The 51st Thornbury Arts Festival

Friday 24th April 2020 to Sunday 2nd May 2020

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For Booking Queries 07866 485151

The Thornbury Arts Festival Programme 2020

ALFIE MOORE - Fair Cop Unleashed - Friday 24th April, 7:30pm

Cop-turned-comedian Alfie Moore spent 18 years on the beat, where a keen sense of humour was key to his success and his survival!

It provided him with a wealth of hilarious stories that you "just couldn't make up" and when his first taste of doing stand-up at a local comedy club got him well and truly hooked, he soon began performing regularly up and down the country.

He has appeared numerous times at the Edinburgh Fringe, while his BBC Radio 4 show "It's a Fair Cop" has proved a big hit with listeners.

Alfie Moore

Alfie's latest tour show is based on a dramatic real-life incident from his police casebook, so join him to relive the thrilling ups and downs of the night a mysterious clown came to town and more than one life ended up in the balance.

It was no laughing matter - but this show certainly is! It would be a crime to miss it.

Friday 24th April - 7:30 pm in the Armstrong Hall.


THEATRICAL LIFE DRAWING WORKSHOP - Saturday 25th April, 11:00am - 4:00pm

SHIRLEY SHARP: Drawing Workshop "A Sense of Theatre"

Thornbury artist Shirley Sharp, who has taught adults and children for many years alongside building her own art practice, leads this workshop.

It blends theatre with drawing by combining performance, movement and music to create an environment for participants to relax and draw the human figure. It is suitable for all abilities - accessible for beginners yet challenging for the more experienced artist.

Shirley Sharp

Shirley has a BA in illustration and an MA in fine art and the aim of all her workshops is to encourage a have-a-go attitude and to let go of inhibitions that hold people back from drawing. She will be on hand to offer guidance and encouragement to those who require it.

Materials will be provided but anyone who wants to bring their own is welcome to do so.

Participants should also bring their own lunch.

Saturday 25th April - 11:00am to 4:00pm in Cossham Hall.


LOS PACAMINOS featuring Paul Young - Saturday 25th April, 8:00pm

Singer-songwriter Paul Young fronts the seven-strong Los Pacaminos band in an evening of foot-stomping Tex-Mex music.

Formed in 1992 when pop star Paul had some down-time, Los Pacaminos soon defied expectations of being a short-lived project and continues to be one of the UK's most popular live touring bands.

Los Pacaminos

As Paul says: "Los Pacaminos started out just for fun, playing simply for the pleasure of it. It all took off from there. It's real bar room stuff: foot stompers, not too many slow songs - a real party atmosphere."

Fellow seasoned musicians Drew Barfield, Mark Pinder, Steve Greetham, Jamie Moses, Steve Oakman and Melvin Duffy make up the band, which promises a great night's rocking.

Please note that this is a standing event. A limited number of unreserved seats will be available around the hall. If you would like to attend but feel unable to stand throughout the event, please phone 07866 485151 or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so we can accommodate you.

Saturday 25th April - 8:00 pm in the Armstrong Hall.


Sponsored by:

Bank Dental

 Hawkes House

CHEPSTOW GUIDED WALK - Sunday 26th April, 10:00am and 1:00pm

Guided Walk of Chepstow

Discover the fascinating history of the border town and ancient port of Chepstow in this walk organised with the help of the Chepstow Society.

The town is known for its Norman castle, which is set spectacularly on cliffs above the River Wye and was the first stone built castle in Wales, if not the whole country.Chepstow grew and prospered as a market centre for the farming community, with a busy port and shipyards adding to its importance in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

The walk will start in the car park beside the castle, taking a circular route down to the Wye bridge, along the riverbank to the old shipbuilding area, then up through the town.

The walk will also incorporate the Priory Church of St Mary, almshouses, the town gate and many other intriguing buildings.

Lasting for about two hours, the walk will be followed by refreshments at Tiffin, a local tea shop.

Sunday 26th April - There are two walks available at 10:00am and 1:00pm - Meet in Chepstow Castle Car Park.



FIONA WARIN - The Land Girls - Monday 27th April, 1:00pm

In 1942, with the country at war, food production was vital and had to be increased but with fewer agricultural workers available, some 80,000 women were urgently needed to work on the land. As well as ploughing and dairy work, the women who became Land Girls also carried out hedging and ditching, developed lambing skills and learned how to plant, cut and manage timber for a variety of industries. Their work was crucial to the war effort.

Fiona Waring 

Come along to a "recruitment" session when Fiona Warin appearing as head of the Thornbury branch of the Women's Land Army, will detail the different jobs to be done as a Land Girl, the uniform, the digs, the social life and more. Who knows, she might even offer you a job!

Fiona is allotment officer at Cheltenham Borough Council and makes a welcome return to Thornbury after giving a well-received talk on the history of allotments last year.

Monday 27th April - 1:00pm in Cossham Hall.


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JOHN RICHARDSON - Making Movie Magic - Tuesday 28th April, 1:00pm

Oscar-winning special effects supervisor and designer John Richardson has been involved in more than 60 movies, ranging from nine James Bond adventures to the Harry Potter series, Aliens, Superman, A Bridge Too Far, Straw Dogs and The Omen.

He has enjoyed a 50-year career in the film business, was Oscar-nominated five times and won the accolade for Aliens in 1986.

In creating the magic that flows through these films, whether producing futuristic gadgets or breathing life into creatures that amaze or haunt filmgoers, John holds a special place in cinema history.

John Richardson

He learned his trade from his father Cliff, a special effects pioneer, and by building on that work and pushing boundaries further, John not only produced a convincing end result but also ensured none of his stars were ever injured. He says: "The way films are made nowadays is so different to the way we used to work... I feel very lucky and very privileged to have had such amazing times."

Tuesday 28th April - 1:00pm in Cossham Hall.


DEGREES OF ERROR THEATRE COMPANY - Murder, She Didn't Write - Tuesday 28th April, 7:30pm

A classic murder mystery is created on the spot in this improvised performance by Bristol- based Degrees of Error theatre company.

As resident troupe at Bristol Improv Theatre - the first in the UK dedicated to the art of improvisation - the company has toured the country with this, its most famous show, since its inception in 2013, enjoying sell-out runs at the Edinburgh Fringe from 2013-2019.

For the performance, the audience becomes Agatha Christie as an original story is created based entirely on its suggestions, evidence and ideas given to the cast. One lucky audience member will even choose both the murderer and the victim. Miss Crimson poisoned in the parlour? Mr Gold exploded by cannon in Sainsbury's? You decide!

Degrees Of Error

But will you guess whodunit? Take up your magnifying glasses and don your deerstalkers for a never-seen-before (and never-to-be-seen-again) evening of murder, mayhem and making it up.

Tuesday 28th April - 7:30pm in Armstrong Hall.


Sponsored by:

White Lion

ANDREW CANNELL - American Garden meets English Landscape - Wednesday 29th April, 1:00pm

Andrew, who spent his childhood roaming the Isle of Man countryside, graduated as top trainee from RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) Wisley, going on to work for the RHS for a further two years.

He then joined the National Trust at Woolbeding Gardens in West Sussex, renowned for its colour-themed planting schemes and romantic landscape, as senior gardener. In 2015, excited by its ambitious plans, Andrew became head gardener at the American Museum in Bath - the only museum outside the USA devoted to American history and decorative art - leading a team of three dedicated gardeners.

David Cannell

In September 2018 the museum opened the £2 million New American Garden and changed its name to the American Museum and Gardens. Andrew co-ordinated the planting of more than 15,000 perennials, grasses and shrubs, many of which are native to the United States. His talk outlines the challenges of installing such an ambitious landscape in a relatively short period of time.

Wednesday 29th April - 1:00pm in Cossham Hall.


An Evening With ALAN JOHNSON - Wednesday 29th April, 7:30pm

The ex-postman, union leader, Home Secretary and, for a brief period, Shadow Chancellor admits that politics was supposed to be a stopgap until he became a rock 'n' roll star. But he ended up as an MP for 20 years before retiring ahead of the 2017 General Election, having served in the Blair and Brown governments.

The popular and respected politician then found new fame as an acclaimed author and broadcaster. He is also a lifelong fan of Queens Park Rangers and has a surprisingly good taste in, and obscure knowledge of, music.

Alan Johnson

Alan has regularly appeared on Question Time and This Week while showing a more humorous side with guest presenter stints on Have I Got News For You, alongside documentaries such as Alan Johnson: The Post Office and Me and indulging his passion for music in The Nation's Favourite Beatles Number 1. Alan will be interviewed by Matthew Stadlen.

Presented in association with Clive Conway Productions

Wednesday 29th April - 7:30pm Armstrong Hall.


TERRY STEVENS - Tyntesfield: Progress and Discoveries - Thursday 30th April, 1:00pm

This talk from Terry Stevens gives a brief history of the North Somerset house, which had been bought in 1844 by William Gibbs for his growing family and is now in the care of the National Trust.

The audience will hear how restoration work is progressing and also learn about the treasure trove of objects discovered during extensive inventory research, which is still continuing. An initial estimate reckoned there were possibly 40,000 items to be listed but the total now well exceeds 50,000 - ranging from paintings to ornate furnishings.


Gibbs had remodelled the original regency house into a grand Gothic structure and each of the following three generations left their mark on Tyntesfield. It is regarded as one of the last great Victorian houses to have survived with virtually all of its contents intact, making it a great source of information about the life and culture of the time.

Thursday 30th April - 1:00pm in Cossham Hall.