Rye Arts Festival will be "biggest and best ever" for big anniversary

Gyles BrandrethGyles Brandreth
Gyles Brandreth
The 50th anniversary Rye Arts Festival (Sept 10-26) is set to be the biggest and best ever, organisers say.

Spokesman Andy Stuart promised a packed and high-quality programme of around 60 events covering classical and contemporary music, books and talks, drama and film, walks and exhibitions.

“After the Rye Town Crier announces the official start of the Festival on Friday, September 10, the festive fortnight kicks off in earnest with a talk in the afternoon by Gyles Brandreth, days in advance of the official publication of his autobigarphy Odd Boy Out, but advance copies will be on sale at our event. The former MP, roving TV reporter, teddy bear fan, radio panel show wit and canal bargee will deliver a funny and warm talk that is guaranteed to uplift the mood!

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“Further highlights include talks by the Rev Richard Coles and Lord Kenneth Baker, who is focussing on political assassinations. Plus look out for talks ranging from the night-time sounds of the countryside to 18th-century aristocratic family the Sharps. And there are whole literary day dedicated to spies and another where crime writing is the focus!

“Contemporary music features the red-hot blues of Errol Linton, and the gorgeous singing and guitar playing of the Vera van Heeringen trio, who offer an intoxicating blend of Americana and folk.

“The classical music programme is wide ranging. Look out for a piano recital by Martin Roscoe devoted entirely to Beethoven and a fun evening of improvised opera, where you the audience give the cast the title, the setting and the storyline, and they make it up as they go along!

“And The Hill Quartet will be reprising the piece Cantator & Amanda by composer Roxanna Panufnik, which was specially commissioned for the Festival’s 40th anniversary. The piece is based on a medieval Rye legend in which a young monk was bricked up alive in a wall with a young woman for their sin of forbidden love!

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“The film programme starts with a screening at the Kino of the ‘blaxploitation’ movie classic Shaft, which was released in the year 1971 when the Rye Arts Festival was launched. The theme music by Isaac Hayes is truly iconic.

“Drama will see a series of street theatre events on the opening Saturday, September 11, which will be fun for all the family. And the Rye Shakespeare Company is to deliver a timely revival of the classic Canterburye Tales in the Mermaid on the closing Sunday, September 26.”

You can check out the full programme and tickets are available online or www.ryeartsfestival.org.uk or from the box office via telephone on 01797 462168. Tickets can be bought from Grammar School Records in Rye’s High Street on weekdays.

“As the safety of audiences, volunteers and artiste is essential the festival plans to limit capacities to 75 per cent at all venues, and make sure that it adheres to the latest advice from the government and SAGE.”

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