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Thatcham Festival returns this weekend

Nine-day event showcases town's talents and history

John Herring

John Herring


01635 886633

Something for everyone at this year's Thatcham Festival

A SCALED-down Thatcham Festival is preparing to take to the stage this weekend. 

Now in its 19th year, the festival has been cut from 15 days to nine.

However, Thatcham Town Council – which organises the event – says that content geared towards showcasing the town’s arts and leisure organisations remains at its core. 

This year, however, the town council has reached out to the periphery of Berkshire to expand what is on offer.

The events are programmed into categories covering music, theatre, leisure and learning, exhibitions, families and talks.  

The festival kicks off on Saturday, October 12, with circus and music acts in the Broadway, which will run alongside the leisure and craft fair from 10am until 3pm. 

The mayor of Thatcham and chairman of the town council’s events committee Mike Cole (Lib Dem, Thatcham North East) said: “This year there is a major section of the festival devoted to engaging talks and discussions on history and heritage, as well as fiction with the well-known children’s author Holly Webb who will tell stories relating to her books on animals.  

“2019 is the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing and we are privileged this year to have a talk by Dr David Whitehouse with extracts from his book Apollo 11: The Inside Story.  

“Thatcham’s history and heritage is also covered, but with talks far from the obvious.

“For example, local historian Dr Nick Young presents ‘Last Orders’ , A history of Thatcham’s pubs while Woolhampton writer John Trigg will maybe surprise a few people with his talk ‘Thatcham; Radical, Notorious and Glorious!”

Thatcham Photographic Club will present an exhibition Then and Now in the Old Bluecoat School on October 12 and 13.

The exhibition compares old found photos with new photos taken by its members. 

Music is covered by Thatcham favourites, such as the nationally-acclaimed Cold Ash Brass Band, who will be performing at the finale event of the festival on Sunday, October 20.

Festival favourites InCantata and Watership Cantabile will also be showcasing their choral expertise in concerts at St Mary’s Church.

In contrast, Sion Wiley will be presenting an open mic night and hoping that it acts as a springboard to revitalise the acoustic music scene in Thatcham.

With other popular events including Thatcham Apple Day at the Nature Discovery Centre, a leisure and craft fair, art exhibition and quirky events, such as a Retro Computer Day presented by Newbury and District Hackspace at its workshop on October 19, organisers have said there is something for everyone.

All festival events will be listed with details on how to book on or on its dedicated Facebook page @ThatchamFest.

Alternatively, call the town council offices on (01635) 863592.

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