We are pleased to announce the first events for Hay Festival 2018. The full programme will be released in the Spring.
To receive regular email updates about the 2018 programme join our mailing list. You can also follow us on Twitter @hayfestival
Worried about your job? Worried about your family? Worried about yourself? Worried about the NHS? Education? Climate change? World War III? Worried about worrying? Sod it! Come and have a laugh about it. It’s one of the things we do best. As seen on Mock the Week, Live at the Apollo, Q.I. etc – and repeated on Dave.
A Hay debut for the Scottish singer-songwriter and guitarist with the achingly beautiful voice, and the lyric gift and rapturous beats that move hearts and dancing shoes. Macdonald released her debut album This Is the Life in 2007. The singles Mr Rock & Roll and This Is the Life were chart hits. Earlier in 2017 she released her album Under Stars.
Letters Live has rapidly established itself as a wonderfully dynamic and exciting new format for presenting memorable letters to a live audience, and each event celebrates in an unforgettable way the joy, pain, wisdom and humour that so often hallmarks this most intimate of literary forms. Letters Live is inspired by Shaun Usher’s Letters of Note anthologies and Simon Garfield’s To the Letter.
The brand new stand-up show from the comedian and co-writer of Power Monkeys, Outnumbered, What We Did On Our Holiday and Old Harry’s Game. If you’re feeling flustered because of flux, Andy will teach you how to cope with the changes we have seen and the changes yet to come.
In his 60 years on this planet, comedy writer and performer Andy Hamilton has experienced many changes. For instance, he was once a 6ft 4in professional basketball player, until a tree fell on him. But, of course, change is an inescapable part of the human condition. Why? Is that fair? Some changes are good, some bad. Why can’t they be more clearly labelled? How did we end up working longer hours? Where did all the sparrows go? Contains mild peril.
Renowned pianist Joanna MacGregor is one of the greatest contemporary interpreters of JS Bach’s iconic set of 30 variations on a sarabande aria. She plays the piece accompanied by the Bach-lover, cartoonist and Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell, who will draw 30 pictures inspired by the music, live on stage. The drawings will be shown on-screen.
Letters Live has rapidly established itself as a wonderfully dynamic and exciting new format for presenting memorable letters to a live audience and each event celebrates in an unforgettable way the joy, pain, wisdom and humour that so often hallmarks this most intimate of literary forms. Letters Live is inspired by Shaun Usher’s Letters of Note anthologies and Simon Garfield’s To the Letter. This event will feature a different programme of letters to Letters Live 1 on 27 May.
The charismatic pianist plays Chopin’s Ballade no.4 in F minor, Op52, Bach’s Partita No.1 in B flat, BWV 825, and the Bach-Busoni Chaconne in D Minor. He is one of the most engaging and entertaining performers, whose concert style makes you think he’s playing just for you. Rhodes is the author of Instrumental and How To Play The Piano.
The Canadian kings of the dance floor play Hay with their infectious rhythms and spectacular energy. Founded and fronted by émigré Trinidadian songwriter Drew Gonsalves, Kobo Town’s music has been variously described as “an intoxicating blend of lilting calypsonian wit, dancehall reggae and trombone-heavy brass” - Guardian. After the global success of their 2013 album Jumbie in the Jukebox they are now releasing Where The Galleon Sank.
The new show from the star of Live At The Apollo, Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Have I Got News for You and Q.I. From Morris Dancing to Morrissey, Shappi is celebrating the fortieth anniversary of her arrival in Britain. She’s reclaiming patriotism and sending a love letter to her adopted land. The daughter of an exiled writer and comic from Iran, Shappi’s upbringing has been in no way conventional. From mental illness to opium dens, it’s all gone on in the Khorsandi household and now she recounts it all the only way she knows how, with wit, warmth and hilarity.
Sponsored by GL Events UK
The charismatic storyteller takes us on a journey into obsession. Inspired by Perrault’s classic Gothic horror story, it’s magnificently dark, erotic and disturbing. But it’s also fiercely life affirming – a celebration of the love of sisters and the resilience of women. This is a defiantly female version of the tale, in which the sister and mother of the bride, Eva, are given far greater prominence. Eva is awarded infinitely more emotional complexity than usual, as she explosively transforms from a victim into a survivor who will not “rake through the ashes for half burned hopes”.
With simultaneous live drawing by Chris Riddell
The first of four recitals broadcast live from Hay this week. Mozart’s Andante in C, K315 and Rondo in D, KAnh 184; CPE Bach’s Flute Sonata in G, H550 (Hamburger); Schubert’s Introduction and Variations on Trockne Blumen D802. Concert introduced by Clemency Burton-Hill.
Recorded for Broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
Dwan’s sensational performances of Beckett’s Not I and No’s Knife in London, on Broadway and around the world have perfectly captured the rhythms and beauty of his language. In this specially commissioned Poetry Hour she introduces and reads his poetry and drama.
An intimate concert-performance unveils the first full-length collaboration between Palmer and Ka-Spel, founding member of visionary Anglo-Dutch psychedelicists The Legendary Pink Dots. Both artists’ stories, song fragments, poems, and lyrics became wholly meshed with loops, melancholy piano playing, melodic beds, and strange rhythms. The results range from the enchantingly minimal The Clock at the Back of the Cage to the luxurious theatricality of the album-opening Pulp Fiction. Chaired by Simon Price.
A gala night with some of the best-loved performers from the annual comedy festival. Lycett was the Best Show winner at the 2016 Chortle Awards; Kumar is “utterly brilliant” – Time Out; Tiernan has “an inspired comic mind” – The Scotsman; and MC Kiri Pritchard-McLean is one of the most quick-witted and engaging hosts in the business.
The comedian and poet performs work produced during her residency at Quarry Bank, one of the Industrial Revolution’s best-preserved textile mills. Fox has had unique access to journals of women who worked in the mill, which has informed her lifelong commitment to the issues of gender history and ‘Northern-ness’.
The booty shaking soul monster Fat Freddy’s Drop is heading to Wales on Bank Holiday Monday. Internationally regarded as one of the world’s finest live draws, seven-piece band Fat Freddy’s Drop is on fire with fourth studio album BAYS. Over the past three albums the New Zealanders have navigated their way from the incubator of sunshine reggae through a colour-saturated field of soul psychedelia before swerving onto a desolate Detroit superhighway at night. It’s a sound that demands to be heard live, a potent mixture of jazz virtuosity and diaphragm-wrecking digital sonics.
Sponsored by The Ballingham Bar and Bistro at Castle House
The second of four recitals broadcast from Hay this week. Mozart’s Les Hommes Pieusement, from Gluck’s La Rencontre Imprévue, K455; Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No.1 in F minor, Op.2; Mozart’s Piano Sonata No.5 in G major, K283. Concert introduced by Clemency Burton-Hill.
Recorded for Broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Please arrive in good time.
The improv comedy superstars Richard Vranch, Lee Simpson, Andy Smart, Neill Mullarkey and Josie Lawrence are joined once more by Marcus Brigstocke of this parish. They spin audience suggestions into silly, surreal, delightful comedy gold. #joy
The charismatic folk trio make their Hay debut. They combine superb musicianship with a wonderful lyric elegance that celebrates traditional forms with contemporary power. Faustus are Paul Sartin, Benji Kirkpatrick and Saul Rose. Their latest album is Death and Other Animals.
Big Data knows where you’ve been and who your friends are. It knows what you like and what makes you angry. It can predict what you’ll buy, where you’ll be the victim of crime and when you’ll have a heart attack. Big Data knows you better than you know yourself, or so it claims. But how well do you know Big Data? Now, thanks to comedian and broadcaster Timandra Harkness, you can grasp the whole subject in an hour, complete with bad puns, audience participation and an electric shock machine.
Deep in a forest, a hunter comes across a skull, he steps on the skull and the skull speaks saying, “My mouth brought me here”. Based on an African proverb, the piece features a power-hungry rule, a wise sage and a courageous hunter. In a world where telling the truth has become a game, no one knows the rules. This is a rare chance to hear Eric narrate his poetry in a solo production of the piece. The production is brought to life with live music and enchanting story telling. Directed by Peter Scott for 3 Crate Productions and written by Eric Ngalle Charles. Following the show, Ngalle will talk to Owen Sheers.
In association with PEN Cymru Wales
The American comic’s searingly honest material has garnered him a popular fan base that spans the generations. ‘Hunter joins the top rank of stand-up comedians working today. A comedian going for broke, flying in the face of received opinion in a way that is simply exhilarating… this is comedy of a rare scope’ – The Times. He is very, very funny.
Following on from the release of Summer Covers, an eclectic mix of fan-favorite jazz covers, Will Young returns to the stage with his incredibly talented band for a rare performance. Alongside some classic jazz standards, he will also perform new adaptations. Also, expect an abundance of funny stories and charming commentary throughout!
Will Young is one of the most well-known and recognizable figures in British contemporary music. Since 2002, his career has encompassed multi-platinum albums and sell-out live tours.
Beyond popular music, Will has always had a strong passion for jazz. Off the back of his recent fourth UK No.1 album ’85 Proof’, and its accompanying Love Revolution tour, Will released his most recent EP entitled ‘Summer Covers’ - a euphoric, eclectic mix of fan-favourite covers recorded live in Dean Street Studios with the same band line-up from his jazz residency at the legendary British jazz venue the 606 Club, in 2010.
Jim Eliot and Mima Stilwell have written and produced records with some of today’s biggest pop stars, including Ellie Goulding , Kylie Minogue and Will Young. They started out by writing music in a band and touring festivals and venues in the UK then a lucky break took them into the pop writing world. Since then they have honed their pop-writing craft to produce No 1 chart singles, hits and soundtracks. Come and work with them to combine classic songwriting with cutting-edge production skills giving you insight into the art of writing commercial hits. Bring a packed lunch.
Manchester-based poetry collective Young Identity present a live set from some of the rising stars of the UK spoken word scene with performances by Isaiah Hull, Shirley May, Inna Voice and Chris Jam, plus a reading from novelist Desiree Reynolds. This diverse group of artists are aged 16-25 years old and represent some of the most articulate young voices the country has to offer.
The last of our four recitals broadcast from Hay this week. Mozart’s String Quartet in D minor, K421; Beethoven’s String Quartet in C, Op59 No.3. Concert introduced by Clemency Burton-Hill.
Recorded for Broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Please arrive in good time.
Ken Dodd is a comedian of legendary status; an icon and national treasure who has been entertaining audiences for a lifetime of happiness and laughter. He returns to the festival for a 30th anniversary celebration show.
Come and be absolutely discumknockerated (that’s Knotty Ash for ‘over the moon’) by a truly tattifelarius (fun-filled) evening of laughter and songs presented by a comedy genius.
Enjoy a fun-filled variety show for all the family, with non-stop gags and a selection of songs in Ken Dodd's unique Happiness Show.
Hay regular George Monbiot and the folk singer and songwriter Ewan McLennan join their considerable forces for an evening that plays with songs and the human stories that inspired them. Mining the themes of loneliness and social isolation and the ways people overcome them, the interplay of words and music is poignant and encouraging.