Jun 7 2011 By Siba Matti
Hillingdon Arts Week 2011 Zebra
Hillingdon Arts Week, a series of colourful events and activities showcasing the borough's creative streak, begins on Saturday (11). Project manager, Charlotte Baldwin, told SIBA MATTI about this year's highlights.
FROM outdoor theatre and open mic nights to music, dance and photography, Hillingdon Arts Week boasts an array of activities to inspire and excite everyone, whatever their age or interests.
Back with a bang for the fifth time, this year's jam-packed schedule will see more than 20 artists throw open their doors to display their talents, from traditional watercolours and contemporary collages to sketches and sculptures.
Art studio visits are part of a hugely popular trail day, a road trip of the borough encompassing its best beauty spots and hidden gems on Saturday, June 18.
The journey begins at 11am with a visit to the historic Manor Farm site in Ruislip, where felt makers, wood-turners, leather-workers and decoupage artists hand-craft their unique wares.
A special studio bus will then ferry people between Ruislip and Uxbridge, including more studio tours and a stop-off at the beautiful Eastcote House and Gardens.
A 20-minute walk from Uxbridge to the Grand Union Canal will take in visits to a ceramicist and jeweller/ oil painter, then jump aboard the Elsdale II for a scenic boat ride from Cowley Mill Bridge to Denham Lock.
Punctuated by regular tea breaks, the trail will end with a 10-minute walk to the Colne Valley Park Visitor Centre, before the studio bus returns to Manor Farm.
The trail is just one of 45 events in total, organised almost single-handedly by Hillingdon Arts Week project manager, Charlotte Baldwin.
"Last year there were about 27 activities so we have at least a third more this time round, and we are hoping to set a trend for years to come," Charlotte, 27, explained.
"Hillingdon Arts Week is an opportunity to showcase the wealth of talent we have here in the borough and also to open people's minds about art and culture.
"Although the trail is undoubtedly one of our most popular events, we have tried to create a schedule which caters for all tastes, young and old.
"We are also very excited about the Promenade Performance at Manor Farm House on Friday June 17 and Saturday, June 18.
"High Hearted Theatre have written a very special show, Births, Deaths and Marriages, exclusively for Hillingdon Arts Week, which we are thrilled about.
"It will explore the ideas, history and characters inspired by the 500-year-old Manor Farm site, so it should be of particular significance to Hillingdon residents."
Charlotte has also worked hard to ensure plenty of activities are taking place in the heart of the borough and her home town, Uxbridge.
Children can enjoy an afternoon of fun with Artsplash!, the creation of a giant painting at the Mall Pavilions shopping centre on Saturday, June 11.
Open mic poetry and coffee morning, A Cup of Verse, will take place at Costa Coffee on Thursday, June 16, while My Favourite Word, at Uxbridge Civic Centre on Monday, June 13 will show a different side to Hillingdon councillors as they share their best-loved prose, sonnets and rhymes.
Bishopshalt students will also display their photographic skills in an exhibition at Uxbridge Library from Saturday, June 11 – Thursday June 16.
As if that wasn't enough, Hillingdon Arts Week also offers a range of taster sessions and creative workshops.
Charlotte recommends Crafternoon, where the Grow Heathrow team in Sipson will demonstrate how create beautiful items using waste materials at the Transition site, on Tuesday, June 14.
Also set to be extremely popular are the atmospheric Mirror, Mirror Children's Workshops, exploring Victorian cinema screening, on Saturday, June 18. This is one of a series of events taking place at the Compass Theatre in Ickenham.
Charlotte added: "The beauty of Hillingdon Arts Week is that so many events are free of charge, so it is a completely affordable way to experience the same high quality activities you might expect at an established Fringe Festival.
"It is merely scratching the surface of the talent here in the borough and we want to achieve a sense of excitement locally about the arts, and inspire people to show their creative streak.
"Just like this year's mascot, a rainbow zebra, Hillingdon Arts week brings colour to the area. I really think arts and culture refreshes peoples lives and you simply can't get that feeling from anything else."
For more information, visit www.hillingdon.gov.uk/artsweek
Find out more by contacting Charlotte via the Compass Theatre box office on 01895 673 200.