Happy hour as people celebrate arts and culture in Portsmouth

HAVING FUN Stuart McDowell with his daughter Ava, four, at a Mini Makers at Gunwharf Quays, which was one of a host of events across the city making up the Lost Hour.  Picture: Sarah Standing (121066-6463)
HAVING FUN Stuart McDowell with his daughter Ava, four, at a Mini Makers at Gunwharf Quays, which was one of a host of events across the city making up the Lost Hour. Picture: Sarah Standing (121066-6463)
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THERE were hours of endless fun as people of all ages got involved in a celebration of Portsmouth’s thriving cultural scene.

Called The Lost Hour, the day-long festival was to mark the start of British Summer Time and the lighter nights.

Now in its fourth year, the council-funded festival featured more than 40 free events at various venues.

To tie in with the 200th anniversary since the birth of Portsmouth’s most famous literary son, Charles Dickens, this year’s theme was centred around literature.

The News has also launched a campaign, called Read All About It, to encourage reading.

The Square Tower in Old Portsmouth was a hive of activity on Saturday, with a dramatic performance by Bournemouth University’s Alternative Performance Society about Dickens’ most famous ghost story, The Signal-Man.

Young people also brought their own twist to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

Shortened to R & J, break dancers strutted their stuff at The Square Tower.

The work of another of Portsmouth’s geniuses, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, was celebrated with a screening of The Lost World by Portsmouth Film Society.

Visitors to the D-Day Museum in Southsea were treated to a screening of the 1925 silent movie followed by the 1960 colour version.

Knitting was a popular activity on the day, with dozens of people getting involved in Knit Pompey, an innovative scheme to add colour and intrigue to the urban environment.

Knitting workshops took place throughout the day at the Art Stop Cafe at Eastney Community Centre.

Keen knitter Claire Beadnell, 45, of Penny Street, Old Portsmouth, heard about The Lost Hour and wanted to get involved, visiting both the cafe and the Aspex Lighthouse at Gunwharf Quays to take part in a crafts event.

She said: ‘It gives a real taster of what’s going on in the city. This is a joy. Street art is rebellious but gentle with it. I find it really inspiring.’

Katrina Henderson, 30, one of the founders of Knit Pompey, helped people, some of whom were novices, knit squares that will be joined together to create a blanket.

Stuart McDowell and his four-year-old daughter Ava enjoyed a painting workshop at Aspex Lighthouse.

Mr McDowell, from Baffins, said: ‘It was a good opportunity to spend an hour with my daughter doing stuff we enjoy.’

In the evening, crowds enjoyed a performance of original poetry and percussion by Sam Cox, the Portsmouth Poet Laureate, at The Square Tower.

Liz Weston, educational outreach officer for The New Theatre Royal, which co-ordinated the events, said the day had been a huge success.

She said: ‘This has given the people of Portsmouth an insight into the amazing variety of arts and culture that we have in the city.’