Saffron Walden Maze Festival programme confirmed

PUBLISHED: 12:20 19 July 2011

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HAVE you ever wondered why Saffron Walden has two historic mazes? Do you want to better understand their heritage or experience a maze with night vision goggles?

The Saffron Walden Maze Festival will encourage you to answer these questions and celebrate all that is modern and mythological about the mazes and labyrinths.

From August 20–28, the festival will host a variety of events and talks to allow all ages to enjoy Saffron Walden’s unique maze culture.

Kicking off the festival will be a keynote presentation by Jeff Saward on Saturday August 20 at 6pm in the town hall. Mr Saward is widely considered the world authority on the history and development of mazes and labyrinths. Illustrated with photos from his travels in search of mazes and labyrinths around the world, his talk will show how Saffron Walden’s mazes are part of a long and fascinating tradition that stretches back thousands of years. The event is suitable for all ages and levels of interest, but you are encouraged to book a place through the Tourist Information Centre.

A local connection with Michael Ayrton will incorporate a 15m walk/run to the maze on his tombstone at Hadstock Church on Sunday August 28 and the display of his art at the Fry Gallery. Mr Ayrton was fascinated by the Greek myths of Daedalus, Icarus, the labyrinth of King Minos and, above all by the identity and form of the Minotaur - half man, half bull. The compact exhibit at the Fry Gallery, running all festival, will include a bronze of Icarus, Sun Maze, and presents some of Ayrton’s most powerful and disturbing images on this classical theme.

Throughout the week, temporary mazes will be erected around the town for people to experience and maze games and displays will be available to test the skills of young and old.

Activities for children will be available in the town hall during the week (must pre-book) and for those wanting a more meaningful experience of the turf maze on the Common, the Sheer Drop Theatre group will be performing a new play by Alex Everard on Sunday August 21 and Thursday 25 entitled Lost and Found.

Finally, the Grand Finale on Sunday August 28 will feature a human maze for an aerial photo, live music, loads of refreshments, plus a candlelit maze on the Common Turf Maze. These are only a few of the activities scheduled and full information is available on the website saffronwaldenmazefestival.co.uk or at the Saffron Walden Tourist Information Centre in Market Place.

The festival promises to be a community event for all and will celebrate Saffron Walden’s unique position as the only place in the UK to have two historical mazes. Printed programmes will be available early August.

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