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Here is the full programme for our 2019 Winter Festival.

Event 1

Nancy Lavin Albert

Hay Castle Update

Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage

When will it open? What’s inside? What will it look like? The MD of Hay Castle Trust will report on the restoration project, recounting the low points and highlights of the journey so far, with bats, medieval arches, roof tiles – and 90,000 metres of scaffolding thrown in for good measure. A glimpse into the inner workings of a large-scale heritage conservation project and some of the lessons learned along the way.

Free but ticketed
Price: £0.00
 
 
Nancy Lavin Albert

Event 2

Derek Addyman, Ollie Cooke, Greg Coombs, Aubrey Fry, Ros Fry, Pat Thornton and friends

Long Live the King!

Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage

Booksellers and friends, courtiers and admirers remember the maverick visionary Richard Booth, King of Hay and founder of the international Book Town movement, who died this year at the age of 80. Come and celebrate the life and times of King Richard.

Price: £5.00
 
 
Derek Addyman, Ollie Cooke, Greg Coombs, Aubrey Fry, Ros Fry, Pat Thornton and friends

Event 3

Mid Wales Opera presents Mrs Peachum's Guide to Love and Marriage

Venue: St Mary’s Church
MWO's SmallStages team romps onto stage with a radical reworking of John Gay's 1728 work The Beggar's Opera. Join Mrs Peachum, her daughter Polly and the Beggar himself in their bawdy, ballsy take on relationships and the relative virtues of virginity.
Horrified to learn of Polly’s illicit marriage to an errant highwayman, Mrs P contrives to get the rascal hanged so Polly can claim the reward. Loyalty and love are put to the test as murder, rage and fury drive this rumbustious tragicomedy towards its conclusion. Will things really be left so unhappily and will Polly remain true to her man and abandon her mother to the lure of London Gin?
MWO are delighted to premiere this new one act opera, adapted by Richard Studer, in a new musical version by Jonathan Lyness, accompanied by MWO's SmallStages Ensemble of four musicians and starring Northern Irish mezzo Carolyn Dobbin as Mrs Peachum and Welsh soprano Alys Mererid Roberts as her feckless daughter.


Price: £14.00
 
 
Mid Wales Opera presents Mrs Peachum's Guide to Love and Marriage

Event 4

Russell Kane talks to Oliver Bullough

Son of a Silverback

Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage

“Dads: we become like them or we become their opposite. If they are absent, we pour energy into that void and it takes on any old random shape, like Terminator 2. Mind you, their over-presence can also be somewhat challenging. Maybe I do overplay the ‘Dad thing’, but I saw life through a big Dad-sized lens (probably meat-coloured, given the man’s brawn and his addiction to roasted proteins). I know, I know, the self-centred me generation – but it’s my honest experience of the world.” From one of Britain’s most popular and prolific comedians comes a hilarious and deeply moving memoir of life lived under the rule of a Silverback dad...

Price: £10.00
 
 
Russell Kane talks to Oliver Bullough

Event 5

Woodland Trust Walk 1

Mouse Castle

Venue: Meet at the Woodland Trust Stand at the Festival

Join our Woodland Trust tree expert, Derek Wright, on a four-mile circular walk from Hay to the motte and bailey castle on top of Mouse Castle Wood. The walk involves some strenuous uphill sections; stout shoes are required.

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Woodland Trust Walk 1

Event 6

Tilly Blyth

The Art of Innovation: From Enlightenment to Dark Matter

Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage

Based on the landmark BBC Radio 4 series and Science Museum exhibition, the curator discusses the connections between science and art, revealing a new perspective on their contribution to the world around us. Through fascinating stories that explore the sometimes unexpected relationships between famous artworks and significant scientific and technological objects – from Constable’s cloudscapes and the chemist who first measured changes in air pressure, to the introduction of photography and the representation of natural history in print – she offers a different way of seeing, studying and interpreting the world.

Price: £10.00
 
 
Tilly Blyth

Event 7

Woodland Trust Walk 2

Tree ID Walk

Venue: Meet at the Woodland Trust Stand at the Festival

Join Woodland Trust expert Derek Wright, on a gentle walk around Hay town, identifying the trees growing among the houses and streets.

Sold out
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Woodland Trust Walk 2

Event 8

Thomas Waters

Cursed Britain: A History of Witchcraft and Black Magic in Modern Times

Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
This is a tale of cynical quacks and sincere magical healers, depressed people and furious vigilantes, innocent victims and rogues who claimed to possess evil abilities. Their spellbinding stories raise important questions about the State’s role in regulating radical spiritualities, the fragility of secularism and the true nature of magic. Thomas Waters, who teaches at Imperial College London and for the Workers Educational Association, explores the enduring power of primeval fears. He shows how witchcraft has become as diverse as modern Britain itself, and reveals why it is currently on the rise.
Price: £10.00
 
 

Event 9

Max Hastings

Chastise: The Dambusters Story 1943

Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage

Max Hastings grew up embracing the story of Operation Chastise, the classic 1955 movie, and the memory of Guy Gibson, the 24-year-old wing commander who led the raid and won the VC. The historian sets the dams raid within the big picture of the bomber offensive of the Second World War, with moving portraits of the young airmen, so many of whom died: of Barnes Wallis; the monstrous Harris; and of the tragic Guy Gibson. He offers a superb narrative of the action of one of the most extraordinary episodes in British history.

Price: £10.00
 
 
Max Hastings

Event 10

Children’s Lantern Decorating Workshop

Venue: Hay Public Library

Create your own decorated lantern and then take part in a procession to the switching on of the Christmas lights leaving Hay Public Library at 5.30pm and processing to the Market Square.

Parents must be in attendance during the workshop and for the procession.
Drop in - donations welcome

Event 11

Bernardine Evaristo in conversation with Peter Florence

Girl, Woman, Other

Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage

The 2019 Booker Prize winner discusses her joyous and brilliantly inventive polyphonic novel that explores the lives of 12 black British women of different generations.

Price: £10.00
 
 

Event 12

The Town of Hay and Friends

The Christmas Lights

Venue: Market Square

Come and join the party as Hay welcomes everyone to the beginning of the festive season with music and food and good cheer, and the turning on of the Christmas Lights.

Free - All Welcome
The Town of Hay and Friends

Event 13

Cerys Matthews talks to John Mitchinson

Where the Wild Cooks Go: Recipes, Music, Poetry, Cocktails

Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage

Song-loving cook or food-loving musician? Either way, Cerys Matthews has been experimenting with music and food ever since she can remember. From foraging and chewing on knotweed to cooking flapjacks and nettle soup as a young child, her interest in this planet's edibles has never waned. A life of touring guaranteed further culinary exploration: thousand-hole pancakes, amlou, roasted artichokes, vermouth with anchovy-filled green olives, death by chocolate, za'atar sprinkled on fresh tomatoes, hot baked soda bread, pineapple with chilli, crispy sage leaves and vegan haggis are just a few of the recipes she'll be celebrating.

Price: £10.00
 
 

Event 14

Richard Williams plays

Metropolis – Screening with live organ accompaniment

Venue: St Mary’s Church

Fr Richard Williams, the extraordinary gifted organist, composer and Vicar of St Mary's Church in Hay performs a stunning live accompaniment to Fritz Lang's classic 1927 film 'METROPOLIS' using the outstanding Bevington organ. This early science fiction film presents a highly stylized futuristic city where a cultured Utopian society exists above a bleak underworld populated by mistreated workers. The love interest is provided by a privileged youth who befriends a rebellious teacher putting him at odds with his authoritarian father.

DUE TO POPULAR DEMAND
There will be a second screening on Saturday night, event 30
.

Sold out
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Richard Williams plays

Event 15

Chainska Brassika

Play Hay

Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage

Since their foundation, Chainska Brassika have travelled far and wide, igniting crowds and setting countless venues a light with their fast and infectious Ska anthems. The eight-piece outfit are a truly unique and energetic squad of young South Londoners; presenting a tantalizing blend of authentic Ska rhythms, exquisite brass, and melodic vocals, making it impossible to deny your feet a chance to dance!

Chainska Brassika have performed and created in a diverse range of venues and spaces, from completing stadium tours with Madness to rubbing shoulders with Toots & the Maytals, both in the studio and at London’s famous Alexandra Palace, the World Reggae Contest Champions are duly making a name for themselves on a global level, having had the crowds rocking from Glastonbury to Notting Hill Carnival, Rototom Sunsplash European Reggae Festival in Spain to Outlook Festival in Croatia, and even the shores of Jamaica - it’s safe to say their headline tours are notorious!

Following the release of the albums “Skinna” and “Harry J Business” - the latter produced by double Grammy Award winning producer Stephen Stewart at the legendary Harry J Studios in Kingston, Jamaica - the band is armed with new material to inject yet more life into the re-emerging Ska scene. 

Price: £14.00
 
 
Chainska Brassika

Event 16

Jackie Morris and Mererid Hopwood

Live Painting, Spells and Poetry

Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage

The Kate Greenaway Medal-winning artist revisits her masterpiece The Lost Words and discusses the new collaboration on Geiriau Diflanedig – a Welsh-language version of Robert Macfarlane’s original text with the multi-award-winning poet Mererid Hopwood. She also introduces the 'lost classic' of nature writing, The House Without Windows by Barbara Newhall Follett, a fearless odyssey into a dreamtime of wildness and enchantment. The book is gloriously illuminated by Jackie Morris's moving art; this is a work of strange power for our bewildering times. Jackie will be painting a red fox onstage. Chaired by Peter Florence.

Adult
£10.00
 
 
Under 16's
£5.00
 
 

Event 17

Impelo Dance

Creative/Contemporary Dance workshop

Venue: Hay Primary School

Join Miriam from Impelo in a fun, creative dance workshop with a winter theme. Wear comfortable clothing and be prepared to dance in bare feet. Impelo is a charitable organisation that seeks to share the transformational power of dance.

Age 4-8 (children must be accompanied by an adult, but no adult ticket is required)
Price: £5.00
 
 
Impelo Dance

Event 18

Fiona Evans

Come and sing Messiah – choir rehearsal 1

Venue: St Mary’s Church

Have you always wanted to sing Handel’s Messiah but thought it was too difficult? Then join in our scratch ‘Come and Sing Messiah’ project. A professional concert singer with over 20 years’ experience of working with community choirs, Fiona Evans has rearranged this iconic work to make it more accessible for amateur/timid voices. Following rehearsals today and tomorrow, there will be a public performance in the evening of Sunday 1 December. All welcome.

* £10 for Hay Community Choir members, plus cost of score if required. Normal ticket price is for two rehearsals and includes a copy of the score.

please see events 38 and 43

Standard Ticket
£20.00
 
 
Hay Community Choir members
£10.00
 
 
Last few remaining tickets

Event 19

Woodland Trust Walk 3

Mouse Castle

Venue: Meet at the Woodland Trust Stand at the Festival

Join our Woodland Trust tree expert, Derek Wright, on a four-mile circular walk from Hay to the motte and bailey castle on top of Mouse Castle Wood. The walk involves some strenuous uphill sections; stout shoes are required

Sold out
Please log in to add this event to your wish list so we can notify you in case of further availability
Woodland Trust Walk 3

Event 20

Lindsay McCrae

My Penguin Year: Living with the Emperors

Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
When the BBC asked Lindsay McCrae to go to Antarctica to film emperor penguins for Dynasties: Emperor to be narrated by Attenborough, he was thrilled. After discussing it with his wife Becky they agreed that, although it would mean him being away for 11 months, he should do it. But then she became pregnant and it seemed like the worst idea in the world.

My Penguin Year recounts Lindsay’s adventure to the end of the Earth, filming the most resilient creatures in nature, while coping with being over 15,000km away from Becky and home – something that almost proved too much. Out of that experience he has written an unprecedented portrait of Antarctica's most extraordinary residents, the emperor penguins. They march up to 100 miles over solid ice to reach their breeding grounds. They choose to breed in the depths of the worst winter on the planet; and in an unusual role reversal, the males incubate the eggs, fasting for over 100 days to ensure they introduce their chicks safely into their new frozen world. And they are uniquely vulnerable to the unprecedented melting of the polar ice cap. Join McCrae as he relives the preparation and the months he was away and paints a portrait of this deeply moving tale of human endeavour in the harshest environment on the planet that formed the programme and led to his BAFTA win.
Adult
£10.00
 
 
Under 16's
£5.00
 
 
Last few remaining tickets
Lindsay McCrae