Aldeburgh: Skyfall actor Ben Whishaw among stars of Aldeburgh Poetry Festival

Ben Whishaw as Q. He's among those performing at this weekend's Aldeburgh Poetry Festival

Ben Whishaw as Q. He's among those performing at this weekend's Aldeburgh Poetry Festival - Credit: Archant

Skyfall and The Hour star Ben Whishaw is among those taking part in this weekend’s Aldeburgh Poetry Festival.

Now in its 25th year, he’ll be joined by two more of the UK’s most outstanding young actors – Bertie Carvel and Jack Laskey - in Performing Christopher Logue, a co-production with theatre company Spielhouse, in Snape Malting’s Britten Studion at 2pm on Sunday, November 10.

The specially-devised piece celebrates Logue, who died in 2011; his New Numbers at the 1998 festival being one of the event’s most memorable readings.

It will be given fresh life in a three-voice rehearsed reading by Carvel, Laskey and Whishaw who will also recreate Logue’s iconic Red Bird jazz suite – based on Pablo Neruda poems and not performed since the 1960s – with the help of a specially-convened quintet comprising some of the best musicians in the business.

“Too many things are described as unique when they’re simply not. Well, here’s one occasion that absolutely will be. This one-off extravaganza promises to be the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival experience of this – or indeed any – year,” promises Naomi Jaffa, director of The Poetry Trust.

It has added signifance for Jack Laskey, Spielhouse’s artistic director.

“My father (Michael Laskey) was the founder and first director of the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, which started when I was six. I’ve been in the audience almost every year since and it’s very close to my heart. It’s long been a dream of mine to perform at Aldeburgh, but with the focus quite rightly being on poets delivering their own writing, I never thought I’d get the opportunity.

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“So I’m delighted to be asked to curate this event as part of the festival’s 25th birthday celebrations. We’re all finding Logue’s writing thrilling to work on – it’s tender, intimate, brutal, cinematic and constantly surprising. Having been an actor himself, his work just begs to be performed.”

Aldeburgh is the UK’s pre-eminent annual celebration of national and international contemporary poetry. With a mix of well-known names, lesser-known voices and exceptional newcomers, the weekend features a line-up of 30 poets from seven countries.

They’ll take part in 56 interconnecting events, 13 free, across nine venues in Aldeburgh and at Snape including readings, workshops, discussions, craft-talks, close-readings, performances and exhibitions.

Aldeburgh Poetry Festival runs from Friday, November 8, to Sunday, November 10. For full programme details visit To book tickets call the box office on 01728 687110 or visit

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