cheltenham poetry festival 2016

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    You can buy your tickets in advance by phone, on-line or by calling into Suffolk Anthology Bookshop (or The Wilson or the Playhouse for events held there).

    IT PAYS TO BUY IN ADVANCE Please note that, although tickets may still be bought on the door, tickets bought in advance are 1 cheaper.

    Workshops must be booked in advance.

    For ALL BOOKINGS visit the Cheltenham Poetry Festival website and click the Booking Info tab OR search for Cheltenham Poetry Festival Booking.

    You can then select the event/s you are interested in from a list and the link will take you to TicketSource or The Wilson or The Playhouse where you can buy by phone or on-line.

    The Wilson: 01242 237431 or visit or visit The Wilson in person.

    The Playhouse: 01242 522852 or visit or visit the theatre in person.

    Note: the Playhouse now offers on-line bookings (but there is a booking fee).

    You can also buy tickets, in person, from Suffolk Anthology Bookshop, 17 Suffolk Parade, Cheltenham,GL50 2AE, 01242 361 362. Please note cash and cheque payments only.

    NB Concessionary prices apply to minors (under-18), full-time students under the age of 25 and to those officially registered as disabled or unemployed.


  • Welcome to the 2016 Festival

    When American poet Mark Doty described love as a gateway to the world, he could easily have been talking about poetry.

    Visit the Cheltenham Poetry Festival this Spring, and we will take you on an exotic and exciting journey. You wont even need your passport.

    Here are some of our highlights: Christopher Somerville - Walking Correspondent of The Times and poet - leads you into the wild. We launch our poetry cinema programme with a ravishing black & white visit to a bygone age in a showing of 1962 by Diana Taylor. Dr Paul Innes transports us to the days of the Roman Empire in a talk about Shakespeares Roman plays. Kim Fleet delves into the seamier side of 18th Century Cheltenham, and Cheltenham Poet in Residence Angela France celebrates the towns anarchic and revolutionary spirit. Also on the menu: best-selling author David Elder offers a preview of his new Tennyson-inspired play; we take a trip to 20th century Ireland when acclaimed poet Nigel McLoughlin talks about WB Yeats and Gerry and Esther Smyth perform haunting settings of James Joyces sequence of poems Chamber Music. We also welcome novelist Samantha Harvey this generations Virginia Woolf (Daily Telegraph), who pairs up with Faber New Poet Jack Underwood to explore the nature of memory. The Independents columnist Rosie Millard leads us through the London suburbs in her saucy romp The Square. And internationally acclaimed poet George Szirtes reads work inspired by folk stories, European history and his life in Hungary.

    We are also delighted to welcome National Treasure, radio DJ, television presenter, pop professor and best-selling author Stuart Maconie to the Festival to talk about his love of poetry and read work by iconic British poets such as W.H.Auden and Philip Larkin.

    As ever, we have a great line-up of contemporary poets, including Todd Swift, Carrie Etter, Rhian Edwards, Helen Moore, David Clarke, Angela France, Pete Mullineaux, Graham Burchell, Linda Rose Black and Sarah James, plus comedy from Angie Belcher, story-telling from The Bard of Windmill Hill, Wytons Wisdom from Peter Wyton and our legendary performance-poetry Slam.

    As the writers festival, we also offer a wealth of workshops to inspire your poems and help you hone your craft. Highlights this year include workshops and talks on Beating Writers Block, Self-Publishing and how writing prose fuels your poetry. Our tutors include David Clarke, Kim Fleet, Graham Burchell and Matt Black.

    So why not let poetry transport you this spring? You never know where it will take you!

    Anna Saunders, Cheltenham Poetry Festival Founder and Director.

    Heres what you can expect from our events:

    Chapter and Verse - We pair up poets and prose writers to explore shared themes.

    Spoken Word - The finest performance poetry. Expect adrenaline-fuelled, thought-provoking, fresh new writing.

    Stand Up For Poetry! Poetry with the lol factor. Expect cerebrally stimulating laughs.

    This year we also offer Poetry Cinema, talks on classical poetry, slams, workshops and much more.

    This years theme is beauty and our poets and performers will be offering their - very different - take on what beauty means to them.


  • 4.

    FRIDAY, 6 MAYChapter and Verse - Literary Lunch - Sarah Hesketh and Christine Whittemore1pm2.30pm, Andersons, 10

    Erudite, witty, and stylishly contemporary, Sarah Heskeths debut collection invokes a world of frozen lakes, snow-spun streets, the small relics of lives in original and utterly convincing poems. Christine Whittemores first novel Inscription is a love letter to the book, a fascinating depiction of evolution from tablet to folio. Its also a gripping story of exile and return, redemption and loss.

    The Way I Remember It - A Poetry Workshop with Matt Black3pm4.30pm, Tailors, 15/12Limited to 12 places - advance booking only

    An inspiring poetry workshop using memories to trigger new poems with Matt Black, Derbyshire Poet Laureate 2011-2013. This will be a fun and supportive workshop, suitable for beginners and more experienced writers.

    Chapter and Verse - Matt Black and Rosie Millard6.30pm7.30pm, The Playhouse, 9/7

    Quirky, hilarious and highly entertaining Matt Black is rapidly becoming one of the UKs most popular performance poets, combining the wit and wry delivery of John Cooper Clarke with the warm humour of John Hegley. Journalist, broadcaster and BBC Arts Correspondent Rosie Millard is a columnist for The Independent and author of The Square a saucy romp featuring the middle class residents of a London garden square, compared to Jane Austen and Trollope, and described as pin sharp and wickedly funny by Adam Foulds. Please book at The Playhouse Theatre.

    Poetry Cinema and Meet the Directorwith Diana Taylor8pm10pm, The Playhouse, 7/5

    Diana Taylor worked as a Film Editor and Assistant Producer for the BBC in London at Ealing Film Studios before making poetry films which have been selected for film festivals all over the world. Poetry Cinema showcases some of her finest poetry cinema, including the prize-winning film 1962 a ravishing black and white portrait of a bygone age. The event includes a Q & A with Diana. Please book at The Playhouse Theatre.

    Rosie Millard


  • 5.

    SATURDAY, 7 MAYAcross the Lost Border - poetry and song with Kevan Manwaring and Chantelle Smith12noon1.30pm, Andersons, 7/5 On door 8/6

    Join us for a literary trip across the lost border in poetry and song. Kevan Manwaring reads from Lost Borders, described as colourful and rich, unusual and alive by Jay Ramsay. This poetic journey takes us through thresholds in England, Scotland, Ireland and North America. Wiltshire-based folksinger Chantelle Smith provides a musical accompaniment with enchanting folk ballads of borders and crossings.

    Love Lost - Alfred, Lord Tennyson in Cheltenham - with David Elder2pm3pm, St Andrews Church, 7/5 On door 8/6

    Cheltenham has been home to many great literary figures, including Alfred, Lord Tennyson, who came to live in the town in 1844 after it was recommended that he took the waters to restore his health. Bestselling author David Elders books include 50 Gems of the Cotswolds, Cheltenham Heritage Walks and Down Cheltenham Way. In this fascinating event, David talks about his newplay Love Lost a play inspired by Tennysons time in Cheltenham and his struggle with depression and hypochondria. The event includes a reading from the play, and a Q & A with the author. Sponsored by The Oldham Foundation.

    James Joyce in Music - Gerry Smyth3.30pm4.30pm, St Andrews Church, 7/5 On door 8/6

    Music played a crucial role in James Joyces literary imagination. This event offers a unique chance to hear an original setting of Joyces poems Chamber Music written by actor, scholar and musician Dr Gerry Smyth and performed by Gerry and singer Esther Smyth. These haunting folkish settings of the lyrics have been performed internationally. Ravishingly beautiful and emotionally affecting, Chamber Music celebrates the lyrical beauty and spirit of the iconic Irish writers work.

    Shakespeares Roman Plays a talk by Dr Paul Innes5pm6pm, St Andrews Church, 6/4 On door 7/5

    Rome was a recurring theme throughout Shakespeares career, from the celebrated Julius Caesar to the less well known Cymbeline. In this fascinating talk, Dr Paul Innes, author of Shakespeares Roman Plays, assesses themes of politics and national identity in these plays through the common theme of Rome.

    Chantelle Smith & Kevan Manwaring

    James Joyce

  • 6.

    SATURDAY, 7 MAYFrom Page to Stage - Todd Swift and Rhys Milson7pm8pm, The Playhouse, 8/5

    Experience the drama of live poetry this summer with Todd Swift, one of our most celebrated living writers and author of eight collections described as elegant, moving and masterful. His charismatic performances of electrifyingly original work offer all the excitement of live theatre. Rhys Milson is the author of Amnesia. He has been praised for his direct, uncompromising and exciting new poetic voice and compared with Bobby Parker and Charles Bukowski. Please book at The Playhouse Theatre.

    Stuart MaconieSaturday, 7 May, 8.30pm9.30pm, The Playhouse, 12/8

    Stuart Maconie is a national treasure radio DJ, television presenter, pop professor (one of the UKs leading authorities on music and popular culture), writer for many publications rangin


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