Actor Sally Phillips to join Hay Citizens of the Year in Christmas lights switch-on

Actor Sally Phillips will join Hay-on-Wye Citizens of the Year Trish and Alan Kiddle to switch on the town’s Christmas lights on Friday 25 November as part of her Hay Festival Winter Weekend appearance.

The free switch-on event will take place between 5pm and 7pm in Memorial Square, accompanied by carol singing, food, mulled wine and entertainment to give a rousing start to the Festival weekend, which runs to Sunday 27 November.

Sally Phillips is an award-winning actor, presenter and comedian. She co-created the sketch show Smack the Pony and starred in the acclaimed series MirandaI'm Alan PartridgeSet the Thames on Fire and Veep, in films Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and the blockbuster Bridget Jones franchise.

Phillips is at the Festival to chair a sold-out event with brothers Manni and Reuben Coe on their illustrated memoir following the lights switch-on.

Fiona Howard, Hay-on-Wye Town Council Deputy Mayor, said: “Hay-on-Wye is delighted to be hosting Hay Festival Winter Weekend again, bringing writers and readers together for a wonderful weekend. We are delighted that Sally Phillips and Hay-on-Wye Citizens of the Year Trish and Alan Kiddle will be switching on the lights and getting us all into the festive spirit.”

Hay Festival Winter Weekend is back for a year-end wonderland of in-person events, 24-27 November, in multiple venues across Hay-on-Wye, Wales.

Explore the full programme and book tickets now at

Over four days, more than 70 acclaimed writers and performers take part in 52 events, launching the best new fiction and non-fiction, engaging with some of the biggest issues of our time, and spreading festive joy with conversations, candle-lit storytelling, film screenings, comedy, music and workshops.

Now in its 23rd year, the Festival’s in-person events will take place in Hay Castle’s Great Hall and Clore Learning Space, alongside spaces throughout the booktown of Hay-on-Wye, including St Mary’s Church, The Poetry Bookshop and Richard Booth’s Bookshop Cinema. More intimate than the spring edition, Hay Festival Winter Weekend sees the Welsh booktown’s independent shops, cafés and attractions offer a warm welcome to Festivalgoers within the stunning surrounds of the Brecon Beacons.

For audiences unable to attend in person, select events will be livestreamed at with Online Festival Passes on sale now. Meanwhile, all events will be available on the Hay Festival Anytime video platform afterwards at

Hay Festival CEO Julie Finch said: “The Christmas lights switch-on is an annual highlight in the town and we are delighted that Sally Phillips will join with Hay-on-Wye Citizens of the Year Trish and Alan Kiddle to bring some added sparkle to the moment. Hay Festival Winter Weekend marks the season’s change and year’s end with a celebration of community, bold visions and hope. Writers, readers and performers will gather in venues across our booktown to share their stories and imagine the world anew. Please join us for a special weekend of conversation, laughter, music and friendship.”

Hay Festival Winter Weekend is supported by lead sponsors Visit Wales and Baillie Gifford.

Explore the full Festival programme here.