Inaugural EA Festival at Hedingham Castle

A brand-new festival in East Anglia showcasing creative leaders in arts and culture, EA Festival  will feature both local luminaries and internationally recognised stars. In order to launch this ambitious two-day event during the extraordinary conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the  Festival is the first to launch a hybrid event format in order to adapt to Government guidelines.  In-person and livestream tickets will be available for all events; in addition, should the need  arise, in-person tickets will be converted to virtual ones to accommodate social distancing or  even Lockdown. 

With a line-up including Susie Dent, John Lloyd, Arizona Muse, Evelyn Glennie and Rosey Chan,  EA Festival is a showcase of incredible talent across many disciplines. It seeks to invigorate the  cultural scene in East Anglia by presenting exciting regional creatives alongside exceptional  speakers and artists from the rest of the UK and beyond. 

Joanne Ooi, Founder and Artistic Director of EA Festival, comments, COVID-19 created a once-in a-lifetime opportunity to launch a new festival. We have pioneered a new festival business  model by introducing unprecedented flexibility into live event production and will livestream the  event – from the first year and permanently – and so, even if government restrictions entirely  prohibit live audiences or require social distancing, we can guarantee that the show will go on.  

Located in the heart of East Anglia, and now over 900-years old, Hedingham Castle is the best preserved Norman keep in the United Kingdom. The unique fairy tale Keep dominates its lush parkland setting and is complemented by the elegant Georgian mansion nearby. All festival  events will take place in the permanent, enclosed, all-weather marquee attached to the  mansion, approximately 300m from the Keep.

The Keep will host a curated marketplace and exhibition featuring brands, merchants and artists  from the region. These will be announced soon. EA Festival is supported by The Good Luck Club,  a video and podcast series featuring world-beating entrepreneurs, and Bulbeck Foundry, a  regional purveyor of traditional decorative lead planters. 


With programming that spans culture, art and industry, EA Festival’s Talks will spur discussion about key issues dominating today’s society.  

Renowned lexicographer, author and Countdown’s resident word expert, Susie Dent will share her observations about how language has changed over the past twenty years, her predictions  about how future generations will use English, and just what her favourite words are. 

The UK’s most celebrated comedy producer, John Lloyd, responsible for national treasures like  Blackadder, Spitting Image and QI, will be talking about everything but comedy. He will tackle  the central importance of curiosity, why there’s no difference between culture with a big or  little “c”, and how he banished boredom a long time ago. 

Arizona Muse may be best known as a supermodel, having graced the covers of over 40  international Vogue titles, but now she has taken on the commitment to minimise the  environmental impact of the fashion industry. She will be appearing in conversation with  Christina Dean, the founder of the NGO Redress and the R Collective, a social impact and  fashion brand, and one of the industry’s biggest thought leaders in reducing waste in the fashion  industry. They will share where and how the fashion industry can mitigate climate change – not just in raw inputs but by overhauling legacy business models and fashion culture. 

Former Director of both the Royal Academy of Arts and National Gallery and one of the world’s  top art historians, Charles Saumarez Smith will explore the evolution of art museums over the  past century and how the art-going experience has fundamentally changed. COVID-19 revealed  

the weaknesses of museums’ traditional business models, which rely heavily on ticket sales. What can they do to futureproof their revenues and bolster public loyalty? 

Rowan Pelling, founder of The Amorist and former editor of The Erotic Review, knows about  desire and is ready to talk about sex. She will be discussing the impact of the pandemic on  passion and the intrinsic ways in which technology is changing how we understand,  communicate, and feel love; and how that affects relationships. 

The Poetry Pharmacist, William Sieghart, will talk about the healing power of poetry and why he  set up National Poetry Day and the Forward Prizes for Poetry. He will also read from his latest  anthology, The Poetry Pharmacy Returns: More Prescriptions for Courage, Healing and Hope

Also appearing will be: Josh Berry, Mike Figgis, Dr. Gavin Francis, Louise Gray, Amanda GeitnerJulia Devonshire, Sally Shaw, Roman Kosyakov, Luke Wright and Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa


After invigorating and entertaining discussions of the world we live in and how society can  continue to grow for the better, there is no better way to send off the day than with game changing musical performance. Both evenings will culminate in a vibrant and powerful evening  concert. 

Evelyn Glennie and Rosey Chan will appear together to explore their love of collaboration. The  session will open with a talk and musical demonstration by legendary Grammy Award-winning percussionist, Glennie, explaining how to truly listen. Then Chan, a Steinway pianist and  contemporary classical composer, will perform in her signature mode of improvisation, drawing  on diverse musical influences while gauging the mood of her audience. The two of them will  finally come together in conversation about their careers and why listening remains at the  centre of their music.  

The East Anglia Showcase is the crowning event of the EA Festival. With Talvin Singh, Nik Void and TAWIAH, this adventurous tripleheader concert is emblematic of the Festival’s approach, providing a smorgasbord of cultural talent which defies easy, obvious classification. Singh, the  

world’s best-known tabla player, will be bookended by the percussive experimental synth of Nik  Void and the astonishing pop vocal talent of TAWIAH. Though their musical styles are wildly  disparate, what unites them is their defining musical excellence placing them at the vanguard of  their respective genres.

About Author /

Kath is an actor, singer and writer with a passion for theatre. She has been reviewing for At The Theatre since 2014. Kath has a Masters in Performance at Liverpool Hope University and is Creative Engagement Worker for B arts, a participatory arts organisation.

Start typing and press Enter to search