Northamptonshire; Britain's Best Surprise to launch Arts and Culture campaign for 2020

Sophie Carter - Northamptonshire School of Dance. Pictures taken by Kirsty Edmonds.
Sophie Carter - Northamptonshire School of Dance. Pictures taken by Kirsty Edmonds.

The team behind the county's tourism campaign are set to launch a year-long celebration of Arts and Culture in Northamptonshire next year.

The move by Northamptonshire; Britiain's Best Surprise tourism campaign in 2020 is to publicise performances, festivals, art and events that enrich visitors’ experiences and help attract new audiences.

Becky Adams - Screen Northants. Pictures taken by Kirsty Edmonds.

Becky Adams - Screen Northants. Pictures taken by Kirsty Edmonds.

More than 30 groups are supporting the project and yesterday (Thursday) the Royal & Derngate held an ‘open house’ preview to bring everyone together all under one roof.

CEO at the Royal & Derngate, Jo Gordon, said: "It's about trying to get everyone in Northamptonshire to start being really proud of the amount of arts and cultural activity that's going on, on their doorstep. A lot of these organisations have got a programme for 2020 that they know about already.

"People in Northamptonshire often know about the Derngate, the Castle and the Deco but they don't tend to know about the things going on underneath the surface - the sub-culture and the way independant artists are working in our region.

"The idea is, across the year, to surface that. Northamptonshire; Britiain's Best Surprise is going to be promoting festivals, theatre work, dance work and the work of amatuear groups.

L-R Jo Gordon, Neelam Aggarwal Singh, David Laing and Katie Bunting. Pictures taken by Kirsty Edmonds.

L-R Jo Gordon, Neelam Aggarwal Singh, David Laing and Katie Bunting. Pictures taken by Kirsty Edmonds.

"Our county is extrodinary for the number of amaetuer groups each working in their individual villages, each working in the town, all of whom put so much effort into these productions that spring up and contribute to the arts and culture community."

Next year's theme follows on from historic houses in 2017, churches in 2018 and this year has been centred around the counties' food offerings.

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Jo said now more than ever it's important to shine a light on the arts. She added: "A lot of the arts organisations and individual artists are very funding dependant for survival, and oviously with the local political and economic climate it makes funding really, really challenging.

"Everyone is having to be super resourceful about how they fundraise for their activity and how they keep their arts and culture on everyones agendas.

The open house took place yesterday to give groups a chance to connect ahead of the official launch next year. Pictures taken by Kirsty Edmonds.

The open house took place yesterday to give groups a chance to connect ahead of the official launch next year. Pictures taken by Kirsty Edmonds.

"Culture can often feel like an easy thing to lose, but for us keeping arts and culture at the forefront and talking about the things that boost our social, physical and mental wellbeing boosts us so much and gives us a really good night out."