Battle Festival News

Volunteers needed!


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CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS

Battle Festival is now in its third year and I hope that you agree that it is going from strength to strength. It has forged strong partnerships locally and has managed to stage world class events. In 2016 it commissioned and produced a major opera, enabled 43 diverse arts events to be held in Battle, erected a statue and delivered educational projects in 13 local schools. It has recently become a charity and has appointed 6 trustees to manage its charitable status. The Festival has big ambitions of creating a town, that not only has significant historical interest, but is known for its cultural offer.

In order to maintain and build on this success we need to recruit volunteers that can help support the Festival as it develops. There are a number of opportunities available if you’d like to get involved, or perhaps recommend some one that is known to you.
We have identified the following areas where we need help:

*Venue liaison – making sure that venues are booked and all facilities are in place for a performance
*Bar management – setting up bars and arranging staff
*Running a friends scheme – keeping friends informed and up to date with events
*Distribution of programmes and flyers
*Erection of advertising boards and banners
*Box Office – Ticket sales and distribution
*Sponsorship with local businesses
*Marketing and Social Media
*Press and communications

If you feel you have the skills necessary to do any of these roles and are able to give a few hours a week leading up to and during the Festival please let get in touch via email info@battlefestival or by telephoning 01424 772657, we are a friendly and supportive bunch of people.

We do hope that you will consider becoming part of our team and help build a wonderful world class Festival that contributes so much for Battle and the 1066 area.


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Diverse family-friendly festival that puts culture at the heart of the community


Battle Festival 2016 has scheduled an exciting, diverse and family-friendly programme of events throughout October, throughout Battle.
2016 is a very special year for the festival as we mark the 950th Anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, which took place right here in the centre of our town. The Festival has planned to mark this occasion with the world premiere of a specially commissioned opera, PUSH, by the internationally acclaimed composer Howard Moody, in partnership with Glyndebourne and the De La Warr Pavilion for ROOT1066 International Festival.

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Battle Festival  2016 has scheduled an exciting, diverse and family-friendly programme of events throughout October, throughout Battle.

2016 is a very special year for the festival as we mark the 950th Anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, which took place right here in the centre of our town. The Festival has planned to mark this occasion with the world premiere of a specially commissioned opera, PUSH, by the internationally acclaimed composer Howard Moody, in partnership with Glyndebourne and the De La Warr Pavilion for ROOT1066 International Festival. Three international soloists and musicians from major orchestras will join forces with a 150-strong community choir drawn from across the 1066 region.  Directed by Glyndebourne director Simon Iorio and designed by award-winning Ele Slade, this inspirational and topical new work will demonstrate the power of human kindness, peace, tolerance and togetherness in these challenging times.

For 2016 we also welcome one of the UK’s foremost chamber groups, the Primrose Piano Quartet, as our new ensemble-in-residence. The Primrose will perform a weekend of popular classics including  Schubert’s ‘The Trout’ Quintet by candlelight, featuring double bassist Leon Bosch, and an afternoon of family fun in the ANIMALS concert (Peter and The Wolf, Carnival of the Animals), performed in a specially created ‘jungle’ setting.

Medieval ‘speed folk’ specialists PerKelt present Celtic music that blends original compositions with medieval and traditional sources. Passionate and energetic, they are not to be missed.

Theatre and dance add a new dimension to the festival for 2016 as we showcase the theatrical classic The Ladykillers, courtesy of Bootcamp Theatre, and an afternoon of satirical silliness with the masters of comic song Flanders and Swann. Spiltmilk Dance Company bring their fast-paced race through popular culture BLAST FROM THE PAST to Battle – somewhere between a dance performance, TV game show and the ultimate compilation album.

The inspirational Usifu Jalloh brings his captivating storytelling to town, mixing drumming and singing with the weaving of magical tales for young and old. The Festival also hosts the master of crime Peter James, who takes us for a walk on the dark side; writer and producer Simon Brett, who will give us an insight into writing for radio comedy classics such as  I’m sorry I Haven’t a Clue and Just a Minute, and historical novelist Lindsey Davis, who brings to life her Falco series of crime stories set in ancient Rome.

Back by popular demand is writer and lecturer James Russell, with his illustrated and down-to-earth presentation about the brothers Paul and John Nash: Brothers in Art.

Alongside a diverse range of art exhibitions, workshops and demonstrations, taking in pottery, needlefelt, lino printing and the art of stained glass, will be the annual PURE Autumn Art Fair.

Add to this astronomy, history and much, much more, 2016 will have something for everyone.

For tickets and information visit BattleFestival.co.uk or call the  box office on 01424 319 982 or visit The Crafty Norman and Farrago in Battle High Street.


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10/06/16 Battle Festival announces its latest collaboration


Battle Festival Announces its Latest Collaboration
with top UK chamber group and reveals the date of its Summer Concert

No sooner has the dust settled on the announcement of a Battle Festival collaboration with the world renowned Glyndebourne, than there is news of another.

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Battle Festival Announces its Latest Collaboration
with top UK chamber group and reveals the date of its Summer Concert

No sooner has the dust settled on the announcement of a Battle Festival collaboration with the world renowned Glyndebourne, than there is news of another. 

Primrose Trio

Battle Festival is delighted to announce its affiliation with one of the UK’s foremost chamber groups, The Primrose Piano Quartet.  The award-winning Quartet will play several dates at Battle Festival this coming October, performing popular classical music to audiences of all ages.  Formed in 2004, Primrose  enjoys a busy performing schedule throughout the UK and abroad, with regular appearances at all the major London venues.  They have released seven critically acclaimed CDs to date.

During the month long festival, the Quartet will feature in a diverse weekend of concerts with a number of exciting guest players.  A candlelit evening concert will include one of the most popular chamber pieces of all times, Schubert’s ‘The Trout’ Quintet, and Primrose will be joined by one of the world’s top double bass soloists, Leon Bosch.  Additionally, an informal coffee concert will give audience members the opportunity to meet and chat with members of the Quartet,  and a family concert with ‘Peter and the Wolf’ and ‘Carnival of the Animals’ will see Battle’s Memorial Hall transformed into a jungle!   David Furness, Chairman of Battle Festival, is delighted to be working with Primrose.  “The Primrose Piano Quartet are some of the leading classical musicians in the country,  but crucially for us, they share Battle Festival’s ethos of making classical music accessible to all ages.  With them we will again provide world-class concerts in Battle, both chamber and orchestral, and via our education and outreach initiatives, introduce classical music to those who might not otherwise encounter it. We very much look forward to working with them.”

 Classics on a Summer Evening – a taste of things to come

In a taste of things to come in October, audiences will enjoy an opportunity to hear some of the UK’s top classical musicians at Battle Festival’s Summer Concert on 12th July, when members of the Primrose Piano Quartet perform a fundraising concert for the Festival.  ‘Classics on a Summer Evening’ will feature some of the most famous works in the chamber music repertoire, including the Violin Sonata by Franck, Beethoven Cello Sonata and Schubert Piano Trio.  Susanne Stanzeleit of the Primrose Piano Quartet said “We are delighted to play at St Mary’s Church with its lovely acoustics, and even more delighted to be involved with such an exciting event as Battle Festival. The concerts in October will support Home Start, a charity close to our hearts, and in September we will give short concerts at some local schools to give the pupils a taste of live classical music.”

Tickets for Classics on a Summer Evening are now on sale online at BattleFestival.co.uk and at The Crafty Norman and Farrago in Battle. Seating is limited, please book early.


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01/07/16 Battle Festival Uniting Communities Across 1066 Country


Battle Festival Uniting Communities Across 1066 Country
in their PUSH for tolerance and togetherness in landmark opera

At a time of deep uncertainty across the country, organisers of Battle Festival are proving a determined force for uniting communities in 1066 Country. Although Battle based, the inclusive nature of the festival’s approach sees adults and children from across the region come together to celebrate tolerance and togetherness in their topical new opera PUSH.

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Battle Festival Uniting Communities Across 1066 Country
in their PUSH for tolerance and togetherness in landmark opera

At a time of deep uncertainty across the country, organisers of Battle Festival are proving a determined force for uniting communities in 1066 Country.  Although Battle based, the inclusive nature of the festival’s approach sees adults and children from across the region come together to celebrate tolerance and togetherness in their topical new opera PUSH.

The opera, in collaboration with Glyndebourne, takes inspiration from historic events but, crucially, explores some of today’s significant issues such as identity, freedom, peace and tolerance.  Based on the story of Simon Gronowski, pushed by his mother from a train bound for Auschwitz, how poignant now are Mr Gronowski’s words on hearing the opera score for the first time “This project is wonderful: marvellous for the opera- and music-lovers, and helpful for the young generations, against the barbarity and for a better world of peace, democracy, tolerance and friendship between men.”

Battle Festival: Schools rehearsal with the various 1066 Country schools plus composer and MD Howard Moody and Glyndebourne director Simon Iorio

image credit Battle Observer

At rehearsals in advance of the World Premier on October 1st, last week saw school children from across  Hastings and Battle on stage at the White Rock Theatre under the expert direction of Glyndebourne’s Simon Iorio and international composer Howard Moody.  This week, students at Rye Studio School began researching and designing the costumes and set for PUSH under the tutelage of PUSH’s award-winning designer Ele Slade.  Battle Festival’s Chairman David Furness said “At a time of great social change in Europe and elsewhere, PUSH is a timely reminder of the very best and worst of human nature. PUSH reflects on conflict however it emphasises that, even in the most challenging of times, we can be a strong force of healing, forgiveness, unity and optimism.  It is important now more than ever that communities work together in harmony and this is a major element of Battle Festival’s philosophy”.

Stage Rehearsals at White Rock Theatre in Hastings

Battle Festival is collaborating with Hastings based charity Education Futures Trust where Project Coordinator Virginia Sheldrake said “We were invited by Battle Festival to bring together primary school students from Hastings schools to be part of the children’s choir for PUSH.  I approached the schools that have been a part of EFT’s Leading Edge College programme for able pupils. Christ Church CE Primary School, Guestling Bradshaw CE Primary School, Robsack Wood Primary Academy and The Baird Primary Academy were keen to be involved and the collaboration is proving to be very fruitful for the *students.  Howard Moody and Simon ­­­Iorio are both incredibly talented and I’m enjoying being a part of such an exciting venture.”

Equally impressed is composer Howard Moody, who was visibly taken aback by the young talent in 1066 Country and how our schools’ are developing it, saying “I am so impressed with the young voices involved in PUSH. During the initial rehearsals in January it was clear to me that their schools have developed a vibrant ongoing tradition of singing. We are now into the stage rehearsals with the groups who have chosen to be part of the performance. PUSH is a story of our times, full of themes of hope and togetherness as well as separation and fear.  The young voices are already discovering their ability to internalise the story and to express it through their own individual sound, together.  This is incredibly exciting and perhaps important.  It is a privilege to hear my music sung with such dynamic energy, commitment and imagination, especially by such a large and diverse group. Amazing!”  A ringing endorsement 1066 Country’s children!

Education and opportunities for young people have been at the core of Battle Festival’s offering from the outset.  Head of Education for the festival, John Boyd says “It  is important for Battle Festival that, alongside the professional concerts and events, there is the offer of outstanding artistic experiences for local schools. It was fabulous to see children from 1066 Country schools becoming totally immersed in the music and movement of PUSH. They clearly responded to, and identified with, the gripping narrative and music of Howard Moody’s opera. Equally evident was the pupils’ joy in rehearsing and making friends with children from other schools. Fantastic that this dynamic and community piece is, for almost all the children, their first experience in opera and that they are revelling in the professional demands and challenges Howard and Simon are asking of them.

Award-Winning PUSH Designer works with Students at Rye Studio School

 

Award-winning designer Ele Slade (centre) working with students at Rye Studio School.

image credit Battle Observer

Continuing their theme of inclusivity in Rye, Battle Festival has now introduced their designer for the PUSH opera.  Multi award-winning Ele Slade is this week working with Rye Studio School where students are researching and designing  the costumes for PUSH.  Catherine Bell of RSS believes the students are very fortunate to be involved in PUSH saying “This contemporary theme provides an excellent cultural and historical context for the students to increase their knowledge and understanding of political and societal issues within a creative subject such as textiles. The resourcefulness of the students to investigate the various components of this brief from research, sampling and experimentation is in conjunction with the Rye Studio ethos of collaborating with industry to provide insight and experience for our learners in their progression towards a creative and successful career in the Arts.”

Battle Festival’s producer Sally Lampitt sums up this unique production  “PUSH is a very special project that sees world class artists working alongside community choirs to present a truly remarkable story.  Its central character’s tale is historic, yet the themes of identity, tolerance and peace are completely relevant to everything that’s happening in the UK and Europe right now. PUSH will undoubtedly be a landmark event in the UK’s cultural calendar this year.”

Tickets for PUSH have just been released and are on sale now from the box office at The De La Warr Pavilion, on www.DLWP.com and 01424 229 111.


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12/05/16 Launch of PUSH Music Score & Crowd Funding Initative


Battle Festival Launches Crowd Funding Initiative
More ways than one to support Battle Festival’s Commemorative Opera

Battle Festival will this evening (12/05/2016) launch a crowd funding initiative to assist them in funding a major new opera marking the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings.

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Battle Festival Launches Crowd Funding Initiative
More ways than one to support Battle Festival’s Commemorative Opera

Battle Festival will this evening (12/05/2016) launch a crowd funding initiative to assist them in funding a major new opera marking the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings. 

Already receiving national media attention, Battle Festival’s opera, titled PUSH, has also stoked the interest of local choirs, professional and amateur singers, and local school children, many of whom will take the stage as part of the opera’s Community Choir.  This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will allow them to sing alongside soloists from Glyndebourne and many of the country’s top classical musicians at the world premiere on October 1st.

Fund raising for PUSH has been ongoing since late 2015, with generous contributions from Arts Council England, Hastings Borough Council, Rother District Council, East Sussex Arts Partnership, Chalk Cliff Trust, Magdalen & Lasher Charity and Battle Partnership.  However organisers are now responding to a number of requests from the public, keen to be part of this historic event in some way but, in the words of one, “not necessarily blessed with a singing voice”.

Internationally acclaimed composer Howard Moody will tonight introduce the opera’s music score to the community choir for the first time.  Festival Chairman David Furness will use the opportunity to launch the fund raising initiative and is hoping for a high uptake on participation by the public.  He says “We would like to enable as many people as possible from across 1066 Country, and the country as a whole, to take part in this event – after all it marks the single most significant episode in our country’s history, right here in Battle where it all took place.  However, there are geographic and logistical restrictions on both the number of singers we can accommodate on stage and on audience numbers, so here is a way for everybody, everywhere, to join us in marking this momentous date.  We welcome all contributions, however small – this is about creating a legacy and there are no restrictions on being part of it.”

So whether you’re Saxon or Norman, in Battle or Normandy or beyond, you can make a donation by visiting www.youcaring.com/battle-festival-550850


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29/04/16 REVEALED: The Inspiration behind the Opera


Written by internationally acclaimed composer Howard Moody, the opera is inspired by the compelling, true story of Simon Gronowski, who was pushed from a train bound for Auschwitz by his mother in 1943. Yet the story doesn’t begin or end there!

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PUSH, a specially commissioned opera for Battle Festival 2016, will make its world premiere this October as part of the ROOT 1066 international contemporary arts festival.

Marking the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, ROOT 1066 aims to shine a national and international spotlight on 1066 Country through high quality arts and culture. Working closely with them is Battle Festival’s producer, Sally Lampitt, who saysTo mark the anniversary, Battle Festival wanted to commission a new work that takes its inspiration from events that shaped our history and looks at themes such as identity, culture, freedom, oppression, peace and tolerance. PUSH is the result.

mms_20160429_131558Making its world premiere on Saturday 1 October at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill, PUSH will be performed by soloists from Glyndebourne and musicians drawn from some of the UK’s major orchestras, while 250 children and adults from across 1066 Country will form the accompanying choir. Directed by Simon Iorio, currently a staff director at Glyndebourne, the show will be designed by award-winning Ele Slade (‘Best Costume Designer’ at the 2015 Off West End Awards, for Usagi Yojimbo at Southwark Playhouse).

PUSH: Ma vie nest que miracles!  (my life is only miracles)

PUSH, written by internationally acclaimed composer Howard Moody, is inspired by the compelling, true story of Simon Gronowski, who was pushed from a train bound for Auschwitz by his mother in 1943. Yet the story doesn’t begin or end there.

Howard Moody met Simon Gronowski after a performance in Brussels. It was during their subsequent conversation, in which Simon described his experiences in the Mechelen transit camp in northern Belgium, that he said to Howard “Ma vie nest que miracles – “My life is that of miracles.” Howard says: “I promised him there and then that I would write an opera about his story.”

The resultant work, PUSH, is an opera for three soloists, a large chorus and orchestra. The narrative of the story also draws on various accounts of those who have experienced refugee and prisoner status, including events of 2016; ‘The Jungle’ in Calais, the mass arrival of Syrian refugees into Europe, and the scenes from the train stations in Budapest as refugees were trapped whilst trying to board trains.

Mr. Gronowski has seen the libretto and remarked to Howard: “This project is wonderful: marvelous for the opera- and music-lovers, and helpful for the young generations, against the barbarity and for a better world, of peace, democracy, tolerance and friendship between men.”

Sally Lampitt says: We wanted a strong story which had at its heart all the elements which we felt were relevant and this story does that, whilst taking inspiration from other events from 1066 to 2016. The inspiration for the opera is historic but the delivery will be contemporary and relevant to today.  We’ll show you colliding cultures but celebrate diversity and embrace togetherness.”

PUSH is a Battle Festival production in partnership with Glyndebourne and the De La Warr Pavilion for Root 1066 International Festival. The world premiere will take place at the De La Warr Pavilion on Saturday 1st October 2016.  It will be followed by a semi-staged version in Battle on Saturday 8th October 2016.

 

 


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16/12/15 CALL OUT to Singers - perform with us in a World Premier


Perform with us in a WORLD-PREMIER PERFORMANCE to mark the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings

LOVE TO SING?
Or always wanted to give it a go?
Want to be part of a world premiere?

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LOVE TO SING?

Or always wanted to give it a go?

Want to be part of a world premiere?

Join the Battle Festival Choir

and take part in our new community opera
working with Glyndebourne and help us to celebrate the
950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings in 2016

 
Choir Call Out_Page_1Battle Festival will mark the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings with a one hour community opera commissioned from Howard Moody, produced in partnership with Glyndebourne and the De La Warr Pavilion, to be premiered as part the ROOT 1066 International Festival on 1st October 2016.

Rather than take a heritage approach to the anniversary we will take inspiration from the events that shaped our history and create our own unique response to this point when “cultures collided”.

We are creating a new Battle Festival Community Choir for this unique event with up to 400 voices, both adults and children, with no prior experience necessary!

What does it involve?

There will be two fully staged performances at the De La Warr Pavilion on Saturday 1st October 2016 with a rehearsal (open to schools) on Friday 30th September. There will also be one site-specific performance in Battle on Saturday 8 October.

 

Howard Moody RECENTTo find out more come along to the launch in Battle

on Saturday 23 January 2016 from 10.00-12.30 – please arrive from 09.45

at the Main Hall, Battle Memorial Halls, 81 High Street, Battle

if you’re 16+ and would like to take part

 

Howard Moody (Composer) and Simon Iorio (Director, Glyndebourne) will introduce the project.

Further information:

The Battle Festival community choir will rehearse from late April to early July with workshops and rehearsal sessions to introduce and learn the music and work with Glyndebourne director Simon Iorio and MD Howard Moody.

You will need to commit to attend the majority of these and the final rehearsals in September (approximately ten sessions), as well as being available for the performance dates on 30 September (rehearsal) 1 October (two performances) and a site-specific version in Battle on 8 October.

No need to read music although experienced singers are welcome.

The piece will be created for a range of different voices from the most experienced to the novice.

Want to know more?

If you’d like to know more, have any questions or would like to register to attend on 23 January, please email Project Manager Beth Martin on beth_artsprojects@hotmail.co.uk

Howard Moody

Howard Moody works in many different styles of music as conductor, composer and keyboard player. He is principal conductor and artistic director of La Folia and has also conducted London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony and Concert Orchestras, Hallé Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and London Mozart Players. He is a prolific composer and keyboard player and has worked extensively with saxophonist John Surman. Howard is especially committed to finding innovative ways of bringing live music making of the highest calibre to people who may otherwise not have the opportunity to experience it.

Simon Iorio (Director, Glyndebourne)

Simon has worked at Glyndebourne since 2012, most recently as staff director on two productions at the 2015 Glyndebourne Festival.

Caleb Madden (sound and production)

Caleb lives and works in the South East of the UK. He is a multi-disciplinary artist who uses sculpture, video, sound and light to create highly experiential installations and performances. He has presented artworks at various institutions including Southbank Centre, Roundhouse and Tate Modern. He studied sound recording at BA level and is currently completing an MA in Fine Art at the University of Brighton. Alongside his own art practice he collaborates and performs in the live AV duo Madden/Dylewski, is a founder member of the sonic arts collective The Spirit of Gravity, and works as a Production Manager/Curator/Programmer at The De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on Sea.

A Battle Festival production in partnership with Glyndebourne and the De La Warr Pavilion for Root 1066 International Festival. The project is supported by Hastings Borough Council and Arts Council England.

 


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14/12/15 Battle Festival to partner Glyndebourne


Battle Festival has confirmed it will mark the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings with the commission of a major new contemporary opera by internationally acclaimed composer Howard Moody.

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Battle Festival commissions major new opera for 2016
in partnership with Glyndebourne, De La Warr Pavilion and ROOT1066

Howard Moody 02Battle Festival has confirmed it will mark the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings with the commission of a major new contemporary opera by internationally acclaimed composer Howard Moody.

Working in partnership with the world renowned Glyndebourne and the De La Warr Pavilion, Battle Festival’s world premiere performance will be one of the lead events of the ROOT 1066 international festival which is being led by Hastings Borough Council. ROOT 1066 Festival Director Polly Gifford said “ROOT 1066 International Festival aims to offer new perspectives on the ideas and themes underlying the history of 1066 and the Battle of Hastings.  This opera is one of the most exciting projects in the festival line-up, bringing together a world class company like Glyndebourne with local communities to create new work with a contemporary theme.  We are delighted to support the project and to work with Battle Festival to make sure it’s a fitting end to the festival.”

With a working title of When Cultures Collide the opera will take inspiration from the historic events that took place in Battle in 1066, which changed the course of English history and subsequently shaped England’s future. Battle Festival’s unique artistic response will engage 300-400 performers drawn from the local community, children from 1066 Country’s schools, and feature soloists from Glyndebourne itself.

Leading the project for Battle Festival is Sally Lampitt who says the opera will not be performed in a traditional setting and will be created in partnership with local people. She said “We will use contemporary opera as a means for the people of 1066 Country to both examine their identities, cultural differences and similarities and to collectively create a new anthem that represents the culturally rich community we live in. The outcome will be our combined legacy to future generations in Battle and 1066 Country”

Composer, conductor and musician Howard Moody will shortly make a number of visits to local music groups and schools, discussing with them what it means to be part of a contemporary 1066 Country community.  He will then work alongside a creative team commissioned by Glyndebourne, including director Simon Iorio who has worked at Glyndebourne since 2012, most recently as staff director on two productions at the 2015 Glyndebourne Festival.  Excited by the opportunity to write a new opera that will involve so many people, Howard said “Cultures are colliding in so many positive and negative ways and we all find ourselves surrounded by so much that mirrors the build up to the events of 1066. There is no shortage of inspiration to create something new and contemporary.”

Next year is also a year to celebrate for Glyndebourne and Lucy Lowe, Head of Education, said “In 2016 Glyndebourne marks a special anniversary of its own – 30 years since the creation of our education department. Over the last three decades Glyndebourne has developed a strong track record in commissioning and producing community operas. Our first ever community opera took place on Hastings Pier in 1990 so we’re delighted to be returning to 1066 Country to partner with Battle Festival in commissioning When Cultures Collide.”

The world premiere of When Cultures Collide will take place at the De La Warr Pavilion on Saturday 1st October 2016.  It will be followed by a semi-staged version in Battle on Saturday 8th October, during the month long Battle Festival.

When Cultures Collide is a Battle Festival Production in partnership with Glyndebourne and the De La Warr Pavilion for the Root 1066 International Festival. The project is supported by Hastings Borough Council and Arts Council England.

 


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23/10/15 BIG Weekend of Live Performances


It’s another energetic round of events for Battle Festival this weekend, starting this evening at St Mary’s Church with an organ recital by Martin Ford, Assistant Organist at Westminster Abbey. Further concerts take place throughout the weekend PLUS the launch of the Pure art fair at Powdermills Hotel.

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Friday 23rd October

It’s another energetic round of events for Battle Festival this weekend, starting this evening (Friday 23rd) at St Mary’s Church with an organ recital by Martin Ford, Assistant Organist at Westminster Abbey. As a solo recitalist, Martin has performed at numerous notable venues, including St Paul’s Cathedral in London and Bourges Cathedral in France, numerous BBC Radio broadcasts and a tour to the USA before taking up his current position at Westminster Abbey in 2012. Highlights of his time at Westminster include playing for the service of celebration marking the 60th Anniversary of the Coronation, attended by Her Majesty the Queen, as well as accompanying the Abbey choir in appearances as part of David Starkey’s BBC documentary Music and Monarchy.  The audience can look forward to work by Handel, Bach and Elgar in the programme.

 

Battle Festival 19 July 2014Saturday 24th October is very busy day at St Mary’s with two concerts scheduled, the first at 11am being one of the Festival’s free to enter events. Billed as an imaginative programme of musical compositions set to Shakespeare’s text, the Coffee Concert includes readings by Battle-born actress and Theatre Director Clare Davidson.  Contralto Mae Heydorn and pianist Marisa Cornford will perform works by composers who have been inspired by the sonnets and writings of William Shakespeare. Clare Davidson will also recount her memories of the original Battle Festival, established by her parents in the 1950’s, and will read selected passages from Shakespeare’s poetry.

 

Art Trail_Page_1Saturday morning also sees the opening of the Pure autumn art fair at Powdermills Hotel, back with its 6th annual instalment. The fair showcases 60 selected artists working  across all fine art media including painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpture, ceramics and glass. Saturday and Sunday at the fair includes a special feature focusing on drawing led by artist Shelley Morrow and featuring costumed life model Francesca Cluney. The fair forms part of the Festival’s Art Trail, new for 2015, which takes in venues throughout the town including galleries, boutiques, restaurants, bars and open space.

 

RCC @ The Vyne 002Saturday is rounded off, again at St Mary’s, with a celebration of great English music for tenor, strings and piano with music dominated by Ralph Vaughan Williams, arguably the greatest composer Britain has seen since the days of Henry Purcell. His work is perfectly partnered with Ivor Gurney’s seven settings for the combination of voice, piano and string quartet in Ludlow and Teme based on poems from A.E. Housman’s ‘A Shropshire Lad’.  This concert will also feature one of the greatest English Tenors, Rogers Covey-Crump, who will be joined by members of Ensemble 1066 for the performance.

 

Nick CarpenterSunday 25th October

Drawing the classical performances to a close for 2015 is the Sunday Classics matinee performance showcasing contralto Mae Heydorn and Clarinetist Nicholas Carpenter, both of whom gave wonderful performances in last year’s Festival. Ensemble 1066 perform a varied and diverse programme of popular classics with works by Mozart and Brahms take centre stage including Mozart’s two major chamber works featuring the clarinet.

 

BillsBandThursday 29th October

The festival continues through to 31st October with affordable half-term family fun by Billy’s Band on Thursday 29th.  The family concert introduces children to the wonderful world of Billy, ‘the greatest conductor that ever lived’.  Families will hear top musicians performing live in a wide in a series of musical adventures.  Billy will entertain children and inspire them to pick up a musical instrument and have a go.

 

Full information on these events, and all others, can be found on BattleFestival.co.uk or by phoning 01424 319 982. Tickets are available on the door or in advance from Farrago and Penny Royal in Battle.


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07/10/15 Shakespeare Joins Forces with Hollywood


Hot on the heels of last’s week’s launch of the visual arts element of this year’s Battle Festival, this weekend sees the welcome return of live performances. The major opening concert for 2015 features Festival Patron and star of Wolf Hall and Game of Thrones, Anton Lesser.

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Hot on the heels of last’s week’s launch of the visual arts element of this year’s Battle Festival, this weekend sees the welcome return of live performances.  The major opening concert for 2015 features Festival Patron and star of Wolf Hall and Game of Thrones, Anton Lesser.

Confirmed as Patron of Battle Festival earlier this year, Lesser said of his return performance  “In 2014 I had the great privilege of sharing the stage at the Battle Festival with Utter Jazz. Sitting so close to their breathtaking musicianship repeatedly rendered me speechless – quite challenging as I was supposed to be reading the poems!  I was thrilled to be invited back to this year’s festival. To give expression to the words of some of the biggest minds and hearts in such a warm, focused and appreciative atmosphere is a joy”

Shakespeare in Battle, and in Love… will be performed on Saturday 10th with Lesser narrating a night of classical film music alongside the Battle Festival Sinfonia.  The concert combines two works written for the theatre and the big screen inspired by Shakespeare.  First, the wit and charm of Loves Labours Lost captured magically in Gerald Finzi’s suite, followed by the vibrant intensity of Henry V encapsulated in William Walton’s score for Olivier’s 1944 film classic.

Battle’s newest adopted son will also make a previously unscheduled appearance at Friday’s Film Music Concert at Claverham Community College where he’ll enjoy a unique opportunity to hear local young people perform with professional musicians from orchestras including the London Philharmonic and the Royal Philharmonic.  Festival Chairman David Furness said “This is what Battle Festival is all about.  Our talented young people will yet again share the stage with world-leading performers, and in the audience will be a leading Hollywood and RSC actor.  We can nurture local talent while simultaneously attracting leading performers and artists to our special town and I urge everyone to take full advantage and attend as many performances as possible.  You no longer need to travel to London for world-class performances, we’re attracting them right here, right now, to Battle.”  Further performances continue throughout October and full information can be found here.

Tickets for all performances are now available on BattleFestival.co.uk, box office 01424 319 982, Farrago in Battle, Eggs to Apples in Hurst Green, and Penny Royal in Battle, Rye and Hastings.


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30/09/15 Dragons Den meets Battle Abbey at launch of Battle Festival 2015


Battle Festival 2015 launches at Battle Abbey
with an inaugural Artist in Residence & a new Art Trail

It’s been a full year in the making but Battle Festival is back and this year it’s bigger, better and longer. Opening Thursday October 1st with an array of visual arts exhibitions and events, the festival will continue throughout October with concerts, film, culinary events, workshops, half-term family fun and more.

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Battle Festival 2015 launches at Battle Abbey
with an inaugural Artist in Residence & a new Art Trail

It’s been a full year in the making but Battle Festival is back and this year it’s bigger, better and longer. Opening Thursday October 1st with an array of visual arts exhibitions and events, the festival will continue throughout October with concerts, film, culinary events, workshops, half-term family fun and more.
But it’s the visual arts that own the first week of the festival and the organisers are delighted to announce a number of initiatives including its inaugural Artist in Residence and a new Art Trail. Integral to both is the festival’s ongoing relationship with English Heritage at the iconic Battle Abbey.

Artist in Residence

L1180046The festival has confirmed its first Artist in Residence as sculptor Guy Portelli FRBS RBA. A long-time resident artist at Battle’s Saffron Gallery, Portelli reached a new national and international audience with his 2008 appearance on Dragons Den.

Now, in a first for Battle Abbey, a number of Portelli’s major works will be exhibited in the Abbey grounds for the duration of the festival. Specially chosen by the artist in consultation with Battle Abbey Property Manager Jo Stewart, the pieces reflect the unique history and nature of the site. Several of Portelli’s smaller works will additionally be exhibited throughout the town at Battle Museum, St Mary’s Church and Saffron Gallery.

On being represented so widely in Battle, and in particular at Battle Abbey, Portelli said “I like to place my sculptures within a relevant time and place. With Battle Abbey’s historical significance and beautiful surroundings, it is a truly a great honour for me to become a small part of this great fabric of history that spans almost 950 years.”

 

Festival Art Trail

Battle Festival has already trebled its visual arts events in just one year since its re-launch in 2014. This includes another new initiative in the introduction of an Art Trail incorporating many venues throughout the town not usually associated with the arts.
Liz Honey, Director of Saffron Gallery, is also coordinator of the festival’s visual arts element. She said “We are delighted to again be working so closely with Battle Abbey on a major festival event, cementing our relationship and launching our inaugural Art Trail and Artist in Residence initiative with them. The art trail leads visitors from the top to bottom of Battle’s High Street and beyond, with an interactive and fun photo opportunity on the Abbey Green.

 

catalogue cover

With this, the many exhibitions and the new visual arts MasterClasses bringing internationally collected artists and world-leading experts to town, there’s a bumper month for the arts in store for Battle. Eric Ravilious expert James Russell will host one such MasterClass in conjunction with the town’s British Design British Made store. Having recently curated a Ravilious exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery he said “I’m looking forward to discussing the life and work of Eric Ravilious at Battle Festival this year – and showing lots of pictures of course. Should be a lot of fun!”

Battle Festival launches on Thursday 1st October and runs throughout October. Tickets are now available on BattleFestival.co.uk, box office 01424 319 982, Farrago in Battle, Eggs to Apples in Hurst Green and Penny Royal in Battle, Rye and Hastings.


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05/09/15 - Tickets are now on sale for BATTLE FESTIVAL 2015


Hot on the heels of announcing new festival patron Anton Lesser, Battle Festival has now released tickets for its forthcoming month-long festival.  Tickets are on sale now at www.BattleFestival.co.uk and will shortly be available to purchase at a limited number of venues in 1066 Country.

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Hot on the heels of announcing new festival patron Anton Lesser, Battle Festival has now released tickets for its forthcoming month-long festival.  Tickets are on sale now at www.BattleFestival.co.uk and will shortly be available to purchase at a limited number of venues in 1066 Country.

The inaugural Battle Festival in 2014 received commendations including “you promised us world-class performers and you delivered!” and was declared “Pick of the Week” by both The Guardian and The Observer newspapers.   This year’s festival has developed dramatically, with many more performances, visual arts exhibitions, family fun events, film, culinary experiences and Masterclass sessions.  With just under one month to go before the first performances and tickets already being snapped up, organisers recommend advance purchase of tickets to avoid disappointment.


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02/09/15 - New Patron for Battle Festival


We are delighted to announce Hollywood and RSC actor Anton Lesser has been confirmed as our new Patron. Lesser has played many of the principal Shakespearian roles for the Royal Shakespeare Company, received recent acclaim for his performance in Wolf Hall, and garnered a new and wider audience with his performances in Game of Thrones and Pirates of the Caribbean.

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We are delighted to announce Hollywood and RSC actor Anton Lesser has been confirmed as our new  Patron.  Lesser has played many of the principal Shakespearian roles for the Royal Shakespeare Company, received recent acclaim for his performance in Wolf Hall, and garnered a new and wider audience with his performances in Game of Thrones and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Lesser, who performed at the inaugural Battle Festival in 2014 said “I am very honoured to have been invited to be a Patron of Battle Festival, and wish it every success in aspiring to bring great artistic works and world class practitioners to this lovely part of England.”  Festival Chairman David Furness is delighted to welcome Lesser’s input, saying “Battle immediately took Anton to their hearts during his outstanding performance in 2014 and this, combined with his talent, experience and enthusiasm, make him an ideal patron for the festival.  We are delighted to welcome him on board and very much look forward working with him in the future.”

Anton Lesser will again perform at the Battle Festival in October 2015 in Shakespeare in Battle, and in Love…‘  the significant opening concert this year’s festival, embodying the wit and charm of Shakespeare’s Loves Labours Lost with the vibrant intensity of Henry V.


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26/08/15 - Surprise September Concert Announced


Battle Festival has announced a surprise September matinee recital in advance of October’s main programme of events. Dan Cornford, the festival’s Director of Classical Music, has confirmed that he and fellow Battle Festival Sinfonia performers, pianist Marissa Cornford and contralto Mae Heydorn, will perform at St Mary’s Church on Sunday September 27th. All three performers were members of the Sinfonia which thrilled audiences during the inaugural festival in 2014.

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Battle Festival has announced a surprise September matinee recital in advance of October’s main programme of events. Dan Cornford, the festival’s Director of Classical Music, has confirmed that he and fellow Battle Festival Sinfonia performers, pianist Marissa Cornford and contralto Mae Heydorn, will perform at St Mary’s Church on Sunday September 27th.  All three performers were members of the Sinfonia which thrilled audiences during the inaugural festival in 2014.  They will be joined by young singer/songwriter Francesca Lewis who took part in the mentoring sessions by Tim Rice-Oxley during last year’s Festival.  Francesca recently performed as a solo vocalist at the Montreux Jazz Festival and will soon be releasing an album of her own songs under the name Sansha.

September Fundraiser

 

 

 

In a preview of things to come in October, the three world-class musicians will perform in what has been billed as ‘Romantic Classics & Hollywood Favourites’, a recital featuring works by great romantic composers Brahms and Schumann.

Francesca LewisThe second half of the concert will feature lighter and more popular music including jazz standards by Gershwin and Cole Porter.  Francesca Lewis will include some original compositions inspired in part by her experiences during last year’s mentoring sessions with festival patron Tim Rice-Oxley.  “It was brilliant having help and advice from Tim” said Francesca. “It really changed the direction I am going with my songs and has made a huge difference.”

The September concert will be one of the festival’s free-to-enter events and will also provide an opportunity for local music lovers to meet members of the Battle Festival Sinfonia and festival team, and to hear about all the exciting events taking place in October.  “We want to give local music lovers a taste of what’s to come in this year’s festival” says Dan Cornford. “We have a hugely exciting programme of events on offer again this year and we would like to invite as many people as possible to come along to hear about what’s coming up, listen to some beautiful music, and also have the opportunity to chat to members of the Festival committee”.

Although there is no charge to enjoy the concert, there will be an opportunity to support the festival with a voluntary retiring collection, proceeds from which will be used to help fund the October festival proper.  Battle Festival recently released information about their Friends of Battle Festival scheme which gives people the opportunity to support festival activities from as little as £35 per annum, with many benefits including priority booking and early bird discounts.  Further information can be found on www.BattleFestival or by emailing info@BattleFestival.co.uk

Romantic Classics & Hollywood Favourites

  • Sunday 27 September –  3:00pm St Mary’s Church
  • Admission free with retiring collection
  • Refreshments will be available in the interval

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21/08/15 - Friends of Battle Festival Scheme Launched


Battle Festival has launched its Friends of Battle Festival scheme to ensure it continues to attract leading performers and artists to the town. The festival is funded in part by grants and donations which help keep ticket prices lower than would otherwise be possible, with a number of events available free of charge. In 2014 the festival received major funding from Arts Council England to produce the festival, however this year’s application for funding was unsuccessful.

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Battle Festival has launched its Friends of Battle Festival scheme  to ensure it continues to attract leading performers and artists to the town.  The festival is funded in part by grants and donations which help keep ticket prices lower than would otherwise be possible, with a number of events available free of charge. In 2014 the festival received major funding from Arts Council England to produce the festival, however this year’s application for funding was unsuccessful.

The festival team has reaffirmed its commitment to bringing world-class artists to 1066 Country, with concerts by internationally renowned musicians and exhibitions by internationally collected artists, all complimented by a lively and varied Battle Fringe. The festival’s Masterclass initiative offers mentoring sessions, workshops, talks and classes by leading artists and performers.

David Furness launched Friends of Battle FestivalFestival Chairman David Furness says “These initiatives are what make Battle Festival stand out from the crowd but it all comes at an eye-watering cost which ticket prices alone could never hope to cover. Without major funding we need to find another way to support the event and ensure its longevity and so we’ve launched our Friends of Battle Festival scheme. Please consider becoming a Friend in whatever capacity you can, from individual donations to corporate sponsorship – it all really does add up and make a difference.”

The scheme offers packages from £35 per annum with benefits including advance notification of early-bird discounts and priority booking.  Individual or joint membership packages can include Silver and Platinum patronage from £100-£1000, with a long term, tailored corporate sponsorship package available which can include ‘meet the artists’ events, corporate entertainment events, joint PR initiatives and more.

Furness is convinced 1066 Country businesses can gain from aligning their brands to that of the festival, saying “The festival is only in its second year and is already staging events by world-class performers including a sell-out concert by Tim Rice-Oxley and Tom Chaplin of Keane, and returning to Battle again this year, Hollywood and RSC actor Anton Lesser. This is newsworthy and makes people sit up and listen.  You can be a part of it and share our success while helping ensure the festival continues to grow year on year.”

Anybody who would like to support the festival can email for an application form or further information on info@BattleFestival.co.uk.

 


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22/07/15 - Support acts announced for Back to Battle concert


In an exciting twist, Battle Festival has today announced the support acts for their much anticipated Back to Battle concert with Keane stars Tim Rice-Oxley and Tom Chaplin. Two young musicians, who themselves received expert support from Rice-Oxley during last year’s mentoring sessions, have been hand-picked to open the event. The two have been confirmed as 1066 Country residents singer-songwriter Rachel Wilson (20) and drummer Elliot Lampitt (20) who will perform with his band Dorey the Wise.

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Rising stars turn the tables to support their Keane mentor

IMG_3296 lo res

In an exciting twist, Battle Festival has today announced the support acts for their much anticipated Back to Battle concert with Keane stars Tim Rice-Oxley and Tom Chaplin.  Two young musicians, who themselves received expert support from Rice-Oxley during last year’s mentoring sessions, have been hand-picked to open the event.  The two have been confirmed as 1066 Country residents singer-songwriter Rachel Wilson (20) and drummer Elliot Lampitt (20) who will perform with his band Dorey the Wise.

The lucky young hopefuls were initially selected to receive mentoring sessions with Ivor Novello Award winner Tim Rice-Oxley at the inaugural Battle Festival in 2014. Since then they have been making the most of their money-can’t-buy opportunity to help drive their careers, culminating in them performing as support to their mentor on Saturday 8th August.

For Elliot Lampitt, last year’s session with Tim gave him the confidence he needed to develop his song writing: “I can’t thank Battle Festival enough for the opportunity to meet with Tim. I’ve been working on my own material which is quite different from what I play in my band and it was great to get some feedback on this at an early stage and some pointers on how I could improve certain areas.  Tim gave me the push to keep experimenting.”

Long considered the holy grail for many fans, the opportunity to see Tim and Tom performing on the grounds of Battle Abbey saw them clamouring for tickets weeks before they went on sale.  Local fans queued for hours outside Battle Memorial Hall for the 100 discounted tickets allocated to Battle residents and all general release tickets sold out online within seconds.

For Rachel Wilson, dubbed ‘sensational’ at the recent Lowde Festival in Hampshire, the advice she received during last year’s Battle Festival was paramount:  “It’s not often you’re given an opportunity to gain advice from someone with the wealth of experience and international success that Keane have, so being able to sit with Tim and have an open, honest conversation regarding my work and writing in general was a real privilege”.

Building on the 2014 mentoring sessions and workshops, Battle Festival will this year extend their educational aspect further, offering workshops across a number of cultural disciplines including film music, painting, drawing and cookery.

Festival Chairman David Furness is delighted the festival is able to facilitate such an opportunity for young musicians.  “We’ve put educational and mentoring initiatives at the core of our ethos and that this can help provide a potentially career-changing opportunity for young people is very rewarding.  Coming full circle like this in just a year is the stuff of many young musicians’ dreams and epitomises the Festival’s philosophy.”

Huw Merriman, MP for Battle & Bexhill had this to say “I am looking forward to seeing Rachel and Elliot perform at the Back to Battle concert. By arranging for mentoring from Tim Rice-Oxley, and then giving those artists a support slot the following year, the Battle Festival team are doing sterling work in promoting local talent and helping them reach the top.’

FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THE SUPPORT ACTS

Rachel WilsonRachel Wilson  This 20 year old singer-songwriter from the South East coast uses her guitar to talk almost as much as her haunting vocals, creating a captivating and chilling live performance. Over the last few years, Rachel has played renowned venues such as 12 Bar Club and Water Rats and continues to experiment with her sound, honing her craft.

“On a bill that favours larger outfits there is, all of a sudden, a girl stood centre stage with an acoustic guitar, beside her only a cellist. Hushed by the drop in volume, the audience becomes enticed by this minimal arrangement and we are invited to drift along a haunting and beautiful melody from Rachel Wilson.” – BN1 Magazine

“The SENSATIONAL Rachel Wilson is gracing the unplugged stage!!” – Lowde Fest

 

Dorey the Wise liveDorey The Wise embody the unstoppable DIY ethic of the UK music scene. Under their own considerable steam they’ve released a brace of cracking EPs, had airplay from BBC Introducing, Amazing Radio, 6 Music and Radio 2, played live in support of Example, Scouting For Girls and The Hoosiers and built a loyal and growing fanbase hooked on their indie exuberance, dark lyrical spin and dry humour.
“To call an unsigned band the future kings of indie may be a somewhat far-fetched idea but, where Dorey The Wise are concerned, there couldn’t be a more fitting claim. Taking the typical components of indie rock and splashing them with post-punk, Dorey The Wise – a four-piece from East Sussex – are an extremely innovative outfit, bursting with passion and boasting sheer, raw talent.” Gigslutz

“This is a band on the brink of something big.”  Soundofsummer (Larmer Tree Breakthrough Awards 2015)


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