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  Darnhill Christmas Festival 2007  

Darnhill Christmas festival 2007

Christmas Past, Presence and Future.

A Big Thank You to all involved!

In the six weeks running up to the festival, writer Joy Winkler worked with various groups across the Darnhill estate, gathering memories of Christmases past, talking about who or what makes Christmases of today special and creating poetry with St Margaret’s year 5 children about Christmas future.

Joy also premiered a new poetry commission at the festival, Joy’s poem along with a selection of the stories and poetry created at the workshops was presented in a new book entitled Tangerines Air Raids and Santa Mobiles,

A copy of the book has been presented to all the participants and further copies are available from Darnhil library.

Costume artist Karen Stansfield worked closely with St Margaret’s year 2 children on a top-secret mission to create a new outfit for Father Christmas of the future.  The children all worked together to create a very special futuristic costume for Santa and little did they know that they would have the chance to see him modelling it at the festival. An exhibition of their creations was displayed in the library over the Christmas holidays.

The Festival Association members worked tirelessly in the run up to the festival, illuminating some of the costumes from the summer festival with artist Jean Compton, designing an activity for one of the workshops on the day and creating Dickensian style costumes for themselves and the Dream-scheme  children for the parade.

The festival began with Christmas Knight inviting the children to help him create Christmas items that would light up or make a noise to attract a very special visitor from the future. Artisit’s Jean Compton, Rachel Vincent, Jo Gornall and Jenny Duthie worked with the children creating fabulous items, before going outside for the anticipated arrival of that special visitor; with live music and carol singing, hot drinks and mince pies, the crowd looked into the darkness and watched as twinkling lights came towards them, bringing images of Christmas and festivals past, escorting a very futuristic Santa.

The illuminated parade was very popular, and a queue soon formed at the entrance of the grotto when the children saw who was arriving. Santa looked very different to a lot of children, however there was no mistaking who he was, but the look of wonderment on the faces of some of the costume designers was fantastic.

The evening was rounded off with poets Helen Clare and Joy Winkler, Helen worked with the festival visitors about what Christmas means to them, their thoughts were then written on leaves and hung on the Poe-tree. Helen then wrote and performed a poem based on all the comments she had collected that evening.

There were a total of 200 participants for the poetry and costume workshops.

The festival day saw approx 275 visitors with about 200 actively participating in the workshops, with most children making more than one item. Santa presented over 200 futuristic gifts to local children.



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© Cartwheel Arts 2007 www.cartheelarts.co.uk/darnhill.html