Magna Carta

Welcome to the 44th Annual Festival!

11th - 27th September 2015

Rye Arts Festival takes place every September in and around the picturesque, historic town of Rye in East Sussex.

The Festival attracts a stimulating array of authors, performers and artists both high profile and emerging, national and international.

Outside the Festival period the work goes on – our Committee meets year-round to ensure that the best performers are booked, venues old and new are scrutinised and, a very important part of our work, outreach with the young people of Rye.  At a Committee Meeting in February we welcomed two students of the Rye Studio School who are going to be working with us and attending our Committee Meetings this academic year.  Look at our events page to see what we helped bring about at the School recently…

Keep up to date with comments on our plans for this year on the Rye Festival Blog.

Following the huge success of last year’s opera, Euphonia are returning with not one but two dates during the Festival.  You will have to return to this page to find out which opera has been chosen…  Our Classical Music Events Co-ordinator also thought it would be good to see double again – two grand pianos will be played, at times together, by some outstanding pianists over the course of the Festival.  Guitars, clarinets, flutes, brass, strings and A Capella voices will also feature in a very strong line up for 2015.

The Oldie Literary Lunches have become a venerable institution and we are thrilled to announce that the organisers have chosen our Festival for one of its first out-of-town celebrated Lunches.  It will feature three speakers who each address the audience for ten minutes.  A delicious three-course lunch with wine accompanies the talks.

Book signing at 12 noon, lunch at 1.00pm on Thursday 24th September at The George Hotel. The hotel is offering special rates for those who wish to stay overnight.  Book early to avoid disappointment! Tickets cost £52 – please call Katherine or Jenny on 01225 427311 or e-mail

The lunch welcomes these three top authors with their latest literary creations: Oliver Kamm on ‘Accidence will Happen: The Non-Pedantic Guide to English Usage’; Robert Douglas-Fairhurst on ‘The Story of Alice: Lewis Carroll and the Secret History of Wonderland’  and Harry Mount on ‘Harry Mount’s Odyssey: Ancient Greece in the Footsteps of Odysseus’.

Keeping with the Literary theme, Guy Fraser-Sampson will be talking on E F Benson, Lamb House and Rye;  Sir Robert Worcester on Magna Carta, which was signed by King John at Runnymede 800 years ago this summer; Professor Dave Coulson on ‘A Buzz in the Meadow’ and Sofka Zinovieff on ‘The Mad Boy, Lord Berners, My Grandmother and Me’ about the scandalous and eccentric lives of the cultured elite and the enchanted house they lived in.

Amongst a very eclectic mix of famous names already signed, there is a very special event lined up by our Contemporary Music team. They are keeping it secret for now but we are sure that the seats will be sold out as soon as they go on sale.  We can let on that here will be a folk/rock duo, an acoustic 5-piece folk/country pop band, an Irish band and a famous female Mandinka singer from Mali.

The Theatrical Event organisers are filling up lots of spaces over the two weeks with everything from light entertainment to provocative pieces for adults and children – watch this space!

Needless to say, a Rye Arts Festival wouldn’t be complete without the return of some favourites: Historical walks around Rye, Cellar tours, Romney Marsh Churches Tour and masses of FREE fringe events in the local hostelries.

Hopefully this information has whetted your appetite.  An amazing Festival with plenty to suit all tastes is being lined up.  Block out your calendar from 11th – 27th September and enjoy everything the Rye Arts Festival has to offer…

We would like to reiterate our thanks to all those sponsors of the 2014 Festival, our advertisers and to those who assisted us in so many ways.  For a full listing of our 2014 sponsors and supporters please click here.  For our advertisers please click here.

For reviews of events that took place during the 2014 Festival please click on the relevant genre: