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The arts are alive and well at Liskeard Vital Spark Festival

The Vital Spark Festival in Liskeard runs for the first two weeks of March, inspiring locals to discover creative talents or hone their artistic skills.
One of the best things about living in Liskeard is the annual Vital Spark Festival. I always knew was full of talented artists, musicians and writers, but this superb arts festival confirms it.

Promoted as a celebration of creativity, this wide-ranging arts festival runs for 15 days from the second Saturday in May and includes three weekends of events. I can’t wait for the next one when I shall eagerly highlight the events and plan my diary accordingly!

Creative projects focus on a topical theme

This creative arts project brings together talented people with great ideas who work together on a challenging theme. In 2014, the theme is “Connections” and activities include celebrating the connection between Liskeard and Looe along the scenic railway, a textile representation of footsteps and a dance celebrating the links between the traditional local industries of mining and fishing.

The exhibition of artworks on this theme is sure to include some beautiful works by local artists. The display takes place in Stuart House, a mediaeval townhouse on Barras Street which is well worth looking around during your visit. Admission to the art exhibition is free, but donations are welcome.

What to expect at Liskeard Vital Spark Festival

In the months prior to , the Vital Spark team put on a range of walks and workshops encouraging people to discover their hidden creative talents. Now in its fourth year, this arts festival is as much about inspiring people to start being creative as it is about displaying some wonderful works by truly talented individuals.

The opening day includes a “Big Share” day at the Liskerrett Centre when finished or ongoing pieces of written, musical or artwork can share in live performances to get the festival off to a flying start. A similar “Big Party” evening is planned for the final Saturday evening. Entertainment will be courtesy of the high-energy Gumbo Flyers along with plenty of music and dancing to bring the event to a close.

Throughout the Vital Spark Festival, shop windows and locals dress up and include the theme of connections in their displays. Dancers, performers and street artists will be around the town throughout the festival.

There are a range of shows and performances which make good use of the public halls around the area. Local dramatic groups and social clubs are encouraged to get involved in the Festival Fortnight by putting on a related workshops, event or performance which benefits the whole community as well as entertaining visitors to the area.

Previously there have been Script Writer’s Workshops which produced a play that was performed by the Liskeard Promenade Players during the arts festival, but there’s always something fresh and new to look forward to each year.

In 2014, for example, there are Tales from the Track, an original session of storytelling about the Liskeard to Looe branch line which should be very entertaining.

Matt Harvey in performance at Liskeard Vital Spark Festival

Another special evening is planned to appreciate the talents of poet, writer and performer . He has performed at the Edinburgh Festival and on Saturday Night Live on Radio 4 so he comes well recommended. Once again the event will be held at the Liskerrett Community Centre in Liskeard and tickets are £8 for adults.

Doesn’t this great Arts Festival make you want to live in Liskeard, or at least visit the area? If you have taken part in previous Vital Spark Festivals in Liskeard, we’d love to hear your impressions. Tell us what you enjoyed or learnt by contributing a comment below.

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.

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