Festival of Imagination – starting this weekend!
Come and experience all that is on offer at the Festival of Imagination!
Between 14 and 29 September, Ironbridge Gorge (from the Festival Hub in Dale End Park to the far ends of Jackfield and Coalbrookdale) will be a fantastic fiesta of arts, crafts, culture, music, film, poetry, family-friendly events and food and drink.
Lots of events and activities are free to attend, however, you may still need to book tickets in advance – for the full programme, take a look on www.ironbridgefestival.co.uk
The festival is organised by Telford & Wrekin Council, with funding from Arts Council England’s Cultural Destinations Tourism Fund and huge support from partners all across the Gorge.
The festival starts this weekend (14 and 15 September) with an array of exciting events and activities for the whole family, many free.
Come along to the Festival Hub in Dale End Park on Saturday 14 September, pick your festival brochure, find out more about the events taking place and enjoy refreshments at the festival bar opened from 12 noon until 10pm.
Performance poetry at its best will be on stage in the evening with a free event - Emma Purshouse joins Steve Pottinger to delight the audience with their wit and down to earth take on life.
A children’s craft workshop and a “Folk at Maws” music and street food event, both hosted at Maws Craft Centre are on offer during the same day, with tickets to be purchased from the organiser.
Sunday, 15 September is the Family Heritage Day at the Museum’s Coalbrookdale site when you can explore Enginuity, the Museum of Iron for free at varying times between 10am and 4pm.
Go along to Enginuity, play with the huge exhibits and get up close to the Museum’s attempt to break the Guinness World Book of Records for building a bridge with the longest span from interlocking plastic bricks. .
Afterwards take part in a variety of family activities around the site at Coalbrookdale - try your hand at print, arts and crafts and circus skills workshops and see a spectacular sound and light installation at the Old Furnace.
Bring your own rug and picnic to sit on the green or dine in the new Furnace Kitchen restaurant.
Parking will be limited - please use park and ride buses running every 12 mins between 10am and 17:00pm.
The festival fun continues throughout the week with a mix of events such as hands-on tile decorating workshops at Jackfield Tile Museum (16 September), Walk the Gorge trails (18 September), stand-up comedy evening (18 September), charcoal making experience workshop (19 September), the Trail of Thomas Love (musical and visual journey on 20 September) and many more – have a look here to find out what’s on each day.
There’ll be loads to explore also in the second Festival weekend.
On Saturday, 21 September, the best and brightest of Ironbridge Gorge retailers, tradesfolk, businesses, organisations and clubs are breaking out on to the Wharfage and into the Square when they take over the road.
The event is free to attend and will include, for starters, Brewing, busking, puppetry, Paella, Supercars, hand-rolled sausage rolls, Virtual reality, competitions and street entertaining.
You will also be able to experience a wide range of crafts from the Ironbridge area, by joining Hanny Newton and the Heritage Crafts Association for an embroidery workshop using gold threads.
Expert crafts from Coalport China Museum will also be at the Festival Hub (at Dale End Parks) to demonstrate bone china flower making and you can have a go at making your own flower from air drying clay.
Jackfield Brass Band and Broseley Beats Samba Band will be performing and entertaining the crowds throughout the day.
In the evening, a visual tribute to Iron Men of the Dale will be projected close to the Ironbridge using some never before seen images from the Coalbrookdale foundry (provided and complied by local photographer and Iron Man Graham Hickman)
Sunday, 22 September will again make a great day out for families, with art workshops for children (including ‘Drawing cartoon animals & monsters with just a circle’ from Secret Severn Trail), a drumming workshop and performance by Eternal Taal all female Dhol drumming group, moving poetry and stories from Punjabi Women’s Writing Group, the renown “Mary Poppins Returns” film (that includes a kite making workshop) and much more.
Councillor Carolyn Healy, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for visitor economy & the World Heritage Site said: “There’s literally something for everyone to enjoy at the Festival of Imagination, there will be a fully-packed programme of events during weekends but also lots going on during the festival weeks, from film, poetry, culture to walks exploring the Gorge, comedy and music nights, museum open days and many more.
“Lots of these events are free to attend while some require ticket purchase - we encourage people to have a look on www.ironbridgefestival.co.uk, to see what’s on each day and how they can take part.
“We hope people will enjoy the festival and that they’ll come away with a real sense of why the Ironbridge Gorge is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and what it means to be one.”