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Art Fest in the 'burbs

Nicola Mostyn gets her teeth into something creative at Chorlton Arts Festival

Published on May 17th 2007.

Art Fest in the 'burbs

In bonny outspoken Chorlton the annual Chorlton Arts Festival (Fri 18 to Sat 26 May) is in its sixth year and thriving. But rather than holding events in the places you might think typical ‘arty’, Chorlton Arts Festival places its mix of music, crafts, poetry and performance in a variety of local venues, and could well open your eyes to Chorlton locations that you might not typically frequent.

Literature wise, the festival offers a promising mix of the educational and the entertaining. Firstly, you can brush up on your own creative skills by taking advantage of the festival’s writing workshops. On Saturday 19, novelist and creative writing tutor Robert Graham runs a session called How to Write Fiction, (Chorlton Library Meeting Room, 2–4pm, free), which is based on his new book and promises to teach participants some essential elements of the craft in an afternoon. We like the sound of that.

More help with circumnavigating writer’s block comes from the Paper Planes workshop (Mon 21, Chorlton Library Meeting Room, 10am–1pm, free), which is open to writers of any persuasion from scriptwriters to bloggers and aims to assist you in editing, refining and re-imagine your writing.

After all that hard work, it will surely be time to sit back and let someone else entertain you. Highlights from the festival include a reading by poet and playwright Ann Sansom, who will be performing works from her third collection In Praise of Men and Other People (£7.95, Bloodaxe) at Manky Poets on Fri 18 (Chorlton Library Meeting Room, 7.30pm–9.30pm, £2/£1), while on Saturday night upstairs at The Lloyds (8pm, free) there will be an evening of readings from Manchester-based writers including Zoe Lambert, Julian Daniel, Grevel Lindop and Mike Garry (whose killer line “Gorton Girls know all the words to songs by Chaka Khan” can be spotted graffitied on walls around the city.).

Then there’s ‘poetry, fiction and dodgy keyboard recitals’ courtesy of poets Steve Waling, John Calvert and Tony Sides (Tue 22, The Lloyds Hotel (upstairs), 8pm, free.) or, if you prefer something with teeth, swing over to Rosie Lugosi’s Creatures of the Night Poetry Slam (Wed 21, The Spread Eagle, 8pm, free), where the lesbian vampire poet is joined by Copland Smith for a night of head-to-head poetry action. So, that’s a lesbian vampire poet hosting a poetry slam night in a Holts’ pub. Genius. Make ours a pint of Diamond with a Bloody Mary chaser.

Chorlton Arts Festival, various venues, more info on events and venues at www.chorltonartsfestival.com

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