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Ludlow Fringe Festival kicks off with street party for Jo

By Thomas Morton | Ludlow | South Shropshire entertainment | Published:

A town’s annual two-week arts festival will kick off this weekend with a street party in tribute to MP Jo Cox.

Comedian Mark Thomas

The Ludlow Fringe Festival will see thousands turn out at scores of venues across the town for music, comedy, theatre, dance, arts exhibitions, street entertainment and free events, and will see comedians such as Mark Thomas, Paul Sinha and Joe Lycett come to town between this weekend and July 2.

Edinburgh Festival award winner Paul Sinha will be appearing at Ludlow Town Football Stadium on Sunday and political comedian Mark Thomas will follow there on June 22, while Joe Lycett, now a veteran of multiple TV shows, will be at Ludlow Brewery on July 27.

The fringe has taken over as Ludlow’s main arts festival after the revived Ludlow Shakespeare and Arts Festival at Ludlow Castle was cancelled after 2014, and for the past couple of years has established itself as a stand-alone event in its own right.

A launch party will be held at the Blue Boar on Mill Street on Thursday, with the first events taking place on Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday the festival will kick off with the annual Ludlow Arts Society Live Paint Jam, with artists painting huge boards in Castle Square for charitable causes, as well as children’s dance displays and Zumba on the Square as well as a communal "big sing" led by local choirs.

On Sunday there will be more music and activities but the day will centre around a Big Tea Party from noon to 4pm as part of the national Great Get Together, marking the anniversary of the Jo Cox’s death, with visitors and residents alike being asked to show solidarity and bring along a dish.

Chris Deaves of campaign group People 4 Ludlow, organising the party, said: “In the light of recent events it’s even more vital that communities express their solidarity against violence and division and we hope that locals and visitors alike will join in and make this an event to remember. All we are asking people to do is to bring along enough food to share.

"Tables, chairs and all other eating necessities, including soft drinks, will be provided and if the weather is bad we will celebrate in the Women’s Centre. We anticipate this event being a huge success and becoming an annual event at Ludlow Fringe Festival."

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Anita Bigsby, Ludlow Fringe director, added: “As this is the opening weekend of the fringe, we always have plenty going on on the square so thought it a wonderful idea to include the Great Get Together this year.

"We are running a youth arts and poetry competition with schools in the area, the winners of which will be announced on the day, have a fancy dress parade on the theme of ‘One World’ and there will also be storytelling and puppetry ‘n’ pizza at Pizza Express, so there will be plenty for the younger members of our community to get involved with.”

For more information on what's on during the festival visit www.ludlowfringe.co.uk.

Thomas Morton

By Thomas Morton
@tmorton_star

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star

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