Richard Briers and Mr Lad to Open the Bedford Park Festival

45th annual event promises to be the most varied ever

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The 45th Bedford Park Festival will be opened next month with a special ceremony involving two of the area’s best-loved personalities.

Richard Briers, who’s lived in the area for over 40 years, will make a presentation to Mr Lad, who ran the newsagents on Bedford Corner for more than 30 years. The gift, from the Bedford Park Society, is a painting of the shop by the Society’s president, Nigel Woolner.

The newsagents closed just before Christmas, when its lease ran out. Mr Lad, whose real name is Kishur Mistry but says ‘Mr Lad is just fine’, is returning with his wife for the first time since then.

The ceremony takes place at 11am on Saturday June 11 th, on the Green opposite Turnham Green tube station. Richard Briers will then judge the children’s fancy dress competition at the Green Days fete, which attracts thousands of people each year with its mix of live music, children’s events, stalls, refreshments, Craft Fair and funfair. On the Sunday, a church service on the Green is followed at noon by WorldBusk, aiming to beat the record for the world’s biggest combined busk.

Green Days weekend opens a fortnight of community and arts events in aid of charities and St Michael & All Angels Church, supported by dozens of local businesses. Events include comedy, opera, dance, concerts, exhibitions, talks and open gardens.

In a Festival coup, the world-famous Rambert Dance Company, which is preparing to leave Chiswick after 40 years, will take part in two events. Rambert’s youth dancers, Quicksilver Dance, will perform on the Green on the Saturday afternoon. And in Strictly Rambert, on Wednesday June 15 th, the company’s artistic director, Mark Baldwin, will discuss its distinguished past, new repertoire and exciting future plans, with video clips.

Another Chiswick star, West End diva Rosie Ashe, who’s appeared in Les Miserables, Mary Poppins and the original production of Phantom of the Opera, will sing her favourite songs from the world’s great musicals at the Tabard Theatre. She’ll be accompanied by Jonathan Cohen, from TV’s Play Away and Music Time.

Other stars of this year’s Festival include Covent Garden tenor Justin Lavender; poet and biographer Blake Morris; actor Dudley Sutton (best-known as Tinker in TV’s Lovejoy); and the London Tango Quintet. The vicar of St Michael’s, Father Kevin Morris, will take the title role in The Mikado, performed by one of the brightest young opera companies Opera Novella, featuring Sally-Ann Stephenson and other singers from the D’Oyly Carte.

Oscar-winner Colin Firth and ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ star Kevin McNally, who both live in Chiswick, are on the jury for a new film-making competition to encourage young talent. The winning films will be screened on the last night, as part of the Bedford Park Film Festival, featuring entertaining clips set in Chiswick.

“We’ve got a fantastic range of entertainment this year, with something for everyone” says Torin Douglas, the Festival co-ordinator. “And to encourage people to make a real fortnight of it, we’ve introduced a special offer – 10 per cent off, if you buy any 10 tickets for Festival events.”


May 27, 2011