Ballet Cymru's Romeo and Juliet
Ballet Cymru's Romeo and Juliet

Stars of classical, folk, jazz, cabaret, popular music, theatre, dance and the written word are set to converge on the city for the  Lichfield Festival later this year.

The event will run from 4th to 14th July and feature headline acts such as Mercury Music Prize nominee Seth Lakeman and sea-shanty singers The Longest Johns.

They will be joined by the likes of George Hinchcliffe’s Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and renowned violinist Rachel Podger, who will open the festival with a performance of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.

Lichfield Cathedral will be the backdrop for Ballet Cymru’s Romeo and Juliet, sitar player Jasdeep Singh Degun and a candlelit concert by pianist Danny Driver to close the event.

The festival’s associate artists will be kept busy too, with the Brodsky Quartet scheduled for five performances and the city’s own storyteller Katie Arnstein showcasing her new comedy.

Liza Pulman and Joe Stilgoe
Liza Pulman and Joe Stilgoe

Returning is comedienne, songstress and one third of Fascinating Aida, Liza Pulman, who teams up with Joe Stilgoe for A Couple of Swells. 

Charles Court Opera bring their latest Gilbert and Sullivan production, The Sorcerer,tho the city, while writer and broadcaster Oz Clarke reunites with Armonico Consort for a light-hearted look at music and wine. 

In Holst150, the Lichfield Festival marks the 150th anniversary of the Cheltenham-born composer Gustav Holst, with choral music by The Carice Singers, his tone poem Egdon Heath played by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and arrangements from BBC Folk Musician of the Year Will Pound and percussionist Delia Stevens.

Jazz nights include Jeremy Sassoon’s Ray Charles Project and Wendy Kirkland’s centenary tribute to the music of Blossom Dearie, while soul will be served up by the 100-strong Lichfield Gospel Choir.

History is a rich seam at this year’s festival too. Lesley Smith raids her wardrobe to present the story of Mary Queen of Scots in full Elizabethan costume, recorder quartet Palisander’s historical concert experience follows the wives of Henry VIII, and The Lord Chamberlain’s Men perform Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the open air, in period costume, with an all-male cast, just as it would have been in Elizabeth I’s day. 

Among literary events are historical writer and new Lichfield Festival patron Tracy Borman, forensic investigator Jo Ward, Einstein expert Samuel Graydon, and Philip Modiano who explores the Lichfield paintings of pre-Impressionist artist John Louis Petit.

This year also Lichfield Festival’s popular Midlands Choir of the Year contest, while younger audiences will see Waterperry Opera return with Peter and The Wolf.

The event will reach a show-stopping climax with a free fireworks display in Beacon Park on 12th July in collaboration with the Fuse Festival and Lichfield Arts. 

The full programme is available at lichfieldfestival.org. Tickets go on general sale from 25th April. For more details, email [email protected] or call 01543 306271.

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

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