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Sunday, 26 April 2015

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Banquet fun brings Millom town centre to life

A TOWN came alive with the sound of laughter during a street theatre event.

The Banquet, the latest offering from Olympic legacy programme Lakes Alive, went to Millom on Wednesday night.

It captivated the crowds and entertained audiences during three hours of fun.

The event combined an old-school street party with appearances from around 20 individual, professional street theatre acts.

Audiences packed out Millom’s Market Square and spilled down into St George’s Terrace to feast their eyes on the huge range of entertainment on offer.

Jan Shorrock, marketing manager for Lakes Alive, said: “It’s gone really, really well.

“We’ve had about 800 people over the course of the evening, there’s been a great atmosphere and we’ve had a really nice time in Millom.

“Lots of people have come out to support us and lots of people have said they’ve had a lovely night.”

Lakes Alive, which has been running since 2009, is Cumbria’s contribution to the Legacy Trust UK Programme, set up to help provide a lasting sporting and cultural legacy for the 2012 Olympic Games.

It is taking the Banquet across Cumbria, having started in Talkin Tarn on Tuesday before heading to Millom on Wednesday and onto Cleator Moor last night.

Ms Shorrock said: “It’s a celebration really.

“People have been chatting at the foot tables, socialising, getting to know each other or bumping into old friends they haven’t seen in a while.

“People really appreciate opportunities to come out together as a community, to do something very friendly and family-orientated, and just enjoy themselves.”

Wednesday night’s event saw performers weaving their way through the crowds, entertaining youngsters and adults with singing, dancing, tale-telling and tricks.

From walking, talking plant pots from Bread and Butter Theatre, to Irish folklore from Dreamfired and the antics of Pickled Image’s Big Bad Wolf, families were kept roaring with laughter throughout the night.

And if music be the food of love, there must have been romance in the air as the crowds enjoyed performances by the Last Chance Saloon Band.

They decked out their audience with red cowboy hats and dragged couples up into the square to dance.

Elsewhere in the town centre, there was plenty to distract those who did not want to put on their dancing shoes.

Fairly Famous Family took over St George’s Terrace with a fun re-enactment of this summer’s Wimbledon drama, finding volunteers from the crowd to act as players, ball boys and girls and guests of the Royal Box.

Elsewhere children huddled around the Wondertale Generator, captivated by the amazing interactive stories being told there.

The professional performances proved popular with the crowds, who made it clear how impressed they were to find so much entertainment on their doorsteps.

Lorna Robinson, from Millom, said: “Not much happens in Millom at all, so when it does, I think people should support it.

“It’s brilliant. Everybody’s enjoying it, there’s plenty to see - you don’t know where to look next.

“It’s nice to see everybody out, especially with the sun shining. It couldn’t have been better.”

Amanda Minter, also from Millom, said: “It was quite a surprise to hear it (the Banquet) was coming here.

“It’s something different, a nice change for everybody and it’s a lovely night for it.

“The organisers have done really well.

“We’ve watched the band doing the dancing and seen the puppets going by – there’s so much going on.”

The Banquet was about more than just the professional acts on tour, as the evening’s event was opened with entertainment from the town’s own Rural Edge Drummers.

The drummers are part of Moore Arts: Millom, which runs eight different performance and entertainment groups from the Beggar’s Theatre.

All the young members of Moore Arts: Millom played a big part in the event, helping organisers get set up, working the crowds and taking part in performances.

Jakki Moore, founder of the Beggar’s Theatre, said: “They’ve all been involved in everything today, like they are with all the shows that come to the Beggar’s.

“It’s excellent because they’re so keen and they’re so committed these kids. It’s been great to see them all working alongside these professional acts.”

Ms Moore, who worked in partnership with Lakes Alive to bring the banquet to Millom, added: “It’s been brilliant, absolutely fantastic.

“Everybody coming out, beautiful weather, and just amazing performers really entertaining everybody all night – we couldn’t have asked for anything else.”


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