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Years and Years actor Russell Tovey to curate Turner Prize celebration festival Margate NOW

Years and Years star Russell Tovey will curate a festival in Margate to mark the arrival of the 2019 Turner Prize in the town.

The actor, who is a budding art collector, will lead the programme with 60 events taking place involving 500 artists and performers.

The Margate NOW festival will open on September 28 celebrating the prestigious Turner Prize being hosted at the Turner Contemporary gallery later this year.

Russell Tovey will curate arts festival Margate NOW. Picture: BBC TV's Years and Years (13020239)
Russell Tovey will curate arts festival Margate NOW. Picture: BBC TV's Years and Years (13020239)

Tovey, who has also appeared in The History Boys, Gavin and Stacey and Him and Her, says he has loved being involved working with the artists for the festival as the guest curator.

"I’ve always had a close relationship with art and began collecting art in my mid 20s whilst acting in The History Boys," he said.

"Initially, I was excited by the buzz of investing in art and buying something that would outlive me.

"As my collection has grown my interest has developed into supporting emerging and mid-career artists as well as becoming a patron for a number of not-for-profit public art institutions.

"Margate NOW is such an exciting programme. Art can be powerful and engaging and I am looking forward to seeing the town brought to life in unusual, surprising and entertaining ways.

Turner Contemporary(11811056)
Turner Contemporary(11811056)

"I’ve really enjoyed helping to curate and select artists for the festival. It’s great to be able to support and encourage the creation of new art and new ideas."

Tovey appeared at the Turner on Valentine's Day this year reading extracts from a short story anthology and taking part in a question and answer session.

Artworks will be placed in unusual places throughout the town and the programme will feature a range of art, events and performances throughout the town from September 28 to October 13.

Organisers put out an open call for artists with other projects being commissioned specifically for the festival - including a sound and sculpture piece by renowned sound artist Yuri Suzuki for the gallery's south terrace.

Yemi Awosile is working with community groups and organisations to create a new work from natural resources and reconditioned objected sourced from around Kent.

Turner Contemporary director Victoria Pomery
Turner Contemporary director Victoria Pomery

The festival is a partnership between the Turner Contemporary, Arts Council, National Lottery, Kent County Council, Thanet District Council and Dreamland.

Victoria Pomery, director of Turner Contemporary Margate, said: "We are delighted to be leading this dynamic collaboration to ensure that Turner Prize 2019 has maximum impact on the cultural life of the UK.

"Artists and creativity are at the heart of Turner Contemporary’s work and this autumn offers plenty of opportunities to see and experience the diversity of contemporary practice in the gallery, around Margate and across Kent."

Cllr Ash Ashbee, cabinet member for coastal development at Thanet District Council, said: "It's fantastic to see so many artists and exhibitors engaged as part of this festival. Margate NOW is the perfect opportunity to celebrate art, culture and creativity in our original seaside town and marks the start of the count down to hosting the prestigious Turner Prize 2019."

Eddie Kemsley, chief executive of Dreamland Margate, said: "Dreamland is working with local producers to develop a handful of evening events around Margate that will celebrate the music, art and the creativity that runs through the veins of our town. We also have some incredible plans for the festival in the works to be announced soon."

Full details of the festival are available on the Turner Contemporary website.

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