WE Wonder Festival returns to Wentworth Woodhouse with colourful creativity

A RIOT of colour and creativity is on offer in the grounds of Wentworth Woodhouse as the spectacular WE Wonder Festival returns next weekend.

The garden will be transformed into a a rich and exotic tapestry of colour and culture on Bank Holiday Monday, August 28.

Ticket-holders can expect to discover a vibrant line-up of theatre events, artists, musicians and workshop opportunities - from traditional English garden party favourites to bhangra beats and Kashmiri crafts.

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The country house is currently the location of artist and TV personality Grayson Perry’s tapestry exhibition The Vanity of Small Differences, which has inspired the WE Wonder festival themes of colour, fabric handicrafts and the embracing of diversity.

The organisers of WE Wonder have turned to the people of Rotherham to make its popular summer event more inclusive, with community textile and art workshops producing work to go on display.

Community groups have been working alongside artists from Wild Rumpus, an arts organisation who reconnect people with nature, to make four towering textile structures which will be going onto the mansion’s West Front lawns to replicate the stone obelisks which once stood there - and are now at the Wentworth Mausoleum.

Calligraphy artist Uzma Rani is creating special signage and stunning artworks with groups and families across Rotherham to bring a sense of joy and colour to the vast site, while a workshop teaching the medieval Kashmiri art of egg-painting next to the gardens’ summer herbaceous border means children and adults can take inspiration from the English blooms as they decorate papier-mâché eggs.

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There will be sessions with urban artist Phil Padfield, to create a live graffiti wall and use Pakistani Truck art techniques to transform old toy cars, as well as all-inclusive picnic on a colourful sea of ‘charder’ picnic blankets.

Creative producer Sophie Akbar, who is coordinating the festival, said: “As well as being a wonderful day out for the family with the very best street theatre and dance the UK has to offer, WE Wonder is an inclusive and diverse festival designed to attract new audiences to Wentworth’s beautiful grounds.

“We hope to challenge people’s perceptions of where they think they belong, break down barriers and encourage them to feel as much at home in an English stately home as in their local bazaar or community hall. We hope visitors will enjoy the garden’s spaces as one community.”

A company promoting disability access in dance, Stopgap Dance Company will perform Frock, a ‘punkish’ celebration of individuality and difference.

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You can also see interactive outdoor spectacle Flood, which aims to highlight the health of the world’s oceans through the eyes of Britain’s coastal communities, and Mughal Miniatures, a dance piece inspired by the tradition of miniature-painting in Indian and Persian cultures, which will see peacocks and antelopes roaming and jousting around the gardens.

The Balbir Singh Dance Company will be entertaining with nature-inspired storytelling, there’s also ska, calypso, reggae and rock ‘n’ roll music from Hot Dinners by Skiband and folk songs, plus Bollywood hits, bhangra beats, pop, sci-fi and intergalactic funk from the Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band.

Admission is £8 and you can buy tickets at https://wentworthwoodhouse.org.uk/whats-on/we-wonder-colour/

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