AN ECLECTIC mix of theatre, literature and music, plus a touch of stardust, will fill venues across Windsor from Monday. The Windsor Festival, in its 43rd year, is a two-week cultural celebration with everything from operas to literary lunches, and celebrity book readings to a tour of a military barracks.
Martin Denny, festival director, said the finishing touches are now being made and told The Guide: "It is always an exciting time because you are adding all the details and arrangements that have to be left until the end. The schedule is so busy and there is absolutely something
Venues vary from Windsor Boys' School, in Maidenhead Road, to Windsor and Eton Riverside Station and the Theatre Royal Windsor, in Thames Street.
Theatre Royal will welcome back Opera Magic - a fun and energetic introduction to the expressive art form - for a third year and will feature pieces from the operas of Mozart, Rossini and Gilbert and Sullivan.
Their operatic 'box of tricks' show is aimed at introducing children to opera and Mr Denny is excited by their return at 2pm on Wednesday. He said: "The Theatre Royal is a big and grand space and Opera Magic fits in beautifully there.
"It is a really fun introduction, with the performers holding large song sheets so everyone can sing-a-long."
The light-hearted show follows a London Festival Opera production of A Night At The Opera the day before. Beginning at 8pm on Tuesday, the evening will include Verdi's masterpiece La Traviata and feature arias and ensembles from the operas of Mozart, Offenbach and Rossini.
Familiar names from the world of television are also making an appearance in this year's line-up. Charlie Higson, of Fast Show fame and writer of the Young Bond series of novels, will be discussing the writing of his latest teen book, The Sacrifice, at Windsor Boys' School on Wednesday, at 7pm.
Other famous faces include Clare Balding, a star broadcaster during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, talking about her first book My Animals And Other Family at Theatre Royal Windsor, on Thursday, and BBC Radio Two DJ Jeremy Vine, who will discuss It's All News to Me - a fascinating insight into his 25 years as a journalist - at The Guildhall, in High Street, on Thursday, September 27, from 7pm.
Mr Denny added: "The best thing for me is to see the audiences enjoying themselves. The range of performances and seminars we have on offer is brilliant this year, but I think Clare Balding, with her involvement in the Olympic and Paralympic Games, is a very exciting addition."
For the full events listings and tickets visit www.windsorfestival.com