Swaledale Festival Education and Outreach

Outreach - Wandering Minstrels programme

Each year, in addition to our other education and outreach work, the Swaledale Festival pays for professional musicians to go into a number of local care homes and sheltered housing villages to entertain people who are unable to attend our regular concerts. Recent Wandering Minstrels have included mezzo-soprano Patricia Hammond, harpist Jean Kelly, guitarists Carl Herring, Stephen Goss, Nick Wilkinson and Simon Thacker, violinist Hugo Ticciati, pianist Michael Brough, lutenist Jacob Heringman, oud player Adel Salameh, and early music group SYM (featuring Clare Salaman).


Swaledale Festival Education Programme

Although the Festival is a relatively small organisation, we consistently punch above our weight when it comes to education and outreach work. We work on large and small projects throughout the year, not just during the Festival fortnight. We try to be inclusive - working with a number of different schools, age groups and backgrounds to deliver a wide range of experiences in many different art forms.

The Swaledale Festival is committed to:

  • Providing music and arts education for children - both curricular and extracurricular.
  • Enabling children to see, hear and meet professional artists and musicians.
  • Facilitating music and arts projects for all ages.
  • Providing opportunities for local people to perform and exhibit their work.
  • Inspiring people in the arts and encouraging participation.
  • Building audiences for the future.
  • Organising mentoring schemes in which students work with professional artists.
  • Enabling amateurs to share platforms with professional musicians and artists.
  • Bringing music and arts to those who are unable to attend regular events.
  • Working with staff in local schools and other organisations to increase their skills in the arts.
  • Commissioning new work from local artists and musicians and bringing it to a wider audience.

We have been recognised for our work and success in this field with several local, national and international awards:

  • 2009 AMI International Award for Inclusivity and Artistic Excellence (for Semmerwater)
  • 2011 The Dalesman Award for Cultural and Artistic Excellence
  • 2012 Richmondshire District Council's 'Community Group of the Year' Award
  • 2014 Prime Minister's Big Society Award (for the Percussion Project and outreach work generally)
  • 2016 Finalist for a Welcome to Yorkshire White Rose Award part of which requires us to demonstrate our work in education and the wider community

Please see Awards Page for more details.

Here is a brief outline of education and outreach projects which have been completed by the Swaledale Festival in the last few years. Unless otherwise indicated, these are paid for and administered by the Festival and delivered to the participants free of charge.


'After Mondrian' - a visual arts project for 30 secondary school students attending Richmond and Wensleydale Schools. They received workshops from professional artist and teacher Rachel Antill in which they studied the abstract art of Dutch master Piet Mondrian and his contemporaries. The students then produced new artworks informed by Mondrian which were displayed in the Mezzanine Gallery at The Station in Richmond during the 2015 Festival. The students also produced some photography and textiles work as part of the project, and they put together a publicity campaign to promote their exhibition, including press releases and social media.

During the 2015 Festival 'Project Jam Sandwich' - a quintet of classical music graduates of the Royal Northern College of Music - gave free workshop / performances, in a range of 'world' music styles, to students at Richmond and Wensleydale Schools.

PuppetCraft - a free puppet workshop for 30 children aged 6 to 12 was given by this top professional company.

3 free Astronomy sessions on Reeth Green took place during the Festival, in association with the Reeth Informal Astronomy Group.


'The Percussion Project' - 100 children from 5 primary schools (Reeth, Gunnerside, Arkengarthdale, Le Cateau & Wavell) attended whole day workshops at Gayle Mill, the art workshops with Margaret Murphy and Jill Eagle in schools, then music workshops with Rosi Keatinge and The Hut People in schools, then rehearsal and performance with Forro Porro in Richmond - playing their own instruments.

'Musical Villages' - around 100 children attended one of five half-term music workshops given by two musicians from Brazil. (Please note that there was a small charge of around £2 - £3 per person for these sessions. The project was initiated by NYMAZ, managed by Swaledale Festival and jointly funded.)

Puppetcraft: workshop for 30 children given by leading professional puppet company.

Jack Drum Theatre Company drama workshop - c.10 children.

Palestinian oud player Adel Salameh and American-born lutenist Jacob Heringman conducted music workshop / performances in Richmond and Wensleydale Schools.

'All About Bats' - a (free) talk by local bat expert John Drewett in Grinton Church.

'Re:Cycling' - sculpture project to commemorate the visit of the Tour de France to Swaledale. Approx. 100 students from Reeth, Gunnerside, Arkengarthdale and Richmond Schools received workshops from sculptor Michael Kusz. The students then produced design ideas and drawings which contributed to the artist's final design for his permanent sculpture in Reeth Community Orchard. The drawings were exhibited in Hudson House Gallery (next to the Orchard) when the finished sculpture was unveiled. (Note: Richmond School made a financial contribution to this project.)


'Prima Volta Trio conducted improvisation workshops in Wensleydale and Richmond Schools.

'Leyland Band masterclass in Fremington Sunday School - for local brass band players.

'John Rutter singing workshop day - 15 free tickets given to students at Richmond School.

'Puppetcraft workshop - 30 children.

'Piers Browne gave art workshops in Reeth for c.20 primary school children.

'William Walton's 'Facade', in which 23 children from local schools read Edith Sitwell's poems alongside professional orchestra and soloists, following extensive rehearsals with Rosi Keatinge and Amanda Heitler.


Graham Caskie piano masterclass - 6 local pianists.

Adam Summerhayes (violin) and David Gordon (harpsichord) gave workshop / performances in Wensleydale and Richmond Schools.

Puppetcraft workshop - 30 children.

The Hut People (free) Children's Concert in Reeth Memorial Hall.

Poetry Competition for primary schoolchildren, judged by Ann Pilling. 3 winners read their poems at a Festival poetry event.

'Climb Up to the Moor' - sound installation project: teenagers from Richmond School recorded and edited sounds from the landscape, producing a soundtrack to accompany Judith's art exhibition in Hawes.

'Landscapes of the Dales' - 15 student artists mentored by 15 pro artists, producing 30 pictures which were exhibited in The Station, Richmond - similar to the 'Northern Light' art project in 2010. (Note: Richmond School co-sponsored this project.)


Alexander Markov gave a violin masterclass in Aysgarth. 4 local violinists and 1 local violist.

The Hut People gave workshop / performances in 3 local primary schools.

Puppetcraft workshop - 30 children.

Rock Art Sculpture Project, led by Margaret Murphy, Ric Carter and Peter Denison-Edson. Local primary school children studied nearby prehistoric rock carvings and produced their own interpretations in clay. These were fired and then exhibited in Reeth Community Orchard.

Series of workshops given by Blaize Theatre Company and Yorkshire Millennium Trust prior to a performance in Reeth Memorial Hall.

Absolution Saxophone Quartet gave workshops in Richmond and Wensleydale Schools.


Puppetcraft workshop - 30 children.

Malcolm Goodman kite workshop - 30 children.

Dame Emma Kirkby Masterclass - 5 local singers.

'Northern Light' - 15 student artists mentored by 15 pro artists, producing 30 pictures which were exhibited in Bowes Museum alongside Turner paintings.

Saxophonist Snake Davis - workshops and performance in which he played with and directed a big band of local students.

2 storytelling events for very young children in Bowes Museum garden.

Peter Donohoe gave a one-to-one piano lesson to local young pianist Simon Passmore.

SYM (3 players of unusual medieval instruments) gave workshops in 2 local primary schools.

Fifth Quadrant String Quartet conducted improvisation workshops at Richmond and Wensleydale Schools.

The Hut People gave workshop / performances in 2 local schools.

'Carnival of the Animals' by Camille Saint-Seans. c.25 children danced in the professional performance in Aysgarth, following extensive rehearsals with Rosi Keatinge, Janet Seymour and others.


'Semmerwater' - a specially commissioned musical play by David Gordon (music) and Ann Pilling (words). 60+ local children and 15 local adults took part alongside professional players and singers, following extensive rehearsals with Rosi Keatinge, Amanda Heitler and David Gordon. Bainbridge, Askrigg, Reeth, Gunnerside & Arkengarthdale schools. Concert was in Grinton Church.

Alan Plater conducted a free workshop for Richmond Youth Theatre children at Georgian Theatre Royal.

'Sharp Stories': Ian McMillan directed a one-day write/rehearse/perform musical with around 30 Richmond and Wensleydale school teenagers.

North Star Steel Orchestra conducted a steel pan workshop at Le Cateau School.

Tasmin Little violin masterclass in the Georgian Theatre Royal for 6 young players.

Artist Brian Dunce gave an art workshop for children and adults in Bainbridge.


'Noyes Fludde' by Benjamin Britten. 80+ local people from ages 4 to 87 - singing, playing and acting on-stage in Grinton Church with professional players and singers, conducted by Justin Doyle. Reeth, Gunnerside and Wensleydale Schools. Rosi Keatinge took a series of rehearsals.

Illuminati Wind Quartet - Workshop / performances at Gunnerside and Arkengarthdale Schools.

'Caliche - Music of the Mountains' - Andean group led a participatory workshop at Reeth School - with assorted percussion instruments.

'A Baroque French Spectacle', Grinton Church. Approx. 12 Richmond School drama students narrating and dancing.

Financing our Education and Community Work

The Festival is very grateful to a number of Trusts and Foundations which contribute financially to our education and outreach work.