Love Oswestry, makes a welcome return in February, 2024. Now in its third year, the festival holds an eclectic mix of events, most of which are free, closing with a lantern parade through the streets of Oswestry.
The main ‘Love Oswestry’ day is on Saturday, February 17th, 2024, however there are lots of activities in the lead-up, which is also half-term week. This year, the Love Oswestry programme is stronger than ever and gives the people of Oswestry the chance to watch or take part in a feast of cultural activities and performances at various venues across town.
Highlights include the Lantern Parade, led by local organisation Designs in Mind. People can make their own unique lantern at weekend workshops and bring their designs to the magical parade starting at Festival Square, as darkness falls over the town.
Oswestry’s iconic Llwyd Mansion will open its doors for a new oral histories project ‘The Story Shop’ which invites people to share their memories and love of the town. Hermon Arts will also host a performance of ‘A Tender Thing’, a moving twist on Romeo & Juliet by Stage Five Theatre.
For young people there are DJ workshops and a week-long drama project Oswestry Performs, with professional tutors, leading to a performance in Hermon Arts on Friday 16th Feb. There will also be storytelling sessions, drumming and block printing tote bag workshops and an amazing new art project ‘Paint the Town’ with artist Joseph Schneider.
For further information and booking details, visit http://tinyurl.com/LoveOswestry24
2024 Love Oswestry Programme includes:-
- Free Lantern Making Workshops. Designs in Mind host lantern making workshops in preparation for the sunset lantern parade on Feb 17th. These free workshops are ideal for children aged 8+ (accompanied by an adult). 20th January and every Saturday up to 17th Feb, 10am and 1pm.
- Drama Youth Workshops by Stage Five Theatre. Feb 10th to 16th at Open Space Studios, led by RSC producers. There will be a small charge for the entire week-long programme, which includes a free ticket to the Friday performance at Hermon Arts for a friend or family member.
- Share your memories of Oswestry at the oral history project, ‘The Story Shop’. Held at Llwyd Mansion Feb 14th, 16th & 17th, 10am to 3pm. This project aims to capture stories, past and present, of Oswestry. All welcome.
- Storytelling. During half-term week there will be free storytelling sessions at Booka Bookshop and Oswestry Library. Check the website for further details and times. Listen, take part, and have fun.
- Free ‘Paint the Town’ art workshops. Local artist Joseph Schneider invites you to paint, draw or collage directly onto different size photographs of sites around Oswestry using a variety of mediums. Imagine what the town might look like if you could draw or paint on any wall or building. Feb 12th & 16th, Memorial Hall, 11am to 1pm. Feb 17th, Designs in Mind, 2 to 4pm.
- The Main Event! ‘Love Oswestry’ Day, Saturday 17th
- Free Guided Tours. Go back in time and learn about Oswestry’s rich history. See the old coaching inns, look out from Castle Mound and visit one of the oldest schoolhouses in the country. Tours start from Castle View, SY11 1JR and last for about 2 hours. 11am and 2pm.
- Free Youth DJ Club Taster Sessions. Led by Blackpool DJ Wez who has played all over the world including Mexico, Bali, London and Ibiza. Learn how to use home and professional standard DJ equipment. Ideal for anyone interested in mixing music. Sessions held for under 12’s at 10am, and teens at 11.15am, 1.30pm and 3.15pm at Hermon Arts.
- Free African Drumming Workshops. An introduction to West African drumming culture with a combination of instruments: Djembe’s, Dun Dun’s, Shaker’s and Bell’s. No drumming experience required, just an enthusiasm to have some fun! Suitable for all ages. Held at Open Space Studios at 1pm, 3pm and 3.45pm.
- Free Block Printing Tote Bag Workshop. Create unique printed tote bags at the Designs in Mind studio. All materials provided. Suitable for adults and children aged 13-16 (with accompanying adult).1-3pm.
- Free ‘Paint the Town’ art workshop by Joseph Schneider. Designs in Mind, 2-4pm
- Hermon Arts host A Tender Thing, a new, moving twist on Romeo and Juliet performed by Stage Five Theatre. Performances at 7.30pm, Saturday 17th and 2pm Sunday 18th.
- Lantern Parade: Starts at 6pm from Festival Square, followed by a big musical finale outside The Guildhall. Sign up for lantern making workshops in the build up to the event.
Mayor of Oswestry, Councillor Olly Rose said:
“It’s great to see Love Oswestry is back, with exciting new events and some of our favourites returning bigger and better than ever. I’ve been really pleased to see how Oswestry’s talented cultural people are working together to deliver activities which are both fun and informative about the history of our town. It’s great that there are lots of things for young people to do, not just on the main day but throughout half-term week. It’s also lovely to see more things for older people – for example the chance to share their special memories in the Story Shop.”
The idea for Love Oswestry and the coordination of the programme has come from Oswestry’s Cultural Consortium. The consortium is a group of people involved in the town’s culture and heritage and forms a key part of the High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ), part of a national programme funded by Historic England.
This is the final year of the HSHAZ, however additional funding has been secured through the UKSPF fund which means that the work of the Cultural Consortium (being renamed Cultural Connections) can continue into 2025 at least.
Pictures: Graham Mitchell.