A CELEBRATION to mark Guiseley Theatre's 150th anniversary year will kick off a nine-day arts festival.

Tales Told festival, will be launched at the theatre tomorrow, Friday, July 7 with an evening of singing and dancing. The event will include a recital of Handel's Messiah, which was also performed at the theatre's grand opening on December 26, in 1867.

The festival will run until Saturday, July 15, bringing together a feast of entertainment for young and old alike, including music, guided walks, a pub quiz, a pub crawl and a talk on making a family tree.

Many of this year's activities have an historic theme in honour of the theatre's anniversary, thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

Community arts group Codswallop is organising the festival with the help of dozens of volunteers.

Artistic director Jacob Phillips said: "I'm really proud of this year's programme. I can guarantee there is something for everyone. We have secured funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund which has really helped us be able to celebrate so much of what this area has to offer. I can't wait to literally bring the history to life."

David Renwick, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund, Yorkshire and the Humber, said: "The Tales Told Festival will help to explore the history of Guiseley Theatre and celebrate its 150th birthday by allowing local people to bring to life the stories of the building and the local area. Thanks to National Lottery players we are able to help local communities to discover more about their past."

The festival kicks off at 6pm on Friday, July 7 with an exhibition celebrating the theatre's history before local choirs perform Handel's Messiah, followed by a series of songs from the musical Legally Blonde performed by Guiseley Amateur Operatic Society. Leeds Youth Jazz Rock Orchestra will round off the night as guests are invited to hit the dancefloor.

On Saturday, July 8 Springfield Park will host performances from local musicians, while children will be able to make lanterns for the following Saturday's parade. There will also be a sports day and a chance for children to make cardboard dens.

On Sunday, July 9 a cowboys and Indians themed day will take place in Parkinsons Park, along with a den building workshop, before everyone is invited to join in a capture the flag competition.

Throughout the week there will be a range of workshops and open mic opportunities before the curtain comes down on Saturday, July 15 with the 'March to the Stars' Lantern parade – departing from Guiseley Theatre for a night of entertainment at a top secret location, culminating in fireworks at 10pm.

Most events do not need to be booked in advance and participants need only pay what they want.

Jacob said: "What's really great about Tales Told is that it is created by the people of Aireborough, for the people of Aireborough. There is a phenomenal amount of home-grown talent."

Visit http://codswallop.org.uk/talestold for further details, or email the organisers on info@codswallop.org.uk or ring 07902 190002.