St Mary’s church in Rye was packed with an enthusiastic audience for the inaugural event of the Rye Arts Festival starring Gyles Brandreth. The festival is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and has an impressive line-up of events.
Gyles came to talk about his new book, Odd Boy Out, which Sheila Hancock described as, ‘Extraordinary … funny, moving.’ This not only sums up the book but Gyles himself.
He writes about growing up, a story of ordinary things made extraordinary by his sparkling wit, deep understanding of human emotions and his ability to share stories and leave his audience wanting more.
His performance did not disappoint. Sixty minutes of engaging stories without hesitation, repetition or deviation. He had his audience in raptures, many of whom had heard him before, and one of whom was overheard to say, “He could read the telephone directory and I would still find it enthralling. It’s his voice; just perfect.”
After the event Gyles commented: ”It is a thrill for me to be back in Rye for the Rye Arts Festival and well done NFU for sponsoring it. It is just fantastic because it is here in Rye which is one of the most beautiful, historic and cultured towns in the British Isles. I am a great admirer of the works of Henry James and one of his great sayings was ‘Be kind, be kind, be kind’. This is very good advice for life.
“I always feel better when I have been to Rye. For fifty years folk have been celebrating the arts, music, theatre and literature, all brought to life in the town. I would like to congratulate all the volunteers of the Rye Arts Festival who have made all this happen for half a century.
“My favourite poem is by Hilaire Belloc:
From quiet homes and first beginning,
Out to the undiscovered ends,
There’s nothing worth the wear of winning,
But laughter and the love of friends.
“Thank you Rye Arts Festival for laughter and fifty years of friendship.”
Image Credits: kt bruce .