Charleston Festival 2015 Programme Announced

With speakers including Amartya Sen, David Nicholls, Tom Stoppard, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Wayne McGregor, Monty Don, Colm Tóibín, Peter Carey, Helena Kennedy and Maggi Hambling, this year’s festival of literature, art and ideas is a cultural cornucopia. Returning for its 26th year within the tranquil country home of the Bloomsbury artists Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell, the festival will once again bring internationally acclaimed writers and thinkers to the Sussex countryside. Charleston-Festival-Banner-2015 This year Bloomsbury has provided more inspiration than ever for various artforms, from a ballet to a series of BBC TV films. Charleston’s own first musical co-commission with Sussex based Rathfinny wine estate, pays homage to Virginia Woolf and Benjamin Britten. As well as the premiere of this new work, the Festival plays host to artists who have been inspired by Bloomsbury; from choreographer Wayne McGregor to BAFTA award-winning screenwriter Amanda Coe. During its 10-day run, the stellar line-up of events for 2015 will explore themes as old as Magna Carta and as modern as current fiction; as life enhancing as gardening and as important as freedom of expression; as historic as the Battle of Waterloo and as contemporary as phone hacking; as raffish as Bohemianism and as glamorous as front-row fashion; as magical as Alice in Wonderland and as magisterial as T.S. Eliot. Spanning theatre and the visual arts to literature and the law, as well as re-imagining Bloomsbury for the 21st century, programme highlights include:

  • Amartya Sen, winner of the inaugural Charleston-EFG John Maynard Keynes Prize, on The Economic Consequences of Austerity
  • David Nicholls and Polly Samson discussing the conventions of family romances
  • Master playwright Tom Stoppard in conversation with former Director of the National Theatre, Richard Eyre
  • Double Man Booker Prize winner Peter Carey on issues around surveillance and cyber-activism as he discusses his latest novel Amnesia with Alan Moses, Chairman of IPSO
  • The Festival’s firstmusic commission in conjunction with Rathfinny Wine Estate, featuring the London Conchord Ensemble in a new work which pays homage to Virginia Woolf and Benjamin Britten
  • Shami Chakrabarti and Robert Tombs on the historic, contemporary and symbolic importance of the Magna Carta, in the year of its 800th anniversary
  • Justine Picardie, Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar, discussing the language of fashion with London-based designers Bella Freud and Roksanda IIincic
  • Julia Peyton-Jones, Director of the Serpentine Gallery and Charles Saumarez Smith, Chief Executive of the RoyalAcademy, debating the art of curatorship
  • Multi-award winning choreographer Wayne McGregor and director and writer Uzma Hameed, on how Virginia Woolf’s world of ‘granite and rainbow’ translates into ballet
  • The art and life of Maggi Hambling
  • Costa Novel Award winning author Ali Smith on her bestselling novel How to Be Both

Diana Reich, Artistic Director of Charleston Festival, comments: ‘Our canvas is especially broad this year: from Napoleon to Monty Don; from Magna Carta to brain surgery; from the  Directors of the Serpentine Gallery to Antony Beevor and how we crossed the Rhine; from Alice in Wonderland to Suffragettes; from Tom Stoppard, our latter day Bard, to Michael Frayn’s Matchbox Theatre. An embarrassment of cultural riches.’ View the full programme with details how to book

What's on

13 JanCourse
Life Writing at Charleston (Inter.)

Intermediate Level course. Develop your writing practice, learn new approaches, and expand your critical knowledge.

23 MarWorkshop
Portrait painting with Charlie Schaffer

An intensive 4-day course in portraiture with BP Portrait Award 2019 winner Charlie Schaffer.

27 AprWorkshop
Block printing with Molly Mahon

Learn the art of block printing with Molly Mahon.

04 MayWorkshop
Painting in the Garden | Spring

A day long workshop in the beautiful springtime garden with artist Julian Le Bas.

Get involved