Rye Arts Festival launch

Peter Brice, classical music director

“An exciting, challenging and enjoyable programme” was offered by chairman Mike Eve to supporters of the Rye Arts Festival, gathered for the launch at the Mermaid Inn last Sunday, July 23. “It’s for you to judge whether we’ve got it right,” he told the audience.

Some of the audience at the launch

Peter Brice, who is standing down after eight years as musical director, outlined the classical music programme, with a galaxy of fine music-making, but with pride of place given to a production of Puccini’s La Boheme.  Alisdair Kitchen is again bringing his Euphonia Studio and lead singer Rannveig Karadottir to sing Mimi.

Major literary themes are based around anniversaries celebrating EF Benson and Jane Austen. Another stems from recently published “documentary confirmation” that William Shakespeare came to Rye for a performance at the Mermaid Inn. Niki Stuart will welcome Kenneth Clarke MP to give “a political  memoir”, and Sally Smith QC to talk on Marshall Hall, the celebrated Edwardian criminal law barrister. Dame Stephanie Shirley will also feature along with other noted national and local authors to talk about their work.

Chairman Mike Eve addressing the audience

Next, Michael Prince introduced a diverse offering of contemporary music, from folk-bands and guitar to West Weston’s Bluesonics and the Mountain Firework Company, in a programme put together by Wayne Jones, Geoff  Boudreau and himself.

The obvious enthusiasm of the Festival committee was matched in full by the receptive audience.

The Festival runs from Saturday, September 16 to Sunday, October 1.  Priority booking opened on Monday July 24 for patrons and friends, with general full-price bookings online as from Monday August 7.


Photos: Heidi Foster


  1. Am so sorry to have missed the Festival Launch. St Petersburg called! Love the brochure and far too many of it’s contents!


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