One of the first arts festivals to open its doors for live events, the much-loved Bath Festival returns from 17th to 24th May. Expect an exciting programme of music and books in some beautiful venues, all under social distancing guidelines. The team have given us the inside scoop about ten events to look forward to – tickets are on sale now.
Bryony Gordon, Telegraph columnist and author, has interviewed many celebrities about their mental wellbeing, and is a campaigner for mental health. On 20th May, Bryony and writer Poorna Bell will be talking about ways we can look after ourselves in a chaotic world, with practical tips on how to navigate our way through testing times.
Woke is an award-winning, powerful stage show using words and music to tell the story of the African-American struggle spanning four decades. The drama, written and performed by Apphia Campbell, will be staged in Bath on 18th May before going on to the Everyman in Liverpool and the Rose Theatre, London.
Image credit: Laurie Fletcher
3. Mel Giedroyc
If there’s any celebrity we’d love to have a cuppa with, it’s comedian and TV presenter Mel Giedroyc. Judging by the sales of Mel’s first novel, The Best Things, plenty of others feel the same. Mel will be talking to writer Francesca Beauman on 23rd May about her timely, tender book.
Working from home has been a new experience for all of us in the past year. How was it for you? Writer Harriet Minter will be interviewed by Bath blogger Sarah Baker on 22nd May about her new book, Working from Home: How to Survive and Thrive. Expect both thoughtful and light-hearted advice on how to build your career when you’re not in the office.
Image credit: Yoshitaka Kono
5. Tez Ilyas
Comedian Tez Ilyas is known for his stand-up shows and appearances on Mock the Week and The Last Leg. Tez uses humour and pathos in his just-published memoir, The Secret Diary of a British Muslim aged 13 ¾. Even as he’s lifting the lid on what it’s like to grow up in the 1990s, in a world of arranged marriages, prejudices and riots, Tez is searingly funny. Catch him in Bath on 20th May.
Take a seat in Bath’s largest venue, the fabulous Forum, for a Concert for the People of Bath with Bath Philharmonia. On 20th May they’ll be joined by violinist Coco Tomita and pianist Alexandra Dariescu for an evening of Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto and Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor.
Image credit: Ruth Crafer
Join a conversation about the books that kept us going during lockdowns. Author Kate Mosse, Founder Director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, will be joined by writers Neema Shah and Cathy Rentzenbrink on 23rd May to discuss their work and share their reading recommendations. Expect to come away with a long list of ‘to be read’ books!
Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason is the head of Britain’s most talented musical family. She shares insights from her memoir, House of Music, about what it’s like to have seven gifted children, all of them attending state schools and going on to win international acclaim. The talk will be enhanced by two musical interludes by two of her children, violinist Braimah and pianist Konya on 22nd May.
Image credit: Laura Gallant
A journalist who later trained as a doctor and found herself working on the frontline of the NHS during the height of the pandemic, Dr Rachel Clarke is an engaging, well-informed narrator for a story we have all lived through. Through her book, Breathtaking: Inside the NHS in a Time of Pandemic, and with this event on 22nd May, we share a cathartic experience and hope to emerge to better times ahead.
Image credit: Matt Crockett
10. Robert Webb
Robert Webb, best known as a comedian and actor, won acclaim as a writer with his memoir How Not To Be a Boy. Now he’s written a novel about love, grief and time travel, which you can hear about on 22nd May. As you’d expect from someone with such a strong voice, Come Again is by turns hilarious and heart-rending.
Image credit: Penguin Books
Look out for TV-presenter-turned-crime-writer Richard Osman, skincare queen Caroline Hirons, broadcaster John Suchet, podcaster-turned-author Daisy Buchanan, and BBC correspondent and thriller writer Frank Gardner – all on the line-up too.