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Walking Along the Road

It was the second year of Ilkeston Community Theatre and Festival's week-long festival week, 14th - 19th August 2023 and it was bigger and better than last year's.

It was the first year that we had worked in liaison with the library and the museum, and this has proved to be mutually beneficial for us all.

Throughout the week, people also participated in our 'Town Trail', which had clues with our logo on spread from the length of shops on South Street, down Bath Street and to the bottom of town, even as far as Weleda.  This was welcomed as an engaging activity throughout the week by many.


Monday started off with a packed morning at the library. A lot of effort went into arranging an exhibition of Rick Scollin's artwork in the foyer to welcome people throughout the week and it was well worth it to see some of his original paintings.

Also at the library, Roger Mitchell gave a thrilling talk to a packed crowd on Monday morning on 'Rick Scollins, Friend and Artist'. He gave us interesting and often amusing insights into Rick's work and life. John Titford, co-author of 'Ey Up Mi Duck', also contributed to the talk (watch this space for his talk at our next year's festival).

Also at the library, displayed for all to see, were poems from the winners of our Poetry Competition, along with those that were highly commended and commended.

Monday evening was a real treat. The Needlemakers once again hosted our Open Mic Poetry Night, and we heard some thought provoking and moving original poems. Brilliant.


Tuesday morning kicked off with a talk from Kate Crossley, Engagement Lead from Friends of Bennerley Viaduct, who gave a thoroughly researched talk on the Viaduct and the history of it, showing us pictures of pieces of shrapnel buried in its construction as well as giving us much previously unknown information on the history of the viaduct.

This was followed by Michael Rumble's second annual talk on D.H.Lawrence for our festival week, with lots of interesting information on his past, in Ilkeston and Cossall. Very popular.

In the afternoon, Paul Dexter gave us some readings of his very powerful poems from his book, 'Fake News'. He was followed by Kersty et all who gave us some wonderful activities to use to inspire us to write 'For a Healthier Headspace'.

Tuesday evening saw the ladies from the Lace Bobbin group showing off their immense skills at the United Reformed Church. The intricate artwork produced by their busy bobbins was absolutely amazing. 

Also in the evening, The Needlemakers hosted the festival week quiz, on the theme of 'Festivals'.


Wednesday saw Derbyshire Fire and Rescue at the college with their fire engine: another first for us. There were many other activities there, including a Maker's Fayre and British Sign Language taster courses, as well as story time for children. At the other end of town in Cotmanhay, in Derbyshire Adult Community Education Centre on Bennerley Avenue, there was a creative writing session, whereby the participants were inspired to write a piece based on the theme of 'Festival', which was enjoyed by all.

On Wednesday afternoon at the Needlemakers, Red Lion Folk Group displayed their extensive repertoire of a variety of folk and traditional tunes for all to appreciate.



Thursday started with a short Poetry Writing and inspiration at the college followed by 'A Summer Serenade', in the Green Spire Church. A wonderful one woman show, a musical performance by Andrea Cochraine on organ, keyboard and piano which included audience participation including classical pieces, as well as songs from films and shows.



Friday was Weleda's chance to join in the fun. For the first time we had the use of their venues for our festival which provided a beautiful setting for the Eurythmy talk and demonstration which enlightened us into this form. Very enjoyable. this was followed by Weleda's further contribution to our festival by giving us a riveting talk on 'Introduction to Homeopathy'. Not only did they provide goody bags for our walk participants earlier on in the week, but they also gave attendees at the events '£5 off products' vouchers. It's wonderful that Weleda continue to support us, and therefore the community, in this way.

In the afternoon, Michael House Singers gave us a variety of musical performances from around the world and music shows.


Friday night band night at the Needlemakers, as always, was a success, despite the fact that the Brokebeats had to pull out due to the illness of their drummer. We wish him all the best. Highlight of the concert had to be Michaels's rendition of 'Amadeus' at the end, which had the entire crowd rocking.


Our finale 'One Voice' concert was a fitting end to our week-long festival and included the wonderful Male Voice Choir, the magnificent GEM Connection and our eclectic Michael House Singers.  The Setting of St. Mary's Church was superb and voices from all strands of our community did come truly together. The church was packed, and we were treated to a marvelous range of musical acts to finish our festival week off this year.

Prizes were also presented by the Mayor to our Creative Writing and Poetry competition winners.

To finish off

We are walking on familiar ground now with our festival week, along with our popular new additions, but we can walk even further with confidence at next year's. As the only group to put on festival events with no personal or business financial backing or funding behind us, we have relied totally upon the hundreds of people who have come forward to give their venues and performances free of charge.  Over the coming year, will be expanding our supporter' list.  If anyone wishes to support us in any way, either performance-wise, or with support/financial backing, no matter how small, please email and you'll be very welcome.  Don't forget to check back at our website: for upcoming events.

Moving forwards, here's to an even better festival week in 2024

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