South Downs Poetry Festival heads to Midhurst and Arundel

Frances Knight
Frances Knight

The South Downs Poetry Festival continues in full swing with words and music throughout August as the pop-up poetry tour of the region reaches Midhurst and Arundel.

Organiser Barry Smith said: “First up on Thursday, August 15 from 7.30pm is a scintillating Poetry Cabaret as part of MADhurst, the Midhurst summer arts festival.

“Audiences can join Ted Hughes Award winner Maggie Sawkins appearing with Wordbass, the Speechpainter, Richard Hawtree, Roots musicians Liam Ruth and Barry Ethan and other special guests at The Angel Hotel, in North Street for a fast-moving mix of words and music. Fun is guaranteed with a really varied line-up of performers covering everything from the silly to the serious. Great food too is on offer from 6pm-11.30pm. Audiences can enjoy a superb, special-price Angel restaurant menu before the show, £20 for two courses or £22.50 for three courses, or a burger and a pint in the bar for £12. (01730 812421 for food bookings). Entrance is free, with collection on the night to help cover expenses. All welcome. We hope people will join us to discover how enjoyable poetry cabaret can be.”

The South Downs Poetry Festival then continues at the Arundel Festival on Friday, August 23, 7pm for a 7.30pm start, presenting Poetry, Paintings and Prosecco in artist Frances Knight’s Studio at the Victoria Institute in Tarrant Street.

“Audiences can enjoy a delightful mix of words and music set against the fabulous backdrop of paintings by Frances Knight, with award-winning guest poet Clare Best. Clare has published several collections and will be reading from her latest book, Each Other.

“Music is by Mike Carey and Clare Nicholas on piano and accordion, plus a cast of South Downs poets and complimentary wine. Tickets are £11.50 (which includes wine) and are available from

“Audiences are advised that access to Frances’ studio is via stairs, but the climb is well worth the effort as visitors will be rewarded with a stunning display of paintings, mainly landscapes depicting the real star of the show, the beautiful South Downs itself.”

Barry added: “It’s been a roller-coaster ride so far for the South Downs Poetry Festival as we’ve performed in venues over the region from Chichester Cathedral to Portsmouth to Lewes. There’s a fantastic buzz about live poetry in performance and we hope that audiences will join us for these lively, entertaining and stimulating events.’

Full details can be found on the South Downs Poetry Festival website

Also coming up at the festival are:

Poetry Writing Workshop: Home, Hearth, Bread And Tools, Thursday, September 5, 10.30am-4.30pm, Weald and Downland Museum, Singleton. Using the unique houses and exhibits of the museum, workshop members will explore how observational writing links with their own lives and develops metaphoric power as they produce new original writing.; 01243 811363

Paintings, Poetry & Prosecco: Ivon Hitchens – the Colour of Poetry, Thursday, September 19, 6-8pm, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, PO19 1TJ. Join poet Penelope Shuttle for an evening of promenade poetry readings.; 01243 774557.

8 Hotels offers fascinating evening in Chichester's Minerva Theatre

Summer holiday fun