Hills come alive for 22nd festival

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Singing nuns had a song in their hearts at they descended on the Picture House to buy tickets for Sing-a-Long-a Sound of Music.

The hugely successful worldwide phenomenon encourages fans of the world’s favourite musical ‘The Sound of Music’ to dress up as their favourite characters as they sing along to the classic tunes such as ‘Edelweiss’, ‘My Favourite Things’, ‘So, Long Farewell’, and, of course, ‘The Hills Are Alive’.

Local fans dressed as nuns were joined by Maria Von Trapp in an impromptu rendition of ‘Do-Re-mi’ as they queued to get the best seats for the show’s debut in the Picture House on Friday July 3, as part of HebdenBridge Arts Festival which starts on June 26.

The format is simple – there’s the pre-show warm up as the host leads the faithful through vocal rehearsals before judging the fancy dress completion, which usually attracts lots of nuns, various Von Trapp family members, and even a few Julie Andrews look-a-likes.

Then the lights dim as the Oscar-winning movie is shown with lyrics on screen.

The festival’s artistic director Helen Meller said: “Millions of people have watched this show across the globe, and we thought it would be perfect for Hebden Bridge where people don’t usually need an excuse to dress up.

“Costumes are not compulsory to come along, but they are highly recommended, and I can’t wait to see what inventive outfits our community will come up with.

“The only rule at Sing-a- Long-a Sound of Music is there are no rules. The film is 50 years old this year, but is now a timeless classic, so this seemed a fun way to celebrate a movie that everyone has a soft spot for.”

Hebden Bridge Arts Festival celebrates its 22nd anniversary this year. Highlights include comedy from Richard Herring, music from I Am Kloot, Kraftwerk’s Wolfgang Flur and John Hegley and talks by former Everything But the Girl singer Tracey Thorn and cartoonist Martin Rowson.

There will be three performances of the popular ‘Hebden Shorts’, six new plays by local writers, and dance in Verve, performed by students at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance.

On Sunday, July 5 the streets of Hebden Bridge will be filled with live music, madcap comedy, and entertainers as part of Street Sundae from noon to 4pm.

Throughout the festival there will art exhibitions, open gardens and trails.

For full details or to book tickets visit www.hebdenbridgeartsfestival.co.uk or call at the festival box office in Hebden Bridge Town Hall daily from 10am-5pm, weekends noon-3pm.