New arts festival prepares for launch

A PIONEERING festival to promote young theatrical writing talent at a Suffolk arts centre gets under way today.Organisers are expecting more than 3,000 visitors at the Hide Tide festival at the Cut, in Halesworth, this Easter weekend.

A PIONEERING festival to promote young theatrical writing talent at a Suffolk arts centre gets under way today.

Organisers are expecting more than 3,000 visitors at the Hide Tide festival at the Cut, in Halesworth, this Easter weekend.

The three-day festival, which runs from today to Sunday , has been backed by Pirates of the Caribbean and Love Actually star Bill Nighy, Royal Shakespeare Company actress Sinead Cusack, and renowned playwright David Hare - none of whom will there though.

High Tide was the brainchild of actor Sam Hodges, 23, producer Lilli Geissendorfer, 24, and director Moss Barclay, 22, who launched it in response to what they claim is a lack of a sustained apprenticeship system in theatre.


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Ms Geissendorfer said: “This final week of preparations has already included raising nearly £10,000 through an eBay auction that included an original Tom Stoppard script, tracking down a 1980s Batman lamp, trying to master the perfect cappuccino froth backstage, and a 16-hour power cut on arrival at the venue.

“But the groundwork has been done, everything is coming together, and the relationships blossoming between cast and creative team look set to make the weekend ahead a real splash."

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It is the first new writing theatre festival in the country to focus exclusively on writers, actors and directors under 30.

Pericles Snowden, writer of VI/VII, one of the plays showing at the festival, “It's been a fantastic process that's not only nurtured my work but has also taught me that the endeavours of developing my plays need not be tackled alone.”

Eight plays will be performed on the three days and other events include a discussion of new writing hosted by radio presenter Libby Purves and the screening of the new film Lawless Heart starring Bill Nighy.

Comedy and music will feature alongside theatre this evening with readings from Dean Parkin from the Poetry Trust and a comedy performance from Tom Basden and Tim Key who are currently on Radio 4.

In the run up to the event, an eBay auction including lunches with Jeremy Irons and Sinead Cusack has been running to help fund the festival.

Bidding on the unsold items will reopen at the High Tide after-party on Sunday and will close at 10pm.

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