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Wirksworth Festival 7 – 23 September 2012 Every September the historic market town of Wirksworth throws open its doors and invites you to see some great art in a truly wonderful place. Inspirational work from international artists is shown alongside the very best local artists, filling the streets, houses and historic buildings of this fascinating town. Highlights include: Art and Architecture Trail: 8 – 9 September The fantastic opening weekend when the whole town becomes a gallery. Over 150 artists and makers shhow their work in every conceivable space; from cosy cottages to majestic churches, shop windows to disused quarries. A great chance to buy affordable art and take a peek at some of Derbyshire's best interiors! Contemporary Focus: 15 - 16 September A weekend of inspirational exhibitions and events exploring contemporary art practice. Community Celebration: 23 September The spectacular festival finale when the towns creative community takes centre stage and puts on a show that will amaze and impress. Performance Programme: 7 – 23 September From world class performers to the very best in home grown talent, over 40 events including music, theatre, dance, film and much more. Tickets will be on sale from the end of July. Sign up for regular updates and offers www.wirksworthfestival.co.uk Festival Background Over the last couple of years Wirksworth Festival has clearly established itself as a key event in the East Midlands cultural calendar. Year on year audiences for the Festival have grown, with nearly 10,000 people taking part in 2010; at the opening ‘trails’ weekend, at one of the 30 performances, at one of the extensive programme of participatory workshops or at the fantastic Community Celebration finale. Arts Council funding has enabled the Festival to develop an ambitious, high quality contemporary visual arts programme, that has helped the Festival grow in profile and now attracts applications from all over the world. Alongside this the Festival’s education and outreach programme has reached further into the local community and invigorated renewed interest from all sections of the community. We’re proud that in 2010 over 60% of local residents actively participated in the Festival. Festival history The Festival’s historical roots are in an event called Church Clypping, which takes place at the town’s St Mary’s Church (founded in 653) on the Sunday following the Festival of the Blessed Virgin Mary on 8 September. This ancient ceremony, which sees the congregation join hands in thanksgiving to completely encircle the Church, continues as a Festival event today. The Festival’s current form dates from 1995, when a group of local artists opened their own homes to display their work, and this part of the Festival has now become one of the Festival’s highlights, the highly successful Art and Architecture Trail. Today’s Festival encompasses a broad-ranging programme of visual arts and performance spanning 17 days, over three weekends annually in September. The Festival that has evolved today is a direct result of the creative energies and ambitions of the town, which is home to a range of innovative and talented companies and individuals. Wirksworth and the surrounding area has an unusually large creative community, particularly bearing in mind its rural location - around 5% of its population, or 8.8% of its workforce, is employed in the creative industries. The Festival remains part of this community, and will reflect and support new initiatives to encourage the development of the Creative Industries as a fundamental part of the economic life of the town.