Downton Abbey’s Jim Carter & Dame Evelyn Glennie Headline Ashville College’s Arts Festival

Simon Armitage

Simon Armitage - Credit: Archant

Downton Abbey’s Jim Carter and internationally renowned solo percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie are two of the stars headlining a Harrogate school’s arts festival.

Dame Evelyn Glennie – photo by Jim Callaghan

Dame Evelyn Glennie – photo by Jim Callaghan - Credit: Archant

The pair, together with poet Simon Armitage and pianist Alessandro Taverna, will be taking to the stage at Ashville College, to mark the completion of a £2.25 million renovation project of its main auditorium.

Jim Carter

Jim Carter - Credit: Archant

Alessandro Taverna – photo by Pierluigi Marchesan

Alessandro Taverna – photo by Pierluigi Marchesan - Credit: Archant

The ten-day event, which begins on Wednesday, March 12 and concludes on Saturday, March 22 with a “Last Night of Proms” spectacular, will also see the talents of the independent school’s pupils showcased in a variety of performances, lectures and exhibits.

Ashville College Headmaster Mark Lauder said: “In eight weeks time Ashville College is staging the most exciting and inspiring arts festival ever held in its history.

“I’m delighted to say that former Head Prefect Jim Carter, known and loved by millions for his portrayal of Carson the Butler in Downton Abbey, will be performing the official opening ceremony.

“Jim leads an all star cast which includes the incredible Dame Evelyn Glennie, who performed at the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics.

“And as equally important, our pupils will be displaying their talents – signing, playing instruments and creating works or art – throughout the festival.”

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Mr Lauder added: “The programme we are presenting will appeal to a wide variety of tastes and ages and I’m confident the performers will be playing to a full house.

“I’d like to add now that the Soothill Hall has undergone this magnificent refurbishment it is probably the finest medium-sized auditorium in the Harrogate District.”

Following the renovation, the Soothill Hall now boasts a 600 seating capacity, a state-of-the-art sound and lighting system, and a balcony overlooking the stage.

Other features include new and comfortable seating, energy efficient lights and improved access to the auditorium and the school’s main entrance.

Tickets are available at a small cost and may be found at alongside a timetable of events and other up to date information.

An evening of poetry with Simon Armitage, Wednesday, March 12th:

Simon Armitage is an established and leading UK poet. In 1999 he was named the Millennium Poet and has received a CBE for services to poetry. He is also a member of the Royal Society of Literature and a Vice President of the Poetry Society.

Alessandro Taverna, Piano Recital, Saturday, March 15th:

Winning numerous national and international competitions, Alessandro is now one the most interesting musical pianists of his generation and is in worldwide demand.

An afternoon with Jim Carter, Sunday, March 16th:

Jim Carter, an Old Ashvillian, is a distinguished actor with over 40 years of experience in the industry. Throughout his career he has starred in film, television and stage performances and his most recent and recognisable performance has been as Carson the Butler in the popular ITV show Downton Abbey.

Dame Evelyn Glennie, Thursday, March 20th:

Despite being profoundly deaf, this internationally renowned solo percussionist graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in London with Honours. She has since performed all over the world, including the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony.