National treasure, BAFTA winner and seven-time Oscar nominee Dame Judi Dench will be this year’s Arts Alive festival patron.
Dame Judi, who lives in Surrey, is “delighted” to lend her name to Mole Valley’s community arts festival, which this year, in honour of the legendary British actress, has a theatre and film theme.
Supported by Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) and taking place throughout October, Arts Alive is the biggest arts festival in the South East. As well as film and theatre, there will be music, literature, dance, painting, poetry, modern and traditional crafting and horticulture. Many events are free to attend or under £5 a ticket.
Film screenings include Hidden in Plain Sight on Thursday 31 October at Dorking’s Green Room theatre. This event features a series of films shot in the Surrey Hills by local, nationally-acclaimed artists and filmmakers. Theatre includes writer and street performer Nick Casssenbaum’s big-hearted Edinburgh Festival smash hit Bubble Schmeisis at The Stepping Stones pub on Friday 4 October.
Theatre and cinema Dorking Halls will also once again be putting on a number of events during the festival, including screenings of productions by the National Theatre, the Royal Opera and the Bolshoi Ballet. They will also host the Wilderland Film Festival on 21 October, which features ground-breaking short films that provide unparalleled insight into some of the world’s most incredible wildlife.
The launch event for Arts Alive will take place in Leatherhead High Street on Saturday 21 September from 10am to 12pm. This year, the celebrations will be led by theatre company Cabareilidh, who combine staged folk cabaret with a traditional Surrey ceilidh. There will also be activities for children including face painting and a knights’ battle, courtesy of the medieval festival that will be happening in Leatherhead on the same day. More information will be announced soon.
Councillor Stephen Cooksey, Leader of Mole Valley District Council, said: “We are delighted that one of Britain’s greatest actresses accepted Arts Alive’s invitation to be festival patron. This is fantastic news for our local arts festival, which is incredibly now in its 23rd year. MVDC is proud to support Arts Alive; it is a unique opportunity for the community to come together and engage with the arts.”
See the full line-up of events in the festival brochure, which comes out at the end of August. Events will also be listed online at www.arts-alive.co.uk.