GOOD food, great art and innovative theatre combine beautifully at Upfront Arts Venue.

Located near Hutton-in-the-Forest, Upfront is owned by John and Elaine Parkinson. Elaine was originally a teacher; John trained as a theatre designer. Both brought their organisational and design skills and knowledge of art to develop the Upfront arts venue into something special.

The buildings at Upfront date from around 1680 with later additions and alterations. The property was known as Unthank Farm when the couple bought it in 1990. During the first few years it served as a home and workshops for Upfront exhibitions. Theatre sets, props and commercial exhibition stands were designed and created in the workshops.

In spring 2001 they launched the annual Upfront Cumbrian Artists Exhibition, promoting the work of artists living and working in the county. Now in its 18th year, it's one of the region's most popular and highly revered visual art events. First prize this year went to popular artist, Kate Bentley.

As well as an excellent eatery, the icing on the cake at Upfront is its fantastic 150-seater theatre, which is also home to John's highly imaginative and acclaimed puppet theatre; John's next production is The Emperor and the Nightingale, running from March 31 with dates in April. In the 2019 Cumbria Life Culture Awards Upfront Gallery and Puppet Theatre won the Reader's Choice Award and last year landed a Cumbria Tourism Sustainable Tourism Award - Upfront Arts Venue.

For further information telephone 017684-84538.