THE line-up for Wirral's fourth Festival of Firsts - showcasing the borough's artistic talents - has been revealed.

Poetry performances, concerts, jazz parades, competitions, writing workshops and world premieres of plays will feature in the festival, held at venues in Hoylake, West Kirby and New Brighton from July 5 to July 13.

There will also be appearances by Liverpool playwright Willy Russell and Wirral-based photographer Mike McCartney, whose work will be on display.

Radio Merseyside presenter Johnny Kennedy will present his performance of Simply Shakespeare, a tribute to the Bard.

The Poetry Proms will take place in New Brighton on Sunday, July 6. Hosted by Cathy Roberts, from Literally A New Brighton.

Hoylake will host a Music Proms on Saturday, July 12, and organisers would like to hear from anyone interested in taking part.

Among the attractions this year is an art exhibition of work by local artists on Hoylake promenade.

There will also be talks and art workshops in Hoylake Community Centre on July 13.

A headline exhibition features funnyman Harry Hill’s “My Hobby” paintings and Mike McCartney’s photographs.

There will be concerts of classical and popular music, featuring performances from guitarist Craig Ogden, Wirral Ukulele Orchestra, C-City and the Dave Gilbertson Saxophone Ensemble.

Proceeds from this year’s festival will go to Claire House children’s hospice. Speaking at the festival’s launch at the Holiday Inn in King’s Gap, Hoylake, founder and former Scaffold star John Gorman said: “I was a bit worried that we would be put to the fringe by the Open Golf.

“Both the council and the tournament’s organisers have said they are keen to support us in whatever way they can.

“I want to target the media people coming from all over the world to Hoylake before the golf starts.

“There's also a festival of business taking place at around the same time, and we hope our festival will attract them.

“We want to leave visitors with a lasting impression of the festival as a really successful day out.

“We want them to be treated to some sort of entertainment. I want them to go away saying ‘aren't they a cultured lot in Wirral!’ Community involvement is a key element of the festival and several competitions are planned to encourage people to join in.

Among the speakers at Thursday’s launch was West Kirby-based poet Claire Kirwan, who is organiser of a poetry competition that will run throughout the festival.

Claire, who treated the audience to James Bond-inspired poem “My mum’s a Bond villain” said: “We had 300 entries for the competition last year.

“Anyone can enter, so, if you know any poets get them to take part.”

The call also went out for volunteers.

John said “It’s all very well organising an event like this, but the festival is entirely run by volunteers and we could do with a lot more.

“Without them, there would be no festival.

“We need them to help with publicity and to run around in general.

“I wouldn’t say we’re desperate, but it’s fantastic if you know anyone who would like to help."

Further details on all festival events and how you can get involved are from By way of celebrating the Open Golf Championship, which returns to Hoylake from July 17 to July 20, community group Friends of Hoylake and Meols in Bloom is inviting children in the town to enter a competition to design a floral golf bag.

Full details and entry forms are from Ina Bowman at or Jan Foster on 07725540049 or