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Everything you need to know about Southwold Arts Festival 2020

PUBLISHED: 11:14 03 March 2020 | UPDATED: 11:32 03 March 2020

Opera Babes will be singing at the Southwold Arts Festival this year.  Photo: Opera Babes

Opera Babes will be singing at the Southwold Arts Festival this year. Photo: Opera Babes

Archant

Southwold Arts Festival has swiftly developed a reputuation for delivering an eclectic series of high profile events at its week-long summer festival. Now in its seventh year, the festival manages to combine an intimate, community flavour yet still attracting artists with an international reputation.

Claire Teal will close this year's Southwold Arts Festival Picture: CHRIS CHRISTODOULOUClaire Teal will close this year's Southwold Arts Festival Picture: CHRIS CHRISTODOULOU

The festival opens with a pair of high profile concerts. On Saturday June 20, the festival celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Blues Band with a concert featuring founding members Paul Jones, Dave Kelly, Tom McGuinness, Gary Fletcher and Rob Townsend followed on Sunday by the welcome return of the OperaBabes who first appeared at the festival in 2014.

Mezzo-soprano Karen England and soprano Rebecca Knight have performed in concert with international orchestras all over the world and the last time they visited Southwold, tickets sold out virtually over night.

The theme of the open air street festival this year is 'Yesterday' and participants are invited to join in with their own creative ideas. Over the opening weekend there will be an Open Studio Trail and on Sunday June 28 'Art on the Green' will be exhibiting the work of local artists. There are also plans for a 'Create Southwold' painting competition.

A popular aspect of the festival are the talks which attract big crowds. Among this year's guests will be renowned journalist and broadcaster John Sergeant and Dr Phil Hammond, former physician, now broadcaster, comedian and columnist for the Independent newspaper. John Sergeant was BBC's chief political correspondent from 1992 to 2000 and will talk about his extraordinary career in political journalism. Phil Hammond, having appeared at the Edinburgh fringe and written for Private Eye will bring his own unique brand of comedy to this year's festival.

DJ Andy Archer on board the Ross Revenge, home of Radio Caroline in the 1980s. The history of Radio Caroline will be discussed at Southwold Arts Festival   Photo Dave KindredDJ Andy Archer on board the Ross Revenge, home of Radio Caroline in the 1980s. The history of Radio Caroline will be discussed at Southwold Arts Festival Photo Dave Kindred

For music lovers, Sara Dowling will celebrate the songbook of Judy Garland and there will be an evening of folk with the Pitman Poets from the north-east, who are not only masters of vocal harmony, but also highly accomplished musicians. They will be supported by the John Ward band.

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The Southend Boys and Girls choirs, who have performed across the world and who have regularly broadcast on the BBC, will provide a Sunday afternoon of entertainment, and throughout the week the Young Musicians Showcases will bring a range of talent to the festival including brass, strings and wind instruments.

On Friday June 26, there will be a showcase from senior musicians at Saint Felix School who will explore music's association with stories, ideas and the visual arts.

Southwold Arts Festival celebrates the 40th anniversary of The Blues Band with a special opening night concert Photo: Blues BandSouthwold Arts Festival celebrates the 40th anniversary of The Blues Band with a special opening night concert Photo: Blues Band

Throughout the week there will be talks on Radio Caroline, the art of J W Turner, the Booker Prize, the history of Orford Ness, and the wildlife and habitat of Minsmere.

Two plays will be performed by the Southwold and Reydon Panto Group and Paul Trigg's one man show will dramatise Dickens characters. Charlie Haylock will take an eccentric look at spoken Suffolk and author Wendy Holden will tell her own fascinating literary story.

Barry Tolfree will reveal Southwold stories of fraud, shipwreck and corruption and on Monday June 22 Louise Millar will provide a Creative Writing Workshop.

On Saturday June 27 there will be a spectacular evening of music with the hugely popular singer and broadcaster Clare Teal, who will be celebrating 100 years of the Great American and British songbooks. Tickets are expected to go quickly. Tickets will be available at Southwold Arts Centre and online from mid-March. Box Office Tel: 01502 722572 or email info@southwoldarts.org

John Sergeant, former political editor with the BBC,  will be discussing his career at the Sputhwold Arts Festival  Photo: David GarradJohn Sergeant, former political editor with the BBC, will be discussing his career at the Sputhwold Arts Festival Photo: David Garrad

Tickets online at southwoldartsfestival.co.uk.

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