Barbara to top the bill at star-studded event in Malpas


Staff reporter (Chester First)

HEADLINE acts at this year’s Malpas Arts and Literary Festival – known as Malfest – will be Barbara Dickson, Mark Radcliffe and Fairport Convention.

Barbara Dickson, 66, renowned for her work in musical theatre, will open the four-day event which runs from May 15-18, with an acoustic set in which she is joined by Rab Noakes.

BBC broadcaster Mark Radcliffe will perform with his band Foes and folk band Fairport Convention are also on the line up.

Other big names include Sunny Ormonde and Felix Francis.

Talented actress Sunny Ormonde – Lillian Bellamy from BBC Radio 4’s The Archers – will give her eclectic one woman show, featuring pieces from Shirley Valentine and Under Milk Wood among many others, as well as giving us behind the scenes secrets from The Archers.

In the year 2000, at the age of 80, Dick Francis decided to retire from writing but the baton has been successfully taken up by his son Felix, who has written the eight most recent ‘Dick Francis’ novels, all of which have been on the Times bestseller lists in both London and New York.

His ninth novel, Damage, will be published this autumn.

One of the many highlights of the Festival will be this year’s village play And Malpas went to War..., featuring a talented local cast directed by award-winning TV and film script writer John Oakden. It will be performed at the old Hampton Railway Station and commemorates the First World War.

There will also be readings and songs from The Great War showing how it affected the people of Malpas and Cheshire, especially the women.

There will be childhood memories from 101-year-old Cheshire man John Miller, as well as a hearty tea.

Malfest will welcome again award-winning author Debbie Morgan, who will talk about her burgeoning career as well as bringing some of her students who will read from their latest work A Snapshot of Voices.

Robin Brooke-Smith will talk about his book Storm Warning, a look at the growth and influence of Islam in Pakistan and the wider world, and there will be a performance by The Co-operative Funeralcare Brass Band in St Oswald’s Church, accompanied by Malpas Ladies Choir.

The art exhibition is being held in Church Street this year and will feature work by students at The Bishop Heber High School.

The Peter Wheeler Short story Competition and the Children’s Lit Quiz will be held in The Jubilee Hall on Saturday, May 17.

For the full programme and online ticket sales please visit

Tickets are also available from Richard at Pet Stop in the High Street, Malpas. The Festival Office telephone number is 01948 820549.

See full story in the Chester Leader

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