Tasmin Little, Sir Max Hastings Emma Kirkby and more at Rye Arts Festival 2019

Tasmin Little. Picture by Benjamin Ealovega
Tasmin Little. Picture by Benjamin Ealovega

The 48th annual Rye Arts Festival is open for business on Monday, July 22, when it accepts postal, in person, telephone and online bookings.

This year’s festival runs from September 14-18 and offers 60 events covering folk, classical and African music, literary talks, historical walks, theatre, cinema, comedy, fine art, ceramic and photographic exhibitions.

Lord David Owen

Lord David Owen

The contemporary music programme features two of the UK’s best folk duos – Martin and his daughter Eliza Carthy (September 21, Rye Community Centre), and Nancy Kerr with James Fagan (September 14).

Nancy Kerr (vocals, fiddle, viola, autoharp and guitar) and James Fagan (vocals, bouzouki, guitar, mandolin and piano) have twice taken home the coveted ‘Best Duo’ title at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.

On Friday, September 27, the Jim Hammond Blues Band plays some earthy and raunchy blues. The band is fronted by Jim who sings lead vocals and plays guitars and boogie-woogie piano. He is joined on stage by blues harp player Rollo Markee with Orlando Shearer on bass and Loris Peverani on drums.

Lord Owen (former British Foreign Secretary David Owen) will be at Rye on Wednesday, September 25 (7pm), to talk about his new book Hubris – The Road to Donald Trump. Before he became a politician, David Owen was a doctor and he now analyses the mental and physical conditions of political leaders.

Nancy Kerr and James Fagan

Nancy Kerr and James Fagan

On Monday, September 23 (7pm), Sir Max Hastings will be giving a talk based on his latest book, Chastise: The Dambusters Story 1943.

Three top classical music concerts have been announced too. The festival begins on Saturday, September 14, with a concert by violinist Tasmin Little, accompanied by Martin Roscoe on piano. Both musicians have played at Rye before but this may be the last chance for Rye audiences to hear Tasmin playing live. She made a surprising announcement earlier this year that she would no longer perform on the concert stage from summer 2020. Tasmin will play three Beethoven sonatas with Martin as part of the Rye concert.

Soprano Emma Kirkby is back at the festival too with Dowland Works to sing and play early music from the English cannon on Saturday, September 28.

Starting with John Dowland’s music the concert will also feature his successors – John Danyell, the brothers Lawes and Henry Purcell.

The Carthys

The Carthys

The Festival’s drama programme includes the rowdy Enid Blyton parody improv show Bumper Blyton on Sunday, September 15 (4pm).

A festival spokesperson said: “This is Enid Blyton for grown-ups who are either still young at heart or who have never really grown up and who are looking for a splendid adventure on a Sunday afternoon just before supper time. This will be a riotous parody, chock full of innuendo and lashings of puns. The cast invent a hilarious, improvised adventure live and on the hoof, inspired by audience suggestions.”

More events will be announced soon.

Tickets go on sale on July 22 at the box office in Phillips & Stubs estate agents, Rye, between 9.30am and 12.30pm on Mondays to Fridays. Call 01797 224442 or visit ryeartsfestival.org.uk.

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