We are back with live events for The Bath Festival 2021

Our 2021 festival opened with sell-out events!

We opened The Bath Festival 2021 with a dramatic flourish yesterday as we were among the first arts festivals in the UK to welcome back live audiences to indoor events. The Bath Festival Orchestra played the opening concert in the newly refurbished historic Bath Abbey to a sell-out audience.

All the space in the abbey’s nave was carefully managed to allow social distancing and the audience were delighted to be able to enjoy live music on the first day that the government lifted restrictions. The concert featured works by Brahms, Strauss and Weber and the conductor was Peter Manning, the soloist soprano Rowan Pierce. The Bath Festival Orchestra was originally established in the 1950s under Yehudi Menuhin and has been revived to provide opportunities for rising young stars of classical music. The concert last night was recorded by BBC Radio 3 to be broadcast on Wednesday 19 May 7.30pm and was also filmed to be part of The Bath Festival At Home launching on Friday 28 May.

Above: Orchestra Leader Maren Bosma rehearsing for the concert in Bath Abbey

Also sold out for the first day of the festival were the three inaugural Frankenstein walking tours of Bath. These are being run by the Show of Strength Theatre Company and show the places in Bath that influenced Mary Shelley to begin writing her famous dark tale, Frankenstein during her time in the city.

Above: An audience gathered for the Frankenstein walking tours 

Our volunteers and staff were at the ready keeping our audience safe! We are very lucky to have a strong team of volunteers who are as passionate about the festival as we are.

Above: Some of our wonderful volunteers awaiting a live audience at Bath Abbey

Still to come… 

The Bath Festival programme of more than 40 live music and books events runs until Monday 24 May. Highlights include an appearance by Richard Osman, whose debut crime novel The Thursday Murder Club has been one of the biggest hits during lockdown. Other big names visiting the south west in person include Telegraph columnist and author (No Such Thing as Normal) Bryony Gordon, comedian and TV presenter Mel Giedroyc, columnist Polly Toynbee and BBC correspondent turned thriller writer Frank Gardner and bestselling author Kate Mosse.

There will be appearances too from debut writers, including comedian Tez Ilyas talking about his recently published memoir The Secret Diary of a British Muslim aged 13 ¾ and two up-and-coming voices in fiction, Caleb Azumah Nelson and Daisy Buchanan.

 Some events are sold out. These include the Concert for the People of Bath with Bath Philharmonia, an appearance by performance poet Hollie McNish, guided walking tours themed around the filming of Netflix hit Bridgerton and the Gothic tale of Frankenstein. Other sell-out hits of this year’s festival include a discussion about the peri-menopause and a talk from bestselling Skincare Queen Caroline Hirons, as well as two concerts by the Gesualdo Six, staged beside the Roman Baths.

A Message from our chair of the board John Cullum, DL : “I am pleased that on this first day possible we are able to bring live events back into our beautiful city. The vision, courage and hard work of our chief executive, Ian Stockley and his equally hard-working small team at Bath Festivals have made the next eight days of events possible. I would like to thank them and our patrons, friends, partners, sponsors and the local council and Arts Council England for all helping us to keep our heads above water during these challenging times. We’re back and I’m delighted!” 

Above: John Cullum, chair of the festival board, DL speaking before the Bath Festival Orchestra concert

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