Haverhill Festival preview

Haverhill Festival's Once Upon a Time There Were Four Little Rabbits

Haverhill Festival's Once Upon a Time There Were Four Little Rabbits - Credit: Archant

From opera and hypnotism to film and children’s shows, this year’s Haverhill Festival kicks off this week. Event looks at some of the highlights.

Haverhill Festival hypnotist Matt Hale. Photo: Shaun Ferraloro

Haverhill Festival hypnotist Matt Hale. Photo: Shaun Ferraloro - Credit: Archant

Comedy hypnotist Matt Hale, the hit of Australia’s Fringeworld Festival this year, is one of several stand-out shows.

He brings new tour 100% Chicken Free to Haverhill Arts Centre June 16.

Suitable for all ages, the award-winner - who has hypnotised people from Sydney to Vegas - will entrance volunteers with hilarious but tasteful consequences. It also means no two shows are the same.

“I’m a cliché buster... No shows feature swinging watches or turning people into chickens. I like to take the mystery out of hypnosis and show people how and why it works and even let them experience it themselves,” says Hale.

Haverhill Festival's Mr and Mrs Pigeon

Haverhill Festival's Mr and Mrs Pigeon - Credit: Archant

“I also design every show around the premise I want anyone watching to be thinking ‘that was amazing, I wish I was up there’ rather than ‘that was amazing, but I’m glad it’s not me up there’.”

The Haverhill Festival, organised by Haverhill Town Council, runs from June 15-July 3.

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One of the headline acts is Barbara Dickson, best known for songs like I Know Him so Well and January, February. She teams up with pianist Nick Holland on June 24 for an intimate show exploring her back catalogue and background in folk music. Not your scene? There’s Thin Lizzy Tribute Limehouse Lizzy June 17.

There’s lots of community-based activity with the return of Haverhill History Group’s popular historical walk. This year the focus is on St Mary’s Church and the Old Independent Church. Also back are the nature walks at East Town Park and Millfields Way.

Haverhill Festival's Two Left Feet

Haverhill Festival's Two Left Feet - Credit: Archant

Acclaimed guitarists Stuart Ryan, John Wheatcroft and Declan Zapala will answer your questions in a special masterclass before their evening performance. It will encompass everything from the romance of the Spanish guitar and Gypsy jazz to Celtic sounds for Three Colours Guitar on June 25.

In the vein of multi-stranded films like Love Actually, With Love From Suffolk is an independent feature film of eight short romantic tales. Not just a funny and tender exploration of relationships, drama and romance but also a love letter to the county. It screens June 26.

Sticking with cinema, don’t spend a fortune travelling to see a Glyndebourne Opera - just come to the arts centre instead. You can see Il Barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) without the danger of getting wet or tripping over someone else’s hummus. There are also Glyndebourne performances of Beatrice et Benedict and Die Meister Singers Von Nurnberg.

On June 25 the town celebrates Armed Forces Day. It’s a chance to show your support for the men and women currently serving to service families, veterans and cadets. The day, on Haverhill Market Square, will include marching bands and parades, military vehicles, exhibitions and more.

Haverhill Festival's Barbara Dickson. Photo: Brian Aris

Haverhill Festival's Barbara Dickson. Photo: Brian Aris - Credit: Archant

The street festival on July 2 sees some weird and wonderful creatures and street acts performing in the town centre. There will be all manner of things you - probably - haven’t seen before. Who knows who, or what, you might encounter.

Youngsters will love Once Upon a Time There Were Four Little Rabbits. Quantum Theatre invite you to join them in East Town Park on July 3 to find out how Peter Rabbit, who knows very well he’s not to go into Mr McGregor’s garden, narrowly escapes his clutches. This show, based on Beatrix Potter’s tales, also includes the story of how Benjamin Bunny and Peter dice with cat-danger as they sneak back into the garden.

There’s plenty more to enjoy, including the beer festival, a talk about ice cream, comedy and film. The festival runs June 15-July 3. Visit www.haverhill-tc.gov.uk for more info.

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