PAA produces 3 newsletters a year highlighting news and forthcoming events from our members. Copies are distributed to community and arts venues and available to download; current and recent previous newsletters are available below. If you want to receive regular copies, please sign up to the PAA mailing list.    .

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Preston Arts Festival 2023 – Pre-launch event

Several months ago a collaboration was formed between Preston Arts and the UCLAN Event Management course (second year students). The format of an event was thrown open to the students and they came up with the idea of a Talent Competition. This was to be held a month before the launch of the Preston Arts Festival at which the events brochure would be launched. This was effective as it ensured that the brochure was produced and printed timely. The event was scheduled to take place at Roper Hall on Friargate, but we later discovered that the venue was closing down the week before we had it booked. The students were very proactive in relocating to the University’s Students Union bar. The entries were mainly vocal although we were entertained by a hip-hop band and during the interval by members of the Confucius Society. The judges voted for Georgia in first place, followed by Laura-May (second) and 'Rose' in third place. They received prizes which had been generously donated. There was also a plentiful raffle which made many members of the audience happy when they won. Well done to the students for arranging this event and attending to the detail required, and to the tutors who supported the concept and the event.

Portrait Challenge 2023 

On Saturday 15th April the mayor, Cllr. Neil Darby and his Consort, Dan Yeung sat patiently for four hours whilst contenders drew portraits of them in Preston Art Festivals annual Portrait competition kindly organised by Pam Potter. 


The results were phenomenal. Just WOW! The 18 artists involved sure didn't intend making it an easy decision for our judge, Mark Edmundson. 

Monday 17th April, with great appreciation for the hospitality of The Larder management and staff, we were able to exhibit all of the portrait entries and hold a presentation evening with lovely folk duo Trouble at' Mill entertaining. 

After much deliberation Mark finally had to make his decision which is as follows; 

Three highly commended pieces by Janet Mayled, Liam Dickinson and Sally Dyer.

First place and £500 went to Richard Cross, second place and £100 went to Daniel Sharples and 3rd place with £50 went to Helen McGinn. Congratulations winners. We would love to see you all again next year. 

Thankyou so much to Preston City Council, the Mayor Cllr. Neil Darby and his consort Dan Yeung for all their continued support.

Millie Hine - The Snake and the Apple 

Saturday 22nd April and I’m just back from an Arts Festival film show. The occasion was unique for PAA in that we showed a film for which writer, producer, director and editor were all present to take questions. The Snake and the Apple is a short film (16 minutes) by Millie Hine, who single-handedly fulfilled the above-mentioned four roles, as well as being co-credited with cinematography and costume design. She is 17 and a student at Cardinal Newman College. Last year she won a screening in the All-American High School Film Festival, the event taking place in the amc cinema in iconic Times Square, New York. With much support from Newman College, we were able to give our festival screening in their superb cinema. We had secured the services of local professional film editor, John Turner, who proved to be a perfect Question Master for his brief interview with Millie, and an equally good host for a Q & A session. He was very friendly and even offered to muck in and operate the lights while Millie did her introduction.

The film is enigmatic. Last year I did an interview with Millie for PAA News, and today confessed that I needed several viewings before I felt I understood it well enough to do the interview. I think some things were deliberately indecipherable to force us to find our own truths. I said something like that to her once and she replied, “Yes, like a poem that tells you just enough, but leaves something hanging.

The story has two parallel tales featuring the same two actresses. One is set in the present, the other in an indeterminate by-gone period. Millie said there was a fairy tale inspiration (she mentioned red riding hood and the Lord of the Rings), but for me (and this might be a consequence of my advancing years), there was a hint of the Round Table about the costumes. There must also, surely, be a biblical inspiration, but I haven’t got to the bottom of that yet. There’s no space here to go into details and indeed it’s better, and probably quicker if you just watch the film.

During the Q & A, John brought everybody in and gave them time to raise their queries. It was great to see so many young people wanting to ask questions, and great to see how eloquently Millie replied. It’s lovely to see that youngsters have become so articulate.

When I did the PAA interview last year, I’d wanted to call it Broadway Baby but Millie wasn’t keen, so we changed it. I’d liked it because it’s the best song in Sondheim’s Follies, and I just love it when the divas get to the bit about Times Square and growl it out - I’ll stay until, I’m on a bill, ALL OVER Times Square. Millie’s not quite all over Times Square yet, but I think she might be on her way.

A Conversation with Christine Cherry

Sadly there was no juicy gossip; the experience of appearing on the Great British Pottery Throwdown was every bit as enjoyable and supportive as it looks on TV.Prestonian potter Christine Cherry was a finalist in 2022 and shared her Throwdown experiences as well as insights into her life and work in an engaging and lively conversation with PAA member Elaine Whitby and members of the audience. Christine also brought fantastic examples of her work and the conversation flowed long after the organised part of the event was complete. Thanks to Christine and to the Guild Ale House for use of their cosy upstairs room.