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Hostry festival organisers unveil a sophisticated line-up

New work and staged readings predominate in the second Hostry festival, centred on Norwich Cathedral and under the artistic direction of Stash Kirkbride.

It runs from 26 October to 4 November and opens with a black-tie reception followed by the announcement of the inaugural Norfolk Arts Awards. The John Whitehead Jazz Quartet accompanies the social side of the evening.

Saturday, 27 October sees a double-bill presentation of A Visit to the Villa Edouard VII by Julian Maclaren-Ross and Adrian Drew’s Voices: Moments from the Lives of Others. From Tuesday, 30 October to Saturday, 3 November Rebecca Chapman’s Total Ensemble Theatre Company offers a movement-based Prologue and Hamlet: The Undiscovered Country with David Banks, Peter Barrow, and Tom Harper.

Wednesday 31 October is a gala evening, complete with after-show reception. The afternoon of Friday, 2 November is taken up with a Norfolk Authors’ Day, organised by the Book Hive & Writers’ Centre. It profiles six local authors in interview with a question-and-answer session to follow. Norwich Puppet Theatre is staging Thumbelina for younger children on the afternoon of Saturday, 3 November.

The final afternoon, on Sunday, 4 November, has a rehearsed and staged reading of Five Marys Waiting by David Banks, followed by an after-show panel discussion. The evening is taken up by a talk by Yvonne Tasker on film versions of Hamlet followed by a screening of the 1948 film, directed by and starring Laurence Olivier.

Festival co-founder Barrow explains that: “I founded the Hostry Festival with Stash after inheriting a sizable legacy. I could either sit on the money and not do much of anything, or I could do something that actually inspired me. I knew Stash was quietly keen to put on certain plays, so I combined my money and inspiration with his keenness, experience and inspiration, and we put on The Night of the Iguana at the Hostry in 2010 before staging a larger programme at the new Hostry Festival the following year.

“I am always pleased when we are able to include one-time actors such as myself who are coming back to performing, as well as first-timers who’ve never really acted before and are getting their first chance in our productions. This year has a number of examples of both the above. Inspiration is probably the key to mounting the Hostry Festival; we want all the festival participants, actors and all audiences to be inspired by the results of our efforts. That’s where the satisfaction lies”.

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