The 116th Wharfedale Performing Arts Festival returns after a two-year break

THE 116th Wharfedale Festival of Performing Arts was back in May after the Covid break.

The festival opened with young people from the spoken verse classes welcomed by speech and drama judges Maryrose Swarbrick and Stephen Owen, who thanked them for their trust and praised their performances in all areas.

Each judge was able to give advice on pacing, projection, pauses and posture, how to stand for balance and how to avoid using the hands to avoid distracting from the performance . These tips were developed for different age groups and in some of the younger classes children were encouraged to sit around the referee at the front and show off their knowledge of the technical terms in humorous exchanges. , as well as demonstrations on how to improve.

Classes began with the young performers performing simultaneously in two venues at Craiglands in Ilkley to large, supportive audiences.

“It was so nice to be back,” said one of the youngest children: a sentiment that was echoed throughout the week by artists, parents and the committee. There was a friendly atmosphere throughout and lots of comments about getting back to normal after such a long break. One adult performer even said that while he had always enjoyed being there, this time the effect was overwhelmed because he “got to hang out with those at the reception!”

The usual Music Makers class for children with special or additional needs took place on Wednesday mornings when schools in the Leeds and Bradford areas performed different pieces, interspersed with warm-up exercises and ending with a picnic. fuck. Audiences were treated to a variety of songs with performances enhanced by sound effects, glockenspiels and chime bars: Brudnell gave us ‘Autumn’, ‘Winter’ and then ‘Storm’ using aluminum survival blankets for effective background noises; we had Brother Jacques from Tomlinson’s class; ‘The Hall of the Mountain King’ – now and building the beat using claves – from Green Meadows and a driving chorus of ‘It’s a wonderful life’ from Rawdon.

Evening sessions were largely given over to theatre, individual and duo verses, choral speaking and theater groups with a wide variety of performances. The Speech and Drama trophies were then presented by Sir James Hill, councilor Anne Hawksworth and Jill Wright, the regional representative of the Federation of Festivals. In addition to the £300 WFPA scholarship, won by Oliver Briscombe, pairs of tickets were awarded to meet the directors of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” or “A Little Night Music” at the Leeds Playhouse, to be present at a general rehearsal, then as VIP guests during a show.

The Friday morning of choirs and ensembles took place as usual in the King’s Hall with Judge Robert Marsh in charge of the proceedings. The Year 4 and Under class was won by Wakefield Girls’ High School with a confident performance, the Year 6 and Under with an outstanding score by QEGS Junior School and the Junior Ensemble by Moorfield School with their strings. Burley Oaks School came in a valiant second in this class.

In his closing remarks, Robert Marsh called the Festival “the crown jewel of the Federation movement” and said how happy he was to judge such talented young people. He suggested that if the Moorfield Strings reunited with the Burley Oaks Brass and Woodwind Ensemble, the region would have the makings of its first junior youth orchestra.

Pat Dibb, General Secretary of the Wharfedale Festival of Performing Arts, said: “The committee would like to thank all of our sponsors and volunteer stewards for their support. Our next event will be in early July when we are sponsoring a music day for groups with special and additional needs. In the meantime, our festival website is being updated and will soon, by mid-July, offer opportunities to register as artists and volunteer as committee members and stewards at www.

Wharfedale Performing Arts Festival. 2022 winners:

Spoken Verses: Year 2 and under (1A) Spencer Cooper; Year 2 and under (1B) Henry Hurwood; 3rd year Florence Churcher; Year 4 Ashar Masenda; 5th grade Henry Churche; 6th grade Danniella Pinkney; Years 7-11 Elsa Baldwin; No age limit David Cullis.

Talking verse duo (YR 7-11): Esme Hurst & Isla Hurst.

Prose Reading: Grade 2 and under Erin Rix; Year 3 Olivia Freeman; Year 4 Evie Marsden; Year 5 Henry Churcher; Year 6 Frances Impey; No age limit Richard Barter

Duologue (no age limit) Isabella Withy & Oliver Briscombe

Speech & Drama Solo Characterization (Yr 7 & under) Matilda Jarman

Solo Characterization (Ages 9 and Under) Josephine Anderson

Solo Characterization (11 and Under) Lucas Crichton

Solo Characterization (No Age Limit) Alfie Davies

Solo Shakespeare (no age limit) David Cullis

Choral Speak (Grade 6 and below) Askwith Elementary School

Theater Time (7 and under) Upstage Academy Juniors

Theater Time (9 and under) Upstage Academy Intermediate

Theater Time (no age limit) Upstage Academy Seniors 2

Musical theater (no age limit) CC Dance Company


Junior Choirs (4 and under) Wakefield Girls High School (juniors)

Junior Choirs (6 and under) QEGS Lower School

Junior Set (6 and under) Moorfield School

Special rewards

WFPA Bursary (£300) Oliver Briscombe (most promising entrant of all classes)

The Yorkshire Television Premier Award Carys Peedell (Most Outstanding Performance in Speech and Drama Section)

The Edith Atkinson Danniella Pinkney Trophy (Most Promising Verse Lecturer)

The Mary Kilduff Plate Lucas Crichton (an outstanding performer in the drama section)

James Dodding Alfie Davies Trophy (Most Outstanding Performance in Acting Classes)

The Upstage Academy Seniors 2 Cooperative Trophy

(most collaborative effort)