Holt Festival Announces New Shows

Two new shows and a change of date have been announced for this year's Holt Festival with more comedy, politics and a whole lotta soul!

Jenny Éclair, has been a top stand-up comic for many years and was the first woman to win the coveted Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Fringe. Recently she took part in the return of TV's Grumpy Old Women with their live show 50 Shades of Beige, toured her own showEclairious and published a third novel Life, Death and Vanilla Slices to rave reviews. In Holt's Theatre in the Woods she will be in conversation for the very first time in public with Margaret Hodge, MBE who first became MP for Barking in 1994. Recently she has served as the first elected and first female Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, tasked with overseeing government expenditures to ensure they are effective and honest. In this role she has relentlessly subjected the great and the good (and sometimes not so good) to verbal grillings in pursuit of value for the taxpayer. For this first public coming together, these two formidable forces will interview each other about people, politics, power, petticoats, performance and passion. They are likely to touch on growing old gracefully (or disgracefully), the challenge of carving out careers in fields where, and at a time when women were rare and men often tried to wield inappropriate power.

'I was delighted when Jenny Eclair accepted my invitation to speak at Holt' said artistic director Charles Pugh 'She is a highly intelligent and perceptive writer and radio raconteur who has agreed to do a conversation with former Minister of Culture Margaret Hodge MBE, now famous as (outgoing) Chair of the Public Accounts Committee where, in pursuit of value for the taxpayer, she has subjected the Great and the Good to grillings that in the Guardian's words are "brief, brutal and very public".'

For the UK's very own resident Godfather of Soul his appearance in Holt will be a homecoming of sorts. Geno Washington first came to the UK with the US Air Force in the sixties when he was stationed right here in Norfolk. Upon leaving the military he settled in England, becoming one of the biggest draws on the live circuit and hogging the album charts - his first live album was in the charts for an unprecedented
48 weeks. Pink Floyd, Georgie Fame, The Small Faces, and Jimi Hendrix were his support acts. Since then his powerhouse, soulful vocals and foot stompin' band have established him as one of the world's great entertainers. He was the subject of Dexy's Midnight Runners' hit Geno and his magnetic stage presence and his love of performance (and of life!) makes him an inspiration and a joy to behold.

There's a change of date for Norfolk born Henry Blofeld and his great friend and foil Peter Baxter. Originally set to appear at The Auden Theatre on Monday 20 July, Festival Artistic Director Charles Pugh has moved them to The Theatre in the Woods for Saturday 25. 'I felt that they warranted a bigger venue, and the opportunity to juxtapose the women's conversation between Jenny Éclair and Margaret Hodge on the day before.' he explained. Rogues on the Road is a brand new show crammed full of even more wonderful (and occasionally outrageous) reminiscences and anecdotes from Blowers and Backers. The two Test Match Special stalwarts take in much more than cricket in these tales of two extensive careers spent broadcasting around the globe.

Holt Festival has already announced other names such as Steelye Span, Jeffrey Archer, Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel, Michael Buerke and Stella Rimington and there's lots more to come when the full line up is revealed in mid May.

Full details and ticket bookings at www.holtfestival.org or call the box office on 01603 598699.

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