Tickets for the 45th annual Rye Arts Festival go on public sale on Monday August 1. This year the Festival runs from Saturday September 17 to Saturday October 1 with 60 ticketed events from across the arts, so there is plenty of choice.
The event organisers have searched around the world for talent so there is a truly international flavour to this year’s Festival.
Looking relatively close to home, the self-styled Gang of Four, who organise the contemporary music section, have picked up some new, red hot talent from the Celtic fringes! Proving that Wales is much more than a renowned football nation, 9Bach is bound to be a highlight of this year’s Festival. Lisa Jen and Martin Hoyland play what can loosely be described as folk, but there is a truly magical beauty to their music that is both modern and from the mists of time when the Welsh landscape was inhabited by dragons. Proof of their quality comes in their winning Best Album category in the 2015 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Check them out on Thursday September 22 at the Community Centre.
And on Saturday September 17, Rye is privileged to welcome the fabulous Lynched. This folk foursome from Dublin plays traditional Irish music and also tunes from a host of other linked genres, some of which is self-penned. If you’ve seen and enjoyed Altan and Dervish at recent Rye Arts Festivals, you won’t be disappointed by Lynched. In fact, no-one will be disappointed by Lynched, which is gaining a well-deserved international reputation!
The classical music programme also has a strong international flavour. The Wihan String Quartet has delighted Festival goers in the past and is making a welcome return to Rye. Their mastery of music by their fellow Czech composers is second to none, and their programme of music from in and around Bohemia will prove a delight on Thursday September 29.
For the second year running Rye Arts Festival hosts a concert by the winner of the annual Hastings International Piano Concert Competition, which was held a few months ago. The 2016 competition winner is the young Taiwanese pianist Tzu-yin Huang and she is flying in especially from Michigan USA, where she is studying, to give a concert on Wednesday September 21.
Although not international and arriving towed by a car, the Caravan Shorts should give much pleasure to Rye. The professional actors of Robin Linde Productions will perform two different 15-minute plays all through the afternoon of Saturday September 17. And they will perform them in a small caravan! In the courtyard in front of the Kino cinema! Seating just 8-10 people this unique theatre is intimate and you will most definitely never have experienced anything quite like it!
Moving inside the Kino, the special film programme of the Festival will include a screening of Tony Benn: Will and Testament on Friday September 23 – a timely two days before the start of this year’s Labour Party conference. This documentary about the firebrand socialist MP, who became hugely popular in later life and a real national treasure, will be introduced by Ryer, Michel Duvoisin, who wrote the music. He will also take Q&As afterwards.
Tony Benn was famously a teetotaller who drank pints and pints of tea every day, so he might not have been overly interested in one of the highlights of the literary talks – Empire of Booze by Henry Jeffreys! On Sunday September 25, Henry will be talking, quite appropriately, in the Mermaid Inn. And his subject matter is dear to many a Ryer’s heart – alcohol! Jeffrey’s argues that the world owes an enormous debt of gratitude to the UK as it was Britons who popularised so many of the world’s great drinks. Sherry and port – as British as dandelion and burdock (although with much more of a kick!), champagne and claret, burgundy and rum- Britain has bought and produced, shipped and drunk these drinks in impressive amounts. We truly are world beaters in the battle to be best booze nation! Cheers!
So if music, theatre, literature, cinema or informing and inspiring speakers float your boat, check out the 60-plus events between September 17 and October 1 in Rye and make sure you don’t miss one of the best arts festivals in the UK.
More information is available by telephoning the Box Office on 01797 224442 or checking out www.ryeartsfestival.co.uk. The Box Office will be open for personal bookings at Phillips & Stubbs in Cinque Ports St, Rye, from 9:30am to 12:30pm Monday to Saturday from Monday August 1 – otherwise you can book tickets online at the website.
Photos: Dewi Glyn-Jones and courtesy RAF