As sponsors of this year's Bewdley festival AvantiGas was delighted to attend and be a part of the festival's success for 2017.
Jenni’s remarkable women hold sway at the Bewdley Festival
As proud sponsors of the talk by veteran Woman’s Hour presenter and Radio 4 icon Jenni Murray at this year’s 30th annual Bewdley Festival, AvantiGas was delighted to attend this and other events in the picturesque Georgian town this week.
Jenni’s talk, based on her book A History of Britain in 21 Women, was sold-out weeks in advance and the audience of 320 certainly enjoyed her mix of readings and reminiscences, with a second half entirely given over to answering questions from a lively and appreciative crowd.
Jenni’s list of 21 women include some you’d expect – Margaret Thatcher, Nicola Sturgeon, Boadicea and Elizabeth 1 (whose status as the “Virgin Queen” Jenni had cause to doubt)– and some you might not, including novelist Fanny (Frances) Burney and composer Dame Ethel Smyth.
After the break Jenni handled every question from the audience with a mixture of humour and consummate skill as she cheerfully advocated women’s rights while admitting that she didn’t hesitate to clear her diary when an opportunity came up to interview George Clooney on what was scheduled to be a day off from Woman’s Hour.
AvantiGas Brand and Marketing Executive Abi Martin said: “We’re delighted to support the Bewdley Festival and Jenni’s talk. We have many customers in the area and apart from helping to provide them with local entertainment we know that the festival provides a boost to lots of local businesses including pubs, restaurants, hotels and B&Bs.
“Sponsoring Jenni’s performance and supporting the festival seemed the perfect way to demonstrate our commitment to the area. Her theme resonates with AvantiGas too as we value, support and encourage women in executive roles in an industry that has traditionally been very male-dominated.”
Back at the show, Jenni was asked if she had ever had a “Meg Ryan moment” such as Michael Parkinson had endured in his toe-curling TV encounter with the Hollywood actress. Jenni admitted that one uncooperative Hollywood star in particular had given her a hard time – Meg Ryan!
Jenni, who was accompanied by her three devoted dogs Madge, Frieda and Butch at the after-show book-signing, had been introduced by Festival committee member Sue Humphries. Sue thanked the festival sponsors in general and AvantiGas in particular for making the event possible.
Earlier in the day another familiar voice from Radio 4 captivated a packed audience at Bewdley Baptist Church as Festival Director Dave Collins interviewed actor Timothy Watson, better known as the former arch-villain of The Archers, Rob Titchener, who for a time enjoyed the dubious title of “the most hated man in Britain.”
Dave Collins showed himself to be a highly capable interviewer with an in-depth knowledge of The Archers, while Timothy proved to be much more engaging than his fictional persona. The actor made the separation clear from the off by declaring “Rob Titchener is not in the building.”
Rob delighted all the devoted Archers fans present with his insider’s knowledge of how the longest-running radio soap is put together, and with his insights into how the character had resonated with listeners, helping to open up a national debate and discussion about abusive coercion in marriages and relationships.
Bewdley Festival continues until October 15 and events include TV’s Dan Cruickshank on A History of Architecture in 100 Buildings (Oct 11) T’Pau in Concert (Oct 12), The Tom Robinson Band (Oct 13) and Dead Ringers comedy star Jan Ravens in her show, Difficult Woman (Oct 14).
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