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Event Description

The Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival, the UK’s longest running poetry festival returns to Stratford-upon-Avon from 18 – 25 June. Inspired by world events and international cultures, this year’s festival takes the theme of ‘Crossing Borders’, with world-class poets and artists reflecting contemporary issues of conflict, immigration and integration.

Organised by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the 64th Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival presents an exciting line-up of readings, performances and workshops from award-winning artists including Simon Russell Beale, Oliver Ford Davies, Inua Ellams and Jessica Mehta.

The festival launches on 18 June, on Father’s Day, with a special programme of poetry for Dads featuring the official launch of the much loved Shakespearian actor Oliver Ford Davies’s new book, Shakespeare’s Fathers and Daughters. Oliver will present his work and take part in a recital with actress Mariah Gale. They have previously played a father and daughter (Polonius and Ophelia) in Hamlet and will explore why Shakespeare was so obsessed with fathers and daughters.

Families and youngsters can also enjoy a storytelling and poetry workshop with Adam and Charlotte Guillian, authors of the hilarious best-selling picture book, School for Dads – a perfect family activity for Father’s Day.

Other festival highlights include:

·         Simon Russell Beale and Alexandra Gilbreath performing a recital about how poets and writers respond to war, refugees and crossing borders: All the Business of War, a special programme devised by poet and Shakespearian academic Roger Pringle.

·         Inua Ellams’s highly acclaimed show An Evening with an Immigrant.

·         Join multi award-winning Kurdish poet and journalist, Bejan Matur, in conversation with Erica James of the Poetry Translation Centre for an evening of readings and tales about the struggles of the Kurdish people.

·         Celebrate Midsummer’s eve around a bonfire in the magical grounds of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. Follow the tradition of singing songs and telling stories around the fire, and hear extracts from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and related poetry.

·         Turn your favourite poem into a work of art. Join artist Clare Booth and bring to light the imagery within your chosen poem in this artistic workshop which focuses on pastel colouring and drawing techniques. Come along with your favourite poem, rolled up sleeves and an open mind.

For the full programme and to book tickets, visit www.shakespeare.org.uk/poetryfestival. Tickets can also be purchased from any of the Shakespeare houses.