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Parisian feel to Uxbridge town centre as BigFest draws the crowds
BIGFEST made a triumphant return to Uxbridge town centre at the weekend, sporting a Parisian feel with 1930s vaudeville and monochrome chic.
The festival, now in its 11th year, transforms the high street into a family entertainment venue, with a dance arena, word salon and main stage.
Street performers also wandered among the pedestrians with snatches of mime and other talents.
Charlotte Baldwin, who organised programme, said that the aim was to get as much of the town centre involved as possible. The site extended the full length of the high street, from the French food market at one end to street performances at the other.
There was a great deal of emphasis on involving visitors. A number of the walkabout performances were put together by local theatre directors, and local children took to the stage as well.
“We like to reward talent by giving them opportunities,” said Ms Baldwin.
Dance troupe No Bizwere a huge hit with the audience at the dance arena.
The talented youngsters competed at the British Street Dance Championships this year, with the senior and junior groups taking first and third places respectively. They won places at the World Championships but were unable to compete due to lack of funding.
Giselle Grimm, co-principal of the dance school with Lisa Burge, said classes were focused on developing the children’s confidence and enhancing life skills, as well as having fun.
Pupil manager and vocal coach Paulette Gabriel added: “Hillingdon is really good at supporting these kids.”
BigFest is one of many events throughout the year made possible by the council-funded arts programme. Other projects include Hayes Carnival in July and Hillingdon’s Hidden Talent in February, along with many open studios and band nights.
As one of very few London boroughs that didn’t suffer cuts to its arts funding, Hillingdon is using the money to nurture local talent and encourage community spirit.
Glenda Greenfield, one of the team that made BigFest such a success, said: “In a time of austerity, families are looking for something cheap to do and BigFest is totally free.”
Visitor Colette Letchford, 38, from Uxbridge, and four-year-old Ivy: “We had a boogie over here, we had a boogie over there."
To find out more about arts events in Hillingdon, visit http://www.hillingdon.gov.uk/arts
For more information about No Biz Dance, visit http://nobizlikeshowbiz.co.uk/.
The troupe also have a performance on October 12 and 13 at The Beck Theatre.