This May sees the start of the 2016 Worthing WOW Festival now in its third year, the festival focuses on local Worthing and Sussex based writers, performers, playwrights and film-makers, presenting a diverse range of events at various venues around the town for a whole two weeks from 28th May to 12th June 2016.
This year’s festival celebrates 120 years of film in Sussex, supported by Heritage Lottery Fund, with screenings, events, workshops, exhibitions and the return of the South Shorts Film Festival Competition as part of those celebrations. Highlights include a recreation evening of the very first time film was shown in Worthing in 1896; talks with industry legends Sir Sydney Samuelson and Dave Norris; a master-class with legendary composer Neil Brand, silent movie screenings, topical discussion and debate about women in film with an expert panel of industry professionals and fascinating exhibitions in Worthing and Shoreham.
The festival originally set out in 2014 as a platform to celebrate books, films, theatre and the joy of words. This strand of the festival has gone from strength to strength with its Jane Austen mini festival in 2015 and now, with Arts Council England and Chichester University supporting the literary programme, WOW are able to offer a rich and diverse programme of literary events, performances, competitions and workshops. Wordthing bring poetry and prose evenings to the Ardington Hotel with renowned poets Mimi Khalvati, Amarjit Chandan, David Constantine, Jennie Feldman, Jane Rogers, Sasha Dugdale to name a few.
This year marks several flagship performance events for WOW – Paul Burston brings his sumptuous, lavish, thought-provoking literary salon POLARI to the festival as part of Worthing’s first Pride event. WOW also hosts the renowned punk poet legend that is John Cooper Clarke for the first time in Worthing – dynamic poetry at its best. Mutliaward winning Luke Wright performs his Edinburgh success story What I Learned from Johnny Bevan – a hurricane of a performance tackling British politics head on – not to be missed.
Theatre has a strong presence with an immersive theatre workshop and performance and Rude Mechanicals bring Macbyrd to Highdown Gardens.
Workshops are abound for budding writers – whether you have a great novel in you or fancy turning your hand to poetry or writing a short play or just need top tips on how to publish your work or simply yearn for time and space to get writing – there are a dozen workshops to choose from not to mention competitions - Flash Fiction in 300 words and Writing for Children – a chance for the next JK Rowling to emerge; plus writing, storytelling and book events for the wee ones to boot.
Artistic Director of the WOW festival, Melody Bridges said: “#WOW2016 is going to be our biggest and best festival yet. We’re fortunate to have received support from Heritage Lottery Fund, Film Hub South East and the Arts Council, amongst others, which allows us to make all the events affordable, and many of the events completely free!”
With venues reaching from the town centre to the sea, to highdown gardens to shoreham fort – packed full with film events, spoken word performances, writing and theatre workshops, talks from authors, family and children’s events, competitions and much more – there really is a massive pick and mix to dip and delve into from 28 May to 12 June 2016 - visit worthingwow.co.uk for full programme details or pick up a brochure around town!