Did you know that Wendy Craig and Sir Thomas Allen both took part in Ryton Festival of Music and Drama? From the mid-1950s Wendy Craig appeared in British films such as The Servant (1963) and The Nanny (1965) with Bette Davis, but it was her appearances in British sitcoms of the late 1960s/1970s which led to her becoming a household name, usually playing a scatty middle class housewife. Series I enjoyed were Not in Front of the Children, …..And Mother Makes Three, Butterflies, and more recently Nanny, Death in Paradise, and Waterloo Road.
Wendy kindly telephoned me last year and told me that our Festival was her first public appearance. Following some research we believe that this was in Emma Hall, though she was very small at the time and only remembers it vaguely.
Sir Thomas Allen CBE is an English operatic baritone. He is widely admired in the opera world for his voice, the versatility of his repertoire, and his acting—leading many to regard him as one of the best lyric baritones of the late 20th century. In October 2011, he was appointed Chancellor of Durham University succeeding Bill Bryson.
The History Bit
Ryton Festival was founded in 1935 by a few local people as a one day event for locally based solo and choral singers. In the intervening years it has grown a lot and now caters for singers, pianists, instrumentalists, choirs, verse speakers and many forms of drama. Always moving forward the festival has recently introduced pipe organ classes, which are fittingly held in Ryton’s historic Holy Cross Church. From its one-day beginnings the festival now spans four extended weekends in February and March, drawing on a wide catchment area covering North-East Counties and Cumbria.
So What Has It Got To Do With YOU?
Are you interested in listening to music, verse, or drama?
Are you interested in performing music, verse, or drama?
Do you have children, or even grandchildren whose talents in music, verse or drama deserve a wider audience?
Do you just want to support a local organisation which showcases and fosters local talent?
If the answer to any of these questions is “ Yes”, then Ryton Festival would like your support.
Where Is It Held?
You know about Holy Cross Church, and other events are held in the Emmaville Miners’ Hall.
How Do You Find Out More?
Wendy Craig and Sir Thomas Allen found out about the festival through their schools, but you can visit the website Ryton Music Festival where you will find the 2017 syllabus, along with contact details of people who can provide more information. I’ve also added the link to the sidebar under “Ryton Community” so that you can easily find it in the future. Alternatively hard copies of the syllabus are available in most of our local libraries, or you can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are privileged to host this prestigious event, but many entrants are not from Ryton or our surrounding villages, there must be more local talent out there to put up a challenge!
Closing Date for entries is 30th November