Creator of umbrella reigns over arts festival

ALL SMILES From left, Orla McKeown, Lee Backhouse, Jordan Dabell and Tanisha Patten. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (132219-3)
ALL SMILES From left, Orla McKeown, Lee Backhouse, Jordan Dabell and Tanisha Patten. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (132219-3)
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IT’S been 300 years since the creator of the umbrella was born in Portsmouth.

But it’s not been forgotten and this weekend Jonas Hanway’s life is being celebrated with the Umbrella Festival at the Groundlings Theatre.

Jonas was born on the site of Groundlings Theatre in Portsmouth in 1712.

Yesterday the free festival began with live music, displays of Victorian artefacts, arts and craft stalls. People also had the chance to make an umbrella.

Tony Johnson is stage manager and also helped to organise the festival.

He said: ‘What the Groundlings Theatre Beneficial School is all about is helping people in society who struggle.

‘We are celebrating the invention of the umbrella and Jonas’ life and everything that has to do with this building and this site.

‘We are bringing together everything from arts to crafts and putting it all under the roof of the Groundlings Theatre, which is all underneath the umbrella of arts and festivals.

‘There are local groups getting involved showing productions.

‘We have had a summer school that’s been going on all week and they are doing their own production.

‘Its universal for everybody to get involved.’

Clare Fox, 49, from Gosport, was watching her two children who were performing. Daniel, 16, was DJing while Megan, 18, was singing.

Clare said: ‘It’s been great for my son.

‘He’s had a great few years here.

‘It’s fantastic for the youth and the local area.

‘Anybody who has got a creative side can come and join in. It’s been great for my children and I know it’s been great for others.’

The festival continues today from 11am until 5pm.