Arts Activity Trail guide

The guide is now available for the Mytholmroyd Arts Activity Trail launch event on Sunday 16th October which will include a series of drop-in workshops along the route between 10:00 and 17:00.


The Festival Team and artists have been having fun testing the Trail route and activities

After the Festival weekend the Trail route can be followed all year round with a guide that will include creative outdoor activities contributed by the four Festival workshop leaders – artists Dorothy Simister, Tina Foran and Sally Barker and poet Winston Plowes.


‘The Project’ takes shape

Our great musical adventure, aka ‘The Project‘, is under way.  Here’s all the latest news, direct from musician and composer Dave Nelson:


Some of you will have heard about ‘The Project’ before, but now that it has begun to take shape properly you may like to have some more detailed information…


This is for you if you’d like to get involved in the creation and performance of what we think will be a spectacular, exciting and enjoyable piece of music with many local singers and instrumentalists taking part.

On Sunday October 16th I will be directing the whole ensemble, which will be made up of musicians and singers from the Upper Calder Valley, as we endeavour to create and perform a large-scale “Songscape” based loosely around the four elements: earth, water, air and fire…all in one day!

This is a community event organised by Mytholmroyd Arts Festival and it’s open to anyone who plays an instrument, sings, writes song lyrics or possible does all three. You don’t have to be brilliant! My job is to involve everyone who wants to participate, no matter how inexperienced they may be at writing, singing or ensemble playing. We’ve even got some fantastic, easy-to-play Javanese Gamelan instruments and lots of other percussion for people who don’t own an instrument. Other instruments that you can expect to see on the day so far include guitars, bass, piano, harp, hammer dulcimer, various brass instruments, accordion and mandolin. We have room for lots more!

The end result will be a partly improvised, partly structured piece of music; partly instrumental, partly choral, sometimes both. There will also be times when only one or two instruments are playing; times too when the lyrics are sung or even spoken by just one person. Parts of the music will feel like a massive sound collage played over a basic groove – other sections may come out being more free-form.

It’s an ambitious target, but I’ve done this kind of work many times before whilst delivering music workshops to schools, colleges and to many adult groups. We’ll be starting with some fun musical games and warm ups which will give us most of the musical ideas needed to form the whole piece.

We’re going to make a start at 10am on the Sunday morning (16th October) at the Ted Hughes Theatre in Calder High School. If you’d like to take part you’ll need to be there just before then in order to set up, tune up etc. We’ll carry on throughout the day, gradually putting the piece together, before taking a break late afternoon in preparation for a performance (A World Premiere!) in the same venue that evening.

You may be wondering where all the lyrics will come from. Some will come from writing workshops in local schools given by Hebden Bridge poet Winston Plowes. But they could also come from you! There are lyric writing sessions being held on October 5th and 12th at Mytholmroyd Community Centre, when your own ideas can be worked on and joined up with others to form the lyrical base of the whole piece. We’ll also try to add melodies to your words – not only for the choir to sing but also for some of the instrumentalists to play.

So if you’re a singer (or someone who enjoys singing), an instrumentalist (or someone who plays a bit) or a writer (or someone who simply enjoys writing) and you’d like to participate in this unique and possibly unforgettable event, then please get in touch with me on 01422 843315 or via

‘Calder’ goes on tour

The short film ‘Calder’, commissioned by the Festival in 2015, will shortly be touring Calderdale with September screenings in Blackshaw Head (28th), Midgley (29th)and Todmorden (30th).

Tim and Jack from short film 'Calder'

Tim and his dog Jack from short film ‘Calder’ (image courtesy of Geoff Brokate, 2016)

In April 2016 the film premiered to a tightly-packed audience at The Dusty Miller in Mytholmroyd, where filmmakers Geoff Brokate and Paula Sutherland discussed the remarkable experience of making the work in the community in the aftermath of such a devastating event.

Tour screenings of ‘Calder’ will be followed by a discussion with writer and filmmaker Paula Sutherland.  The film returns to Mytholmroyd with screenings during this year’s Arts Festival.

Visit our Film Tour page for further details.

A full house for ‘Calder’

We were delighted to see such a great turnout for our film premiere at the Dusty Miller yesterday evening. Poet Winston Plowes’ thoughtful contributions on the theme of flooding were also very warmly received and we look forward to welcoming him back to Mytholmroyd in the future.

The next screening of ‘Calder’ will take place at Hebden Bridge Picture House on Saturday 23rd April. This event, with Hebden Bridge Arts Festival, begins at 4.30pm.

We are now pushing ahead with plans to screen ‘Calder’ at other venues in Calderdale towns and villages; watch this space for news of the film tour.

Premiere of short film ‘Calder’

When the Festival commissioned a short film about our village in 2015, little did we or filmmakers Geoff Brokate and Paula Sutherland know that our plans would be overtaken by the dramatic events of Boxing Day.

Unearthing surprising stories of a community coming together in adversity, ‘Calder’ documents the transformative impact of the flood and the personal challenges faced by individuals attempting to make positive changes in is aftermath.

Tim and Tia from short film 'Calder'

Tim and his dog Jack, from ‘Calder’ (image courtesy of Geoff Brokate, 2016)

The premiere of ‘Calder’ will take place at 7.30pm on Thursday 14th April at The Dusty Miller in Mytholmroyd.  This first screening will be followed by poetry from Winston Plowes and a panel discussion with representatives from the Festival, the filmmakers and local residents who appear in the film.  Entry to this special event is free, with donations to the Calderdale Flood Relief Appeal and the Festival.

Dates for the main Festival weekend in October will be announced at this event, which marks a poignant start to 2016 for our team.  We hope that you will join us here in the heart of Mytholmroyd to hear the personal stories through which ‘Calder’ draws out the special character of our community.