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The full programme is available for this year’s festival, 25 May to 4 June - you can download a PDF of the programme here. We very much look forward to seeing you in May.
Click here to see a list of sold out events
Talking About Shakespeare: Language
Event 185 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
What did performances of Shakespeare’s plays sound like in his day? Linguistics professor David Crystal introduces OP (original pronunciation) and marvels at the wonders of the playwright’s revolutionary vocabulary. Molina Foix (who translates Shakespeare for contemporary Spanish theatre) considers the reality that most people in the world discover the great writer’s work in translation.
A BBC event at Hay
Event 187 • • Venue: BBC Tent
In a year in which the BBC is focusing on the pleasures of reading, this film follows a group of primary schoolchildren as they take their first steps into the world of the written word. Some make a flying start, others struggle. Some may have parents who themselves have trouble reading, and others may have a parent who doesn’t speak English. Channel Editor BBC Four Cassian Harrison talks to director Sam Benstead and Executive Producer Liesel Evans about the challenges of making an observational film with young children.
Not for broadcast. The documentary, made by Century Films, broadcasts on BBC Four this summer and will be part of Get Reading – a campaign to urge the nation to read and discuss books.
Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult over 18 years
At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being & Apricot Cocktails
Event 188 • • Venue: Oxfam Moot
Three young friends meet over apricot cocktails at the Bec-de-Gaz bar on the rue Montparnasse. They are Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Raymond Aron. Aron opens their eyes to a radical new way of thinking. Pointing to his drink, he says, “You can make philosophy out of this cocktail”. The author of How To Live: A Life of Montaigne tells the story of modern existentialism as one of passionate encounters between people, minds and ideas. Weaving biography and thought, Bakewell takes us to the heart of a philosophy about life that also changed lives, and tackled the biggest questions of all: what we are and how we are to live.
Hole in the Heart: Bringing Up Beth
Event 189 • • Venue: Cube
On Mother’s Day 2004 the artist Henny Beaumont gave birth to her third child. For the first few hours, her baby seemed no different from her two other little girls. With stunning art and refreshing honesty, Henny describes how family life changed the moment the registrar told her and her husband that their daughter might have Down’s syndrome. Henny’s wit and irony transform a deeply traumatic personal experience into a story that will resonate with every parent. She shares her family’s journey - in beautiful black and white drawings – from hospital to home, and from early years to school, in this moving, wise and unsparing graphic memoir.
Event 512 • • Venue: Starlight Stage
Event 544 • • Venue: Compass
In this workshop we'll take a witty look at how apathy works and how to combat it.
Expect big political ideas, funny youtubers and creative activism. Bring a fully charged mind and mobile phone because together we are going to take on the mighty forces of apathy!
Shakespeare 400: The Sonnets
Event 190 • • Venue: Tata Tent
As part of Hay Festival’s big Shakespeare 400 Celebrations, the writer and lecturer discusses the playwright’s poetry.
Stalin and Mao
Event 191 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
The historians explore the lives and crimes of the two C20th communist dictators. Sebag Montefiore is the author of Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar. Chang is the author of Wild Swans and, with Jon Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story.
Black Holes, Alien Life and the Multiverse – an Update
Event 192 • • Venue: Llwyfan Cymru - Wales Stage
The astronomer will share his excitement about recent cosmic ideas and discoveries. Since last festival there have been new searches for life (even intelligent life) in space. One of Einstein’s greatest predictions has been confirmed with the detection of gravitational waves from colliding back holes. Images of Pluto have surprised us, and astronomers have discovered thousands of planets orbiting other stars, some resembling Earth. And there is speculation that physical reality encompasses more than the aftermath of our big bang: we may inhabit a multiverse.
Cheer Up, Love: Adventures in Depression with the Crab of Hate
Event 193 • • Venue: Telegraph Stage
The Crab of Hate is the personification of the Scottish comedian’s depression and her version of the notorious Black Dog. A constant companion in her life, the Crab has provided her with the best and very worst of times. She talks about how, after many years and with a lot of help and talking, she has embraced her dark side and realised that she can be the most joyous sad person you’ll ever meet.
The Man Who Made Things Out Of Trees - Woodland Trust Series
Event 194 • • Venue: Oxfam Moot
Rob Penn cut down an ash tree to see how many things could be made from it. Journeying from Wales and Ireland across Europe to the US, he finds that the ancient skills and knowledge of the properties of ash, developed over millennia making wheels and arrows, furniture and baseball bats, are far from dead. He chronicles how the urge to appreciate trees still runs through us like grain through wood.
A BBC event at Hay
Event 195 • • Venue: BBC Tent
Jon Savage’s book 1966: The Year the Decade Exploded marks the year pop music ripped up the rule book. In popular culture and the mass media, 1966 was a year of restless experiment and the search for new forms of expression. Author Jon Savage, editor of Arena Anthony Wall, and director Paul Tickell talk to broadcaster Francine Stock about this upcoming BBC Four programme, with exclusive clips.
Not for broadcast. The film broadcasts on BBC Four in the summer.
Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult over 18 years
The Body in History
Event 196 • • Venue: Starlight Stage
How has the human body been understood in Europe, from the Palaeolithic to the present day? Archaeologists Robb and Harris reveal how the body has been treated in life, art and death for the past 40,000 years. What emerges is not merely a history of different understandings of the body, but a history of the different human bodies that have existed. They show how bodies are key elements in shaping the changes that have swept across Europe since the arrival of modern humans.
Event 197 • • Venue: Cube
Three debut authors talk to New Welsh Review editor Gwen Davies about childhood and the nostalgia of popular culture in memoir and fiction, and about getting that first book written and published. Abbie Ross’ memoir Hippy Dinners is set in north Wales; Julia Forster’s debut novel What a Way to Go is set in the Midlands; and Crystal Jeans’ novel Vegetarian Tigers of Paradise is set in Cardiff.
Event 545 • • Venue: Compass
In this workshop we’ll take a current press story e.g. the EU Referendum or the American Presidential Campaign, pare it back to the bare facts and then look at different techniques journalists use to spin the story. Then groups will be given their own 'bare facts' and using phones and laptops for research, design and writing - will be asked to spin positively or negatively.
Event 198 • • Venue: Tata Tent
This is a statement from the superstar author of How To Be A Woman about the world and the causes she cares about. It’s a compelling and hilarious rallying call for our times, tackling topics as pressing and diverse as reclaiming the word feminism, gaying up the Olympics, affordable housing, 1980s swearing, boarding schools and the reasons the internet is like a drunken toddler. Chaired by Stephanie Merritt.
Talking About Shakespeare: The Abridged Shakespeare
Event 199 • • Venue: Starlight Stage
The two Johnnies do the Bard. An irreverent, delightful and wickedly clever insight into the plays and games of the great playwright. Sutherland is Emeritus Professor of English at UCL; Crace is the Digested Read satirist and writes the parliamentary sketch for The Guardian.
Event 200 • • Venue: Cube
The execution of James Foley, Islamic State, and the real story of the kidnapping campaign that started a war. The investigative frontline journalist provides an utterly absorbing account of the world’s newest and most powerful terror franchise and what it means for modern war.
Inside Obama’s White House
Event 201 • • Venue: Llwyfan Cymru - Wales Stage
The multi-award-winning doyenne of geo-political documentary talks about her eight-year project to chronicle and analyse the Obama presidency. She shows clips from the BBC2 series and talks to the BBC News anchor about her access, her methods and her interviews.
Only Planet – a Flight-free Adventure Around the World
Event 202 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
Slow traveller Ed Gillespie takes us on an inspirational global circumnavigation without going anywhere near an airport. From cargo ships to camels, hitchhiking to hovercrafts, Ed proves that getting there really is half the fun. Crossing Shamanic lakes, Mongolian deserts and climbing jungle volcanoes, he meets grizzled sea dogs, drunken smugglers, peckish pythons and billions of butterflies. This highly visual talk focuses on the exhilaration of taking it slowly and rediscovering hope both for humanity and for the planet we all share.