About Charleston Festival


Charleston is a house, garden and art gallery situated in the spectacular South Downs National Park. From 1916 it was the home of artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant who were key members of the Bloomsbury group.

Charleston Festival takes place each May in the gardens of Charleston. It celebrates the creativity, intellectual curiosity, radicalism and openness of Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, Virginia Woolf and the artists, writers and thinkers of the Bloomsbury group who all gathered at Charleston and dared to imagine society differently.

Each year the festival attracts a star-studded lineup of artists, writers, thinkers and changemakers to discuss, debate and celebrate the best in art, literature, ideas and politics, past and present; just as the Bloomsbury group did around the Charleston dining room table 100 years ago. 

Now in its 31st year, Charleston Festival is one of the oldest and most prestigious interdisciplinary festivals in the world with around 100 speakers and 40 events staged over 10 days. 

Susannah Stevenson, Artistic Director: Charleston Festival, Small Wonder and Literary Programmes:

 This year’s Charleston Festival programme demonstrates that the Bloomsbury group’s spirit of creativity, questioning the norm and breaking new ground is not only alive and well, but kicking. The festival’s themes and content demonstrate that, like the Bloomsbury group, we are all connected to our social and intellectual context in a web of influences and intersections that cannot be ignored”.




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