Monday, 8 August 2016

Saint Hill International Arts Festival 2016 Highlights

By Sheila Gaiman, Executive Producer

There were many smiling faces all week at this year's Saint Hill International Arts Festival!

According to what attendees said in their success stories, their lives were changed for the better and they were totally thrilled with what they learned throughout the week. They now cannot wait to apply all the new skills and techniques they acquired from the Festival which they now feel will make them into better artists than they ever dreamed of. They were so thankful for what they learned!

The Festival has even helped established artists like Judy Norton; it has been a favourite event of hers since she first attended in 2003. Along with running workshops and participating in evening performances, Judy credits the Arts Festival with inspiring her to reach out as a writer, director and singer leading to much of her subsequent success in these fields.

The highlights of the week included:
  • Cllr Mrs Julie Mockford, Deputy Mayor of East Grinstead, helped to officially open the Arts Festival. She said in her speech, "I think it's very important to support the arts in our town."

  • The Blaze Ensemble opened the Saint Hill Arts Festival once again, this time with the orchestra comprising 30 musicians - the largest orchestra ever to perform at Saint Hill. They performed Elgar's Serenade for Strings, Mozart's Bassoon Concerto with soloist Tom Hardy, and Mozart's Symphony 40 in G minor to a packed house.

  • Evening showcases which gave many young artists a chance to perform in front of an appreciative audience.

  • A South African song performed by the Arts Festival Choir, conducted by double Grammy Award-winning artist, Robin Hogarth.

  • Stan Gerson's magic workshops teaching attendees how to publicly perform magic tricks and he also performed himself at various times throughout the week.

  • Hollywood actress, Lee Purcell's drama workshops which greatly inspired many.

  • Hollywood actress and singer, Judy Norton's singing performance workshops.
  • Angie Lemon, Festival Co-ordinator, said, "The Arts Festival provides a great opportunity to learn from other artists and for talents to be shared. Very importantly, it also allows artists to express themselves in a safe environment with no criticism, only support."
  • Adrian Pownall, Festival Co-ordinator, said, "I was delighted to be part of this great Festival and to see so many people get so much from it. The celebrities were generous in the extreme with their time and delighted us all with their performances. I'm already looking forward to next year."
  • Vast Age Range - Artists from 6 to 94 years of age attended and benefited from the Festival!
Sheila Gaiman, the Arts Festival's Executive Producer with Cllr Mrs Julie Mockford, Deputy Mayor of East Grinstead (Photo by Scott Mathieson, 31/7/16)
The Saint Hill International Arts Festival 2016 (Photo by Jane Billing, 31/7/16)
The Blaze Ensemble performing Mozart's Bassoon Concerto with soloist Tom Hardy (Photo by Becky Danese, 31/7/16)

Judy Norton in concert (Photo by Jane Billing, 6/8/16)
Katy Norman, Judy Norton, Robin Hogarth, Lee Purcell, Stan Gerson, Chris Dresser, Sheila Gaiman, Krystyna Louw, Adrian Pownall (Photo by Jane Billing, 6/8/16)
A young Festival attendee wearing The Way To Happiness logo! (Photo by Katy Norman, 6/8/16)
Stan Gerson delivering one of his magic workshops (Photo by Jane Billing, 1/8/16)
Judy Norton in song (Photo by Jane Billing, 4/8/16)
An evening showcase for young performers (Photo by Jane Billing, 2/8/16)
Belly dancing class with Serena Ramzy (Photo by Jane Billing, 3/8/16)
The Master Chef Competition (Photo by Jane Billing, 6/8/16)
Master Chef dishes (Photo by Jane Billing, 6/8/16)
More Master Chef dishes (Photo by Jane Billing, 6/8/16)
Wednesday night was Arts Quiz Night (Photo by Jane Billing, 3/8/16)
Three of the younger attendees (Photo by Jane Billing, 3/8/16)
One of the many workshops (Photo by Jane Billing, 5/8/16)
Lee Purcell (Photo taken in 2015)

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Hollywood Celebrities Join East Grinstead's International Saint Hill Arts Festival in its 25th Year

A wide range of exciting workshops, masterclasses, concerts and more are in store for those attending this year's Arts Festival, hosted by a star-studded line up of artists including Hollywood Actresses Judy Norton and Lee Purcell

East Grinstead, 20 July 2016 - The 25th annual Saint Hill International Arts Festival takes place from 31 July to 7 August 2016 at Saint Hill Manor, East Grinstead and both local and international artists, including internationally renowned Hollywood actresses Judy Norton and Lee Purcell, will be taking part.

This year, proceedings begin with an opening ceremony on the terrace of Saint Hill Manor at 3pm on Sunday 31st July, immediately followed by a Classical Concert in the Great Hall by Bassoonist Tom Hardy and the 25-piece Blaze Ensemble, who will be performing pieces by Elgar and Mozart.

During the opening concert, Sheila Gaiman, the Festival's Executive Producer, will continue her tradition of presenting one of the artists at the Festival with a Lifetime of Creativity Award. Previous winners include artist Carl-W. Röhrig and bassoonist Tom Hardy.

The rest of the week is packed to the brim with artistic events and activities of all sorts, including: workshops on Music & Song by Grammy-award winner Robin Hogarth; the Basics of Magic by Hollywood Magician Stan Gerson; Acting Drama by Emmy-nominated Hollywood actress Lee Purcell; Scottish Dancing by Highland Dance Specialist Tara Gibson; Rehabilitating Your Drawing by Professional Textile Designer Kirsteen Lyons; Art & Purposes by Bassoonist Tom Hardy; Art History by local Art Historian Susanne Lawrence; How to Sell your Art Online by local artist Gill Bustamante; Song Performance by internationally renowned Judy Norton; Screenplay Writing by award-winning filmmaker Chris Dresser; and Poetry by Published Poet Steve Langley.

The week also includes movies, an improv show, an arts quiz, a cooking masterclass workshop and competition by a Gordon Ramsay-trained chef, the much-loved Art Garden where artists can be seen creating their craft, a children's drawing workshop, face painting for children, acoustic music and renditions from international singer Judy Bachar.

The Festival ends on Sunday 7th August with the magnificent Summertime Swing concert hosted by East Grinstead's very own The Jive Aces, in the grounds of Saint Hill Manor.

Sheila Gaiman said about this year's Festival: "We are extremely lucky to have so many highly talented and accomplished artists attend the Festival in our 25th anniversary year. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn from the best and to explore our creativity with them."

The Saint Hill International Arts Festival was inspired by Scientology's founder, L. Ron Hubbard who strongly encouraged cultural revitalisation through the arts. The purpose of the festival is to inspire artists into greater productivity, as well as to help them unlock their ability to earn a living from their art.

About Judy Norton

A diverse performer, Judy’s talents have taken her from stage to screen, from drama to comedy to musical theatre to the recording studio. She has worked in front of the camera as well as behind the scenes as a writer and director. As a singer, she has delighted audiences from North America to Europe, Iceland to Malaysia.

Born in Los Angeles, California, Judy began acting on stage and television from the age of 6. After early work on such TV shows as OZZIE & HARRIET, THE TAMMY GRIMES SHOW and FELONY SQUAD, in 1971, she landed the role of Mary Ellen in the TV movie THE HOMECOMING. This highly successful Christmas special served as the pilot for THE WALTONS TV series and launched Judy to international fame for her role as Mary Ellen. The Waltons, ran for 9 years, garnering numerous Emmy, Golden Globe and People’s Choice awards.

About Lee Purcell

Lee is the recipient of two Primetime Emmy nominations, her first being for LONG ROAD HOME starring opposite Mark Harmon, the second for SECRET SINS OF THE FATHERS starring opposite Beau Bridges.

This acclaimed actress has numerous film, television and stage credits, including her role as Louise St. Laurent on the TV series “DUE SOUTH”, and her generation-defining performance as the sultry step-mom in the iconic film “VALLEY GIRL” with Nicholas Cage. Fans around the world frequently reach out to her for her role as "Peggy" in the cult favourite film BIG WEDNESDAY. Lee has also starred opposite many other Hollywood’s popular leading men, and has the distinction of starring opposite two of Hollywood dynastic father-son duos, Michael Douglas and Kirk Douglas and Beau Bridges and Lloyd Bridges.

As a young girl, Lee’s film career began when she was personally selected and mentored by film icon Steve McQueen to star in McQueen’s Solar Productions’ film “ADAM AT 6 A.M.” opposite Michael Douglas. She will always be grateful to McQueen for his mentoring her and cherishes the time spent with him.

Both Judy Norton and Lee Purcell will be available for press interviews from 30th July to 8th August. Contact John Wood on +44 (0)7771 520001 or to arrange an interview.

About Saint Hill Manor

Saint Hill Manor, the former home of L. Ron Hubbard and host of the annual Saint Hill International Arts Festival, located just outside East Grinstead, is a fine 18th century sandstone building. Concerts, plays, conferences and other events regularly take place here and it is also one of the few historical attractions to remain open to the public throughout the year. Saint Hill Manor is also the head quarters of the Church of Scientology in the UK.

Address: Saint Hill Manor, Saint Hill Green, East Grinstead, West Sussex RH19 4JY

General information:

Ticket information and prices:

Festival Organisers: Adrian Pownall on +44 (0)7551 242991 or Angie Lemon on +44 (0)7500 253 051 or

Media Enquiries: John Wood on +44 (0)7771 520001 or