Bath Festival

Bath Spa University has been working in partnership with the 2018 Bath Festival, helping to deliver a series of unforgettable and thought provoking lectures, events, and performances.

For the 70th anniversary of Bath Festivals, The Bath Festival returns as a seventeen day multi-arts festival from 11 to 27 May 2018, celebrating the city with music and literature at its heart, engaging with the wider community and bringing the streets of Bath to life.

Around 100 students and staff from Bath Spa will be participating in the Festival, both on stage and behind the scenes, helping with the production and administration of 18 events that are being run through the partnership between Bath Festivals and the University.

Students from a number of courses – including BA (Hons) Commercial Music, BA (Hons) Music, BA (Hons) Theatre and Digital Production, MA Arts Management, and BA (Hons) Business and Management (Festivals and Events) – will gain first-hand experience of the many different aspects of producing a wide variety of events. These include shows from high-profile performers, groups and writers, such as punk cabaret-artist Amanda Palmer, pianist Stephen Hough, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, comedian and author Robert Webb and broadcaster and author Simon Mayo.

“The opportunity for our students to get hands-on experience in their chosen area of study offered by our partnership with The Bath Festival is incredibly important.”

 Andy Salmon, Executive Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Bath Spa University

The University’s involvement will continue at the Festival Finale, with Bath Spa students undertaking key roles in the production when world-renowned artist such as Paloma Faith, Alison Moyet and Robert Plant take to the stage at the Recreation Ground on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 May.

More information and tickets can be bought through our Finale events page.

This year is an important one for us as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of Bath Festivals. The creativity and energy that Bath Spa brings to the table is a real asset.

Ian Stockley, CEO of Bath Festivals

Our sponsored events

11 May - Amanda Palmer, with special guest Andrew O'Neill

7:30pm, The Forum. Tickets can be purchased on the Bath Festivals website.

With support by comedian Andrew O’Neill

Singer-songwriter and New York Times bestselling author Amanda Palmer (The Dresden Dolls, Evelyn Evelyn) headlines the opening night of The Bath Festival with her unique brand of punk cabaret.


11 May - Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Choir of Clare College Cambridge

7:30pm, Wiltshire Music Centre. Tickets can be purchased on the Bath Festivals website. SOLD OUT.

An orchestral and choral celebration of the grandfather of classical music.

Haydn: Symphony No 1
Haydn: Symphony No 104 ‘London’
Haydn: Nelson Mass

Charlotte Beament, soprano
Clara Hendrick, mezzo soprano
James Way, tenor
Lawrence Williams, baritone
John Butt, conductor
Alumni Choir of Clare College Cambridge
Graham Ross, director

The brilliant Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the alumni Choir of Clare College Cambridge will perform a sparkling programme of fantastic music. Haydn’s Symphony 104 was a smash hit at its London premiere in 1795, confirming the composer’s status as ‘father of the symphony’. His ever popular Nelson Mass is one of the finest of all choral works, performed here by four brilliant young soloists under the direction of multi gramophone award winning director, John Butt.



13 May - Kit de Waal and Joanna Cannon

1:00pm, Masonic Hall at Old Theatre Royal. Tickets can be purchased on the Bath Festivals website.

In Kit de Waal’s The Trick to Time and Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon, two women must piece together their memories in order to make peace with the past and get to grips with their present. The acclaimed authors will discuss themes around humanity, memory and the threads that tie us to one another.

14 May - Writing crime workshop

11:00am, Bath Central Library. Tickets can be purchased on the Bath Festivals website.

Join acclaimed crime writer and Killer Women co-founder Melanie McGrath and learn how to create memorable and believable characters from scratch. Create two characters of your own and discover how to use them in a story scenario. Expect practical exercises and lots of fun.

15 May - New Talent #1 Trauma

8:00pm, Waterstones. Tickets can be purchased on the Bath Festivals website.

From the Austrian death camps of the Second World War to 48 hours in a London beset by riots to the comatose victim of an attempted murder. Join novelists Kim Sherwood, winner of the Bath Novel Award, Guy Gunaratne and Emily Koch to hear more about their journey into writing.

18 May - The Orwell Prize debate: gender equality and political writing

7:00pm, Assembly Rooms. Tickets can be purchased on the Bath Festivals website.

How can gender imbalance, systemic in all industries, be properly addressed? In the light of the #MeToo campaign, the publication of BBC’s top earners and the Equality Act gender pay report, panellists Andrew Adonis, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Erica Wagner and former Orwell Prize winner AT Williams discuss what should, could and can be done to achieve true and lasting equality.

19 May - Writing history

3:00pm, St. Michaels Without. Tickets can be purchased on the Bath Festivals website.

From bloodthirsty monarchs and gunpowder plots, to witchcraft and prison breaks, historical fiction can transport us to another time and place. In this fascinating panel discussion, authors Tracy Borman (The King’s Witch), Simon Mayo (Mad Blood Stirring) and Robyn Young (Sons of the Blood) share their experiences of bringing the past to life.

19 May - Brett Anderson

7:00pm, Assembly Rooms. Tickets can be purchased on the Bath Festivals website.

Before becoming the frontman of Suede, Brett Anderson was a ‘snotty, sniffy, slightly maudlin sort of boy’, desperate to break away. In his moving and funny book Coal Black Mornings, Brett shares the story of his rise to fame – from seventies suburbia to the devastating loss of his mother.

20 May - Luke Harding

5:00pm, Assembly Rooms. Tickets can be purchased on the Bath Festivals website.

Donald Trump’s ‘special’ relationship with Vladimir Putin has become one of the biggest political scandals of modern times. In his book Collusion: How Russia Helped Trump Win the White House, award-winning journalist Luke Harding reveals new evidence of Trump’s decades-long involvement with Russia and the gripping inside story of offshore money, Kremlin espionage and a Miss Universe Pageant.

20 May - Lionel Shriver talks to Piers Taylor

3:00pm, Assembly Rooms. Tickets can be purchased on the Bath Festivals website.

The New York Times and Orange Prize-winning novelist Lionel Shriver (We Need to Talk About Kevin) talks to architect Piers Taylor (‘The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes’ and ‘The House that £100k Built’) about her new book of short stories, Property. This striking collection explores ownership, identity and how the people, objects and places we possess may come to possess us.

21 May - David Olusoga: change maker

7:00pm, Assembly Rooms. Tickets can be purchased on the Bath Festivals website.

Historian David Olusoga’s award-winning book Black and British: A Forgotten History shone a light on this country’s hidden history from Roman Britain to the present day. Now, alongside Simon Schama and Mary Beard, he presents the BBC’s Civilisations, a stunning new look at Kenneth Clark’s classic work. It’s a pleasure to welcome David to Bath as part of our Change Makers lecture series. 

21 May - Talvin Singh

8:00pm, Assembly Rooms. Tickets can be purchased on the Bath Festivals website.

Talvin Singh is a renowned producer, composer and tabla player. Drawing inspiration from the classical Indian arts, he has sculpted a unique sonic landscape with a synthesis of electronic music and eastern aesthetic Asian Underground.

For this new project, he brings prodigious beat boxer Jason Singh with Shiram Sampath on flute and Francesca Ter Berg on cello to create a special show. He has collaborated with Massive Attack, Madonna, Björk and Yoko Ono.

22 May - Journalism in a post-truth debate

5:00pm, Assembly Rooms. Tickets can be purchased on the Bath Festivals website.

In a world of ‘post-truth’, ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’, when did we stop seeing fact and fiction in black and white? James Ball (Post-Truth: How Bullshit Conquered the World), Julian Baggini (A Short History of Truth), Heather Brooke (The Revolution Will Be Digitised) and PSA Journalist of the Year Stephen Bush will explore how true the ‘truth’ can ever really be.

24 May - Festival podcasts: TLS (Times Literary Supplement) podcast

1:00pm, Assembly Rooms. Tickets can be purchased on the Bath Festivals website.

Inspired by Oscar Wilde’s question, “With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?”, the Times Literary Supplement’s wide-ranging weekly podcast brings you the very best from the world of books and ideas. Join TLS editor Stig Abell and podcast host Thea Lenarduzzi for a special edition, recorded in front of a Bath audience.

24 May - Robert Webb

7:00pm, Assembly Rooms. Tickets can be purchased on the Bath Festivals website.

For comedian and writer Robert Webb, the ‘rules’ of being a man (drink beer, love sport, don’t talk about feelings) aren’t that straightforward. Hilarious and heartbreaking, his runaway bestseller How Not To Be a Boy explores the relationships that made Robert the man he is, and the lessons we learn as sons and fathers.

25 May - Stephen Hough, piano

3:00pm, Assembly Rooms. Tickets can be purchased on the Bath Festivals website.

Debussy: Clair de Lune (Suite Bergamasque)

Debussy: Images Bk II

Schumann: Fantasy in C major Op 17

Debussy: La terrasse des audiences au clair de lune

Debussy: Images Bk I

Beethoven: Sonata in F minor Op 57 ‘Appassionata’

One of the world’s truly great pianists, Stephen Hough’s programme has at its core two timeless masterpieces. Schumann’s C major fantasy is shot through with virtuosity and ravishing melody and Beethoven’s ‘Appassionata’ Sonata packs an extraordinary emotional punch.

25 May - Sunday Times young writer award

5:00 pm, Assembly Rooms. Tickets can be purchased on the Bath Festivals website.

Don’t miss a chance to catch one of Irish writing’s brightest new stars, Sally Rooney, who recently won The Sunday Times/Peters Fraser and Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award for her debut novel Conversations with Friends. Joining her are previous winner Max Porter, whose novel Grief is the Thing with Feathers is soon to be performed on stage with Cillian Murphy in the leading role. Chaired by Andrew Holgate, literary editor of the Sunday Times.

25 May - Roddy Doyle and Hugh Buckley

7:00pm, Assembly Rooms. Tickets can be purchased on the Bath Festivals website.

Join us for an evening of words and music, as acclaimed novelist Roddy Doyle reads from his new book, Smile, a searing portrayal of a man’s lifelong struggle with boyhood events. Doyle’s readings from the novel will be accompanied by jazz guitarist Hugh Buckley, the author’s friend and former schoolmate.

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