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Seafront shows mark the return of live performance by Creative Folkestone Book Festival


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Two seafront shows are set to mark the return of live public performance at this year's Folkestone Book Festival.

Musicians, writers and performers will come together on the beach at Folkestone for two nights of specially curated live folk music, writings and readings about the sea, set against the backdrop of the Harbour Arm.

Artist Sol Calero's seafront Sea Pavilion in Folkestone Picture: Thierry Bal
Artist Sol Calero's seafront Sea Pavilion in Folkestone Picture: Thierry Bal

Venezuelan artist Sol Calero’s artwork Casa Anacaona will be the Sea Pavilion venue for the shows on Friday, June 11 and Saturday, June 12.

Singers and musicians, including Seth Lakeman, former Bellowhead frontman Jon Boden; double bassist and composer Ben Nicholls and guitarist Jack Rutter will be taking part.

The music will be interwoven with readings about the sea by Madeleine Bunting, best-selling writer and broadcaster, Charlie Connelly and RADA graduate actor Evlyne Oyedokun.

Alastair Upton, chief executive, Creative Folkestone, said: “We are so excited to be welcoming audiences back to enjoy live events this summer. The Sea Pavilion will be an invitation for everyone to come to the very edge of the UK to enjoy a stellar line-up. Inspired by Folkestone’s connection to the sea and maritime history, the Sea Pavilion will be a rather special moment in this year’s festival.

"This year, the festival itself will take a big leap into the future as we present a new digital festival alongside in-person events."

The seafront pavilion will be the setting for the two nights Picture: Thierry Bal
The seafront pavilion will be the setting for the two nights Picture: Thierry Bal

The Wellerman sea-shanty, which recently became a TikTok sensation, references the whaling ships owned by the Weller brothers, who originated from Folkestone before emigrating to Australia and New Zealand. Festival curators, Sean Doran and Liam Browne, have used it as inspiration for the Sea Pavilion programme.

This year's festival - titled The Shape of Things to Come - aims to be forward-looking when it runs from Friday, June 4 to Sunday, June 13.

Taking inspiration from author H.G. Wells, a Folkestone resident for 13 years, it will also look at views, predictions and opinions on a world attempting to emerge from a pandemic.

Seth Lakeman
Seth Lakeman

Among the events taking place before live audiences are evenings with author and screenwriter, Hanif Kureishi; poet and author Hollie McNish; Guardian foreign correspondent and best-selling author Luke Harding; columnist and author, Polly Toynbee, politician, Oliver Letwin, and Katherine Rundell will also face questions from local primary school pupils.

There will be new commissions from international writers, including Indian English-language novelist and poet Amit Chaudhuri, Brazilian writer Julian Fuks and Cameroonian novelist and Oprah Winfrey Book Club pick, Imbolo Mbue.

Hollie McNish Picture: Helmi Okbara
Hollie McNish Picture: Helmi Okbara

Other highlights include chef and cookery writer, Anna Jones, on vegetarianism and the future of the planet; Shadow Secretary of State for Justice and Shadow Lord Chancellor David Lammy and Dublin-based writer Mark O’Connell.

Anna Jones will be at Folkestone Book Festival
Anna Jones will be at Folkestone Book Festival

There will also be special events to mark the period Nobel laureate and playwright Samuel Beckett stayed in the town in March 1961, which will take place over the weekends of June 4 to 6 and June 11 to 13.

The festival audience will be invited to follow Beckett’s footsteps around Folkestone, guided into a hotel on the Leas, on to a pub and finishing at the Registry of Births, Death and Marriages. At each location, they will hear new fictional monologues, read by actors and screened on vintage television sets.

For the full programme and to book tickets go to creativefolkestone.org.uk or 01303 760750 or in person at the Quarterhouse box office in Mill Bay, Folkestone.

Fifth Folkestone Triennial to be held this autumn.

For more entertainments news across Kent click here.

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