Martin Dimery’s Highlights:
The second Cooper Hall opera was “Hansel and Gretel” and another triumph.
Another discovery was the band Snowapple from Holland, who were looking to establish an audience in the UK. I still don’t quite know how to describe their music. A jazz, folk, classical crossover is the best I can manage.
Anne and Olivia Dimery also provided another splendid fashion show I recall, which always attracted a more diverse audience to festivals year on year.
Festival Fashion Show
Olivia, my daughter, was studying fashion a few years ago, and this helped to inspire starting regular fashion shows in the Frome Festival. These would feature a range of designs available in the town’s independent shops and some of the larger retailers too. Olivia encouraged some of her fellow students on the Fashion Design course at Bath Spa University to enter their own designs, bringing a completely original element to the show.
The great thing about the Fashion show is that it has brought something different to the Frome Festival and has helped the Festival appeal to a wider audience. Most shows have appeared at the Cheese and Grain and involved setting up the staging, catwalk and lights from early in the morning.
None of this would have been possible without Terry Baldwin and Will Davies who worked on the technical side. The hall was beautifully decorated and laid out with a team of in-house and volunteer staff. On one occasion we ran the show at the Merlin Theatre with similar success.
Any proceeds were donated to the Frome Festival and other local charities. Stalls were set up around the hall by local retailers and charity shops raising some welcome funds. With many local sponsors on-board, the Fashion Show was very much a community achievement.
The second Cooper Hall opera was “Hansel and Gretel” and another triumph. Another discovery was the band Snowapple from Holland, who were looking to establish an audience in the UK. I still don’t quite know how to describe their music. A jazz, folk, classical crossover is the best I can manage.
Anne and Olivia Dimery also provided another splendid fashion show I recall, which always attracted a more diverse audience to festivals year on year. Midsummer Dusk 2015 was a special year for me, as our Nevertheless production was the site-specific drama Midsummer Dusk, which I wrote for performance in the Dissenters Cemetery on Vallis Road.
I was much indebted to James Parsons, Trustees Secretary there, while researching the lives and times of the people who featured in this drama, and the cast – Annabelle Macfadyen, Oliver Wright, Jo Raphael, Eddie Young and Paul Ralston – were superb. Directed by Rosie Finnegan, the play sold out, including an additional third performance; it was really well reviewed – ‘the gem of the festival’ said one report.
Crysse Morrison, Author, poet and playwright.
It’s always great to get a comedian who’s on the cusp of celebrity. Romesh Ranganathan packed the Merlin and has since become a household name. Mozarts’s Cosi Fan Tutti” was brilliantly transformed into the intimate space of Cooper Hall. Snowapple were invited back, this time to the grander setting of Rook Lane, where they played to a packed audience. Somehow we managed to get perhaps 20 or so models of all ages and sizes, numerous costumes, and hair and make-up artists all into the limited space backstage, and with only one rehearsal in the afternoon, presented a slick show. I was able to call on many performers and musicians to present the entertainment from our many talented groups in the town including Merlin Theatre Productions and the Frome Musical Theatre Company. Most of the models were inexperienced locals who rose to the challenge brilliantly and some great potential was unearthed. Each year a different theme helped inspire a new creative approach to the presentation.
Anne Dimery, Festival Fashion Show Organiser.