A Letchworth Festival for everyone – Organiser Akua Obeng-Frimpong reaches out to all corners of the community

Letchworth Festival chairwoman Akua Obeng-Frimpong. Photo: Supplied

Letchworth Festival chairwoman Akua Obeng-Frimpong. Photo: Supplied - Credit: Archant

This year’s Letchworth Festival is going to be the most inclusive ever, with representation from all corners of the community – that’s according to its main organiser.

Drama and TV producer Akua Obeng-Frimpong, who has a background of more than 20 years in the arts, came back to town two years ago after a long spell away.

Speaking to the Comet, she said she intended to reach out to all the garden city’s people and make the festival truly represent the whole of Letchworth.

She said: “The festival is quite a diverse thing – it’s about the community, put together by the community and for the community.

“I’m a black woman, I’ve lived in London and I’m attuned to ferreting out groups that are under-represented.

“We’re trying to encourage more participation from the estates like the Grange and Jackmans, and we’ve been in touch with the Letchworth Islamic Association as well.

“We have the Caribbean choir singing at Proms in the Park, and we’re trying to reach out to Polish and Italian communities too.

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“We want to encourage people in churches, schools and so on to get involved as well.”

Developments like the opening of the Broadway Theatre give the perfect opportunity to spread the festival’s offering even wider, said Akua – but her vision of a festival for all parts of Letchworth also extends to the venues.

She said: “Things like the launch of the Broadway Theatre give a new, more dynamic artistic strand to the programming achieved through work with the Heritage Foundation on joint arts and drama projects.

“But it doesn’t all have to be in the centre of town. The BID, Love Letchworth, do a lot of wonderful stuff in the town centre, but we’re trying to platform everything that happens in the town across the town.”

The festival kicks off with a community day on June 10 and ends two weeks later with Proms in the Park, an event showcasing local talent.

There’s stil time to get involved, with a 25-per-cent pitch fee discount for anyone booking a stall at both the community day and Proms in the Park.

Akua said: “The festival relies on volunteer power and we’ve been doing pretty well so far, though we could always do with more.

“We have quite a good selection of stalls booked, but again we can always do with more. Proms in the Park looks really exciting this year.”

She added: “Being a part of the festival is important to me as I find Letchworth and its ethos inspiring. It’s an honour to help organise an event that highlights public spirit and what it means to be a community.

“Getting involved in Letchworth Festival quickly made me feel at home in the town and I encourage others to do the same.”

The deadline for entries to the festival programme is this coming Friday, March 31. If you’d like to get involved, see letchworthfestival.org or email contact@letchworthfestival.org.