Festival declared a success as more than 3,000 enjoy cultural event

Jeremy Vine at the TAL Festival with Yvonne Maxwell
Jeremy Vine at the TAL Festival with Yvonne Maxwell

More than 3,000 people attended 38 events during the five days of the Thame Arts and Literature Festival.

Broadcasters Jeremy Vine and Jenni Murray, and author Charles Spencer, led the way with entertaining and illuminating talks to packed houses.

Dan Manea (right) with two of his fans, David Bretherton (left) and Malcolm Dent (centre).

Dan Manea (right) with two of his fans, David Bretherton (left) and Malcolm Dent (centre).

Other highlights included the hilarious Austentatious and beautiful singing by Thame Chamber Choir.

There was something for everyone, with crime writers, lectures on the Mona Lisa and Gainsborough from Martin Kemp and James Hamilton and the story of the bombing of Berlin.

Events were spread across the town and this year featured an art trail and Jane Austen-style window dressing contest for shops.

Festival director Yvonne Maxwell said: “It was a full-on, packed weekend with something for everyone and we love bringing it all together. I am so pleased that it was so well supported and that so many people, including our visiting speakers, seem to enjoy being here so much.

Charles Spencer at the TAL Festival

Charles Spencer at the TAL Festival

“With the support of the Book House and our sponsors, TAL Festival was a resounding success and we look forward to next year with huge anticipation.”

One of several sellout festival events was Dan Manea’s talk about his love for Sinaia, a beautiful Romanian mountain town twinned with Thame.

The public had the opportunity to hear from the author of ‘Sinaia, Land of the Elites’ who invited the public to a virtual walk into the town’s historical buildings and its glorious past.

A Twinning Charter was created with the town, which is about the same size as Thame, in 2012.

TAL Festival

TAL Festival

Dan Manea said: “This book invites you to stroll not only on the streets of the town, but also inside its history, which for the last 130 years has been strongly woven into the history of Romania itself.

“It offers a succession of stories and images, seen through the eyes of an architect in love with his town.

“This book represents an invitation to walk through the halls of this vast open-air bearing the name of Sinaia: The Pearl of the Carpathians, the capital of Romanian tourism, the resort priding itself with two Royal railway stations, where the Orient Express makes a stop, the royal residence town or the summer capital of Romania, as it has been called over the years.”

The author reminded the public about the connection between the Royal Families of the UK and Romania. Queen Marie, mother of King Michael of Romania, was one of Queen Victoria’s nieces.

Inspired by the publication of Dan Manea’s book, Romania’s National State Television produced a series of 60 one-minute episodes about Sinaia and its architectural jewels, such as Peles Castle, Sinaia Monastery and many other buildings which awarded Sinaia the title of the Romanian town with the largest number of historical monuments per capita.

The event itself would not have been possible without the help from TAL organisers, Thame-Sinaia Friendship Association and Sinaia’s ASPE Cultural Association.

Four guests from Sinaia were hosted by families of Thame Rotarians who welcomed them with friendship and offered them the opportunity to visit the area and get a taste of some of Oxfordshire’s and Buckinghamshire’s most beautiful places.

The association which has made the twinning between Thame and Sinaia more and more vibrant is hosting a ‘Wine from Transylvanian Alps’ tasting event at Thame Town Hall on Wednesday, November 29, at 7.30pm.

The event was initiated by Malcolm Dent, one of Thame-Sinaia’s newest members. For more information about Thame-Sinaia Friendship Association and how to get tickets, visit www.facebook.com/thamesinaia