Shoreham Wordfest offers three-day Shakespeare celebration

The team: Felicity Knight, Libby Longhurst, Dave Sutton, Chris Howitt, Janet Pressley
The team: Felicity Knight, Libby Longhurst, Dave Sutton, Chris Howitt, Janet Pressley

Shoreham Wordfest offers a wide-ranging Shakespeare Celebration for 2019.

After last year’s one-day festival, which followed three-day festivals in 2016 and 2017, the event is back to three days this year, with a packed programme from April 25-28

Libby Longhurst, one of the organisers, said: “The core of it all is the idea of celebrating Shakespeare’s birthday but also his part in our culture as a core voice in the whole of our literary canon worldwide. That’s why it is this time of year, as close to his birthday as we can manage.

“It has just built up from there, and the idea is to make him as accessible to people as we can. I do think people can have fixed ideas from school or they have had a bad experience of Shakespeare. In London or Stratford, there is much more Shakespeare around, but around here there is perhaps the odd production. But there is so much to enjoy in Shakespeare that we decided to organise something that would present Shakespeare in a variety of different ways, all to make him more accessible. This is our fourth festival, and it gets easier in terms of organising it. We have got a little group together, four of us that organise it. We are within Wordfest, but we are quite separate from the big festival.”

Libby is particularly delighted this year to welcome West Sussex-based theatre company This is my Theatre who will perform Macbeth, with a cast of just five: “I was so delighted to find them. Last year, I went to see their Midsummer Night’s Dream, and it was just so magical. It was so alive and the venue was glorious and the actors were just so brilliant. It was just electric. I thought the whole thing was wonderful.”

The organisers are also pleased to be presenting their Shakespeare and Love concert once again, compiled by Janet Pressley: “She is a scholar and teacher and one of the core group, and she has put together this concert with some actors that she knows and two groups of singers. Last year, it was rammed.”

Libby is delighted that they are back to three days again this year, after last year’s single-day event – a reflection of both being overstretched and needing a break last time.

“There is so much that we want to bring to people for them to enjoy. One day was alright. We were glad to do it, but three days is much better!”

The full programme is:

Thursday, April 25, 7.30pm: Al Pacino’s Merchant of Venice film, West Street Loft, 20 West Street, Shoreham, free entry.

Friday, April 26, 7.30pm: Macbeth performed by This is my Theatre Company

St Mary de Haura Church, Shoreham, adults £12.50, under 18 £8, family (2+2) £32.

Saturday, April 27, 10.30am: Shakespeare and Love Concert, St Mary de Haura Church, Church Street, Shoreham, free entry.

Saturday, April 27, 2.30pm: Michael Pennington’s Sweet William, St Peter‘s Church, West Street, Shoreham, £10.

Saturday, April 27, 7.30pm. Shakespeare Night Revels, with music from Kate‘s Kitchen Band, St Peter’s Church, West Street, Shoreham, BN43 5WG, £16.

Sunday, April 28, 10.30am, Shakespeare Drama and Play Reading Workshop with Sarah Slator, Room 8, Shoreham Centre, £10.

Sunday, April 28, 2.30pm. Music and Dancing in Shakespeare‘s England, talk by Jeremy Barlow, Queen Elizabeth II Room, Shoreham Centre, £8.

Sunday, April 28, 3.50pm. Songs of Life and Love Workshop, led by Emily Longhurst, Queen Elizabeth II Room, Shoreham Centre, £5 (combined ticket £11 with Music and Dancing in Shakespeare’s England, talk by Jeremy Barlow).

Tickets on http://Shorehamwordfest.com.

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