Every couple of years the picturesque village of Speen in the Buckinghamshire Chiltern Hills holds a Festival. The 2011 festival is on for 11 days between the 8th and 18th September 2011.
The festival is sponsored by a number of companies including Cannon Moorcroft - accountants, Gabbitas Robins - solicitors, jml Training and Consultancy – www.jml-training.com , Hypnos bed manufacturers, Beechdean Farmhouse Ice Cream and www.insurance4carrental.com - car hire excess insurance and car rental.
A musical has become a regular tradition to start off the Speen Festival and this year The Dreaming which is based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare with music by Howard Goodall (of Blackadder & Vicar of Dibley fame) and book and lyrics by Charles Hart is Speen Festival’s most ambitious community theatre yet.
Updated to just before the start of the First World War, the action for The Dreaming takes place in a small hilltop village, surrounded by ancient and mysterious woodland – in fact, a place not unlike Speen, set in the heart of the Chiltern Hills near High Wycombe.
Audiences young and old can look forward to superb comedy and glorious tunes as well as spotting echoes of local history and culture.
For children and families an imaginative selection of activities kick off with a Wild Workshop Saturday of craft, photographic and outdoor fun, continuing with a host of other events aimed at the whole local community. Back by overwhelming popular demand will be the taste-bud-tickling Food Festival.
There is everything for the fine food lover, including cookery demonstrations and beer and wine tastings. Sample a diverse and delicious range of local fayre as we celebrate some of the best producers and suppliers in the Chilterns. No need to bring lunch or tea but do bring your shopping baskets to stock up your shelves.
On the 14th September, the ear-caressing Jazz Concert takes place. An evening of jazz by the Martin Hart Quintet with Lynn Garner featuring the music and life story of Johnny Mercer, one of the quintessential giants of the 20th century popular-song genre. A man who won 4 Academy Awards and was nominated for a further 19.
The final weekend starts with Folk Music in The King William IV Pub & Restaurant. Folk music is enjoying a renaissance, come and find out why and enjoy live acoustic music at its best. If you can’t get to Dingle, or even Towersey, come and join in for a great night in the local.
On the Saturday night the Festival’s celebrated Cabaret Supper makes a welcome appearance. An intoxicating and stylish evening of food, drink & entertainment with a twist of Art Nouveau. The Festival ends as it began with a riotous ball in a hilltop village surrounded by woodland - only 100 years on. Some regular and some surprising events come together to form our homegrown, and sumptuous, cabaret supper.
On the final day there is “Prom in the Playing Field” Just when you thought it was all over: a fabulous free finale afternoon treat for all ages. Settle down for an entertaining afternoon of music classics and some prom style participation with impresario Sam Laughton. A collaboration of local orchestras and soloists will showcase their talent and perform favourites from film, TV and the classical masters. Collections will be made for various charities nominated by participating musicians.
There is free admission to some of the events and for others you need to book early. The Speen Festival has an excellent website and details can be found at www.speenfestival.org
Speen Festival has established itself as a celebration of the very best artistic and creative talent from the village itself and the surrounding areas. At the heart of the Festival is the desire to provide local people with opportunities to create and participate in innovative, artistic events. Performances, exhibitions and outdoor activities are offered to the whole community at affordable prices.
The Festival reaches beyond the village boundaries and is a true platform for new and developing talent excelling in art, music, dance, science, nature and photography including a full theatrical production. It is well worth a visit. It is at Speen in Bucks (near High Wycombe / Princes Risborough) not Speen in Berks near Newbury!