Poetry and painting at the Festival of Chichester

John Haynes
John Haynes

As a celebration of poet and painter Frieda Hughes’ Chichester Cathedral exhibition, Alternative Values/400 Days, audiences are invited to join South Downs poets Stephanie Northgate, Sam Meekings, Barry Smith and Costa Award winner John Haynes for a reading of new poetry alongside classic Sussex poems read by actor/ex-Flying Picket, Gareth Williams.

Live music played by Linda Kelsall-Barnett on classical guitar will enhance the occasion which comes as part of this year’s Festival of Chichester (July 11, 6.30pm).

John Haynes has won the Troubadour prize and also the Costa Poetry Award for Letter to Patience. He was shortlisted for the T S Eliot Award. Stephanie Norgate is a Bloodaxe poet and playwright, shortlisted for a Forward prize for her first collection. Her latest collection is The Blue Den. Barry Smith is director of Chichester Poetry and co-ordinator of the Festival of Chichester.

Sam Meekings is a novelist and poet. His first poetry collection, The Bestiary, was shortlisted for an Eric Gregory Award. Gareth Williams has appeared in West End plays and with the English Shakespeare Company. He had a million-selling pop hit, Only You, with the Flying Pickets, as well as starring as Thomas Becket in the millennium production of Murder in the Cathedral at Chichester, directed by Barry Smith. Linda Kelsall-Barnett is in also concert with Romantic Guitars at the Jubilee Hall, New Park Centre, on July 6 as part of the Festival. She will play gems from the classical guitar repertoire between the readings.

Spokesman Barry Smith said: “It’s a great privilege to present a stimulating programme of poetry and music against the fantastic backcloth of the wonderful works of art in the Cathedral. The special feature for this event is that it will conclude with an audience promenade to the stunning exhibition of Frieda Hughes’s major artwork installation, 400 Days in the North Transept.”

Tickets 01243 816525; www.thenovium.org/boxoffice or www.sdpf.org.uk.

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