The party’s over…. said Festival’s gone, and two giant puppets are slumped in the Rye Station booking office, a relic of the schools’ opening procession through the town. The Public Records Office has got back some very ancient parts of the “French Connection” which meant William the Conqueror probably landed in “France”. The platform has gone from St Mary’s, and the congregation can walk in a straight line again. The Lamb House marquee did not have to survive much intemperate weather. The Arts Festival committee may be enjoying a collective sigh of relief… and Rye News has celebrated much of that in its “Gossip” column – see link – which (hopefully) has been updated with all the final snippets.
The list of events ( and the range of activities and topics covered) was ambitious and sometimes overwhelming – but it included a wide range of concerts from a world premiere – see link – by a string quartet to the “whirling”, foot-tapping tunes of Dervish; and expeditions by foot and coach to visit historic churches, discover where the bombs fell on Rye, and learn about the town cellars – probably older than Winchelsea, and even more nefarious when pirates and smugglers ruled the roost.
The talks from authors selling their latest wares covered fact and fiction and ranged from government blunders to the origins of “Lady Chatterley”, while art ranged from “A celebration of Light” to open studios and new works at the School Creative Centre. And schools were much in evidence with exhibitions and performances by and for the young people, and events particularly targeted at children.
Pupils were also heavily involved in the opera “La Traviata”, designing dresses as well as sets, and being back stage. The Milligan moved effortlessly from Verdi’s operatic tragedy to Gyles Brandreth organising a mass “Hokey Cokey” by his audience, while theatrical events included the tragic history of Zimbabwe….and the list of over 50 events was probably even beyond the reach of the most enthusiastic.
Photo: Dan Lake