5:10pm Thursday 21st June 2012
By Kath Skellon
BRITAIN’s largest festival of open-air theatre returns to Chepstow from tomorrow.
Hundreds of people are expected to attend the Chepstow Festival, now in its 13th year, which spans four weeks and brings more than 90 events to the town.
A family fun day, the annual carnival, a performance of Pirates of Penzance Junior and a firework finale are among the highlights of the events taking place at Chepstow Castle, the Drill Hall and the Riverside.
The festival will be launched by local schoolchildren at a spectacular concert on Friday, when they sing at the Grand Charity Concert organised by Chepstow Rotary Club.
Choirs from schools including The Dell, Thornwell and Chepstow join the Chepstow community Big Band and Wyedean Gospel Choir on stage at Chepstow Castle at 6.30pm.
The festivities, involving many of the town’s clubs, organisations and societies, continue with a family fun day at Tenby Lane Football Ground from 9am on Saturday and Bands in the Bandstand from 2.30pm Sunday.
Over the coming weeks visitors can enjoy performances from eight professional touring companies staging 14 productions,, including As You Like It at the castle on June 28.
Local singers Karl Daymond and Pippa Longworth will perform an evening of music around the piano at 7.30pm at Chepstow Castle on July 1, followed by the carnival on July 7.
The festival culminates in a firework finale at 8.30pm at the Riverside on July 22.
This year the festival committee has ensured the audience are sheltered from the rain, thanks to a new canopy and outdoor seating area. It can cover 400 and was funded by grants.
Christopher Wilson, vice-chairman of Chepstow Rotary Club, said: “We are praying for good weather. This is one of the biggest gatherings of schoolchildren in the area and is part of a celebration of the community.”
The festival runs from tomorrow to July 22. For details, visit www.chepstowfestival.co.uk
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