The Hostry Festival 2019

Welcome to Year 9 of the HOSTRY FESTIVAL, held at Norwich Cathedral & other locations across Norfolk.

Last year we were perhaps the first arts festival in the UK to have as its Central Production such an inclusive commission as Boy In The Lighthouse by Rebecca Chapman’s Total Ensemble Theatre Company.

The feedback from our supporters, media partners and audiences has been more encouraging than ever. This year, Rebecca is taking her unique way of working with people of all backgrounds, abilities and disabilities to those living in often marginalised parts of Norfolk through her new Outreach Programme of Workshops. The theme of Outreaching is something that we have incorporated into all our core projects this year.

James Colman’s Paint Out includes Holt Festival, The Sainsbury’s Centre at the UEA, Wells-Next-the-Sea and as far afield as Cambridge plus a two-week exhibition entitled Garden Series of Norfolk at the Hostry.

The Norfolk Arts Awards 2019 comes from St George’s Theatre in Great Yarmouth, with other venues already in partnership with us as hosts for this much-admired event over the next five years.

2019 has also seen us launch a brand new project that is set to be much in demand across the county in 2020 and beyond, The Autumn Festival of Norfolk African Choir, led by the inspirational Anna Mudeka.

Our central production for this year is a classic comedy-drama not seen in Norfolk before: Terry Johnson’s West End hit and homage to that cult 1967 film, The Graduate. This film famously launched Dustin Hoffman’s career and secured Ann Brancroft’s place in film history as Mrs Robinson. We have assembled what we believe to be some of the best actors in Norfolk to bring this to the stage. I am more than proud to be directing this piece for the festival, which comes complete with the original soundtrack by Simon & Garfunkel.

New writing can be found throughout the program from author and psychotherapist Christine Webber, David Banks, Cyberleader from BBC’s Dr Who, and poet Peter Pegnall, joined by renowned harpist Joy Smith. Festival favourite Lisa Cassidy and Mark Saberton perform The Telephone, a comic opera by Gian Carlo Menotti. Danceitation 2019 brings us Mind and Body Rave. We’re in partnership with LJ Hope Productions and Norwich Arts Centre for the Balloon Event, and with the Science Festival debate for A Respectful Conversation: The Planet.

Three new festival commissions see singer Lauren Dove performing Songbird: Celebrating the life & music of Eva Cassidy, Moco Theatre Company with their site-specific Deconstructing Michelangelo, and Into Opera with Opera Unwrapped: Women Centre Stage in concert. Inspiring Females: Arts returns live on BBC Radio Norfolk. Peter Wilson MBE talks with Andrew Barnet, the architect of both The Hostry and St George’s buildings. Co-founder of the festival Peter Barrow is Walt Whitman in Song Of Myself, marking the iconic American poet’s 200th Birthday. This is one of two original plays in the festival by celebrated Norfolk author Adrian Drew. The second being The Darkling Heart, a new play about Thomas Hardy and his wife Lavinia Gifford.

And our two high profile guest speakers this year are the historian Bettany Hughes who gives a talk about her extraordinary trip to Istanbul, and Susan Hampshire, one of the country’s best-loved actresses, is in conversation with me live on stage. Tankus The Henge, the UK’s hottest gypsy rock band (supported by Skyhook debuting their brand new album), complete our line up at the this year’s Autumn Festival of Norfolk. We look forward to seeing you at our Launch Night on Monday 2nd September and at any one or more of our events from 12th to 27th October 2019.


Best wishes,
Stash Kirkbride: Artistic Director


Stephen Bumfrey talks to Susan Hampshire and Anna Perrott talks to James Colman on 11.10.19

Stephen Bumfrey talks to Moco Theatre and Genevieve Raghu 10.10.19

Stephen Bumfrey talks to Rebecca Chapman 9.10.19

Stephen Bumfrey talks to the cast of the Darkling Heart and the Graduate 8.10.19

Stephen Bumfrey Talks to arts awards Nominees  7.10.19