Community Arts Festival at Chiswick House & Gardens

Something for everyone during weekend celebration

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Chiswick House and Gardens will be hosting a two-day Community Arts Festival on the 24th and 25th of September with theatre, music, art, dance, entertainment, tours and other attractions for all visitors, completely free of charge. A lantern parade and fire sculptures will form the grand finale to the weekend on the Sunday evening.

The festival will be a celebration of Chiswick House and Gardens, and a special event for the whole family. There will be guided tours held over the two days offering visitors an opportunity to fully explore one of the treasures of West London.

The first day of the festival will focus on family activities and workshops. Sunday will provide a platform for local people and groups to display their talents and responses to the site through art works, performance, music and drama.

A series of summer workshops with a diverse range of community groups, youth clubs and schools across Hounslow, organised by the English Heritage Outreach and Education Departments, will produce a number of performances and projects to be showcased over the festival weekend. Highlights include a music collaboration between young people and the New London Orchestra, a Chiswick House ‘song’, a promenade performance by a youth summer school, and individual artists displaying site specific artwork, all inspired by the fascinating stories and heritage of Chiswick House and Gardens.

Animals from Hounslow’s Urban Farm will be on site on the Saturday, and the walled garden will be open over the weekend, showcasing the work of the Chiswick Horticultural Society and local schoolchildren in the revival of food production in this usually hidden area. Other attractions will include art, craft and food stalls.

Catherine Bloodworth, London Outreach Officer at English Heritage, commented: “We have a wide range of activities on offer at the Chiswick House & Gardens Festival, created by the diverse community and schools across the Borough. We hope this festival will help inspire more people to become involved with the future of the site.”

Cllr John Chatt, Executive Member for Positive Regeneration, London Borough of Hounslow, said: “Chiswick House and Gardens is a vital part of the Borough’s history, but we are now also looking to the future with a view to more community involvement. It has been several years since there was an event like this at Chiswick House and Gardens, so we hope this festival will be the first of many.”

The festival, developed and delivered by the English Heritage Outreach and Education teams, with the support of the Culture 2000 programme of the European Union, is part of a major regeneration project for the site in pursuit of the vision, “an icon of history at the heart of the community.”

Earlier this year, a new charitable trust was set up between English Heritage and the London Borough of Hounslow to oversee the restoration, management and protection of this Grade I villa and its gardens, which has been enjoyed as a public park since 1929. An application has been lodged with the Heritage Lottery Fund to support phase one, encompassing the landscape regeneration elements. The project was given a significant boost by £600,000 in funding from the Wolfson Gardens Challenge Fund in September 2004, a figure English Heritage has matched.


September 14, 2005