An open invitation has gone out to Alton as the town’s inaugural arts festival nears a thrilling conclusion.

The eyes of Hampshire’s cultural scene are focused on Alton as we reach the midpoint of the ten-day festival.

World famous musicians, authors and comedians have rubbed shoulders with beatboxers, poets and the cream of local talent in the multi-venue event.

But there’s still more to come with exhibitions, musicals, writing workshops and a big party all scheduled.

Austen’s Women will bring some regency class to HSDC this evening (Thursday, July 11) as their solo comedy show Lady Susan will begin at 6pm. Focusing on the devil-may-care Lady Susan (Rebecca Vaughan) and her pursuit of two fortunes, this is Austen as you’ve never seen here before.

Some of the area’s most talented musical theatre students will belt out favourites from the likes of Mamma Mia, Hamilton, Les Miserables and more during the Strictly Showtime event at the Maltings from 7.30pm this Friday with a 2.30pm matinee on Saturday.

A world premiere of eight Austen poems set to music will begin at 7.30pm on the same night in All Saints church while The Voice semi-finalist Joe Topping will showcase his vocal talents at Holybourne Theatre this Saturday evening.

A Creative Writing for Teens session will take place at the community centre from 10am on Saturday while an Abstract Art Exhibition featuring work by members of the Abstract Art Network Group will be open all week at The George with a late-night opening tonight (Thursday).

It all finishes with a Party in the Park with live music, dancing, food and drink and face painting from midday this Sunday.

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