Thursday, 6 October 2016

Government forces fracking onto Lancashire

Demonstrators protesting today's decision

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid today allowed Cuadrilla's appeal against the county council's decision to refuse permission for fracking at the Preston New Road site, subject to conditions. Local councils and community groups united in condemning the decision.

Although tens of thousands of Lancastrians objected to Cuadrilla's proposals, the decision comes as no surprise as a leaked 2014 letter from George Osborne set out in detail the Conservative's strategy to smooth the path for the fracking companies by setting aside any democratic structures or legislation that might inconvenience them.

County Councillor Marcus Johnstone, Lancashire County Council cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, said: "This was one of the biggest planning applications ever put before any council – literally tens of thousands of people responded to the consultation processes, and the applications involved substantial levels of technical detail.

"Our development control committee carefully considered many hours of evidence both for and against the proposal, and the committee members ultimately cast their vote based on the evidence they heard and whether they thought the proposal was acceptable in planning terms.

"A local council, made up of councillors democratically elected by local people, and charged with serving their interests, is exactly the right body to make decisions on local matters. It is clear that the government supports the development of a shale gas industry, but I would ask them to do more to address the concerns of local communities and the councillors who represent them by supporting the best environmental controls.

"The Secretary of State's decision to allow more time to consider issues related to highway safety around the Roseacre site reflects the committee's concerns on this issue. We will now await information from the applicant on the details required to fulfil the planning conditions set out for the Preston New Road site." 

Lancaster & Fleetwood MP Cat Smith issued the following statement:
“Today's announcement is an affront to local democracy. For a government that talks the talk about devolution and localism, it certainly fails when held up to any scrutiny. 

"Lancashire County Council, our locally elected democratic representatives, took the decision to turn down the two applications for Preston New Road and Roseacre based on right and proper planning issues. For the Secretary of State, who represents a leafy Worcestershire seat, to force fracking upon the people of Lancashire is a slap in the face to democracy and any pretense of devolution to the north. 

"A future Labour government would ban fracking. It is increasingly obvious that we cannot ignore that the global transition to a 100% clean energy economy is rapidly accelerating. At the heart of the historic Paris climate agreement reached last year between 196 governments is a commitment to reaching zero emissions global economy in the second half of the century. An agreement signed up to by this Tory government. 

"Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, warned last month that to minimise financial stability risks from this transformation of the global economy, the transition away from high carbon industries should begin early and follow a predictable path, helping markets to anticipate the transition to a net zero economy. To provide regulatory certainty about the direction of travel the Government should support Labour's call for an outright ban on fracking.”

Interviewed on BBC Radio 4 this morning, Green County Councillor Gina Dowding highlighted the Conservative government's cutting of support for sustainable energy initiatives and its heavy subsidising of fossil fuel sources, despite the increasing dangers posed by climate change.

Referring to Theresa May's mantra of 'Brexit means Brexit', she said that the Prime Minister needed to learn that when the people of Lancashire say 'No Fracking' it means 'No Fracking.'

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Local Cinema Round-Up for the 5th to 13th October 2016

For up to date local cinema links and day-by-day  listings of what's showing on local screens every week visit the Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews.

There are just four new releases this period. There is drama with Captain Fantastic (15) and family fun in the animation Storks (U). In addition there are the documentaries Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World (12A) and Yarn (12A).

Movies that have come to an end of their screening include Kubo and the Two Strings and Lights Out. However we do see the return, for one day, of the comedy Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie.

For drama there is the oil spill disaster Deepwater Horizon; a mystery thriller The Girl on the Train; the Western The Magnificent Seven and war in War Dogs. In addition we have supernatural horror in Blair Witch; violence in Don't Breathe and zombie action in The Girl with all the Gifts.

For adult comedy there is the return of the excellent Absolutely Fabulous: the movie; the continuing saga of Bridget Jones's Baby and adult animation in Sausage Party.

Family movies come this period with the animations Finding Dory; Ice Age: Collision Course; The Secret life of Pets and the new release Storks. In addition there is magical action in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children; Pete's Dragon and The BFG.

Films of note include Herzog's Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World, an examination of societies accommodation of technology and the Internet; My Scientology Movie starring Louis Theroux and Yarn which reveal how artists are re-examining this traditional material. In addition there is Look Up and Laugh filmed in the Northwest and starring Gracie Fields.

The Dukes are holding another Film Quiz on the 10th October.

Finally high culture this period is represented with RSC Live: King Lear.


Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie
Director: Mandie Fletcher
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Jennifer Saunders Joanna Lumley, Julis Sawalha, June Whitfield, Jane Horrocks
It was 1992 when Absolutely Fabulous first appeared on the TV and twenty four years later Patsie and Eddy finally make it to the big screen. The couple are blamed for a major incident involving Kate Moss at a fashionable launch party. To escape the paparazzi and poor publicity, they flee, penniless, to the French Riviera, where they concoct a plan to regain their fortune. The film retains the cast of the TV series and a number of major celebrities also make cameo appearances. This is a hilarious film, that maintains the character of the original TV series. Excellent entertainment.

Blair Witch
Director: Adam Wingard
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: James Alen McCure, Callie Hernandez, Corbin Reid, Brandon Scott
This is a sequel to the 1999 'Blair Witch' movie. James Donahue (McCure) thinks his sister Heather, who disappeared twenty years ago, may still be alive in the Black Hills Forest of Maryland. He, along with a group of friends and a couple of guides, enter the forest to explore the facts surrounding the Blair Witch and Heather's disappearance. As the night comes, all hell starts to breaks loose. The movie is in the 'found footage' genre and it comes with plenty of frights and some original twists, despite remaining faithful to the original film. A very competent horror movie though it doesn't quite capture the novelty of the original.

Bridget Jones's Baby
Director: Sharon Maguire
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Renee Zellweger, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey
After a break of twelve years, this is the third instalment of the romantic comedy franchise and author Helen Fielding co-wrote the script. Bridge Jones is now aged forty-three and still single, having broken up with Mark Darcy (Firth). She decided to concentrate on her career as a news producer. However she meets a handsome American Jack (Dempsey) and has consecutive one night stands with both Jack and Mark. She finds herself pregnant, but does not know which one is the father. This movie captures the spirit of the original and is an improvement on the previous 'Edge of Reason'. It is set in London with Jones in her old flat and the movie features strong acting both from Zellweger and from Thompson. There are some very funny moments and excellent one liners.

Finding Dory
Director: Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane
Certificate: U
Cast Includes: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O'Neill, Hayden Rolence
Pixar's sequel to the 2003 movie 'Finding Nemo'. Dory (DeGeneres), who helped reunite Nemo (Rolence) with his father Marlin (Brooks) in the first movie, has a flashback in which she remembers her own family. She decides to look for them despite her problems with a faulty memory. Marlin and Nemo agree to help and the three swim to California to start the search. Dory is caught and held in a marine life institute aquarium for shipping to Cleveland. However with the help of Hank (O'Neill), the octopus she escapes back to the ocean and finds her parents Charlie and Jenny. Now she has to come to the aid of Marlin and Nemo who are also imprisoned in the institute aquarium. The movie is essentially the same plot as the original, but provides impressive animation and contains some emotional scenes. However this is ultimately a fun 'happy ever after' sort of film that will delight people of all ages.

Ice Age: Collision Course
Director: Mike Thurmeier and Galen T Chu
Cast includes: Simon Pegg, Roy Romano, Jennifer Lopez, Queen Latifah, Hohn Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Chris Wedge
A computer animation family adventure film. This is the fifth instalment in the Ice Age series and the sequel to Continental Drift. Scratt (Wedge), the sabre toothed squirrel, activates an alien UFO in his continued pursuit of the acorn. The craft propels Scratt into outer space and thence causes a planetary collision resulting in the creation of meteors that threaten to engulf the earth. Manny (Romero) the Wooly Mammoth, Sid (Leguizamo) the sloth and Diego (Leary) the sabre toothed tiger hatch a plan with the weasel Buck (Pegg) to save the earth. The plot is quite unbelievable, but the resulting mayhem is as entertaining as ever. New characters are introduced as the movie unfolds and the film a worthy addition to the franchise. Whats not to like?

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Director: Tim Burton
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Samuel L Jackson, Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Judi Dench
A rather dark fantasy drama based on the 2011 best selling novel by Ransom Riggs. Jake (Butterfield), following the death of his grandfather, finds Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children. This is a refuge for people with extraordinary gifts and it is fixed in one day in 1940, which they continually re-live. The inhabitants of the home can access different time zones. However they have powerful enemies, led by Mr Barron (Jackson), who also have peculiar powers. Jake finds himself being called upon to help his new friends. This is a very busy film with plenty of characters, lots of action and CGI special effects. However, in this variety, there seems limited time for the characters to fully develop. The movie has received mixed reviews but this reviewer found it great fun.

The Girl on the Train
Director: Tate Taylor
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Luke Evans, Justin Theroux
A movie based on Paula Hawkins best selling 2015 novel of the same name. Rachel (Blunt) is an alcoholic who recently divorced her husband Tom (Theroux). She commutes every day by train and on her journey she fantasises about the seemingly perfect couple Scott (Evans) and Megan (Bennett) Hipwell who live in a house that she passes. Rachel witnesses something shocking on her journey and then hears Megan Hipwell is missing. She tells the police and starts her own investigation. Yet she cannot remember where where she was on the night of Megan's disappearance, and Megan and Scott are neighbours of her ex husband. Hence Rachel find the police start to suspect she is involved in the mystery. This is a well acted first rate mystery with a plot that provides a good number of unexpected turns. A must-see movie.

The Girl with all the Gifts
Director: Colm McCarthy
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Gemma Arterton, Sennia Nanua, Paddy Considine, Glenn Close.
Set in the near future, most of humanity is infected by a fungal disease that robs its victims of free-will, turning then into flesh eating 'hungries'. A small group of children show some signs of resistance. When infected, they retain their free will and only crave flesh when they smell bodily fluids. These children are imprisoned in a military base where they are schooled by Helen Justineau (Arterton) and studied by Dr Caldwell (Close) who is trying to make a vaccine. The base is invaded. One of the brightest children Melanie (Nanua), along with a handful of adults must fight for survival and in the process Malanie starts to mature. This is an intelligent zombie movie, based on the novel by M. R. Carey. It benefits from a strong cast and some developments of the zombie genre. A good and entertaining horror film.

The Secret Life of Pets
Director: Chris Renaud, Yarrow Cheney
Certificate: U
Cast Includes: Louis C.K., Ellie Kemper, Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart
A family animation film that follows the lives of pets living in a Manhattan apartment building during the time their owners leave them alone. Max (Louis) is a rather spoilt terrier who starts to find himself neglected when his owner Katie (Kemper) brings home Duke (Stonestreet), a mongrel, from a dog pound. However the two dogs must put their rivalry behind them when they are captured by Snowball (Hart) a rabbit and an army of abandoned pets who are trying to get back at all happily owned pets and their owners. This is a delightful and energetic animation movie that is inoffensive and fun for all, young and old. 

Local author AS Chambers steps from the shadows at Lancaster Library this Hallowe'en

A.S.Chambers, Lancaster’s master of the macabre, will be making a special appearance at Lancaster Library this Hallowe'en weekend. On the 29th October he will be holding a one off event, where he will be chatting about all manner of creepy anecdotes that have influenced his books concerning fictional investigator of the paranormal, Sam Spallucci.

“Lancaster is a city with a perfect pedigree for horror stories,” says Chambers. “Not only does it have several grand edifices such as the Castle, the Priory and the Ashton Memorial that ominously dominate the skyline, but it is also full of numerous nooks and crannies where, on a dark night, one could imagine there are monsters lurking in shadows.”

Then of course there is always the dark hour of the Pendle Witch trials. “The fate of those families has always fascinated me," he reveals. "What if their ancestors were alive today? That’s what I explored in my last Sam Spallucci novel,  Shadows of Lancaster.”

As well as giving in-depth background to his books, Chambers will also be reading extracts from his latest work, Let All Mortal Flesh, which sees publication this month. A collection of dark and quirky short stories, it is guaranteed to amuse and terrify its readers in equal proportion.

Refreshments will be provided by the Friends Of Lancaster Library and  Chambers will be happy to answer questions at the end of the   event.

By day, A.S.Chambers is a mild-mannered genealogist, armed only with tweed jacket and a finely sharpened HB pencil. By night, he is the top-hatted creator of the long-suffering Sam Spallucci - investigator of the paranormal and all things weird.

The first outing for Sam was The Casebook of Sam Spallucci, published in 2012, where the poor Lancaster-based investigator of the paranormal suffered such unfortunate tasks as babysitting a new born vampire, tracking down an angst-ridden poltergeist in a local high school and overcoming a lycanthropic zoo-keeper as it bayed for his blood. Sam Spallucci: Ghosts From The Past, followed in 2014 and the third in the series, Sam Spallucci: Shadows of Lancaster, came out earlier this year.

As well as books concerning his beleaguered investigator, Chambers also whips out the occasional short horror story from time to time. The first compilation of these, Oh Taste And See, was published in 2014 and, like his latest outing All Things Dark And Dangerous, is available to buy as an ideal present for your dear old Gran.

(Let's face it, she'll prefer these books to those mint imperials that you bought for her birthday last year. She was young once too, remember!)

• The Shadows Of Lancaster talk will be held at Lancaster Library at 2pm on the 29th October. It is £2 admission in advance or £2.50 on the door. Tickets are available to purchase from Lancaster Library and all proceeds go to the Friends Of Lancaster Library. More details at

• AS Chambers has a Facebook page which he would be delighted for you to follow (@A.S.Chambers) as well as the obligatory collection of ramblings in the Twittersphere (@ASChambersUK).

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Coming Soon: The Lakes International Comic Art Festival!

The fourth Lakes International Comic Art Festival will run from 14-16 October 2016 in Kendal, Cumbria, celebrating great comic art from across the world - and the full details for every ticketed event have now been announced. Here's a "Flash Guide" to every ticketed event over the weekend. 

The weekend-long event is the only one of its kind in the UK, taking over the whole town of Kendal, on the edge of the Lake District, for a weekend. On his visit in 2013 internationally-renowned comic artists, Joe Sacco, said it was an "important moment in British comics".

Many Lancaster comic creators will be heading north for the event, as will First Age Comics, the Moor Lane-based comic shop and veteran comics editor and writer John Freeman, who has been heavily involved in the project for the past few years.

"The event organisers have made this Festival like the ones run on the continent," he says. "As well as events about comics themselves, the whole town is taken over, with local businesses turing over their shop windows to promote comics, exhibitions, crazy stuff in local pubs at night and more!

"The whole thing kicks off on Friday night with a Lancaster University-backed event that sees fans of Asterix and Tintin go head to head - in a fun way! - to decide who's the best. It's like a comics X Factor or Strictly event, and I'm told there will be some famous comic names "beaming in" from the United States and elsewhere to make their case for their favourite hero."

Guests at this year's Festival include: Charlie Adlard, Edmond Baudoin, Roberto BartualJordi Bernet, Dan Berry, Adam BrockbankKate Charlesworth, Dave CraneRufus Dayglo, Joe Decie, Oliver EastThe Etherington BrothersDuncan Fegredo, Robin FurthTom GauldIsabel Greenberg, Ben HeggartyIlyaJoe Kelly, Sally KindbergPaula KnightAidan Koch, Olivier Kugler, Bryan Lee O’Malley, John Martz,Luke McGarry and Steve McGarryDave McKeanMick McMahonLeah Moore and John Reppion.  Ken Niimura, Benoit Peeters, Sean Phillips, Paco Roca, Martin Rowson, Frank Santoro, Jade Sarson, Gilbert Shelton, Nicola Streeten, Bryan Talbot, Mary M. Talbot, Paul Thomas, Craig Thompson, UnaEmma Vieceli, the VIZ team, Tillie Walden, Ian Williams and Connor Willumsen.

Joining this growing list of top international and British comics guests, in partnership with The Finnish Institute of London, will be artists Hanneriina Moisseinen, Virpi Oinonen, Ville Ranta, Johanna Rojola and Petteri Tikkanen, along with musicians Niko Kumpuvaara and Aleksi Ranta, the latter part of the Comics in Concert project.

The festival features comic artists from around the world, as well as performance, film, exhibitions, comic trails, workshops, master classes, live drawing and independent retailers and publishers. The events programme is bursting with opportunities to get up close and personal with some of the leading comic artists and writers from across the world – see them draw, talk about their work and bring comics to life. A free Family Zone provides drop-in activities for all ages, alongside a series of fantastic workshops for kids and teenagers. The Lakes International Comic Art Festival brings the town together for a weekend to celebrate the amazing world of comic art.

Among others, you’ll find Direct-EdLancaster Guardian cartoonist Jack Knight, Joe Matthews of Funny Monster Comics, Graham Pearce (creator of Sgt Mike Battle), Sloth Comics, Jordan Vigay and Wizard’s Keep. Exhibitors in the Comics Clock Tower "marketplace" and the Brewery Malt Room for 2016 include All Things ThomJoe Bailey Sculpture & Design, Kathryn Briggs, Keith Burns, Silvia Carrus, James Chapman,The Cartoonists’ Club of Great Britain, Clockwork Watch Films,EdieOP, Gary Erskine, Fungii, Get Well Gamers, Sarah GraleyHappy Space Sloth, Daisy Hillyard, Hitsville UK, Ink Splattery, Sonya Hallett Illustration, the Jeff Hawke Club, Daisy Hillyard, Luke Hyde, Tom Kindley, Roger Langridge, Joe Latham, David Leach, Lines of Enquiry, Aimee Lockwood, Aurora Melchor, Midnight Milk, Adam Murphy, Never Ever After, Stray Lines, Richard Swan, This Man, This Pete!, Tiny Pencil, Amanda Eleanor Tribble, Myfanwy Tristram, University of Cumbria Comic Book Collective, Tom Ward, Dan Watters and Caspar Wijngaard, Chris Welch, Andrew Wildman, Jennifer Winetrobe, Wobbly Rock, Aneurin Wright and Zu Dominiak. Plus, look out for publishers Arctic Ring Comics, Disconnected Press, Fanfare/Ponent Mon, Humanoids, Myriad EditionsThe Phoenix, Self Made Hero, Soaring Penguin Press and TPub Comics. Retailers in the Clock Tower this year are First Age Comics, Forbidden Planet International, Imagination Station, Knot Like That, Orbital Comics and Page 45

Lakes International Comic Art Festival Programme 2016 - Festival In A Flash

Friday 14th October 2016

Asterix vs Tintin : Clash of the Toon Titans 7.00 – 8.15pm Brewery Arts Centre Theatre Buy Tickets from The Brewery Presented by Lancaster University and supported by Wallonie-Bruxelles International The Merc with the Mouth: Special screening of Deadpool introduced by Joe Kelly Rated: 15 Running time: 108 mins 8.30 – 11.00pm Brewery Arts Centre Screen One Buy Tickets from The Brewery

Saturday 15th October 2016

Drawing on Japan: Miyazaki, Master of Ghibli
10.30 – 11.30am Brewery Arts Centre Theatre
 Buy Tickets from The Brewery

Olivier Kugler: Comics sans Frontieres
10.30 – 11.30am Comics Clock Tower, Council Chamber
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Duncan Fegredo: To Hellboy and Back
11.00am – 12pmBrewery Arts Centre Screen One
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The Art of Mick McMahon
11.00am – 12.00pm The Shakespeare Centre
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Creatrix to Cartoonistas: When Women Lead the Way
11.30am – 12.30pm Brewery Arts Centre Screen Two
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Paul Thomas: Under the Skin of Tattoos & Taboos
12.15-1.15pm Comics Clock Tower Council Chamber
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In partnership with Nobrow

Joe Kelly: Tour de Force – From Ben 10 to I Kill Giants
12.30 – 1.30pm Brewery Arts Centre Theatre
  Buy Tickets from The Brewery

 Edmond Baudoin and Craig Thompson: Motion and Emotion
1.00 – 2.00pm Brewery Arts Centre Screen One
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 In partnership with SelfMadeHero and Institut Francais

Jordi Bernet: Spanish Legend
1.00 – 2.00pm The Shakespeare Centre

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Gilbert Shelton: Fabulous Furry Freak Brother
1.30 – 2.30pm Brewery Arts Centre Screen Two

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In partnership with Knockabout

Adam Brockbank and Ben Haggarty: From Hogwarts to Mezolith
2.00 – 3.00pm Comics Clock Tower Council Chamber

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Luke – I am Your Father! (with Luke and Steve McGarry)
2.30 – 3.30pm Brewery Arts Centre Theatre

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In partnership with the National Cartoonists Society

Martin Rowson: Giving Offence
3.00 – 4.00pm Brewery Arts Centre Screen One

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Hotfoot from Helsinki: Comics in Concert
3.00 – 4.00pm The Shakespeare Centre

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In partnership with the Finnish Institute in London

Tom Gauld: We’re All Jealous of Your Jetpack
3.30 – 4.30pm Brewery Arts Centre Screen Two

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In partnership with Drawn & Quarterly

Isabel Greenberg: The One Hundred Nights of Hero
4.00 – 5.00pm Comics Clock Tower Council Chamber

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In partnership with Jonathan Cape

The Dark Knights Return: The Big Comic Draw
4.30 – 6.00pm Brewery Arts Centre Theatre

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Scott Pilgrim Vs The World : Special Screening introduced by Bryan Lee O’Malley
Rated: 12A Running Time: 112 mins
5.00 – 7.30pm Brewery Arts Centre Screen One

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Wrinkles: Special Screening introduced by Paco Roca
Rated: U Director: Ignacio Ferreras Running time: 86 mins
5.30 – 7.30pm Brewery Arts Centre Screen Two
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In partnership with The School of Languages, Cardiff University

Sunday 16th October

Ben 10: Omnitrix Extravaganza introduced by Joe Kelly
Rated: U Running Time: 71 mins
10.30am – 12.30pm Brewery Arts Centre Screen Two

Buy Tickets from The Brewery

Dayglo and Tikkanen: International Live Draw Rockstars
11.00am – 12.00pm Brewery Arts Centre Screen One

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In partnership with the Finnish Institute in London

Tillie Walden
11.00am – 12.00pm Comics Clock Tower, Council Chamber

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In partnership with Avery Hill Publishing

The Write Stuff – The Art of Adaptation and Collaboration
11.00am – 12.00pm The Shakespeare Centre

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Bryan Lee O’Malley: From Scott (Pilgrim) to Snot (Girl)
11.30am – 12.30pm Brewery Arts Centre Theatre

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You Ask, We Tell! Helping Creators Pitch to Publishers, the Press and Comic Shops
1.00 – 2.00pm Comics Clock Tower, Council Chamber

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In partnership with Page 45

Craig Thompson: Universal Storyteller
1.00 – 2.00pm The Shakespeare Centre

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How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way the Viz Comic Way: A Masterclass
1.00 – 2.00pm Brewery Arts Centre Screen One

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Dave McKean: Black Dog – The Dreams of Paul Nash
1.30 – 2.30pm Brewery Arts Centre Theatre

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Paco Roca: From Peter Pan to Wrinkles
2.00 – 3.00pm Brewery Arts Centre Screen Two

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In partnership with The School of Languages, Cardiff University

The Red Virgin: Bryan and Mary Talbot
2.30 – 3.30pm Comics Clock Tower Council Chamber

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In partnership with Jonathan Cape

Princess Mononoke: Special Screening
Rated: PG13 Director: Hayao Miyazaki Running Time: 133 mins
3.00 – 6.00pm Brewery Arts Centre Screen One

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The Etherington Brothers: Master Chefs
3.30 – 4.30pm Brewery Arts Centre Theatre

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In partnership with... The Etherington Brothers!

Workshops & Masterclasses

Please note numbers for workshops is limited and early booking is strongly advised! 

Tickets are on sale now from the Brewery web site here

You can also book tickets by phone by calling Kendal’s Brewery Box Office on 01539 725133

Saturday 15th October

Pirates! With Sally Kindberg
10.00 – 11.00am Kendal Library

Burbling bilgewater! Join Sally Kindberg’s ghastly pirate crew and get drawing treasure maps, scary sea monsters, sharks and shipwrecks in the Family Zone.

Age: 5 to 8 years
Price: £0 (ticketed)

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Frank Santoro, Aidan Koch and Connor Willumsen: Comics Workbook Composition Competition – Live
10.30am – 12.30pm Brewery Arts Centre Studio Theatre

The Comics Workbook “gang” will host a composition competition within this workshop. Centring around the advanced application of techniques developed by Comics Workbook, you will compose directly with no script or prior preparation. You’ll complete a one-page comic strip within the time allowed and there will be a symbolic competition to foster a challenging atmosphere in order to bring out the best in each participant. Beginners and experts are welcome. (All participants will have the opportunity to have their work printed with the help of the Comics Workbook gang at the Comics Clocktower at their “riso depot”)

Level : All
Price : £10

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In partnership with Comics Workbook

Virpi Oinonen: Five Surprising Things I Discovered Through Cartooning
10.30am – 12.00pm Brewery Arts Centre Art Room 2

What do you do when you need to explain something that is boring but important? You turn it into comics of course. Virpi Oinonen has been drawing comics and cartoons on business topics for several years. If the topic is unsexy, then comics can bring it to life in a way that the written word or video cannot. Drawn line has the power to take an abstract concept and bring it to life through the power of visual metaphors and humour. And there is something about a slightly wobbly drawn line that makes a potentially intimidating topic a bit more approachable and human.

Virpi’s session will show you how comics have been used in the business world and how you, too, can tame/communicate a boring business concept with a quick sketch. Virpi blogs and draws about business topics at and her website for visual work is at In partnership with The Finnish Institute in London and Choose South Cumbria

Level : All
Price : £10

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ILYA: Masterclass: Adaptation into Comics
11.00am – 12.30pm Brewery Arts Centre Art Room 1

In an intensive practical and collaborative workshop session, you’ll look at ways to approach adapting famous works of art or literature into the comics format with writer, artist and editor ILYA (Manga Shakespeare’s King Lear, How To Draw Comics, Kid Savage). We will choose and adapt one of Shakespeare’s Sonnets on the spot, fully exploring the many links between the language of comics and lyric verse or poetry. You will come away empowered to tackle well nigh anything!

Level : Ages 16+
Price : £10

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Meet the Minions: Drawing for Animation with Steve and Luke McGarry
11.30am – 12.30pm Kendal Library

On an exclusive visit from the USA Steve and Luke McGarry, father and son, and two of the most sought after cartoonists, animators and designers in Los Angeles, will show you how to draw your own Minion in this hands-on, inspiring one-hour session.

Age: All ages
Price: £0 (ticketed)

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Roberto Bartual: A Masterclass in Reading Comics
12.30 – 2.00pm Brewery Arts Centre Art Room 2

Using 4-5 pages from different comics Roberto Bartual will explore with a small participating “audience” the principles of page composition in relation to plot and how these relate to the main themes of the whole comic. It aims to make the reader more aware of formal mechanisms. With one of the festival’s guest creators present it will reveal aspects of their work to you in new ways and to them too perhaps. It promises to be enlightening, inspiring and fun too.

Roberto Bartual teaches Children’s Literature at Universidad Europea de Madrid, and recently published his first graphic novel as a writer: Los Ángeles de María (Mary’s Angels), drawn by Julián Almazán.

Level : All
Price : £10

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In partnership with The School of Languages, Cardiff University supported by Santander

Around the Universe (and beyond…) with Sally Kindberg
1.00-2.00pm Kendal Library

Whooshy! Join Sally Kindberg in a fun interactive comic strip drawing session, and make your own space adventure using characters from her Hat of Surprise as prompts.

Visitors from other planets and the outer galaxies most welcome.

Sally’s book series Draw It! including Draw It! Pirates, and the Comic Strip History of Space (Bloomsbury) will be on sale, and Sally will happily sign your copies.

Age: 7 to 11 years
Price: £0 (ticketed)

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John Martz: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Bad Drawings
1.00-2.30pm Brewery Arts Centre Art Room 1

What makes a good drawing good? We all struggle with our own limitations as artists, but we can channel those limitations into strengths by understanding the purpose and function of an image. Drawings don’t need to be flawless to accomplish their goals. In fact, many stories and voices are better served by simple, unrefined drawings. We’ll take a close look at the relationship between words and pictures, study the work of artists who transcend “good drawing”, and learn to be happier cartoonists by casting away the shackles of perfection.

John Martz is a cartoonist and illustrator from Toronto. He is the creator of the wordless online comic strip Machine Gum and won the 2013 Ignatz Award for Outstanding Story for his comic book Gold Star (Retrofit Comics, 2012). His book, A Cat Named Tim and Other Stories (Koyama Press, 2014), was shortlisted for The Governor General’s Literary Awards and was nominated for the Eisner Award for Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 7).

Level : All
Price £10

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Charlie Adlard & Dan Berry: Life Draw Masterclass
1.30pm – 3.30pm Brewery Arts Centre Studio Theatre

Committed amateurs with an ambition for the comics industry are invited to join Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard and the multi-talented independent creator and publisher Dan Berry to explore and practise the fine art of life drawing. Charlie and Dan will demonstrate their approaches and techniques before “coaching” a small group in this special session featuring two life models.

Level : Intermediate to advanced
Price : £20

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In partnership with Creative Concern

Dave Crane: Stone Soup and Second Hand Stories
2.00 – 5.00pm The Foyer Cafe

Are you interested in learning how to tell stories using words and pictures, but don’t feel confident about your drawing ability? Or, if you already create comics, do you want to get an insight into different processes for getting a story off the ground? Bring your own creativity, and a small object with a story attached to it, and we’ll throw it into the pot and create something out of nothing.

We will explore how the mechanics of words and pictures can combine to tell a story. We’ll look at how to make the words and pictures work together, also how to make them fight, or ignore one another. We’ll look at how these “arthouse” techniques can be used in the service of telling an interesting story. All materials will be provided. Bring along a small item and the story behind it. This should be short and simple, couple of sentences at most. It can be a true story from your life, a true story you’ve read about or heard, or be completely made up. (If nothing comes to mind, don’t worry – just bring yourself!)

Dave Crane makes and publishes short improvised/experimental comics in collaboration with theatre groups, charities and festivals, and has a longer graphic novel in process.

Level: All
Price £10

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Connor Willumsen: The Hammer Party
2.30 – 4.00pm Brewery Arts Centre Art Room 2

Connor Willumsen is an exceptional cartoonist whose résumé includes mainstream publishers such as Marvel Comics and arthouse publishers such as Breakdown Press. Mr. Willumsen’s toolbox contains many different hammers with which to smash up traditional approaches to making comics. This Comics Workbook workshop will explore how to navigate such diverse worlds as mainstream and avant-garde comics–and how to tailor one’s practice into a unified whole. Frank Santoro will provide workshop support.

Level : Intermediate to advanced
Price £10

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In partnership with Comics Workbook

Kid Savage: Wild Creature Mashups
2.30-3.30pm Kendal Library

Kid Savage, the new graphic novel from ILYA (Manga Shakespeare) and Joe Kelly (creator of Ben 10) features some pretty wild creature combos. What’s the wildest mash-up creature you can think of? Bat-Hulk? Dog Ballerinas? Join ILYA to discover the weird and wonderful world of mash-ups and see how creative you can get!

Age: 8+ years
Price: £0 (ticketed)

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Aidan Koch: Visual Poetry
3.00-4.30pmBrewery Arts Centre Art Room 1

Aidan Koch is the William Blake of the “comics as poetry” school of thought in contemporary art. Ms. Koch’s skill set has really never been seen before in the world of comic books. She has been one of the first contemporary cartoonists to “crossover” to literary magazines such The Paris Review. This Comics Workbook workshop will immerse the student in her unique approach to the medium of comic books – with a focus on using non-traditional media such as pastel, watercolour and egg tempera to create comics much like the mono-prints of the great William Blake.

Frank Santoro will provide workshop support.

Level : Intermediate to advanced
Price £10

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In partnership with Comics Workbook

Sunday 16th October

John Martz: Create Your Own Comic Characters
10.30 – 11.30am Brewery Arts Centre Studio Theatre Age: 5 to 8 years Price: £3

 Learn how to draw some of the cute and funny animals from John Martz’s Eisner award nominated A Cat Named Tim and Other Stories, building them from simple shapes. Then use a set of shapes to invent your very own characters!

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Martin Rowson: A Caricaturing Masterclass
11.00am-12.30pm Brewery Arts Centre Art Room 1
 Draw each other, straight then more exaggerated with less and less time. And you’ll do a joint cartoon too on a topical subject on a roll of wallpaper. An amazing opportunity to learn from the maestro! Martin Rowson is a multi-award winning cartoonist and writer whose work over the past thirty years has appeared regularly in The GuardianThe TimesThe Daily Mirror and more. His books include graphic novelisations of T.S.Eliot’s Wasteland and Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. He has been Chair of the British Cartoonists’ Association & Cartoonist Laureate to the Mayor of London (Ken Livingstone).

Level : All
Price £10

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Games We Play… In Japan
11.30am – 1.00pm Brewery Arts Centre Art Room 2

Ken Niimura is one of the festival’s special guests in 2016 all the way from Japan. Ken was winner of the Golden Prize in the 5th International Manga Award and was nominated for both Eisner and Eagle Awards for his work on ‘I Kill Giants’, created in collaboration with Joe Kelly. His illustration book Zero reveals both a rare and diverse talent, while Travelling and Henshin, both short story collections, display that intoxicating combination of fine art and strong storyline. “Come, let’s do some drawing games together! You don’t need to draw well – just be ready to have some fun by using drawings as a means to tell a story and combine your drawings with those of the other participants. We’ll do a comic strip that we’ll swap between artists and a game of combining characters and more”.

Level: All
Price £10

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Character Design Clinic with Emma Vieceli
12.30 – 1.30pm Brewery Arts Centre Studio Theatre

This session will be a hands-on drawing event, aimed at basic to early intermediate level artists or beginners. You’ll learn the basic layout of anatomy and the face and then play with matching features to character-types.

Age: 8+ years
Price: £3

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Micro Masterclass with Joe Kelly: A Question of Character
1.00 – 2.30pm Brewery Arts Centre Art Room 1

Well-developed characters are the heart of any good story, illuminating theme, driving plot and holding a mirror to the audience. Meant for the writer with a basic understanding of story structure, Kelly will discuss storytelling from a character perspective. He will examine layered character motivations, operational themes and cast construction that will help to tell your story in a more robust and specific way regardless of your medium.

Level : Intermediate to advanced
Price £10

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ILYA: Manga – The Art of Exploded Moments
1.30 – 3.00pm Brewery Arts Centre Art Room 2

Explore the storytelling art of manga with artist, writer and editor ILYA (Kodansha, Manga Shakespeare’s King Lear, The Manga Drawing Kit, The Mammoth Books of Best New Manga). Design a page layout to maximise drama and character. Learn how to speed up and slow down time. Conquer the world! Muahahaha… Come prepared to draw a lot.

Level: All
Price £10

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Mezolith: World-Building with Adam Brockbank & Ben Haggarty
2.00-3.00pm Brewery Arts Centre Studio Theatre with Dr Melanie Gibson
Time: 2.00 to 3.00pm

Meet the creators of Mezolith, the highly-acclaimed series set 10,000 years ago in Stone Age Britain. Adam Brockbank is best-known for his work on all eight of the Harry Potter films. Ben is one of our foremost performance storytellers and Honorary Professor of Storytelling at the Arts University of Berlin. This special session, led by Dr Mel Gibson, will reveal how worlds like Mezolith are imagined and built. Please note, this session will involve lots of time for questions and answers but doesn’t involve practical exercises. Age: 8+ years Price: £3

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Tickets are on sale now from the Brewery web site here

You can also book tickets by phone by calling Kendal’s Brewery Box Office on 01539 725133

Visit our Events Calendar for more information on announced events

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2016 Festival

Festival News

What's On | Festival in a Flash | View and download the 2016 Programme on Issuu

2016 Guests | 2016 Signings | 2016 Clock Tower Exhibitors | 2016 Family Zone | 2016 Windows Trail | Exhibitions | Books

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Volunteers Wanted for 2017 Subscribe to the Festival Mailing List Festival History 2013 | 2014 | 2015

Read the independent Red Research Evaluation Report on the 2015 Festival, which note the weekend-long event attracted almost 14,000 people to Kendal and generated an estimated £1.7 million for the host town

Special Projects

Beatrix Potter Re-Imagined Competition

Lancaster wheelchair users blocked by high kerbs, Councillor finds

Mary Kinane
blocked at the kerb
Local Green City Councillor Jon Barry and Disability Activist Mary Kinane have begun a series of walkabouts in Lancaster to help highlight the plight of wheelchair users who are facing daily challenges getting around Lancaster’s pavements.

The first of these walks went from Lancaster train station, at West Road, down to the Marsh Community Centre on Willow Lane.  Jon Barry explained: “The problems started almost immediately. There are few properly dropped kerbs on the left side of West Road at key “radius” points.  We had to meander almost halfway back along Fairfield Road, just to cross over it,  before we found a level enough drop to the road from the pavement.  We then had to double back to re-join West Road and continue our walk to Willow Lane.”

The route to Willow Lane continued to be quite challenging, with stretches of old and broken paving, much of which hasn’t been repaired or replaced for many years.

City Councillor Barry said, “I found the walk to be educational and eye-opening.  As a cycle network user, I take for granted the joined up nature of most routes. But for Mary, who uses a mid-wheel drive outdoor electric wheelchair, the obstacles were frequent and numerous.”

Mary added: “We kept coming up against barriers to getting to our destination quickly or easily, despite the fact that the wheelchair I use is designed for outdoor use.”

Jon added: “Wheelchair users are being blocked at many points of assumed access on both the cycle routes and on many of the main pavement routes around the city.  We decided to begin this trial from the rail station, as this is a busy route in the centre of town.  I was astonished to find that Mary was prevented from accessing the short-cuts which cyclists, and many pedestrians, take for granted – for instance, coming up against footpath drops that, in places, were almost a foot high.”

Similarly, other groups affected by poor pavements and a lack of dropped kerbs include: mobility scooter users, parents with buggies & prams and people who use rollator-walkers.

Mary is part of Kerbs4All, a campaign for improved pavements, kerb drops and joined up routes for people living with mobility and/or sensory impairment. She explained: “This is not the first time issues of poor access have been brought up by me or other people with disabilities.  Some of us have been campaigning for many years, sitting on national committees, with charities whose funding has since been cut; writing to county councillors with varying degrees of response ranging from none at all to quite positive.

"However, even when we get the attention of the authority which can make a difference, issues are too often addressed in a piecemeal fashion, if at all.  Many parts of the city and suburbs remain inaccessible to people like me because local authorities, local businesses and other service providers are not meeting the requirements of the Equality Act 2010”.

The issue of bad access along poorly maintained pavements, as well as poor accessible public transport in many of Lancaster’s suburbs, demonstrate how people with disabilities are often, literally, trapped at home and isolated when they could and should be able to access their communities and manage their lives more independently.

Mary added, "Lancaster is a vibrant city and we are coming up to a busy time with a number of festivals in October and November which promise access to a range of arts and music experiences for all.  While the Square Routes initiative made some improvement by clearing the cobbles that made the pedestrian precinct impassible for many, we still have some way to go to make routes and events accessible to people with physical and sensory disabilities.  Our aim is to expand the campaign into other areas such as tourism, arts and community venues.

"Places4All will focus on encouraging local providers to look at what they can do to improve access, rather than focussing on what they can’t do”.

Meanwhile, Cllr Barry will be reporting the need for dropped kerbs between the railway station and the Marsh Community Centre to the County Council’s Highways Department.