Trophies trawl under way as 42nd Performing Arts Festival looms

Cup costodian Mrs Oonagh King and her daughter starting to check off the trophies as they are returned
Cup costodian Mrs Oonagh King and her daughter starting to check off the trophies as they are returned

With just over five weeks to go to the biggest local arts event in the area, organisers are making efforts to finalise arrangements.

That includes encouraging last year’s winners to engrave and return their trophies.

The 42nd Banbridge Performing Arts festival has some 100 cups and trophies of all shapes and sizes to check and have in the correct place by festival time.

Cup costodian, Mrs Oonagh King, has some already returned and some will be displayed in the shop window of Scruples Hairdressing salon, courtesy of Mrs Sheila Hughes, but she would appeal for the outstanding cups to be returned as soon as possible.

Banbridge Performing Arts Festival attracts annually over 2,000 competitors from a wide area around the town and district . Competitors enter a wide range of classes from Mime to Shakespeare and from Choral speaking to Poetry.

The Festival is organised by a voluntary committee led by Secretary Mrs Patricia Mulligan, who had the original idea of a festival over 40 years ago.

The 2016 event is the 42nd annual festival and preparations are already under way to draw up the timetable for volunteers to help complete the festival in a hectic five days, with three centres in the Belmont running simultaneously..T

he first competitions start at 9.30am daily and classes finish at about 10.30pm. Anyone who would like to help by giving a morning or afternoon to help put the numbers up, put children on the stage, give out marks sheets, get trophies signed for, or the many other jobs, is asked to contact festival organiser Mrs Mulligan on 028 406 23748. The festival is also sponsored by the new ABC Council and has been based in the Belmont Hotel since 1975.

Committee members are reminded that the next meeting is on Tuesday 18 October at 8pm in the community room of Tesco at the Outlet park.

If anyone would like to advertise in the festival programme, contact the festival secretary.

Within the last few years a number of new classes have been introduced.

A new class has been organised for the festival in memory of the late Rev WC Lockhar,t who was voluntary chairman of the Festival for 27 years from its inception .

It is a recital class in which the competitors read a passage from the Bible and read a religious poem. Both pieces are picked by the Lockhart Family.

Prizewinners from this class [ie the medal winners] will return on the final afternoon to compete for the bursary of £50 and a specially designed trophy.

“ This has proved popular,” a spokesperson said, “as has the TV Newsreader class.

“This year has also shown an increased interest among the primary schools with more entries appearing in the choral work class as well as an increased entry in the poetry test pieces.

“The latest Classes also include a Seamus Heaney class and a First world War poets class.”