Last weekend, Launceston town centre was buzzing with musical performances, open mic spaces, an arts exhibition, creative sessions and workshops as our Commemorative Festival Weekend went underway.
Beginning on Friday, the Merchant House Group headed to Southgate Arch to unveil a fantastic exhibition of work, with several pieces inspired by Charles Causley. Then, in the evening, visitors gathered at Launceston Town Hall for an evening dedicated to celebrating Causley’s legacy. Mayor Helen Bailey opened proceedings, followed by an interview with Mother’s Boy author and Sunday Times bestselling writer Patrick Gale, an artistic unveiling of work by fine artist Jill Swarbrick-Banks, a musical performance from composer Arlo Anwin and a panel discussion chaired by Patrick Gale, featuring Caroline Walter from the University of Exeter Special Collections, and writers David Devanny, Rachel Piercey and Anthony Vahni Capildeo. The events not only explored Causley’s creative journey, but how he continues to inspire a range of creatives and their practice today.
Then on Saturday, there was a hive of activity in the town centre with open mic sessions in The Byre, children’s activities throughout the library and walks around the town. Performances in the town square from both the Launceston Town Band and the Pop Choir set a lovely atmosphere to the day and could be heard all around the town. In Country Chic, creatives popped in and out to offer creative advice in informal drop in sessions. English Heritage provided free guided tours of Launceston castle, and visitors learned about its iconic history. There were multiple town walks, including an art walk hosted by Karen Howse, a poetry tour led by David Devanny, and a walk led by town crier Rob Tremain, crowds of eager visitors toured Launceston in the sunshine.
Based throughout the weekend in the Merchant’s House, one of the oldest surviving buildings in Launceston, Trust staff and volunteers chatted to visitors, sold Charles Causley’s books, and gave tours of the first floor of the property, where workshops and an archive presentation were also taking place. The building is grade 2* listed and has been the home of many mayors of Launceston along with merchants, surgeons and traders.
One of the highlights of the weekend was the open house at Cyprus Well, Charles Causley’s former home, which is owned by the Trust. Visitors explored the property and immersed themselves in Causley’s history, frequently asking the informative guides any questions.
The weekend was a fantastic celebration of Charles Causley’s life, work and legacy, in addition to Launceston’s rich heritage and buzzing artistic, cultural and creative scene.
If you attended our festival weekend and would like to give us your feedback, please see our survey, here.