Other-worldly Story Takes Prescot Festival Prize

The tale of a boy’s dreams underneath a magical night sky has won the 2020 Prescot Festival Short Story Competition.

Rita Simpson, from Huyton, received £100 and publication on prescotfestival.co.uk for the bittersweet fantasy ‘When You Wish upon a Star.’

The contest was the only aspect of the local arts festival that was able to go ahead this year. It was the first time the festival had been cancelled since its inception, in 2005.

Music lovers online nevertheless enjoyed an array of archived video performances from some of the acts scheduled for the 16th festival, including Dr Jazz and the Cheshire Cats, Foden’s Band and Phoenix Concert Orchestra, the Liverpool-based ensemble that celebrates its 20th birthday this year.

Most of this year’s artists have expressed an interest in returning in 2021.

‘It’s a challenging time for the arts nationwide, but we’re determined not to let it get us down,’ said artistic director Dr Robert Howard, a composer, conductor and music teacher at St Edward’s College.

‘We’re looking at ways to reintroduce concerts and events on a small scale later in the year, and we’ve no doubt that the joy of live music-making will resume in Prescot and other communities.’

The Prescot Festival has been at the forefront of the renaissance of arts and music in the town over the past decade-and-a-half.

In medieval times Prescot was a centre of commerce and culture in Lancashire, and in the late 16th century it was the site of the first purpose-built theatre outside of London—a legacy celebrated by the Shakespeare North Playhouse, now under construction.

The festival has long aimed to commemorate the area’s rich Lancastrian heritage, of which Prescotians are especially proud. Its celebration of culture includes not only the 10-day annual festival, but a year-round programme of arts and music and a commitment to promoting other arts groups and initiatives in the area.

Find out more, and read this year’s winning short story, at prescotfestival.co.uk.


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