Singer and actress Barbara Dickson has been announced as one of the names confirmed for the fourth annual Malpas Arts and Literary Festival.

The 66-year-old, best known for her work in musical theatre, will open the three-day extravaganza known as Malfest, which runs from May 15-18, with an acoustic set in which she is joined by Rab Noakes.

BBC broadcaster Mark Radcliffe is to perform on the Friday with his band Foes, while folk band Fairport Convention are lined up for a special set in St Oswald’s Church.

Other special guests include Sunny Ormonde and Lillian Bellamy from BBC Radio 4’s The Archers who will give an eclectic One Woman Show, and writer Felix Francis, ahead of the publication of his ninth novel.

Village play 'And Malpas Went to War' will be one of the festival’s highlights, and features a talented local cast directed by Malpas resident John Oakden who has written for Brookside and Emmerdale in the past.

It will be performed at the old Hampton Railway Station to commemorate the First World War, and will feature readings and songs from The Great War showing how it affected the people of Malpas and Cheshire, and childhood memories shared by 101-year-old Cheshire resident John Miller.

There will also be performances from The Co-operative Funeralcare Brass Band and Malpas Ladies Choir, amongst many others.

This year follows three hugely successful previous years of Malfest, which is the brainchild of Malpas residents Diana Mather, Fiona Midwood and John and Maureen Oakden.

Since it began in 2011, they have made it their mission to bring culture and household names to Malpas, with each year more successful than the last.

Diana told The Chronicle : “The aim of Malfest is to bring a wide variety of accessible culture to this lovely rural area, allowing the people of Malpas and its environs the chance to see class acts at affordable prices.

“Being on the boundaries of Cheshire, Shropshire and Wales, Malpas has a need to forge its own identity and Malfest has attracted some big names to put Malpas firmly on the map over the last four years.

“Running a festival from scratch is not an easy task and selling the idea locally is not as easy as one would think.

“We were lucky because John Oakden and myself had contacts, having worked in TV and the theatre, and Fiona knew certain people locally who would help us get it off the ground.”

She added: “We’ve been extremely fortunate to have some big names over the last few years.

“For four days each May, the village is full of authors, poets, artists, orchestras, choirs, bands and performers, helping to encourage an interest in performance, music and the arts generally.”

For the full programme and online ticket sales, visit <a href = ''></a>.

Tickets are also available from Richard at Pet Stop on Malpas High Street or by calling the Festival Office on 01948 820549.