Richmond upon Thames Performing Arts Festival was founded in 1929 as the Twickenham & Richmond Music Festival by a local church organist. What began as a small event for mainly adult pianists and singers has evolved over the years into the Richmond upon Thames Performing Arts Festival - a comprehensive festival of the performing arts for musicians, dancers and would be actors of all ages. The Festival has been a member of the British and International Federation of Music Festivals since 1934.
The Festival takes place in five sections, Stage Dance, Speech & Drama, Piano, Vocal and Instrumental - each with its own Secretary to handle the applications and to create the performance timetables. There are trophies and prizes for each discipline, including substantial cash awards to help with future training, as ninety per cent of the participants are under 21 years of age.
Richmond has attracted many distinguished arts professionals as adjudicators - Sir Harold Darke, Herbert Howells, Armstrong Gibbs, Adam Carse, Lionel Salter and Maurice Jacobson to cite but a few. In 1961 Sir Malcolm Sargent became President, and in the 1980s Roy Teed, Professor of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music was Chair and a great supporter of the Festival. He presided over the Festival’s Golden Jubilee in great style at a gala event at Strawberry Hill House in Twickenham. Professor Teed was succeeded by Edmond Fivet from the Royal College of Music in the early 1990s, and was in turn succeeded by Lt. Col. Duncan Beat, former Director of the Royal Army School of Music at Kneller Hall. The distinguished singer, Hilary Fisher, is the current President.
Many now well-known actors, musicians and dancers have begun their careers at Richmond Festival and there are many famous names engraved on the trophies:
Steven Isserlis, Annette Isserlis, Vanessa Latarche, Simon Le Bon, Robin Ticciati, Hugo Ticciati, Simon Mulligan, Susan Clark, Belinda Michail, Eva Maria Doroskowska, Fenella Humphreys, Karem Hassan, Daniel de Try, Lucy Wakeford, Tony Kraus, Serena Kay, Nicholas Jenkins, Joy Lisney, Sarah Baldock, John Paul Ekins, Catherine Beynon, Emily Beynon, Sara-Juliette Dejey, Lorretta Summerscales, Lara Lucano, Amy Thornton, Alexandra Bellamy, Tom Verney, William Morris
are just some of those who began their careers by taking part in our Festival. The Festival has been delighted to welcome back some of these professionals as adjudicators and is grateful to them for passing on their expertise to the next generation of performers.
Richmond Festival has also provided Three BBC Young Musician of the Year Finalists : Sally Pryce (Harp), Charlotte Barbour-Condini (2012) and William Thomas (2014). Many of our dancers have been successful at National level in the All England Dance competition and gone on to perform with professional ballet and theatre companies.
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