A festival under one umbrella

Last year's Umbrella Festival at Groundlings Picture: Mick Young
 (161070-03)
Last year's Umbrella Festival at Groundlings Picture: Mick Young (161070-03)
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THE Groundlings Theatre in Portsmouth has announced that it will be hosting this year’s Umbrella Festival.

On August 12, people from across the region are invited to witness fantastic performances and displays as everybody comes together under one umbrella.

The family event will feature hundreds of actors, singers, dancers, crafts, music, children’s activities and much more.

Artistic director Richard Stride said: ‘It’s fantastic to have so many artists all together with such diverse skills.’

‘It gives people a great opportunity to share ideas and make new contacts’.

The festival came from an idea thought up by Jonas Hanwell, born in Portsea in 1712.

Jonas invented the modern-day umbrella after attending a business trip in Persia. On his excursion, Jonas saw women using enormous parasols imported from China.

The inventor decided to expand on this idea and transformed the Persian parasol into an umbrella suitable to protect people from England’s wetter weather.

For almost 30 years, Jonas Hanway walked the streets of London using his creation, much to the amusement of passers by who found it ridiculous.

However, people soon preferred to purchase one of these ‘portable roofs’ instead of paying a Hackney carriage.

The annual Free Arts Festival will mark Jonas Hanwell’s birthday.

Groundlings, which is based in an 18th century building, has been offering a wide range of artistic and cultural experiences since 2010 and staff at the theatre have spoken of their honour to be able to host the event once more.

The colourful festival will showcase some of Portsmouth’s talent and is aimed at being an entertaining event that is suitable for the whole family.

The event is free so there is no need to purchase tickets.

The performances run from 11am to 5pm on August 12.