Welcome to the 2017 Cookham Festival, which this year celebrates the 50th anniversary of the very first Festival held in May 1967. And as ever, your Festival committee has organised an exciting programme of events to mark this very special ‘golden’ milestone in its history. The Festival contains a huge variety of events: there is something for everyone from babies and toddlers to our most senior citizens.

We are fortunate to have a great depth of talent in our local communities and your Festival harnesses these talents to provide an amazing range of artistic endeavour and a kaleidoscope of music, art, drama, comedy, dance, talks and exhibitions over the Festival period. We have a proud history of innovation and originality and in the 1970s and 1980s, the biennial Festivals commissioned more than 25 original pieces of music, from opera to flute concertos. This year we have continued this creative flair by establishing an international poetry competition on the theme of Sir Stanley Spencer, his life and his works.

We will be announcing the winning poem and the two runners up during the Festival as well as publishing an anthology created from all the shortlisted poems.

The People’s Shakespeare will bring you ‘The Hollow Crown’ and Ross Kemp will give a unique insight into his exciting life. Our highly successful “Strictly” dance classes have been extended to include separate sessions for Ballroom and Latin, Argentine Tango, Scottish dancing and, for the younger dancer, Street dancing. Local impresario Toby Cruse will be showcasing a musical tribute to the ‘Stars of the West End’ and you can get to grips with artistic techniques under the supervision of professional artists at the Festival Arts Hub.

Jazz will feature members of the acclaimed National Youth Jazz Orchestra and the Festival will conclude with a gala concert led by international soloist and prize-winning violinist Alexandra Wood, whose father and mother were both prime movers and performers in the very first Festival in 1967.

For these and a host of other events we draw on the support of our local communities and as ever we are indebted to the Festival Committee and the Festival Makers who give their time and enthusiasm to make the Festival a success. Above all it depends on you, so please make note of the dates and start making your bookings, some of which you can now do on-line.

Malcolm Stork, Chairman

Acknowledgements

The Festival Committee offers its thanks to the many people who have helped make the Festival possible, with special thanks to performers, artists and Festival Makers, plus:

Barker StoneHugo Cawthorne Photography
Barn GalleriesJohn Lewis Partnership
Bel and The DragonCarolyn Leder
Berkshire College of AgricultureLiz Kwantes
Chartered Institute of Marketing Louis Baylis Trust
Cookham Methodist ChurchMaidenhead Advertiser
Cookham PantomimePinder Hall
Dawkes MusicPeter Robinson
Jane DraycottStanley Spencer Gallery
Elizabeth HouseSt John the Baptist Church
Elizabeth HouseShanly Foundation
Hitachi EuropeThe Stationery Depot
Holy Trinity Church, CookhamThe Worshipful Company of Stationers
Hugo CawthorneTwo Rivers Press
University of Reading