Festival shines on despite the rain

The Melodrawma
Roger Penwill hosts the Melodrawma at Shrewsbury, with musical accompaniment from The Surreal McCoy

Procartoonists.org member Roger Penwillone of the Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival organisers, writes:

For the first time in nine years, the Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival had April weather in April. However this did not deter the crowds who came to enjoy this year’s Cartoonists Live events in the town.

More than 30 of the country’s top cartoonists, plus artists from France, Holland and Australia, were there to draw live for the public, on this year’s theme of Flying.

There were large (2.4m x 2m) Big Board cartoons painted live in the square; workshops for budding cartoonist of all ages; talks and cartooning advice clinics. Caricaturists drew caricatures for free and you could have your body drawn, rather than your head, at the Reverse Caricaturing stand.

Shrewsbury’s unique Melodrawma was performed: a comic strip drawn by 3 cartoonists to live narration and musical accompaniment. Once again Reader’s Digest was in The Square running its popular Beat the Cartoonist exhibition.

Reader's Digest display
The rain gets the better of the Reader's Digest display

There was a new venue for the festival this year, the New Market Hall, close to the Square. This is home to the Visual Arts Network Gallery, which played host to Flights of Fancy, the main festival exhibition of nearly 100 cartoons.

Thanks to a grant from the Arts Council, this exhibition will also go on tour this summer to the Qube at Oswestry, Wem Town Hall and RAF Museum Cosford (more details here).

The New Market Hall was also the venue for the annual instant exhibition of quickly drawn cartoons. Theatre Severn has an exhibition by French cartoonists, called French Flies, which runs until mid-July.

Shops around the town supported the event by displaying cartoons in their windows to form the S-mile High Trail, meandering around the town and linking the various festival venues.

It all added up to another successful event, and plans are underway for the 10th Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival in April next year.

Photos by Maria Harvey and Royston Robertson.

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