Festival with so much for Eastbourne

The launch of the free 28-page Eastbourne Festival programme
The launch of the free 28-page Eastbourne Festival programme

The eighth annual Eastbourne Festival of Arts and Culture will take place from July 4 to 26.

This is the first time the festival has been held in the summer, but as in past years there will be a feast of visual arts, drama, comedy and music of every genre.

Eastbourne Festival aims to showcase contemporary, traditional and experimental work produced across the arts, by local artists, musicians and performers – and establish Eastbourne as an area of artistic and cultural activity.

The festival is run by a community interest company led by musician Victor Potter.

He said, “The Festival is a wonderful opportunity for artists of every kind to showcase their talents both to the local community and visitors. It enables all strands of the arts to be drawn together and displayed alongside the work of others.”

Music plays a major part in the festival and acclaimed Japanese pianist Yoko Ono (not the wife of the late John Lennon) will be playing works by Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann and Debussy at the Under Ground Theatre on July 12, while on July 4 All Saints Church hosts a performance of Ahoy, a modern choral work for adult and children’s choirs also featuring a jazz quintet led by the composer, Alexander L’Estrange.

There’s a chance to hear the scope of the mandolin when the Fretful Federation Mandolin Orchestra plays an eclectic range of music at the delightful All Saints Chapel in Darley Road on July 12.

Lunchtime and evening concerts – several of them free – will take place at St Mary’s Parish Church in Old Town, with Songs from a Renaissance Garden with Etrusca, the Seaside Harmonies Community Choir, Sussex Song Makers, harpist Fiona Hosford and mezzo soprano Flora Macdonald. The belfry tower of the ancient church is open to visitors on July 18.

Paul Gunn Company will present Noel Coward meets The Bonzos at the Crown and Anchor in Marine Parade on July 17.

Local bands will be showcasing their talent in Eastbourne Music Live, a week of live music performances in venues across the town starting on July 13.

There are also varied theatrical performances on offer, including the Rude Mechanicals at the Italian Gardens at the western end of the promenade on July 19.

The relationship between Pablo Picasso and the photographer Dora Marr is the subject of works by Lewes poet Grace Nichols, which is presented at the Birley Centre on July 16.

Local artists play a major part in the Festival, many of whom turn their homes into mini-galleries and open their doors to visitors.

A free 28-page guide to all the events is now available in various outlets including the Tourist Information Centre in Cornfield Road.

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