Studio student helps festival


The Rye Arts Festival box office opened for business this week, a procession got permission, and Studio School pupil Maria Ezobi has been at the heart of the action on the Festival Committee. The box office (pictured above) at Phillips and Stubbs in Cinque Ports Street is open every Monday to Saturday morning from 9:30am -12:30pm from now until the Festival, and Rother District Council has just announced temporary street closures in Rye on Friday September 11 for the procession of schoolchildren, with drumming, between 11am and 11:45am which kicks off the two week long Festival.

The 44th annual Rye Arts Festival has been a long time in the planning – and has, in particular, closely involved Rye’s Studio School as Kenneth Bird reports. When Studio student Maria Ezobi responded to the invitation of Niki Stuart (committee member for stage and project management) to join the Rye Arts Festival committee, she was asked at her interview about her interests in filming and in music, which are both part of her creative media course at the Rye Studio School.

“My first committee meeting was a bit intimidating at first”, she said, “but now I’m really getting to know them and it’s a really good experience. My role, jointly with fellow-student David Swarbrick, is essentially to provide the link with the Studio School and to promote the festival through personal contacts and social media”.

Maria was the official photographer at the recent Festival launch and will help promote ticket sales for the production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, being staged in the Milligan Theatre on September 12 and 26. She will also assist with the opening parade and the fashion show of cutting edge designs on September 25 and take an active part in the Studio School concert on September 21.

Being part of the festival organisation is a continuation of Maria’s working experience in creative media and public events. She participated in the studio cinema showcase at Café Zara last year, when Rye Studio Rye Studio School students moved in with a series of short social action films devised and directed by the students themselves under the intriguing title ‘What do you believe?’.

More recently, she has completed an 11 week work placement with the Brighton Festival, where she helped make heads of giant puppets and metallic sections of bugs and insects for the opening children’s parade organised by Same Sky, “the largest community arts charity in the South-East”.

Maria is due to appear in a Youth Theatre adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s ‘Mort’ at the Stables Theatre. Directed by Neil Whitehead, her drama teacher, the production runs from September 2 -5. Taking the role of High Priest, she will be wearing a costume designed and made by Karen Eckersley, the mother of another student at Rye Studio School. Next year, she will take the B Tech course exams and is hoping to go on to university to study film-making.

Full details of the festival can be found at where you can book online if you can not get to the box office. If you have any queries about the RAF you can ring the box office weekday mornings on 01797-224442 or email





Photo: Ray Prewer

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