Evesham Festival of Words Programme 2024

We are delighted to launch our fantastic programme of events and thrilled to offer you a preview of our fabulous and colourful 2024 brochure – available to pick up in early March from a wide range of locations in Evesham and surrounding areas. 

You can book online using PayPal. If you do not use PayPal, please contact the Festival Chair (details below) for alternatives – BACS, cheque or cash. 

All purchases are acknowledged promptly.  There are no printed tickets but your name will be on the attendance list.  We saw lots of events sell out last year so booking early really is important – so start getting some dates in your 2024 diaries!

For more information on any event, or for ticket enquiries, please contact:

Festival Chair, Sue Ablett (info@eveshamfestivalofwords.org) 0787 1285606

  • Friday 22nd March 2024, 1.00 pm

    'The Ups and Downs of the River'

    The Severn Bore has delighted or frustrated viewers over centuries.  However, this tidal phenomenon is not only found on the Severn.  This talk looks at the bore worldwide, then concentrates on the Severn tide, where the wave comes from, how people use and view it, the shape and changing nature of the river, its channels, floods and banks.  This is a celebration of one of England’s great natural free events.

    Speaker, Tony Conder, is a Festival favourite, usually entertaining us with tales of canals, canal people and railways.

    Venue: Holland House, Cropthorne. WR10 3NB

    Note: 2-course lunch served at 1.00 pm, but arrive early to get a drink and enjoy the lovely house and gardens.

    Tickets: £22, including 2-course lunch (special diets can be accommodated.)  Tickets must be booked direct with Holland House, E:enquiries@hollandhouse.org, or tel: 01386 860330.

  • Friday 29th March 2024, 2.30 pm

    ''Flog It' battles 'Bargain Hunt''

    Enjoy a classic Raphael’s Afternoon Tea (freshly baked scone with clotted cream and jam; finger sandwiches and assorted sweet treats) in the company of Robert Arley talking about how TV favourites ‘Flog It’ and ‘Bargain Hunt’ battle against each other.  Hear how clever contrivances and taxing schedules engineer unlikely candidates and dodgy collectibles into happy day-time viewing. 

    Robert is a retired TV producer.  He directed ‘The Antiques Roadshow’, ‘Flog It’ and ‘Bargain Hunt’ over many years and enjoys revealing behind-the-scenes stories from his days as a broadcast location director.

    Come along and support a local cause, part of Raphael’s Easter Charity Weekend.  Enjoy a great tea, and a fabulous talk – all in the stunning riverside setting.  Tickets can also be booked direct with Raphael’s (tel: 01386 45460)

    Venue: Raphael’s Restaurant, Boat Lane, Evesham. WR11 4BP

    Tickets: £15 (also available direct from Raphael’s).  Pre-booking essential.

  • Wednesday 17th April, 1.00 pm

    'Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know - Lord Byron and his Women'

    Lord Byron wasn’t just a poet, he was more of a rock star.  England’s most prominent and outrageous celebrity in the early nineteenth century, he lived life to excess – and his relations with women were completely scandalous.  This talk explores those relationships in the context of some of Byron’s most well-known poetry, his extraordinary rise to fame and legend, and his place in the tradition of English Romantic poets.

    Speaker, Jeremy Holmes, has worked in advertising and higher education.  Now semi-retired he is a trustee of various charities.  In his youth he won a scholarship and gained a Double First in English Literature at Oxford.

    Venue: Holland House, Cropthorne. WR10 3NB

    Two-course lunch is served at 1.00 pm (special diets can be accommodated), but arrive early to get a drink and enjoy the lovely house and gardens.  The talk will commence about 2.00 pm.

    Tickets £22 via Holland House: www.hollandhouse.org  E: enquiries@hollandhouse.org, or T: 01386 860330

  • Tuesday 7th May, 7.00 pm

    'A Game of Two Halves'

    With its industrial and arty interior, Cornmill Yard is the ideal venue for an intimate evening of fabulous food and an entertaining talk.

    “He’s good, but can he do it on a cold, wet Tuesday night in Stoke?”  This quote was said live on air by one well known broadcaster when referring to the great Lionel Messi!  It is just one of many great stories that former sports reporter, Alan Tolley, will be sharing.  Alan began life as a freelance reporter for BBC Radio WM back in 1982, later spending 21 years covering Premier League games for TodayFM Ireland.  He’ll be recounting how he was advised not to give up his day job, as well as some of the strange, interesting and often humorous situations he’s found himself in over the years.  He’ll also talk about the do’s and don’ts of reporting, as well as the inevitable highs and lows of his reporting career.  This is a talk that will appeal to lovers of football as well as the not so keen!

     Venue: Cornmill Yard, Cornmill Lane, Cheltenham Road, Evesham. WR11 2LL

    Tickets: £22 (including 2-course supper).  Pre-booking by 3rd May essential.

  • Wednesday 22nd May, 7.00 pm

    'SS Suevic - A Tale of Shipwreck and Survival'

    The SS Suevic was a steamship, built specifically to service the Liverpool-Cape Town-Sydney route. 

     She ran aground in a storm near the Lizard Point in Cornwall 117 years ago, in 1907. 456 people were rescued by the RNLI over some 16 hours with no lives lost, still the largest number of people rescued by the RNLI in a single operation. 

    Galen Bartholomew is a keen family historian.  Two of his relatives were amongst those rescued.  His illustrated talk will describe how he pieced together an extraordinary story – how the Suevic ran aground; the dramatic circumstances of the rescue; the salvage and rebuilding of the ship (in what was the largest salvage operation ever undertaken at that time); and the Suevic’s final years as a whaling factory ship in the Antarctic, before being scuttled off Norway to avoid capture by German warships.  A truly remarkable tale!  2024 being the 200th anniversary year of the RNLI, this talk, first aired and sold out in 2023, is being repeated by popular demand.

    Venue: Ecgwins Club, 117 High Street, Evesham. WR11 4EQ

    Tickets: £10

  • Wednesday 5th June, 7.00 pm

    'When the Dogs Don't Bark'

    Speaker, Dr Angela Gallop, CBE, is a leading UK Forensic Scientist and star of ITV’s ‘Cold Case Forensics’.    During her remarkable 40-year career, she has worked on thousands of cases in the UK and around the world, helping to solve a huge number of cases, correcting some serious miscarriages of justice and exonerating innocent people.  Some of the most intriguing cases include the deaths of Stephen Lawrence, Rachel Nickell and Damilola Taylor. From crime scene to courtroom Angela has seen it all.  From examining blood patterns and footwear marks, to analysing fragments of glass, paint and textile fibres, she shows that every contact really does leave a trace and every trace can help to solve a crime. 

    Venue: Evesham Rowing Club, Abbey Road, WR11 4ST

    Tickets: £12

  • Saturday 8th June, 2.00 pm

    'Glowing Bright'

    Marie Sklodowska Curie was one of the most famous scientists of all time.  An outstandingly talented Polish girl with huge ambitions both for herself and her country, she broke through all the restrictions placed on women at the time.  Her amazing discovery of not one but two new elements with her beloved husband Pierre Curie is an astonishing and well-loved story. 

    The subsequent ups and downs of her turbulent private life, and spectacular work during World War One, are perhaps less well known, but equally fascinating. 

    Written and performed by Alison Neil, a story-teller second to none, this one-hour play will be followed by a Q & A session, and tea and cake.

    Venue: Evesham Methodist Church, Bridge Street, Evesham. WR11 4SF

    Tickets: £12 (including tea and cake)

  • Saturday 22nd June, 7.30 pm

    'Musical Histories: A Concert'

    EODS (Evesham Operatic and Dramatic Society) are delighted to return to Festival of Words and Bengeworth Church once again with an evening of song and words ‘History as seen in Musicals’.

    Join us on a journey through time, sharing stories from the past as told in musical form. With songs from well-known hit musicals to slightly more obscure shows, it will be a show stopping evening to enjoy!   This is set to be one for the History Books!  This is always a wonderful evening, with great music, real talent, beautiful voices and the stunning setting of Bengeworth Church

    Venue: Bengeworth Church, Port Street, Evesham. WR11 3LF

    Tickets: £10 (including interval drink).  (Children under 12 free of charge).

    Tickets also available from:

    The Almonry Museum.  Call in person, or

    T: 01386 446944.  E: tic@almonry.ndo.co.uk

     

  • Monday 24th June, 1.00 pm

    'A River Avon Year'

    Speaker, Rick Thompson, is a former journalist and broadcaster and a lifelong birdwatcher. His beautifully written book, A River Avon Year, the subject of his talk, follows ‘Shakespeare’s Avon’ month-by-month, describing the fascinating wildlife, and relating the human dramas that have played out on its banks and changed British history. From its source at Naseby to the Severn at Tewkesbury, the Avon’s riverside towns all have their stories, and some surprises. (A joint event with Evesham Walking Festival).                                                  

    Venue: Holland House, Cropthorne. WR10 3NB      Tickets: £22.

    Two-course lunch is served at 1.00 pm (special diets can be accommodated), but arrive early to get a drink and enjoy the lovely house and gardens.  The talk will commence about 2.00 pm.

    Tickets via Holland House:  www.hollandhouse.org

    E: enquiries@hollandhouse.org, or T: 01386 860330

  • Wednesday 26th June, 2.30 pm

    'Hatch, Match and Despatch'

    This talk by former Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages, John Boon, covers something of the history of civil registration in England and Wales, but focusses mainly on some of the many stories, both light-hearted and sad, from his 35 years working as a Registrar in Plymouth.  The Vale (Marriage) Room in Evesham is the perfect venue for this talk.

    When not working John has always had an interest in nature, something that has taken him all over the world. He currently runs birdwatching and natural history groups for Evesham U3A.  Before coming to Evesham in 2017 he was chair of a charity that owned and managed an historic Victorian cemetery!

    Venue: Vale (Marriage Room), Evesham Register Office, Oat Street, Evesham. WR11 4PJ

    Tickets: £9

  • Wednesday 26th June, 7.30 pm

    'Stories and Songs on a Fair Summer Evening'

    Colin Pitts returns to the Festival this year with some new songs and some old favourites, all performed in his relaxed warm style.  Some will make you think and some will make you smile.  ‘(Colin Pitts is a wonderfully talented song maker and fine musician whose music I have known and admired for many years.’  Larry Kaplan, Songwriter USA).  

    This year Colin is joined by award-winning short story writer Philip Douch. Philip’s engaging readings of his own warm and witty stories for grown-ups have been delighting audiences around the South West: ‘Really really fun!’ ….‘Thank you for bringing joy into my evening’….’Beautifully written and superbly delivered’. 

    The Studio Theatre at the Henrician is the perfect venue for this intimate evening of words and song. 

    Venue: The Studio Theatre, The Henrician, Victoria Avenue, Evesham. WR11 4QH

    Tickets: £11 (plus £1 booking fee per ticket) only available from: www.henrician.org

  • Thursday 27th June, 2.00 - 6.00 pm

    'Poetry in Nature: A Guided Walk'

    A joint event with Evesham Walking Festival and Cleeve Prior  Heritage Trust, this delightful 3-mile easy walk takes in old pasture, traditional orchards, woodland and ponds, with poetry readings to complement the scenery and surroundings.  Our route takes us into The Sanctuary and Sanctuary Wood before making our way to the Village Green and on through the churchyard into open fields to reach the river.  We return to the Field Barn for poetry, tea and cake in the Heritage Garden with the opportunity to visit the ‘Edgar Wheeler’ hovel.

    Venue:  Meet Cleeve Prior Heritage Trust Car Park. WR11 8JX

    Tickets: £9 including tea and cake at end of walk, only available from www.eveshamwalkfest.org.uk

  • Friday 28th June, 10.45 am - 12.00 noon

    'Bums on Seats'

    Sue Ablett has been Festival Chair since it launched in 2016.  In this talk, in her own inimitable style, Sue takes you behind the scenes of Evesham Festival of Words.  Hear how the Festival began, how Sue got involved, and see some of the events featured over the years. 

    If you ever wondered how speakers are found, this will be your chance to find out – and you might get some surprises.  And what about those tricky moments?  And there have been a few even when things look to be going swimmingly.  We finish off with some lessons learned.  

    Why a title of ‘Bums on Seats?’  As Sue will explain, it doesn’t matter how good a programme you have, or how good the speakers, if you can’t sell tickets, and you can’t get bums on seats, you don’t have a festival.   A fun, interesting and engaging event!

    Venue: Ecgwin’s Club, 117 High Street, Evesham. WR11 4BQ

    Tickets: £9, including cold drink and cake.

    Why not stay on for lunch at Ecgwin’s Club? Menu will be circulated to attendees ahead of the event for pre-ordering menu choices on the morning.

  • Friday 28th June, 2.00 pm - 3.00 pm

    'The Partisan'

    Local lad, Patrick Worrall, has enjoyed remarkable success with his first novel, The Partisan. Described as “a compelling spy thriller in the grand tradition of le Carré and Deighton” and “an explosive debut novel”, Patrick weaves a gripping tale of espionage and resistance that spans the 1930s to the Cold War, moving seamlessly across Europe from Lithuanian forests to London Jazz Clubs and from rural Siberia to the Moscow underworld.  Add into the mix a lethally dangerous chess tournament in the London of 1961 and you have all the makings of a great read.  Join us as Patrick explains the inspiration behind the book, how he is coping with its success, and what comes next. 

     Venue: Ecgwin’s Club, 117 High Street, Evesham. WR11 4BQ

    Tickets: £9, including cold drink and cake.  

    Why not come early and enjoy lunch at Ecgwin’s Club? 

  • Friday 28th June, 3.30 pm - 4.30 pm

    'Clothbound Classics'

     Described as “literature’s new cover star” Coralie Bickford-Smith is one of Penguin’s in-house book cover designers and is responsible for its Clothbound Classics series.  Clothbounds have some famous fans – Barack Obama and the Princess of Wales to name but two, and to date some 6 million have been sold in 110 countries!  Coralie has also gained cult status with TikTok, or more specifically BookTok. To quote The Mail on Sunday, “In so far as someone from the book-cover world can be a celebrity, Coralie is a total A-lister!”   Join us to hear how Coralie got into the world of book covers, how she produces her stunning designs, and what else she’s up to – not least writing and illustrating her own children’s books.

     Venue: Ecgwin’s Club, 117 High Street, Evesham. WR11 4BQ

    Tickets: £9, including cold drink and cake.

  • Friday 28th June, 7.30 pm

    'Festival Quiz Night'

    With us since year 1, our regular and very  popular Festival quiz masters, Helen Yendall and Chris Cherry, return once again with more questions on everything from poetry and song lyrics to book titles and the meaning of words. As usual, the Festival’s popular Quiz Night definitely has a WORDY slant!  And Raphael’s is the perfect venue.

    Venue: Raphael’s Restaurant, Boat Lane, Evesham. WR11 4BP

    Tickets: £8.50 per person, including light supper.  Teams of 4.  Pre-booking of teams essential.

  • Saturday 29th June, 10.30 am - 12 noon

    'But I Haven't Finished Yet!'

    We are all growing older and most of us don’t like it! But since we can’t do anything to change it, why not laugh? 

    Join poet Brenda Read-Brown on a riotous celebration of growing older.  In her fantasies she is an imprisoned pensioner who rescues fellow passengers from crashed aeroplanes.  In reality, she is a bit of a hoarder who likes Greek islands.    Along the way we encounter a range of seemingly random things.  And you’ll discover why Brenda’s final words will definitely be “But I haven’t finished yet!”  A show to delight and entertain, however advanced in life the audience may be.  Mostly funny but with some poignant moments.  Not suitable for children.

    In 2001 Brenda gave up a secure career as a project manager to be a poet.  Since then she has performed her poetry on Radio 4, the House of Lords, and any number of ‘low dives’.  She was Gloucestershire Poet Laureate from 2012 – 2019 but says she gets her greatest rewards by helping other people find their words. 

    Venue: Friends Meeting House, Cowl Street, Evesham. WR11 4PN

    Tickets: £10, including tea/coffee and cake.

  • Saturday 29th June, 10.30 am - 12.30 pm

    'Flash Fantastic'

    Flash Fantastic – big stories in a few words, an introduction to flash fiction, or writing the shortest of short stories.  The flash form for both fiction and non-fiction is a vibrant way of telling the shortest of stories.  Whether you’re an experienced writer, or new to the short short story, or to writing, this workshop will cover the basics of flash and look at some tricks and tips for putting the shine on stories from between 6 and 1,000 words.

    Electra Rhodes is an archaeologist who lives in Hertfordshire.  Since beginning writing in 2020, she has won numerous competitions, been placed in many more, and judged a dozen more.  She runs creative writing workshops at various literary festivals.  She says that she is “currently finishing off a flash novella, stabbing at a hybrid nature/family memoir, and throwing herself into an intersectional biography of the British Landscape.”  Her workshop ‘Winning Words’ in 2023 was very popular hence her return in 2024.

    Venue: Evesham Library (Upstairs Meeting Room), Oat Street, Evesham. WR11 4PQ

    Tickets: £18, including hot and cold drink and cake.

  • Saturday 29th June, 1.00 pm - 2.00 pm

    'Taking the Waters: The Rise and Fall (and Rise Again) of the English Spa'

    The English have always been obsessed with bathing.  English bathing culture over the centuries was riotous, salacious and sometimes devoted to treatments that did more harm than good.  English spas were frequented by everyone from royalty (such as Queen Anne who sought relief from gout at Bath) to the poor of Harrogate who, after partaking of their sulphurous waters, added diarrhoea to their miseries!  This talk is a romp through the centuries telling the extraordinary story of the English spa from their origins to their reinvention in the twenty first century as beauty and wellness resorts. 

    Melanie King is a historical non-fiction writer, and a speaker whose talks are informative, interactive and peppered with amusing anecdotes.  She is a firm believer in history never being boring!

    Venue: Friends Meeting House, Cowl Street, Evesham. WR11 4PN

    Tickets: £9, including tea/coffee and cake.

  • Saturday 29th June, 3.00 pm - 4.00 pm

    'A Passion for Fashion - 300 Years of Style at Blenheim Palace'

    Following her fabulous talk, ‘The Ladies of Blenheim’, in 2023, Antonia Keaney returns for a talk which includes a look at the clothes, underclothes, shoes and accessories which would have been worn by some of the more colourful characters (men and women) in the Palace’s 300-year history, as well as a look at the House of Dior’s continuing special relationship with Blenheim Palace. 

    The part that arsenic, lead, mercury and mousetraps played in the trends of the day is considered and how, then as now, people went to the most extraordinary lengths to keep abreast of fashion.  Metre high wigs, killer cosmetics and fabric dyes which would cause permanent damage to the wearer were not unusual – nor was the involvement of mice in what had to be one of the most bizarre moments in 18th century fashion!

    Antonia Keaney first joined Blenheim Palace in 2008 as a member of the Education Team, later becoming the Palace’s Social Historian and Researcher.  She has made various TV appearances, including BBC’s Country File, Channel 4’s Phil Spencer’s Stately Homes, and most recently on Channel 5’s The Cotswolds with Pam Ayres

    Venue: Friends Meeting House, Cowl Street, Evesham. WR11 4PN

    Tickets: £9, including tea/coffee and cake.

  • Saturday 29th June, 7.00 pm 8.30 pm

    'An Evening with Mike Gayle'

    Mike Gayle has worked as a journalist, “agony uncle” for teen magazine Bliss, and for the last 25 years as a novelist. His first novel, My Legendary Girlfriend, published in 1998, was described as “full of belly laughs and painfully acute observations”.  His earlier books roughly corresponded to challenges facing his peer group – post university, first job; relationship issues (Mr Commitment); moving back in with parents after failed relationship (Turning Thirty).  His more recent work is broader, tackling topics such as adoption. 

    Now with 18 novels to his name and, unusually, all with the same publisher (Hodder) he finds his original loyal readers are introducing their children to his books.  Mike’s books have been translated into over 30 languages.  After stints in Manchester and London, Mike now lives in Birmingham with his wife, kids, two sheds and a rabbit!  Mike was last with us in 2019.  We look forward to welcoming him back to Evesham.

    Venue: Evesham Rowing Club, Abbey Road, Evesham.  WR11 4ST

    Tickets: £12

  • Sunday 30th June, 10.30 am - 12.30 pm

    'So You Think You've Got a Book in You?'

      “Ever dreamed of writing a book? Think you’ve got a book inside you, but not sure where to start? Author Debbie Young‘s workshop will help you define your book idea and turn your idea into reality, whatever your chosen genre – novels, short stories, poetry, non-fiction, memoir, local history, and more. The session will include helpful case studies, constructive exercises, top tips for writing well and consistently, an overview of publishing opportunities in the UK today, and the best route to publication for your project.

    Debbie is the author of 13 novels, now published by Boldwood Books, for whom she has just signed an additional four-book contract. She has also written guidebooks for writers, is a course tutor, Founder and director of the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival, a frequent speaker and reader at other litfests, and co-judge for the Stroud Short Stories event. 

    Venue: Hampton Community Hall, Pershore Road, Evesham. WR11 2PQ

    Tickets: £18, including hot and cold drinks and cake.

  • Sunday 30th June, 10.00 am - 12 noon

    'Evesham Town Trail: A Guided Walk'

    Whether you are local or a visitor, this two-hour guided tour following Evesham Town Trail, will showcase some of Evesham’s wonderful history and heritage.  Gill Pawson, Chair of Vale of Evesham Civic Society, will share her love for the town’s buildings and point out some of the many treasures that so often go unnoticed, usually because we only look ahead, not up or down!  This walk also includes a rare chance to go inside Evesham’s iconic Bell Tower and visit the first floor Ringing Chamber.  Maximum of 20 – so do book early!

                                         

    Venue: Meet at 9.45 am at The Almonry, Abbey Gate, Evesham. WR11 4BQ

    Tickets: £3.

  • Sunday 30th June, 2.00 - 4.00 pm

    'An Afternoon with Rebecca Tope'

    Rebecca Tope is a British crime writer and journalist.  She admits to “blundering accidentally into writing crime fiction, and still wonders how it happened.”  Fortunately for fans of Rebecca’s writing, there are around 30 novels to choose from. 

    She is the author of three murder mystery series, featuring the fictional characters of Den Cooper, a Devon police detective; Drew Slocombe, a former nurse, now an undertaker; Thea Osborne, a house sitter in the Cotswolds; and Persimmon Brown, a florist in the Lake District.  She is also ghostwriter of the novels based on the ITV series Rosemary and Thyme.  If Rebecca hadn’t accidentally blundered into crime writing, she admits that she could have found herself writing historical, or sagas, or even non-fiction.  She is currently trying her hand at two of those, and has large plans for a series of memoirs.

    Venue: Friends Meeting House, Cowl Street, Evesham. WR11 4PN

    Tickets: £10, including tea, scone and cake.

  • Sunday 30th June, 7.00 - 9.00 pm

    'From Railways to Royalty: An Evening with Jack Boskett'

    Multi-award winning photographer Jack Boskett is set to captivate audiences with his presentation, ‘From Railways to Royalty’. He delves into the narratives behind his photographs, offering a glimpse into some truly captivating moments.  His extensive portfolio includes his experiences as an official photographer during the solemn occasion of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral and the grandeur of King Charles III’s Coronation.

    Surprisingly, Jack attributes his remarkable journey to his initial passion for railways.  This seemingly unrelated interest served as the catalyst for his eventual career.   As he unravels his story, the audience will see the unexpected twists and turns that led Jack to where he stands today, showcasing his extraordinary talent and unique perspective.

    Through Jack Boskett’s lens, the convergence of railways and royal occasions becomes a tale worth hearing, unveiling the fascinating link between seemingly disparate worlds.  Get ready to embark on a visual journey where unexpected passions intertwine to create a remarkable photographic legacy.

    Venue: Evesham Rowing Club, Abbey Road, Evesham. WR11 4ST

    Tickets: £12.

  • Wednesday 17th July, 7.00 pm

    'Four Shots in the Night'

    Four Shots in the Night: A True Story of Spies, Murder and Justice in Northern Ireland, tells the extraordinary true story of how the death of a British spy inside the IRA led to the biggest murder investigation in British history.  On 26th May 1986 the body of an undercover British agent was found by the side of a muddy lane with a rope around its wrists and tape over each eye.  

     Speaker Henry Hemming is the Sunday Times bestselling author of six non-fiction books, including M: Maxwell Knight – MI5’s Greatest Spymaster; the Doman Travel Award shortlisted Misadventure in the Middle East and the New York Times bestseller, The Ingenious Mr Pyke.  Four Shots in the Night is his latest book.  Henry was last with us in 2017.  We look forward to another fascinating talk about a book described as “a compulsive blend of investigative journalism and true crime thriller.”

    Venue: Evesham Rowing Club, Abbey Road, Evesham. WR11 4ST

    Tickets: £10

  • Sunday 21st July, 2.30 pm

    'Words of Women'

    Classical soprano and established young opera singer, Susanna MacRae, joins with award-winning pianist, Claire Habbershaw, to perform their recital, ‘Words of Women’. 

    Through the words of women in poems, letters and musical extracts, Susanna and Claire explore the relationship between music and literature. 

    The programme is ideal for all, including those new to classical music, and feels like the perfect way to spend a summer Sunday afternoon. Highlights from the programme include a contemporary setting of suffragette letters (Paul Ayres’ setting of Anti-Suffragist Reasons by Alice Duer Miller); and settings of Emily Dickinson, and Lady Montagu Mary Wortley.  (A joint event with Evesham & District Music Club.)

    Venue: All Saints Church, Market Place, Evesham. WR11 4RW

    Tickets: £15 in advance.  £20 on the door. Under 18s £5

  • Sat 27th July, 2.00 pm

    'Books and Bikes'

    Postponed after a rainy 2023, this event is a unique opportunity to celebrate a love of biking with a love of books.  Join us for a leisurely 20-mile social cycle ride, starting at Evesham Velo Park. Led by leading local cyclist, Helen Russell, this ride will pause in Dumbleton to hear about Dumbleton Hall and its literary connections, and visit the grave of Patrick Leigh Fermor, once described as “Britain’s greatest travel writer”.  On to Bredon Hill, we will stop for a reading of Housman’s poem, On Bredon Hill.

    Ride in conjunction with Cycle Evesham Vale.  Suitable for all abilities – there will be a back-marker so no-one will be left behind – and regular or electric bikes.  This is a free event but please register with info@eveshamfestivalofwords.org.

  • Wednesday 7th August, 7.00 pm

    'The Ashchurch to Tewkesbury Railway'

    If you heard Ian Boskett’s Great Train Robbery talk in 2023 you won’t want to miss this one. Ian is a heritage railway enthusiast whose passion and enthusiasm for his subject guarantees a wonderful evening’s entertainment. 

    In this talk we journey along the railway line from Ashchurch to Tewkesbury, looking at some of the old stations, and with plenty of then and now photos and some great stories.  Ashchurch is where Ian grew up – happy memories of running away from school to watch trains! 

    The talk reveals many of the local landmarks left behind and Ian will be bringing along a selection of some of the many artefacts he has collected over the years and which now adorn his house, garden, and even his bedroom!  He reckons he has so many artefacts he could easily rebuild the line.  Come on board for this unique journey – enjoyment guaranteed!

    Venue: Evesham Rowing Club, Abbey Road, Evesham. WR11 4ST

    Tickets: £10

  • Sunday 11th August 2pm

    Mikron Theatre Company: 'Common Ground'

    ‘Rambling and our rights of way’.

    The Pendale and District Ramblers are looking forward to their 50th anniversary walk. But the path has been blocked by the landowner. How will they find their way through?

    Maybe we’re all just trying to find our own way.

    A diverting ramble through the history of land access in England, from the Norman Conquest to Lockdown, via the mass trespass at Kinder Scout. Get your boots and jacket, and Join Mikron for a hike through history.

    We are delighted to welcome back the fabulous Mikron Theatre Company for an afternoon of music and entertainment. 

    Venue: Raphael’s Restaurant, Boat Lane, Evesham. WR11 4BP

    This event will take place whatever the weather. Bring your own chairs. If you would like to have something to eat at Raphael’s, please book direct (01386 45460). No need to pre-book for this event, just come along. There will be the usual ‘pay what you feel’ collection at the end of the performance.

  • Saturday 7th September, 7.00 pm

    'The Enigma of Edward Elgar, with Michael Lunts'

    A musical drama about Edward Elgar, focussing on his relationship with his beloved wife Alice. Written and performed by Michael Lunts.

    The friends who inspired the famous ‘Enigma Variations’ are also brought to life as, following the death of Alice, the composer muses on the origins of that first acknowledged masterpiece, a work that put him on the musical map, and which may never have seen the light of day but for Alice’s encouragement and inspiration.  But who, ultimately, was Edward Elgar?  Was he the real ‘enigma?’

    In this performance, the Enigma Variations are played live in a special piano transcription made by Elgar himself. Michael Lunts has written and performed a number of acclaimed one-man shows about key moments in the lives of composers, in all of which he has integrated the music that emerged from these critical events.  ‘The Enigma of Edward Elgar’ is the latest of these dramas, and the first in which Michael has portrayed a British composer, whose music and the enigmatic character reflected in it, have long fascinated him.

    Venue: Bretforton Theatre Barn, Main Street, Bretforton. WR11 7JH

    Please note: there are steep steps to the theatre, with no disabled access.

    Tickets: £15 

  • Wednesday 2nd October, 7.00 pm

    'How We Made the Golden Age of Steam'

     TV Producer David Parker’s two-part series The Golden Age of Steam broke audience viewing records when it was first transmitted on BBC Four. Yet the series almost never got commissioned. Using superb home movie films of Britain’s steam railways and the locomotives that ran on them, alongside testimony from some of the men and women who ’saved our steam’, David will talk about what happened, why the series was ’touch and go’ and how, and having persuaded the BBC to support it, he was able to tell this remarkable story.

    David is a firm Festival favourite, having previously delivered superb sessions on Laurie Lee, Johnny Kingdom, and the Flying Scotsman, as well as leading two wonderful Laurie Lee themed walks from the village of Slad.

    Venue: Evesham Rowing Club, Abbey Road, Evesham. WR11 4ST

    Tickets: £10

  • Friday 1st November, 1.00 pm

    'Mohandas K Gandhi - 'seditious Middle Temple lawyer' or 'the most enlightened of all political men''?

     Views on Gandhi are varied, and far from universally positive.  To Churchill, Gandhi was a seditious anti-colonialist, while to Einstein he was a truly great human being.  His passionate adherence to ‘satyagraha’ – non-violent resistance – led to India’s independence from British rule in 1947, and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom all over the world.

    Gandhi learnt from his own life and mistakes.  He called his autobiography The Story of My Experiments with TruthHow did his experiences training as a lawyer in London and as an early and leading civil rights activist in South Africa forge Gandhi into the powerful force that led India to independence?  What price did his wife and family pay?  How have his theories stood the test of time?

    In this talk, Galen Bartholomew will attempt to examine these issues and to suggest how this painfully shy man became a prophetic voice for the twenty first century, whose views transcend race, religion and nation. 

    Two-course lunch is served at 1.00 pm (special diets can be accommodated) but arrive early to get a drink and enjoy the lovely house and gardens.  The talk will commence about 2.00 pm.

    Venue: Holland House, Main Street, Cropthorne. WR10 3NB

    Tickets £22, via Holland House:  www.hollandhouse.org

    E: enquiries@hollandhouse.org, or T: 01386 860330

  • Friday 8th November, 7.00 pm

    'Enid Blyton - Noddy, Big-Ears and Lashings of Controversy'

    Enid Blyton was loved by children.  She sold more than 600 million books, despite all her work being banned by the BBC and many libraries and schools for more than thirty years.  She was accused of being a racist and of using such limited vocabulary that it actually hindered children’s reading progress.  She had an interesting love life and enjoyed playing golf so much that she bought a golf course near Swanage.  She died of Alzheimer’s in 1968, aged 71, mourned by millions of readers all over the world.

    Actress Liz Grand (previous shows: ‘The Second Best Bed’, ‘Where is Mrs Christie?’ and ‘Mrs Churchill – My Life with Winston’) plays this remarkable and controversial woman and brings you Enid Blyton’s incredible story.  An On A Role production. Not suitable for children.

    Venue: The Henrician, Victoria Avenue, Evesham. WR11 4QH

    Tickets: £12 (plus £1 booking fee per ticket)

  • Friday 29th November, 7.30 pm

    'Wilde about Oscar'

    Join Oscar Wilde for a sparkling and sprightly one-man show, in which stories will be told, laughter will be raised and, perhaps, a few tears shall be shed.  Award-winning actor Jonathan Goodwin performs in a show scripted and adapted by himself.  This show is brought to you by Don’t Go Into The Cellar and anyone who saw Joanthan’s performance of A Christmas Carol in 2023 will know they are in for a real treat.

    Don’t Go Into The Cellar perform at venues across the UK from theatres to manor houses and festivals.  Their shows offer an original take on traditional Victorian and Edwardian literature – perfect for people seeking good old-fashioned theatrical entertainment.

    Venue: The Henrician, Victoria Avenue, Evesham. WR11 4QH

    Tickets: £12 (plus £1 booking fee per ticket)

    Tickets only from: www.henrician.org

Secured By miniOrange