Arts Festival 2nd week highlights


One week gone and another to go! The 47th annual Rye Arts Festival is entering its second week and has dozens of events before its finale on Sunday, September 30, with tickets still available for most events, including classical and contemporary music, literary talks, walks, films, drama and much more.

Paul Harrison

Serial killers! The festival has attracted one of the world’s experts on this macabre but nevertheless gripping subject. Paul Harrison will be talking on Friday, September 21 at Rye Methodist church.

Paul was one of the first UK police officers to work with the FBI’s Behavioural Science Unit in Virginia and has worked up close and personally with over 100 of these criminals, so he has plenty of experience to call upon. His night time job is as an author of over 30 books, mainly true crime and his novel Chasing Monsters is the first in a series of books featuring detective Will Scott.

The Hotfoot Specials

If you’re looking for some good time music from the bayous of Louisiana, then check out the UK’s most authentic Cajun band – the fabulous Brighton-based Hotfoot Specials! Their infectious music is bound to get the audience at Rye Community Centre on Friday evening, September 21 on its feet!

Hopefully, this eclectic mix gives a taster of what’s coming up in the second week of the festival. Here are some more highlights and let’s start with theatre and drama.

On Sunday, September 23 a Rye resident takes centre stage; a star of stage and TV screen, our very own Martin Wimbush! Martin will take us on a personal journey, where he rediscovers the parts he’s played in Shakespeare and explores the ones he hasn’t, with plenty of funny stories and jokes along the way.

Martin Wimbush

It promises to be an entertaining show, with excerpts from some of the great speeches and original music by composer and songwriter Michel Duvoisin, another Rye resident, who writes film scores, and was formerly half of the 1980s so nearly legends, The Footsore Pilgrims, but now regularly gigs with local crowd pleasers, As Is.

Opera is, of course, a cross-over between music and theatre and on Saturday, September 22 the festival presents a very funny opera by Francis Poulenc called ‘Les Mamelles de Tiresias’ which is being brought to Rye by Euphonia Studio, the London based company that has performed opera at Rye Arts Festival for the last eight years.

This year’s offering has been described as a riotous farce laden with gorgeous tunes and lush harmonies. Poulenc wrote the opera at the end of World War II, using as his source a play written by Apollinaire in 1903 which, in turn, was a reworking of an ancient Greece play about the soothsayer Tiresias.

The opera is about the need to repopulate a country after a devastating war, which links into both World Wars. The heroine Therese changes her sex in order to obtain power amongst men. So, this is a story which resonates today as the idea of gender fluidity gains ever greater acceptance as well as the yet-to-be-finished drive to sexual equality and the growing #MeToo movement. But achingly PC it isn’t! Stuffy it is not.

Mose Fan Fan

It’s great fun, lasts just under an hour and this is the only production of it in the UK this year (apart from a second performance on Saturday, September 29 also in the Milligan Theatre!)

Speaking of which, you won’t be disappointed by Mose Fan Fan, who is the leader of the acclaimed Congolese band Somo Somo. On Wednesday, September 26 this brilliant band returns to Rye Arts Festival after many years. They play happy, infectious Congolese pop music with electric guitars, bass and drums, and Rye Community Centre is set to have one hot night as the sounds of Kinshasa take over. This gig is not to be missed!

Jenni Murray

The whole festival concludes on the afternoon of Sunday, September 30 with ‘An Audience with Dame Jenni Murray’. The host of Women’s Hour on BBC Radio 4 will be talking about her book ‘A History of the World in 21 Women’, which is launched to coincide with the festival.

For the full list of events, and to book tickets, go to or ring the box office on 01797 224442.

Image Credits: Rye Arts Festival , Rye News library , Ellis Jones .

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