Banbury to be hub of activity as festival takes to the streets

Musicians have been gracing Banbury's town centre on Fridays since April as part of the Banbury Presents... project. NNL-150429-112717001
Musicians have been gracing Banbury's town centre on Fridays since April as part of the Banbury Presents... project. NNL-150429-112717001

Theatre, music and poetry will grace the streets of Banbury from Thursday for a three-day programme of arts, entertainment and culture.

The Drama and Heritage Festival will celebrate the town’s unique heritage with historical drama, tours, spoken word and storytelling that will iluminate everyday history and celebrate Banbury’s unique nature.

And it will reach its climax on Saturday when the doors to the former Grand cinema in Broad Street, more recently Wonderlounge, will re-open at 5pm for the festival’s dramatic performance.

It is set up by Banbury Presents..., a town team initiative that has been in the town since April and runs different types of performances, exhibitions and art events in key open-air locations around the town centre.

Neil Wild, Banbury town-team co-ordinator, said: “We are delighted that Mentor Inns, the owner of the former Grand cinema, have kindly allowed us to open the doors of this building for the conclusion of the festival.

“It’s an amazing space and it’s a great opportunity for the people of Banbury to experience a performance in this setting.”

On Thursday it will be ‘Illuminating Banbury’, with local heritage walks touring the Old Town, Market Place and the High Street. People can meet at the bandstand in the High Street from 9am until noon. Each walk costs £1.

Friday will see Cherwell Theatre Company perform some drama on the spot in the Old Town from noon with choral music and the Songthreads Choir.

Saturday’s performance will costs £2 for adults and children under-16 gets in free.

Cherwell District Council recently announced it would extend the work of Banbury’s town-team co-ordinators into a second year, with Mr Wild and Iain Nicholson focusing on boosting footfall, work with landlords and agents to reduce the number of empty town centre shops.

Councillor Kieron Mallon, Cherwell’s lead member for Brighter Futures, said: “Cherwell District Council has been working hard through its Town Centre Vitality project to enhance the centre of Banbury as a lively and fun place for shoppers and visitors.

“This festival is set to attract still more people to explore and enjoy the town’s unique character.”