When: 13th – 17th September 2017
Where: Torquay, Torbay, Devon
£: Ticket prices vary depending on the event. Some events are free
What is it?
The International Agatha Christie Festival returns this month in a new biennial format, inviting audiences to share extraordinary stories.
With a brand-new programme of events from across the globe, reflecting Agatha Christie’s passion for travel and culture, the five-day festival returns to Torbay from Wednesday 13th to Sunday 17th September; in time for the novelist’s birthday on the 15th September.
This year’s festival will be based at Torre Abbey, Torbay’s museum of art and an English Heritage Ancient Scheduled Monument. Festival events will also be taking place at Torquay Museum, and other local venues will be presenting events, talks and activities over the festival week, including the The Tale, Babbacombe Cliff Railway, Palace Theatre in Paignton and TOADS Little Theatre, Torquay.
Capturing both her proud internationalist and outward-looking spirit as much as her love of South Devon, the festival line-up has been inspired by Agatha Christie’s archaeological memoir Come, Tell Me How You Live, published in 1946. The account tells of the travels she made to Iraq and Syria in the 1930s with her husband, archaeologist Max Mallowan. For Christie, this began a fascination with the region that continued over three decades and remained an inspiration throughout her life.
Festival highlights will include:
Ateyyat El Abnoudy: Horse of Mud/Sad Song of Touha/The Sandwich
Three early works from a woman film-maker who became one of Egypt’s most pioneering documentary film-makers. These short films from the early 1970s depict an Egypt that gives a rare window into the everyday street life and work that would have formed the backdrop to the European intrigues and interests observed in Agatha Christie’s famous Egypt novels. 13th – 17th September, at various times between 10am and 7pm.
Profusion – The Story of an Object: Encounters Arts
One of the events that has been directly inspired by ‘Come Tell Me How You Live’ is from South Devon-based Encounters Arts who will be working with artist Shelley Castle on a series of workshops. These events will invite local people to bring in treasured objects to create an evolving room that will be filled and grown throughout the festival. 13th – 17th September, at various times between 12pm and 7pm.
Poetry on the Nile: Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi
Join one of Africa’s leading poets, known for his work Poem on the Nile, for an afternoon of poetry in Arabic and English from the countries of the Near East that inspired Agatha Christie. 16th September at 4pm.
Out of the Woods
Torbay’s acclaimed Doorstep Youth Theatre will be showcasing this new work that sees characters from favourite fairy tales attempt to rewrite their stories into something they can inhabit. 16th September, 6pm – 7pm.
A perpetrator has purposely planted two Christie-related clues at each hole of the nearby Pitch and Putt golf course, leading would-be detectives to the pilfered piece. Lurker-Linane Investigations has been called in to consult and need your help. Period attire encouraged, so grab your golf garb, press your plus fours, and bring out your boas! 15th September, 10am – 1pm.
A Garden Party at Torre Abbey over the festival weekend will see outdoor cinema screenings, live music, world and local foods, market stalls, craft ale and cocktail bars, plus lots of family fun with Agatha-related activities and workshops. 16th – 17th September, 10am – 9pm.
The Tale will guide audiences on a journey of discovery around the coastal area of Torbay – from the streets of Torquay, through hidden coves and historic harbours, to the quarry of Berry Head Nature Reserve. Along the way, they will encounter artworks and performances by artists of international acclaim, made especially for Torbay. Inspired by the ideas of writer Philip Hoare, whose boyhood experiences of Torbay shaped his future, The Tale offers the chance to experience the hidden stories, sounds and dreams of the bay like never before. 15th – 17th and 22nd – 24th September.
The festival is part of a cultural revolution that is currently happening in and around Torbay, which is being led by the Torbay Culture Board. The aim is to transform cultural provision and engagement in the region, with support from Arts Council England and a grant from the new Great Place Scheme.
More info: www.iacf-uk.org