Holt: A festival for all
PUBLISHED: 09:19 19 July 2016 | UPDATED: 09:19 19 July 2016
Music, fine art, top comedians, wonderful writers and eclectic drama – don’t miss the Holt Festival
Whether you love socially challenging comedy, groundbreaking theatre, music from guitar legends or talks from leading writers – the line-up for this year’s Holt Festival will not disappoint.
Now in its eighth year, the festival has grown into a major event on the country’s arts calendar, bringing the best performers and artists from all over the world to the small Georgian market town. The programme brings together established internationally renowned artists with exciting new acts and this year, there is also an emphasis on providing plenty of opportunities for young audiences to engage with the arts.
Artistic director Charles Pugh says: “I made a conscious decision to bring back a lot more children’s events and this year they are where they belong, at the heart of the festival, and they are mainly free. There are shows suitable for the whole family and workshops aimed at young participants. There is storytelling, stand-up comedy for kids and much more, but one of my highlights is Tap Tap Theatre’s Captain Morgan and The Sands of Time, an exciting family comedy adventure involving pirates, monsters, and sword fights.
“I’m also pleased that Holt Festival is continuing to support arts in local schools by sponsoring the children’s concert with the theme Carnival of the Animals being organised by FALCON (Facilitating Arts and Literature for the Children of Norfolk) and funding Community Music East to work with Holt Youth Project to stage an event during festival week.”
The 2016 programme features a huge variety of shows and events and organisers hope there will be something which appeals to everybody. A performance of the Bucket Club’s new show Fossils – about an extinct fish, a missing father and the Loch Ness Monster - will be showcased prior to it heading to the Edinburgh Fringe in August. Stage, film and TV actress Olivia Poulet will also perform her acclaimed interpretation of Mark Ravenhill’s Product, which has received rave reviews in Edinburgh and London.
There is a top comedy line-up, including award-winning Mark Watson, Jenny Éclair with her How to be a Middle-aged Woman tour, and broadcaster and former MP Gyles Brandreth opening the festival with his show Word Power. Dr Phil Hammond also performs his subversive comedy How to Survive the NHS... and Help the NHS Survive.
The festival aims to combine new talent with plenty of welcome nods to the past – and this is very true in its music line-up. Dire Straits’ John Illsey, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, and The Searchers will delight music fans keen to immerse themselves in nostalgia and Norfolk roots rockers The Vagaband will play a rare seated concert. Classical violin duo Retorica will perform Bach, Telemann, Mozart and Prokofiev, and Polish pianist Mariola Cieniawa performs her first ever UK concert outside of London.
“I’m very excited in particular about the second weekend of the festival, which is really action-packed and varied,” says Charles. “Take Saturday - we start with Tap Tap Theatre’s Captain Morgan pirate play for all the family, from eight to 80. Then there’s the new show from Mark Watson, two sensational music events - the wit and satirical brilliance of Flanders and Swan, Stilgoe, Skellern and Lehrer from the Good Gnus; followed by the music of Dire Straits in the outdoor Theatre In The Woods. On Sunday we focus on drama, celebrating firstly Jane Austen, then Mrs Thatcher, and finally the Loch Ness Monster, before a mellow musical trip down memory lane with The Searchers.”
The festival has always placed a keen emphasis on its talks and literature events. This year brings award-winning journalist Kate Adie to the town, discussing her latest book examining the role of women in the First World War; historian Michael Smith celebrating the centenary of Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic expedition, and best-selling author Joanna Trollope.
The annual Holt Art Prize will also be announced during the festival by Sir John Hurt, with all the shortlisted entries exhibited for the public at The Auden Theatre throughout festival week.
Holt Festival runs from July 23 to 31st, for more information visit www.hotlfestival.org