Watton festival events delight audiences

WATTON'S biennial festival got off to a spectacular start on Friday with a performance by Susie Turner.

WATTON'S biennial festival got off to a spectacular start on Friday with a performance by Susie Turner.

The invited audience made up of the Friends of the Festival, sponsors and supporters were treated to her rendition of songs from the shows, accompanied by Annette Jude.

Audiences have been enjoying the festival events since Saturday, when the week-long celebration began with the Bursen Street Organ delighting shoppers in Watton High Street with its own unique variety of well known tunes.

The afternoon and evening saw packed audiences enjoying a plethora of local, mature talent in two performances of The Good Old Days. The show is always popular with Watton audiences, who enjoy joining in the fun with oohs and aahs and singing along with the choruses.

The chairman, the Hon. Montague Burton introduced the acts with a series of risqu� jokes, while singers, comedians, story tellers and choruses do the rest. In the finale, Dame Clara Butt led the whole company and the audience in an enthusiastic and patriotic rendering of Rule Brittannia and Land of Hope and Glory to the accompaniment of a forest of waving flags.

The Watton Festival Big Picture was also unveiled this week. The project has been supported by a Breckland Council Festival fund grant, given to support new community ventures. Thirty-six Watton residents had each received a piece of an AS Lowry street scene to interpret in whatever media they chose. The result, when all the pieces were gathered and reassembled, resulted in a colourful, recognisable and much admired Big Picture. The works will all be on display in the Queens Hall for the duration of the Festival and the following week by kind permission of the manager, in Boot's window in Watton High Street.

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On Sunday, it was the turn of the children to entertain, and youngsters compete in the talent-style show Junior Startime. Emily Beath's dance won the five - seven age group, while Sam Harper, who won the eight - 11 year group played three pieces on the piano, including one he had written himself. Worthy winners of the 12-14 year group section were the Young Stars of Dance with their sinuous performance Hindi Diamonds, and the final section, 15 - 17 years, was another feast of dance but the winner was Reach for the Gun.

The festival runs until Saturday and tickets will be available on the door for all but the String of Pearls, which is sold out.