Hedingham Castle to host new EA Festival this summer

The Keep framed by a rainbow sunset at Hedingham Castle which will be hosting the new EA Festival this summer

The Keep framed by a rainbow sunset at Hedingham Castle which will be hosting the new EA Festival this summer - Credit: EA Festival

East Anglia is getting a new state-of-the-art, hybrid live and streamed, festival this summer providing a broad showcase for both local creative talent as well as internationally recognised stars.

The inaugural EA Festival is being held at Hedingham Castle over the weekend of July 31 and August 1.

The line-up includes Countdown wordsmith Susie Dent, QI maestro John Lloyd, model and environmentalist Arizona Muse, musicians Evelyn Glennie and Rosey Chan, art historian Charles Saumarez Smith and former editor of The Erotic review and The Amorist Rowan Pelling.

Countdown star Susie Dent will be exploring the way language evolves at the EA Festival at Hedingham Castle

Countdown star Susie Dent will be exploring the way language evolves at the EA Festival at Hedingham Castle - Credit: EA Festival

EA Festival is billed as a showcase of incredible talent across many disciplines.

The ambitious two-day event has been founded by artistic director Joanne Ooi who wanted to create a cultural event that could go on regardless of the Covid situation and therefore designed it to be as flexible as possible.


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It will feature an adaptable programme that can, if the need arises switch between live and livestream events.

Joanne Ooi says that even if the country were placed in lockdown again the EA Festival could still go ahead. “COVID-19 has created a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to launch a new festival.

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"We have pioneered a new festival business model by introducing unprecedented flexibility into live event production and will livestream the event - from the first year and permanently – and so, even if government restrictions entirely prohibit live audiences or require social distancing, we can guarantee that the show will go on.

“With programming that spans culture, art and industry, EA Festival’s Talks will spur discussion about key issues dominating today’s society.

“Renowned lexicographer, author and Countdown’s resident word expert, Susie Dent will share her observations about how language has changed over the past twenty years, her predictions about how future generations will use English, and just what her favourite words are.

Comedy giant, creator of shows such as Blackadder, Spitting Image and QI, will be speaking at EA Festival at Hedingham Castle

Comedy giant, creator of shows such as Blackadder, Spitting Image and QI, John Lloyd will be speaking at EA Festival at Hedingham Castle - Credit: EA Festival

“Meanwhile, the UK’s most celebrated comedy producer, John Lloyd – responsible for national treasures like Blackadder, Spitting Image and QI – will be talking about everything but comedy.

"He will tackle the central importance of curiosity, why there’s no difference between culture with a big or little “c”, and how he banished boredom a long time ago.”

She added that Arizona Muse will be talking with Christina Dean, the founder of the NGO Redress and the R Collective, about reducing waste in the fashion industry and exploring what fashion can do to mitigate climate change.

Former Director of both the Royal Academy of Arts and National Gallery and one of the world’s top art historians, Charles Saumarez Smith will explore the evolution of art museums over the past century and how the art-going experience has fundamentally changed. 

The final keynote speaker Rowan Pelling, will be discussing the impact of the pandemic on passion and the intrinsic ways in which technology is changing how we understand, communicate, and feel love; and how that affects relationships.

Other guests appearing over the weekend will include William Sieghart, Josh Berry, Mike Figgis, Dr. Gavin Francis, Louise Gray, Amanda Geitner, Julia Devonshire, Sally Shaw, Roman Kosyakov, Luke Wright and Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa.

The EA Festival runs from July 31 and August 1, 2021. The full programme and tickets will be available online at www.eafestival.com. Event tickets will be priced from £10; Day Passes will be available for £95 and include parking. Prices will change should tickets need to be changed from in-person to virtual access. 

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