farm surrounded by animals, woodland and fields. Her accessible and warm representation of farm animals against bright block-colour backgrounds brings modernity to a traditional subject.

Catherine, from Aylmerton, said: “Back to the Barn is extremely meaningful to me in so many ways – looking back on where I’ve come from and taking in all the beauty we’ve taken for granted around us and bringing it out on canvas. I love watching the characters emerge and recreating their personalities.”

NNDC offers free opportunities to local artists to display their work in the first-floor gallery in the council’s Holt Road offices in Cromer. Currently six exhibitions are held annually.

The NNDC Gallery is open to the public on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 8.30am-5pm; Wednesday 10am-5pm and Friday 8.30am-4.30pm.

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