Cartoonist Steve is big draw at festival

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Cartoonist Steve Bell’s mocking and often controversial lampoons have become the stuff of legend.

A Guardian newspaper regular for more than 30 years, Steve Bell will be in Hebden Bridge this summer and is the first act to be announced for this year’s Arts Festival in the town which runs from June 23 to July 2.

In his show, he will reveal the deep dark secrets of political cartooning and his ceaseless mission to tear holes in the clothing of the political establishment.

He has written and drawn the daily If… strip in the Guardian for more than 30 years, and since 1990 has lampooned just about every prominent figure in the world of politics.

In this solo show Bell will focus on his technique in a vividly illustrated political history of the late 20th and early 21st with accompanying voice and sound effects.

His hard-hitting cartoons often feature grotesque characters, and have sometimes caused controversy, but despite that his work has been published in 29 best-selling books.

Bell has also been named British Press Awards and What The Papers Say Cartoonist of the Year with his peers in the Political Cartoon Society twice giving him nod for Cartoon of the Year and Cartoonist of the Year.

Bell’s appearance in Hebden Bridge was announced at the Festival’s annual open evening in the Town Hall.

Festival artistic director Helen Meller said: “Aside from being by far the greatest cartoonist of his generation, Steve Bell is funny wherever you stand politically because he is a merciless and perceptive foe of hypocrites, chancers and the self-righteous.

“This event will reveal his creative processes in a fun way, and might well reveal why he such an obsession with putting penguins in his If…. stripes which have entertained and challenged his fans throughout all the big political upheavals of the last four decades.”

The Steve Bell show will be on Monday, June 26, doors open at 7pm. To buy tickets for go to www.hebdenbridgeartsfestival.co.uk

l Also being promoted by Hebden Bridge Arts Festival is comedian John Shuttleworth who is stopping off at Hebden Bridge Picture House on Tuesday, March 21 on his farewell tour ‘My Last Will and Tasty Mint’.

As well as hilarious new songs, John will bash out the favourites on his trusty Yamaha: ‘Two Margarines’, ‘I Can’t Go Back to Savoury Now’, ‘Mutiny Over the Bounty’, ‘Y Reg’ and many more. Called ‘the godfather of character comedy’, John has appeared on ‘Celebrity Antiques Roadshow’ and the second series of ‘John Shuttleworth’s Lounge Music Roadshow’ was recently on Radio 4.

The doors open at 7pm.