Number of free events planned as Festival of Ideas launches in Bury St Edmunds

George Monbiot who appeared at the Suffolk Festival of Ideas.

George Monbiot who appeared at the Suffolk Festival of Ideas. - Credit: Contributed

The inaugural Suffolk Festival of Ideas is set to launch in Bury St Edmunds tonight ahead of a weekend of performances, talks, debates and film screenings.

Renowned environmentalist George Monbiot will kick-off the festival at the Theatre Royal at 7.30pm as he delivers a talk on the importance of restoring the natural world.

The high-profile speaker will be followed by performances from critically acclaimed poet Luke Wright on Friday, columnist Owen Jones at the Apex on Saturday and a wide range of other free and community events.

Organisers of the not-for-profit festival, themed around environmental issues and the contemporary problems of a hyper-consumeristic society, said they hoped the event would help foster cultural and political engagement across different age groups and backgrounds. Volunteer curator Matt Gaw said: “Ticket sales have been fantastic, but we want everyone to come along to the numerous and really exciting free events that are taking place across Bury.

“There is a the opportunity to participate in Question Time-style debates featuring experts such as Dr Dan O’Neill and Andrew Simms.

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“Sustainable Bury, the Transition Town action group for Bury St Edmunds is also hosting a Restart Party to prevent the needless disposal of electrical items, while Sue Palmer, author of Toxic Childhood, will be asking ‘Is modern life damaging our children’ at the Meeting House on Saturday May 23 at 4pm.”

Other events taking place include a screening of the ‘Chasing Ice’ documentary at the Abbeygate Cinema on Sunday May 24 and a workshop with Theresa Belton at Cafe del Mar, also on Sunday.

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There is an arts and wellbeing workshop being put on by the Golden Yew Project CIC and the Bury Water Meadows Group is organising a guided walk to launch its ‘A Tale of Two Rivers’ guide. The Bury Arts Trail, also part of the Festival, is already under way.

Green county councillor and voluntary director Mark Ereira-Guyer and Conservative county councillor Sarah Stamp funded the festival through their locality budgets Mr Ereira-Guyer, said he hoped as many people as possible take part in the festival’s free events.

For information on the full line up and tickets see

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