May 13, 2008

Comedy coups and a date with Ted Hughes

Comedy stars, a world premiere and a new theatre venue are just three of the highlights of this year’s Hebden Bridge Arts Festival.

And, to prove that the Festival is now well and truly on the international must-see map, one of the first requests for information – after the programme was launched this month – came all the way from Milan.

Comedy-connoisseurs can’t have missed the rise of Phill Jupitus, but few will have heard him reading Dickens. During the reign of Queen Victoria, Charles Dickens performed readings of his work at The Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh. Phill Jupitus, well-known to many as team captain on Never Mind the Buzzcocks and It’s Only TV, But I Like It, will audaciously recreate this event at Hebden Bridge Picture House.

The Picture House is also the venue for a one-off visit from Skipton-born poet, novelist and journalist Blake Morrison, who will be introducing the film of his best-selling memoir And When Did You Last See Your Father?. The film, starring Colin Firth, Jim Broadbent and Juliet Stevenson, is a classic British bittersweet comedy that faithfully recreates a lost era. After the film, Blake will be signing copies of his books.

Ed Byrne

Tickets for Ed Byrne’s shows are like gold-dust, says The List, so a chance to catch the star of TV’s Mock The Week is sure to be a hot date for Festival-goers.

Baghdad Lullabies, a completely new work by Frances M Lynch and The Electric Voice Theatre will be the debut Festival event at the new Ted Hughes Theatre in Mytholmroyd. It brings together epitaphs by Robert Burns with a Brazilian requiem mass, a world premiere of Paul Barker’s third in the Three Lullabies series, and the Baghdad Monologue, using the now infamous words of Bush and Blair in a haunting setting.

Maria McKee

The Festival is as much a draw for artists as it is for audiences. Maria McKee will be performing her only British gig this year at the Trades Club in Hebden.

First coming to prominence as the teenage leader of cult rockers Lone Justice, McKee went on to find global fame with the hit single Show Me Heaven. A gifted songwriter who penned the number one A Good Heart for Feargal Sharkey, Maria has continued to develop her own unique version of classic rootsy pop.

Postal booking for the 40-plus performances and workshops is now open. The box office on Albert Street opens on June 14.

The 2008 Festival runs from Friday, June 27 to Sunday, July 13.

If you’d like to be kept in touch with what’s planned, e-mail or visit

Hebden Bridge Festival


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Tuesday 1 July
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