Big thank you for our brilliant Festival Makers

The 2016 Little Arts Festival has been universally acclaimed as an outstanding success. We had very high levels of attendance, with many of our ticketed events selling out completely in advance. There was a very good response to our free events and lots of people also took part in the classes and workshops organised throughout the week. That enthusiastic response, and the astonishingly high quality of the events throughout the week is a testimony to the incredible levels of creativity, hard work, collaboration and ingenuity shown by our brilliant Festival Makers and contributing artists, performers and makers – and all our amazing volunteers and helpers that made it possible on the day. Far too many to list here but well done and thank you, from a very grateful (and relieved) festival organising team.

The first Little Arts Festival

During the ten days of the first Little Arts Festival on Rushlake Green, from 19th – 28th August 2016, we had music gigs, art exhibitions, stage shows, master-classes, poetry cafes, craft fairs, recitals, photo walks, workshops and much more. People of all levels of ability were invited to submit work, take part and have some fun.

Visual Arts

The Art on the Green exhibition again attracted contributions from a great bunch of talented local artists of every level of ability and experience, with several pieces being sold to enthusiastic viewers on the packed opening night preview. Painting and hangings were also featured to great effect on the walls of the Chantry for the recitals there and local art was also on the walls of the White Horse for the poetry cafe. We were delighted when the festival was able to shine a light on so much talent that was all around us.
Jill Levick’s stunning canvases, John Tyson’s amazing drawings, and the many artists who provided exquisite art pieces for the Open Garden.


One hidden gem that emerged was the very active early music scene that has grown up around us.
The Pastores Ensemble, playing period pieces on early instruments; Peter Lay with 19th century guitar music; and Sussex Harmony with choral music and accompaniment complete with period dress.
We also had all types of genre represented throughout the week: with crazy skiffle and jazz from the irrepressible Skiddle Am Bam; Old English songs from Noel; Wit and melody from Ros and Peter Liddiard; Historical music from the Warbleton Brass Band; 1960s classics from Chris and Friends; Choral music from the Warbleton Community Choir; busking from Chris and others in the Stores; and some cool Funk, R&B and Ska from local band Got Milk.

Theatre, Literature and Poetry

In addition to the very successful opening live Radio Play, the village players also played host to a drama workshop. Participants workshopped an improvised period piece which, in the evening, was then performed to an invited audience.
Those attending were impressed by the fluency and the intensity of the resulting performance – achieved entirely without a script. Judy Tarling also chose the Arts Cafe space for her fascinating talk and discussion on the historical development of rhetoric. Continuing the literary theme, Henrietta Garnett provided a unique insight into the Bloomsbury set, and held the audience in rapt attention with her tales of the goings on amongst the Pre-Raphaelites. The book swap organised by the local book clubs proved very popular and the Poetry Cafe, in the White Horse at Bodle Street, encouraged many local poets, of all levels of experience, to share their writing in front of an enthusiastic and attentive audience.

Craft makers

The ‘Crafts in the Making’ day local craft people giving practical demonstrations and talking about Wood-turning, Ceramics, Jewellery, Tapestry and Quilt making, Wool Crafts and Basketry.
Susie Ramsay-Smith also ran a pottery-throwing workshop in her studio later in the week. Marian Parkyn opened her studio on the first weekend and then invited groups for workshops later in the week. Horam Manor Farm offered a range of family-oriented craft activities and things to see throughout the opening weekend. Pam Fuller also provided a fascinating and highly accomplished demonstration of floral design in front of a very attentive audience of fellow enthusiasts.

Family Creative Day

Kids of all ages were welcome at the creative day in the village hall. Activities included music, story-telling, poetry, dance, knitting, painting, crafts, face painting and generally having fun.

Little Festival – Great Big Programme online

To see the full programme of events that were included in the 2016 Little Arts Festival simply click ‘What’s On’ in the menu at the top of this page, and then click ‘Full programme’.

Souvenir programmes

If you didn’t manage to get your own printed copy of the programme (superbly designed by Chris Liddiard) while the festival was running, we still have a few we can give to any new Friends that sign up for the continuing Little Arts project.

Everyone involved was local

Amongst the local arts groups contributing activities and events to the festival were: the Village Players; the Warbleton Brass Band; Art on the Green; Pastores Ensemble, White Horse Folk Club, the Warbleton Community Choir, Sussex Harmony, Downland Poets, Warbleton History Group and many others including local photographers, poets, artists and musicians who offered to run activities and shows.

A week of outstanding, sellout events

By the end of the festival week we had completely sold out many of the ticketed events.  Everything was fabulous, so its hard to choose anything to highlight but the ‘Shakespeare’s Soapbox’ talk was a great success; Jill Levick’s wonderful solo art exhibition proved very popular; the recital by Pastores Ensemble was stunning, as was the art backdrop in the Chantry by Sophie; Henrietta Garnett held her audience spellbound in a bravura performance on Tuesday night; and Julia Padbury reported one of her best ever garden attendances for first day of the Open Garden with a Little Art, with music on Thursday by the delightful Hastings Fiddle Choir.
Lots of stories to tell, including Wednesday night’s exceptional Music of 1966 concert which suffered a catastrophic power outage (tree fell on cables next door, creating free fireworks, but nobody was hurt thankfully) during the encore – so the audience rose to the occasion in chorus, joining the musicians in completing the final verses of ‘We all live in a yellow submarine’ by the light of mobile phones. You couldn’t have staged it better, although the blackout didn’t make de-rigging the bands equipment easy.

Earlier in the week, the festival got off to a terrific start with a sensational interpretation by the Village Players of the radio play “welcome to our village – please invade carefully” – which even got itself into the papers. Other first weekend triumphs included the Crafts in the Making event at Bodle Street Green, the busking at the Village Stores, the ‘120 years of Brass’ concert, the Sussex Harmony concert and the Spanish Guitar recital by Peter Lay and Marian Parkyn’s open studio in Vines Cross.


Spread the word

Please tell all your friends about what you thought of the Little Arts Festival and the events you attended; and follow, share and like us on facebook

What next

We are already busy collecting material and feedback as the basis for a full summary of all the events, with links to video clips, press cuttings etc., for which we will create some new section on this website. If you have anything you think might be helpful for that, including goods shots or video clips of festival events, please send to, providing details (who, what, where) as appropriate.

We plan to hold a Festival Review for all of those actively involved in the project to provide their feedback and share ideas about where the Little Arts project might go next. Everyone has been very inspired by the level of enthusiasm, creativity and collaboration generated by the Little Arts Festival and many people have expressed a desire to look for ways to sustain that energy, in support of local arts projects and initiatives in the future.

Have your say

As part of our project review process we are inviting anyone who attended the festival to fill out a short questionnaire. Yes we all hate questionnaires, but this one will really help us to learn from the festival. And we think that many people would actually quite like to have an opportunity to share how they feel about the project and what it achieved.

Little Prices

The entry price for all our ticketed events, and most of our bookable activities, was been kept at a very reasonable £6.00, with a discounted price of £5.00 for all paid-up Friends of the Festival. This made us one of the best value festivals around. And with around forty items in our festival programme, we thank all of those who supported us by coming to plenty of events and activities, both paid for and free, during festival week.

People & Places . . . Past & Present

Our creative theme of ‘People & Places . . . Past & Present’ is about what inspires and interests us all. People we know, people from past generations and how they lived their lives. How the past informs our present day lives

Village Hall

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Postcard Challenge

November 12, 2016, 12:00pm - November 12, 2016, 4:00pm

Paint a Postcard and send it to the Gallery by November 10th All cards to sold for charity on November 12th. Postcards will be posted on Twitter and Facebook as they arrive.

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Poetry Funtime at The Jerwood Gallery, Hastings.

October 27, 2016, 2:00pm - October 27, 2016, 3:00pm

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Stitching William The Conqueror

October 29, 2016, 11:00am - October 29, 2016, 4:00pm

Join tutor Jackie Bennett for this historic hand embroidery workshop based on figures depicted in the Bayeaux Tapestry. All materials supplied. £40, includes kit to take home. Jackie will be teaching you using traditional methods and materials. For bookings and more information please come into At The Makery.

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Coffee, Cake & Gifts - Raising funds for The Kit Wilson Trust

October 29, 2016, 10:00am - October 29, 2016, 4:00pm

Come along and raise funds for The Kit Wilson Trust for Animal Welfare whilst browsing our wide range of items & enjoying some homemade cakes & a hot drink. 10am-4pm at Drumrunie, Punnetts Town. Look out for the banners and balloons! For any further infomation message Angie

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Free Form Crochet and Knitting

October 25, 2016, 11:00am - October 25, 2016, 4:00pm

wo Workshops on 25 and 27 October led by Shelagh Duffill of Battle Wool to learn and enjoy SCRUMBLING. Freeform Crochet and Knitting is all the rage, no experience needed. All mayterials provided. Take your pieces or contribute to the communal piece called Battle Meadows. Cost only £10 per day, £5 per half day. Bring own lunch. Contact Julia 01323 832781 or email

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