Internationally reknowned for discovering playwrights and producing new plays, HighTide Festival makes a welcome return to the seaside town of Aldeburgh this September.
Taking place from the 8th - 18th September, this year's festival marks 10 years in the Suffolk coastal town.To celebrate, 4 new plays have been commissioned: Anders Lustgarten's The Sugar Coated Bullet's of the Bourgeoisie;, Elinor Cook's Pilgrims; In Fidelity, written by Rob Drummond and Directed by HighTide's Artistic Director, Steven Atkinson and The Path; a promenade production of 8 short plays created especially for HighTides' 10 year anniversary.
We spoke to award-winning theatre director and producer, and Artistic Director of HighTide Festival, Steven Atkinson ahead of the festival, to find out what's in store for audiences, and why Aldeburgh is the perfect creative location...
The Suffolk Coast: With such a wide variety of plays and talks on offer at this year, it's hard to single out any one, but what are you personally looking forward to seeing at this year's festival?
Steven Atkinson: As a massive fan of Acorn Antiques, the Face to Face interview with Celia Imrie on 11th September will be a fantastic event. Taking place at Aldeburgh Cinema on the 18th September, the interview with British Film and Television Director Tom Harper is also not to be missed. He will be joining us at the festival to talk about his recent BBC presentation of War and Peace, plus previous work including This is England and Peaky Blinders amongst others. And the all-day symposium on 14th September really is a fantastic opportunity for theatre lovers; bringing together a huge range of theatre-makers, the symposium will discuss the future of theatre and is an opportunity for theatre fans to voice their opinions and ask some of the industry's leaders their questions.
The Suffolk Coast: What's new for this year's festival and the 10th anniversary?
SA: Brand new for the festival and unique to Aldeburgh, The Path takes audiences on a trip around the town; comprising of seven short plays which will be listed to through headsets. The plays bring to life the history of Aldeburgh, with some real-life and some imagined tales being told. It's a very interactive experience, with a surprise for audiences along the way!
TSC: What makes Aldeburgh the ideal location for such a festival?
SA: The heart of the festival is artists premiering new work; taking risks. Aldeburgh provides them with space to think of new ideas and relax, and this in turn transfers to the work that is produced. The whole festival is informal, with audiences and artists linking and being able to personally interact.
Having spent a lot of time in Aldeburgh growing up, when I visit during the festival I find that I am presented with the space to be creative; real thinking space, plus I like to walk my dog along the beach!
HighTide Festival runs from 8th to 18th September with at Aldeburgh Cinema, Jubilee Hall and locations around the town.
For tickets, visit www.hightide.org.uk