Isle of Ely Arts Festival Launches with Award Winning Poet Wendy Cope

Isle of Ely Arts Festival Launches with Award Winning Poet Wendy Cope

This year’s festival themed ‘Landscapes of Life’ features an unmissable programme of art, performance, music, literature & free events. The festival launches on Friday 14 June with ‘An Evening with Wendy Cope OBE in conversation with Jeremy Sallis’.  

The evening will include poetry readings from Wendy who will be joined by BBC presenter Jerermy for a conversation about Wendy’s fascinating journey from Primary School teacher to becoming one of the UK’s favourite poets. Tickets available from

Drawing audiences from across the District the wide-ranging programme showcases work from local, regional and internationally renowned performers, artists and makers. During the first weekend you can catch a major exhibition of work from John Piper at the Babylon Gallery on Ely’s Waterside (until 16th June). 

Visit Ely’s Courthouse on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th June to see the tale of how one local family lost a fortune a hundred years ago and how greed and pomposity can lead to ruin.  Local artist Ted Coney will be in a ‘pop up’ studio in the main courtroom working on his latest family painting ‘Who Stole The Toothpaste?’ Ely’s courtroom is reputed to be E.H. Shepherd’s inspiration for the illustation in Wind in the Willows. Entry to the exhibition is free. Also in Ely The Old Fire Engine House is exhibiting work from Suffolk Painter Barrie Houghton (until 28th July)

Festival Chair Sheila Friend-Smith said ‘We pride ourselves on being a Festival celebrating all the arts and reaching as many local villages as possible so there’s plenty on offer outside the city.’  

Haddenham Arts Centre’s Summer Exhibition ‘Summer Landscapes and Inspirations’ runs throughout the festival  (until 7th July). Enjoy work from popular artists Claire McGinley, Stuart Green as well as textile, jewellery and ceramic work created by artists and makers who live in and around the Fens at this beautiful venue with sculpture garden and cafe. Events include ‘Haddenham Thursdays’ with live music, kicking off on 20th June. 

Upcoming festival highlights include a village tour from the Festival Players, a picnic concert as Sing! Choirs perform in the Bishop’s Garden,  A Night at the Movies at Ely Cathedral with the Festival Orchestra & Community Choir.  The final event is on Saturday 13th July as Ely Choral Society bring “A Night at the Opera” to the Hayward Theatre in Ely. 

Pick up a free brochure from Oliver Cromwell’s House, Ely Cathedral, Babylon Gallery and shops and venues throughout the District.  Visit the Festival website for latest update and details on booking

Press release from Babylon ARTS

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