Under starter’s order and it’s off - the 2013 Isle of Ely Arts Festival has begun

The Croods

The Croods - Credit: Archant

THE first Isle of Ely Arts Festival has begun with an impressive calendar of events ranging from live music, to open gardens, a ballet masterclass, Ely Cathedral flower festival, and a festival dinner.

The Royal Ballet School, Solomon Golding , 2011, Credit: Johan Persson/

The Royal Ballet School, Solomon Golding , 2011, Credit: Johan Persson/ - Credit: Archant

The festival committee - which formed last year to stage a production of Mozart’s opera Cosi Fan Tutte - has created an umbrella programme for about 40 events that were already scheduled across the district.

Rosewell House gardens at Ely

Rosewell House gardens at Ely - Credit: Archant

Chairman Councillor Michael Allan said: “Like any newly formed group, we have to establish ourselves before we can attract any funding from official bodies like the Arts Council.

“Last year we put on an opera and we kept our heads above water financially with the help of sponsorship. This year we are also grateful for help from individual sponsors but we reasoned this was not a year to take undue risks.”

The committee is solely responsible for the Festival Dinner. It is being held at the Old Hall, Stuntney, on Tuesday June 18. The three-course meal will be accompanied by a programme of music for a summer evening, with songs from musicals and light opera.

The Ethelreda Fair on Ely’s Palace Green on June 1 kicked off the month-long programme, and the fun continued with the Mayor of Ely’s Party in the Park and open gardens in Ely on June 2.

Next up is Gilbert and Sullivan’s ‘Ruddigore’ at Swaffham Bulbeck from June 12-15, Burwell Carnival on June 22, and The Band of Hope perform music from the 20s and 30s at Queen Adelaide on June 28.

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Ely Cathedral Flower Festival runs from June 20-23, and the festival concludes on June 30 with a ballet masterclass with Solomon Golding, an afternoon tea dance in Prickwillow, a family screening of The Croods (PG) and Ely Choral Society performing in Ely Cathedral.

Cllr Allan added: “This is a year to consolidate our position and to prove that the Isle of Ely Arts Festival is here to stay.

“We are hoping that people throughout the district will enjoy the events and give their enthusiastic support to making an annual festival part of East Cambridgeshire’s calendar.”

Copies of the Isle of Ely Arts Festival programme can be picked up from outlets throughout the district including libraries, pubs, clubs and a numbers of shops and restaurants or go to www.adec.org.uk<http://www.adec.org.uk for details.

As the song goes ‘June is burstin’ out all over’ and the evidence is everywhere around the district during the Isle of Ely Arts Festival especially in gardens where the owners are prepared to open their doors to the public under the National Gardens Scheme.

On Sunday a number of gardens were open in Ely, and this weekend the garden at at Pavilion House in Dullingham will welcome visitors.

Over the weekend of June 15-16, the garden at Ty Gwyn in Aldreth is open, and gardens in Lode are open to the public on June 16.

There is an admission charge and refreshments are normally available. Check out the National Garden Scheme website for details.

Solomon Golding, who has danced with the Royal Ballet and Hong Kong Ballet, will be taking a ballet masterclass at Soham Village Performing Arts Centre on Sunday June 30, between 2 – 5pm.

There will be two sessions, for junior and senior grades, and spectators can attend both.

For full details and to discuss taking up a place email: helenpettit@excite.com

Fordham restaurant The White Pheasant has come up with its own idea for marking the magic of summer by creating a taster menu to celebrate the best of local produce.

For one night only on Tuesday June 25, the restaurant is offering five-courses that cannot fail to impress even the most discerning of diners.

The taster menu is at an all-inclusive price and places are on a first come first served basis. For further details or to book a table contact 01638 720414.