Tag Archives: Farnham Theatre Association

What a festival!

Three workshops, two awards ceremonies, a theatrical evening and a lot of good poetry – it all added up to a major contribution by the parish to the inaugural Farnham Literary Festival (March 5-13).

St Mark’s Church was the only north Farnham venue taking part in the festival and not only did we host events, we ran the Farnham Poetry Competition and filled the church with poets young and old with fresh voices and their own take on Farnham.

During the week there was a workshop to create your own fantasy world; a writing memories workshop (with some rather saucy poetry!) run by Right at Home care agency and the church; a crime writing workshop with Joy Kluver, author of the Detective Bernadette Noel series; a rehearsed reading by the Farnham Theatre Association of A Tale of Two Theatres (the story of the Castle and Redgrave Theatres); the awards ceremony of the Farnham Fiction Award, and the awards ceremony of the Poetry Competition.

The church buzzed all week with people of diverse ages and backgrounds who leapt at the chance to express themselves creatively. There is enormous creativity here in this community and we are hugely grateful to everyone who took part, including the poetry judges, Coral Rumble who judged the under-16s category, and Ellora Sutton who judged the adult one.

We had around 80 entries to the poetry competition and the judges found it hard to choose between them. In the end their choices were:

First place:
Farnham by Katie Parratt.
Under a Tree by Nigarish Nabeel Nasir.
Farnham  by Louis West.
A day at Gostrey Meadow by Minha Nabeel Nasir.
Farnham attraction by Harrison West.
Meadow by Alina Liepsch.
There is a place I know by Maria Benyon.
Welcome to Farnham by Mimi Farrell.
Why Farnham makes me smile by Ellie Darlow.

First place:
The First One that’s Second by Elmaz Ekrem.
Farnham Park 2021 by Rosemary Wisbey.
Local Character by Andy Morse.
Farnham Swimming Baths by Elaine Fell.
Farnham Friendship by Chandra McGowan.
Swimming in April’s Cold by Chris Hunter.
embedded in wood and stone by Kate Kennington Steer.

Kate Kennington Steer is a participant in Creative Response, an arts-related organisation run by professional practising artists who share their practice with vulnerable people, and members of Creative Response were also there on the poetry evening, reading from and selling their new book of poems Where Seeds Are Planted Poems Grow.

We are currently collecting in recordings of the winning poems and they will be published here shortly.

Here are a few images from the week:

Winner of the adult poetry award Elmaz Ekrem (left) with judge Ellora Sutton.
Building fantasy worlds in the Build a World Workshop. Yes, even the Mayor was busy doing so!
David Wylde and Chris Reeks in A Tale of Two Theatres.
Coral Rumble, the judge of the under-16s poetry competition reads some of her own poetry.
Neil Macdonald speaks at the writing awards, along with judge Gary Couzens.
Writing crime with Joy Kluver.

The Literary Festival comes to St Mark’s

St Mark’s is one of the venues in the inaugural Farnham Literary Festival which takes place between March 5 and 13, and there is lots to enjoy here.

We kick off on Saturday, March 5, at 3-5pm with a Build a World Workshop, run by fantasy writer Paul Eggleton which offers the chance to create your own fantasy world and populate it with characters in a creative writing workshop focusing on the fantasy genre. This will be available virtually by Zoom link as well. There will be a charge of £5 to include afternoon tea. Please email p.eggleton@nhm.ac.uk for details.

On the morning of Tuesday, March 8, we will be running a Writing Memories workshop in conjunction with Right at Home home care agency. This will be by invitation only but to find out more, email Stella Wiseman.

We have two events at the church on Thursday, March 10. From 2-4pm there will be an Introduction to crime novel writing workshop with crime writer Joy Kluver, author of the Detective Bernadette Noel books, the latest of which Left for Dead has just come out. Joy will teach us how to create the heroes and villains of crime fiction. The cost is just £5 and will include afternoon tea. Please contact Stella Wiseman for further details and to book.

Then at 7.30pm on March 10, Farnham Theatre Association will be at St Mark’s with A Tale of Two Theatres, a rehearsed reading by professional actors Abigail McKern, Chris Reeks, David Wylde and guests based on a book compiled by Anne Cooper of memories  by those who knew Farnham’s Castle and Redgrave Theatres. The cost will be £5 and are available here or on the door. Refreshments will be served.

On Saturday, March 12, at 5.30pm we have the awards ceremony for our poetry competition A Poem for Farnham. Poet Ellora Sutton (pictured left), judge of the adult competition, will be there to give a reading and present prizes. If you haven’t sent your poem in yet, it’s not too late to do so as we have just extended the closing date to Monday, February 28. It’s free to enter and you could win £25. For further details click here.

On Sunday, March 13, at 2.30pm, there will be the awards ceremony for the Farnham Fiction Award.

There is lots going on across Farnham in the Literary Festival and to find out more visit the festival website.

Advent Carol Service

Every few months there are five Sundays in the month and we like to do something a bit different, and this coming weekend is Advent Sunday so why not celebrate with an Advent Carol Service?

Join us at 6pm here on Sunday and enjoy a mix of readings, poems, prayers and Advent carols presented by a range of people including members of Farnham Theatre Association and of Amnesty International, with a section on local woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe who has been detained in Iran since 2016 on charges of “plotting to topple the Iranian government”.

It is a moving and reflective service which reminds us that in the midst of pain and darkness which so often seem to engulf the world, Jesus came to be with us, completely human and to suffer pain and sorrow, which reminds us, in the words of Godfrey Rust’s poem read in the service by Chris Reeks:

‘…then we’ll know
your sorrow may bring hope of lasting joy
and God above is God with us below’.

Photo by De an Sun on Unsplash