Batley Festival will tell town’s story

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Venues across Batley are preparing for the return of the town’s fifth annual festival later this month.

Batley Festival takes place on Saturday September 10, and promises to showcase the best talent from the local arts scene.

The programme includes a Best of Batley event at the Town Hall, featuring performances from Kirklees Music School, Batley Community Choir and the West Yorkshire Drama Academy.

Other locations on the festival trail are the marketplace, library and Memorial Gardens, which will host a 40-minute outdoor finale at the end of the day.

The open-air Batley Picture Show combines film, music, live theatre, performance and pyrotechnics to tell the story of the town’s manufacturing, sporting and cultural heritage over the past century.

Festival director Rebecca Legg said:-

“Over the last five years the festival has provided an opportunity to celebrate all that is great about Batley, and as a wholly volunteer-led event, it has enabled local people to get involved in either creating the performances or delivering the festival logistics.

“We asked local people and businesses to submit archive footage of Batley over the years to help us stage the show-stopping Batley Picture Show, and we have received an overwhelming response from organisations including Fox’s Biscuits and Yorkshire Film Archive.”

The festival organisers are still seeking more volunteers to help man the event.

Committee chair Kimberley Thirkill studied drama at Bretton Hall, and said that getting involved with the festival had re-ignited her love for performing arts.

“As a Batley girl myself, I’m so proud that as a community we can all come together to celebrate and really bring the town to life. It isn’t possible without the ongoing support of volunteers who make sure it all comes together,” she said.

Volunteer tasks include supporting artists, assisting at workshops and giving out information to visitors, and all helpers will be given a sneak preview of the Picture Show. To volunteer, contact Rebecca at Rebecca@creativescene.org.uk.

The festival is free to attend and starts at 11am, with the Picture Show at 8.30pm. Visit batleyfestival.co.uk.