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Raft Arts Festival (RAFT) 2019

Major names in the world of entertainment are once again heading to Rhondda Cynon Taf this summer as part of the 2019 Rhondda Arts Festival (RAFT).

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council is once again working with the organisers and supporting the month long event, which last year, in its inaugural season, attracted thousands of visitors to the area. 

The 2019 RAFT Festival takes place in and around Treorchy from June 7 to 30 - and beyond - with the main festival weekend taking place on June 28-30.

Among this year’s headline acts are West End & Broadway star Kerry Ellis, award winning comedian & actor Omid Djalili and Rhondda born Welsh Proms Director, the renowned orchestral conductor, Owain Arwel Hughes CBE.

 Councillor Rhys Lewis, Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities, Well-being and Cultural Services, said: “The Rhondda Arts Festival celebrates and showcases the wide range of creativity and talent that exists throughout all art forms in Rhondda Cynon Taf, and continues to also bring the finest visiting artists to the region. 

“We have an amazing wealth of artistic flair and talent across our County Borough and RAFT 2019 is helping to promote this to a much wider audience. The fact that organisers have attracted such big names to the event again this year is testament to its popularity and success. 

“RAFT 2019 also has a wide range of community events planned throughout the month of June, including The Lion’s Den Comedy Club, school performances, the British Museum Exhibition at Treorchy Library, outdoor cinema, and international concerts from Jugendblasorchester Wind Orchestra of Germany.

“I wish everyone associated with RAFT 2019 every success and look forward to welcoming the acts to RCT and being a part of the celebrations.” 

The scope of RAFT 2019 encompasses music, theatre, comedy, dance, literature, painting, photography, sculpture and more.

Rhondda Arts Festival Treorchy is a registered charity, with a board of trustees that shares a commitment to create a festival that is fun, innovative and inclusive, and which encompasses all art forms across the Rhondda. 

Kerry Ellis has achieved chart-topping success as a recording artist signed to Universal Decca, with her debut album Anthems. She originated the role of Meat in Queen’s We Will Rock You and was the first British Elphaba in the West End smash, Wicked.

Her many other leading role credits include Nancy in Oliver! at Drury lane, Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, Ellen in Miss Saigon and Fantine inLes Miserables.

Kerry’s first major album was Wicked in Rock, a collaboration with long-time friend and Queen guitarist, Brian May. This led to her being signed to Universal as a solo recording artist and Anthems being released in 2010. 

The success of the album, which reached No 15 in the UK album charts, and the single Defying Gravity reaching No 10 in the UK singles charts, led to a major tour and international stardom. 

Omid Djalili first shot to fame in 1995 at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, going on to perform his comedy all around the world.