Arts Alive and in-person again at Winter Festival

Arts Alive are bringing together a host of talented performers for a Winter Festival of Stories and Songs on January 22 and 23 2021 at SpArC in Bishops Castle. The event will feature artists from across the UK and Ireland in a Covid safe format, so that audiences across the region can finally enjoy a live performance again.

Cerin Mills, Live Events Programmer at Arts Alive, said, “Throughout 2020 live performance in every genre has been taken from us. This has hit so many performers and artists really hard. Not only with the loss of earnings and creative outlets, they have lost engaging with a live audience and the electric atmosphere it creates. Arts Alive are really looking forward to reigniting that electrifying atmosphere at our Winter Festival in January, which will showcase and bring together some phenomenal talent from across England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Every show will be performed at SpArC in a Covid safe way so that local audiences can finally get to see live performances at long last!”

Tickets can now be booked for four separate shows at the festival on Friday evening, Saturday lunchtime, Saturday afternoon and Saturday evening.

Friday evening’s first act is English folk duo, Whalebone, and local poet, Jean Atkin, who will be performing a musical collection of poems and Shropshire folklore – Understories - underpinning how history is raveled around memory and community. Welsh folk musicians, Oli Wilson-Dickson and Dylan Fowler will also be performing their traditional range of music. fROOTS magazine said about them, “Welsh musicians don’t come more sensitive, accomplished and exploratory than this crew.”

At the Saturday lunchtime show, you can enjoy a light lunch whilst local storytellers tell tales. Sal Tonge from Stiperstones celebrates the music of language. She will tell a winter tale of the dying of the year with the hope of what could be around the corner. The award-winning author and storyteller, Amy Douglas, will tell traditional tales from Shropshire and Scotland. Finally, Helen East and Rick Wilson will tell traditional stories drawn from first-hand experience of places they have worked in and visited worldwide.

The Saturday afternoon show is Pedlar’s Tales performed by local touring theatre company, The Fetch theatre. Pitched as ‘an intriguing, fun and interactive storyteller’s performance featuring puppets, music and a mysterious traveller.’ Silver Joan’s fantastical world promises to engage the audience with bite-sized stories inspired by Herefordshire history and folklore.

The festival builds to Saturday evening’s show dubbed ‘an evening of eloquent eccentricity,’ with two special performances. Two of Scotland’s most versatile and popular musicians, Wendy Weatherby and Sandy Breichin, will combine vocals, cello and accordion to play a mixture of traditional and original material. The final act will welcome internationally acclaimed artists, singer-songwriter Michelle Burke from rural East Cork and pianist and composer James Ross, for a ‘smattering of parlour songs, tunes and shenanigans.’

To purchase tickets visit the Live Performance page at and select the relevant Winter Festival event.

Tickets are priced as follows:

  • Friday, January 22 show starts at 7:30pm, £12 per ticket.
  • Saturday, January 23 lunchtime show, 1-2:30pm, £12 per ticket including a light lunch.
  • Saturday, January 23 afternoon show from 4pm, £12 per ticket, £6 for concessions, and £30 for a family ticket.
  • Saturday, January 23 evening show from 7:30pm, £12 per ticket.