Wordfest plans for 2018

A round up of events held so far in 2018, and plans for the rest of the year.

Celebrating Shakespeare in April

Starting in 2016 for the 400th year of Shakespeare's birth, Libby Longhurst has been leading a Wordfest group to create an annual celebration of our national playwright and poet. This year's celebration was a whole day of Shakespeare-themed events on Saturday 21 April, starting with a morning of Songs, Sonnets and Soliloquies in a packed St. Mary de Haura, our town-centre church.

There was a talk on Sussex Life in Shakespeare's Time and a singing workshop. The finale was the annual Shakespeare Night Celidh – a feast with more Shakespearean readings followed by frolicking to Katie's Kitchen Band.

There were over 400 attendances at the four events, and the team have plans for a full Shakespeare play performance for 2019.


Poemathon April 28

Wordfest poetry coordinator, Barbara Meredith, organised our first ever marathon of poetry in the Ropetackle foyer on Saturday April 28, as a fund-raiser for the Unicef work to support Rohingya refugees. The Poemathon started with a non-stop hour of around 15 children and young people reading their own, or their favourite poems, hosted by award-winning poet Tess Jolly. This was followed by three hours non-stop reading by over 30 local poets who each had a 10 minute slot. This was hosted by PigHog poetry coordinator Michaela Ridgeway and poet Jackie Wills, who were very successful in raising over £200 from the poets, their supporters and the audience of around 50 people in the foyer at any one time.


The Comedy of Errors June 15 and 16

Another first for Wordfest, supported by Adur District Council, was our presentation of Brighton Shakespeare Company performing in The Comedy of Errors in a marquee on Coronation Green by the River Adur in the town centre of Shoreham-by-Sea.

Directed by Mark Brailsford, who also leads the regular Treason Show, the play was great fun and was very well received by the audience of 300 people of all ages over both evenings. There was also an open mic event on Saturday afternoon with local musicians and singing groups entertaining people as they dropped by and sampled the food and drink stalls around the marquee.

The weather wasn't very kind to us, as it was the only grey windy weekend in a very hot summer, and although it was good to be right in the town centre, the traffic noise from the High Street, even in the evening, could be distracting. However, as a number of the audience remarked, Shakespeare's plays were originally performed in pub yards and theatres which were in the centre of everything, to very noisy crowds, so it did not detract too much from the enormous gusto BSC brought to the performance.

The play's leading lady, Kerren Garner, also ran a workshop for 60 year 5 pupils at Swiss Gardens Primary school, which was very well received with full engagement from the young actors.


"We-Two"

Wordfest has embarked on an inter-age project led by author Richard Bingham and Skyway Gallery Director, and artist, Angela Edwards. The aim is to bring different generations together through creative writing and art. The pilot project, also supported by Adur District Council, has worked with three local schools in Lancing, central Shoreham and Fishersgate, running creative writing and art workshops for children and their older relatives in June. This culminated in a celebration event and a two-week exhibition in July at Skyway Gallery, The Shoreham Centre, Pond Road, Shoreham-by-Sea. The steering group is now evaluating the project and will consider future development of "We Two".


Adur Children's Arts Festival

Wordfest is contributing to a calendar of events for children and families across Adur District, including three children's theatre shows in Lancing, Shoreham and Fishersgate during the annual Wordfest programme in October, a talk with Brighton based picture book author, Sophy Henn and a special creative writing session in September.


Creative Writing Workshops every Saturday in September

Part of our Shoreham Wordfest mission is to develop and encourage local talent in creative writing. As a warm-up to our annual Wordfest we have organised 4 creative writing sessions for adults and one for children, taking place on every Saturday throughout September. Each is led by a published author, many of them award winning and all with considerable experience as creative writing tutors. The price for each session is deliberately kept very low to ensure access to all those who want to develop their writing. Additional concessionary rates are available to those who are unwaged or students. Full details of the workshops are on pages 4-5 of our Wordfest brochure – click here


All Change, Wordfest 1-20 October

Our main Autumn festival of words, written, spoken and sung, will run from 1-20 October. Our theme will explore the impact and legacy of the Great War on social, economic and political change. We will be celebrating and exploring the impact of women's suffrage with books by Jenni Murray (Radio 4 Women's Hour) and Kate Adie (BBC foreign correspondent). We will have much loved Yorkshire poet Ian Macmillan joining us, along with performances of Romeo and Juliet by Brighton Shakespeare company. Wordfest will mark the centenary of Armistice Day with a special concert and spoken word commemoration at St. Mary de Haura on 20 October. The full details are on the What's On page. Click here