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Halesworth festival under way

PUBLISHED: 10:28 29 April 2009 | UPDATED: 08:10 01 August 2010

FINISHING touches were being put to stages at a Halesworth arts venue yesterday as a pioneering festival to promote emerging writing talent got under way.

FINISHING touches were being put to stages at a Halesworth arts venue yesterday as a pioneering festival to promote emerging writing talent got under way.

The HighTide festival kicked off at the Cut in Halesworth on Monday with a preview of the play Fixer, by Lydia Adetunji, which is set in northern Nigeria and is the Nigerian-born former journalist's first full-length production.

As well as expanding from five days last year to a fortnight of performances, the organisers are branching out from The Cut for the first time with two shows taking place at nearby Snape Maltings.

HighTide will also be providing a campsite in Darsham for the first time with shuttle buses taking campers to the venues.

This year's main plays have been selected from more than 600 scripts from writers across the world.

Guardians, written by Lucy Caldwell, will premiere at the festival and tells the story of a married couple who are forced to question their understanding of each other when they move to Belfast. Muhmah, by Jesse Weaver, is an original American Gothic-style play and will be joint artistic director Steven Jon Atkinson's first HighTide production.

HighTide was founded in 2006 by actor Samuel Hodges with Bill Nighy, Sinead Cusack, and David Hare, who along with Sally Greene, chief executive of Old Vic Productions, are patrons of the company.

HighTide joint artistic director Samuel Hodges said the festival offered something for everyone. “The festival is special in that it offers a wonderful and very varied way of spending either a day, evening or weekend. There is a full programme and whether you are interested in theatre, film, comedy or music we have got all four of those. We deliberately picked very different plays that will appeal to a range of audiences. One of our responsibilities is to mix it up a bit and to surprise people. We want to get the audience engaged in theatre in different ways and we particularly want to encourage young people to come along.”

Mr Hodges said that day passes and weekend passes were available along with tickets for individual events.

To book tickets for the festival, which runs until May 10, call the HighTide box office on 020 7566 9767 or book online at www.hightide.org.uk

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