Launch event offers highlights of this year’s Festival of Chichester

Highlights were there to be savoured on Saturday as St John’s Chapel hosted the launch event for this year’s Festival of Chichester.

The Festival of Chichester, boasting more than 200 events, kicks off on Saturday, June 13, launching a month of talks, plays, walks, theatre, art, cinema and community events.

Meg Hamilton (credit Pierre Marcar)

Meg Hamilton (credit Pierre Marcar)

And to set the ball rolling, festival organisers were delighted to invite partipants and future festival-goers to a taster session of some of the delights the month will hold.

Chichester novelist Kate Mosse was joined by her daughter Martha to talk about their involvement this year. Kate’s husband Greg is the author of Self-Help, a new play which will be staged in St John’s Chapel (June 20, 2pm; June 21, 2pm; June 24, 2pm) by a new group of young actors formed from those newly moving on from Chichester Festival Youth Theatre.

Kate, who has been closely involved with the Festival of Chichester from its inception, has appeared in both festivals so far. She will make it three out of three when on Friday, June 19 at 7.30pm at Chichester’s Oxmarket Centre of Arts she takes part in a book barney – an event which invites participants to select, defend and justify the one book they would save from the flames if their house were on fire.

A thinker (Louise Goldsmith), an author (Kate), a poet (Maggie Sawkins) and an artist (Jo Gibson) will battle it out to persuade you they’ve made the right choice.

The launch audience was also treated to an excerpt from a show certain to be one of the festival highlights, Stony Broke in No Man’s Land (June 25-27, Vicars’ Hall). In the great showbiz tradition, they left the audience wanting more, stopping their extract on a cliffhanger.

The afternoon also saw a performance from guitarist Amanda Cook and violinist Meg Hamilton, both of whom will be heavily involved in the festival. Also representing a strong guitar section in the festival programme, Linda Kelsall-Barnett offered a mouth-watering taster of the festival pleasures ahead.

Also performing at the launch event were four members from Chichester City Band, as was Merlynda! – the Mad, Bad & Daft to Know Comedy Poet who will be in action at the Chichester Yacht Club (The Upper Deck), Chichester Marina on Thursday, July 2 at 8pm when she is promsing a special one-woman Naughty Nautical evening of comedy, poetry and songs for adults about saucy sailors and their mates.

At the launch, festival organisers were on hand to talk about the programme as a whole.

This year’s classical music section includes: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra Summer Serenade, Chichester Cathedral (Saturday, June 13, 7.30pm), Reiko Fujisawa – piano recital, University Of Chichester (Sunday, June 14, 5pm), The Symphonic Brass Of London, St Paul’s Church (Friday, June 19, 7.30pm), Pavlos Carvalho Plays Bach, St John’s Chapel (Friday, June 19, 7.30pm), Pallant Festival Concert – Victor Ryabchikov Pallant House Gallery (Saturday, June 20, 12 noon), The Chichester Singers, Chichester Cathedral (Saturday, June 20, 7.30pm), and Choro! traditional music from Brazil, The Chorões, St John’s Chapel (Monday, June 22, 1pm).

Spoken word includes: The Monologue From The Bible To Alan Bennett (June 12, 7.30pm and Saturday, June 13, 7.30pm), William Nicholson, Chichester Cathedral (June 15, 6.30pm), and Chichester crime writer Peter Lovesey (June 29, 7.30pm).

Tickets are available online at www.chichestertickets.co.uk.

Box office: 01243 813595

In person: Cloisters Shop, Cathedral Cloisters, Chichester, PO19 1PX (open Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm).