Monday 24 April to Sunday 7 May 2017Editor's Choice
Following the brilliant success of last year’s inaugural event, Christian Arts Festival is set to return to Cheltenham this spring with a ‘Wings’ theme, offering fantastic diversity, inclusivity, and an impressive programme of events.
Opening its arms to welcome everyone, regardless of faith, background, race, sexuality, or age, Christian Arts Festival is set to unite the community from Saturday 22 April to Sunday 7 May 2017, across a range of venues including Cheltenham Town Hall, The Wilson, and numerous churches across town.
With highlights including a Big Sing live music and choral event; Comedy Night with Andy Kind; the festival Grand Finale with The London Community Gospel Choir, and a plethora of other events spanning insightful talks, art exhibitions, workshops and more, there’s something for everyone – including numerous free workshops and events for young people taking place during the Easter holidays.
SoGlos has rounded up its festival highlights below, with full details, and a programme available at christianartsfestival.org where tickets can be booked.
Getting the festival off to a great start on Saturday 22 April will be Big Sing 17 at Cheltenham Town Hall, with BBC Songs of Praise musical director, David Ogden leading a massed community choir and orchestra, offering an entertaining live music and choral event, with audience participation invited.
Meanwhile, the Folk On performance on Friday 28 April will feature folk songs of unity and community, with the band hailed by Cross Rhythms Magazine as having the ‘rare ability to entertain teens and wrinklies alike.’
Sure to finish the festival on a high, the grand finale welcomes The London Community Gospel Choir to town on Sunday 7 May, a world-leading choir that has performed with the likes of Madonna and George Michael, and is sure to dazzle audiences.
Other highlights include an Open Mic Music Competition on Tuesday 18 April which invites talented young performers to showcase their talent, with a panel of music industry professionals to judge the competition, and a day in a recording studio for the winner.
What’s more Jazz Rouge on Wednesday 26 April 2017 sees guitarist Andy Rushton and singer Jess Blatchley joined by musicians from across the country for an eclectic show; and an all-day Musicathon promises great entertainment on Saturday 29 April.
Expect an evening of laughs-a-minute entertainment during the festival’s Comedy Night on Friday 5 May. Visitors can enjoy entertainment from award-winning comedian Andy Kind, set to share joyful stories with plenty of ad-libbing and energy; star of Phoenix Nights Josephine Enright; and emerging star, Craig Deeley.
On Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 April, The Mark Drama will feature 16 actors from nine Cheltenham Churches, offering an innovative way for audiences to experience Mark’s Gospel, during ‘an eye witness account of the most extraordinary man who ever lived,’ with entry by donation.
Theatre fans are also in for a treat, with 4FrontTheatre presenting Reckless Abandon on Saturday 6 May. Telling an incredible true story, the performance follows a group of Waodani people living in the Ecuadorian jungle, whose lives were changed by missionaries who launched ‘Operation Auca’ to share God’s love.
For families, Wow! How? Now… on Friday 21 April sees Dr Matt Pritchard, aka The Science Magician, performing a show set to amaze audiences with tricks, stunts and puzzles, to prove that wonder is all around. What's more, Open the Book on Sunday 7 May sees author Bob Hartman retelling Bible stories which allow families to take part and have fun. Meanwhile an Upcycling Fashion Workshop and Show for ages 11 and above, takes place on Wednesday 19 April and Sunday 30 April.
On Saturday 29 April, last year’s sell-out event Journey Through Conflict welcomes back Major General Andy Salmon who is set to deliver an emotional, powerful and inspirational story, reflecting on 19 years of turmoil in Iraq, with added atmosphere from Tom Donald on piano, and Millie Till on the trumpet!
Hear about Linvoy Primus MBE’s amazing conversion to Christianity at Faith and Football on Thursday 27 April. The well-liked sportsman triumphantly overcame disillusionment, rejection and self-doubt to pen Transformed, and works through his charity to shares Jesus’ message of hope and love.
There will also be a guided discussion, Scriptural Reasoning from the Bible and Quran; in addition to a talk from Professor Philip Esler, Biblical Women In and Out of Trouble, both taking place on Tuesday 25 April.
Art enthusiasts are in for a treat, with a number of delightful displays to visit the festival. From Wednesday 19 to Tuesday 25 April, Inside-Out at The Gardens Gallery features a rich collection of thought-provoking and uplifting paintings, textiles and sculptures.
Meanwhile, the Faith exhibition from Saturday 22 April to Sunday 7 May encompasses a display from the 35 paintings, with the large portraits celebrating people of all beliefs and backgrounds. There will also be a Wings Art Show from Saturday 22 April to Monday 1 May, to coincide with the festival’s theme.
For those who want to get involved, there will also be a host of workshops including an Icon Painting Course with Ian Knowles from Monday 24 to Friday 28 April; two Oil Painting Workshops in portrait and landscape on Saturday 6 May; a Felt-making workshop on Saturday 29 April; and a Wings, Birds and Roots art show and workshop on Saturday 29 April.
For the full festival programme and tickets, visit christianartsfestival.org directly.
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