Free Events

Saturday 1 July

Outdoor Magic!

11am – 4pm | Walled Garden, Ledbury

All these wondrous events and activities are FREE!

Make Time for Rhyme with the Word Wizards!

11-11.45am | 2-2.45pm | Free

Hey diddle diddle, are you ready to riddle? Join wacky word wizards Sara-Jane Arbury and Eleanor Holliday as they travel through rhyme zones to take a playful look at the weird and wonderful world of Rhyme! Expect zany names, crazy games, and lots of words that sound the same. Whether you’re young or old, shy or bold, this family show is a ton of fun for everyone! You’ll have the rhyme of your life!

Quirky Folk

Make your own ‘quirky’ folk, like all the best characters in books, someone who is strange, and interesting and very cool. You can create your person from wood, fabric, paper, wool, tin foil, and anything else we can find. Working with community artist  Jeanette McCulloch, a drop-in workshop, fun for all ages.

Make a Map of Outdoor Magic

Join author/illustrator Sally Kindberg and add words and pictures to make a giant Map of Outdoor Magic. Sally has just finished a book series called Draw It!, recently made comic strips for CBBC and has drawn maps for many books and newspapers. She will be bringing her Hat of Surprise to inspire you with its contents. Invent a magical landscape, and have fun exploring!

Minstrels of Magic

11am | 12am | 1pm | 2pm | 3pm

Join an all-age musical wand making workshop! Construct your own personalised wand and once it’s complete you will create you very own magic word and bring a well-known verse of poetry to life using riffs, rap and rhythm. Finally we’ll layer all of these elements together to create a polyphony of marvellous, musical magic spells!

Sally Crabtree Creativity Conjuror

Come and wave your magic wonder with Sally Crabtree and discover that creativity really is magic – conjuring something out of nothing! Sally’s unique approach to poetry has been adding a little magic to the world and she has just returned from the Far East with dazzling new tricks up her sleeve!

Nursery Rhymes Trail

The folk at Ledbury Fairy Door Trail, have invited our larger-than-life friends from well-loved nursery rhymes specially to meet you! Come and seek them out, go round and round the Walled Garden, march to the top and back down again! Humpty Dumpty and other delightful characters may be found on the walls, hiding in the trees, peeping from the bushes. Mind the tuffet and look out for Polly making tea! Join us and other wonderful rhyming creations on a fun-filled day of enchantment

20 minutes with… Faber New Poet Elaine Beckett

12.15pm–12.35pm | Panelled Room

The Master’s House | Free

Elaine Beckett’s first pamphlet was published under the Faber New Poets scheme in 2016. Her poems have been longlisted for The Bridport Prize.

Supported by Herefordshire Libraries

Saturday 1 July & Sunday 2 July


Rima Staines and Tom Hirons | Hellens Manor Garden

Paintings in a Minor Key

Rima Staines is an artist using paint, wood, word, music, animation, clock-making, puppetry and story to attempt to build a gate through the hedge that grows along the boundary between this world and that.

Workshops for children on storytelling, maskmaking and puppetry

The Fairytale Circus:

Hedgespoken children’s shadow puppetry workshop

11am–12noon | £3 per person

Make giants ride unicycles! Make clouds dance! Make dragons sing! Make Baba Yaga fly! Come and join artist and puppeteer Rima Staines and other Hedgespoken crew (big and small) for a shadow puppetry workshop in our audience marquee beside the truck-stage. Choose to make a paper character from our favourite folk tale and bring them to life on the shadow screen with music. Materials provided. Ages 5+. Parents must stay with their children.

The Golden Antlered Reindeer:

Hedgespoken children’s storytelling workshop

2.30pm–3.30pm | £3 per person

Come and learn to tell The Golden Antlered Reindeer with Hedgespoken’s Tom Hirons in our audience marquee. From learning the bare bones to fleshing it out and bringing it to life, Tom will use over twenty years’ experience as a storyteller to guide you through this short, but magical Finnish tale. Never be storyless again! Ages 5+.

The Singing Bone

5pm–6.15pm | £9 (£4 child, £22 family)

‘Magic of a real, old, golden kind.’

Beside a river grows a Juniper tree. By the tree, a shepherd unearths a bone and fashions a flute from it. The song of this bone flute forms the thread of this uncanny and beautiful story — the story of the youngest of three sisters, of her magical glass apple and silver plate and of what happened to her and the shepherd who plays her song on the singing bone flute. The Singing Bone is a tale about truth and lies, about empowerment and faith. Hedgespoken use storytelling, masquerade and puppetry, song and immersive theatre to present a tale that is told from Iceland to Russia, in Pakistan and by the brothers Grimm. Recommended for 8+.

20 minutes with…Faber New Poet Crispin Best

2pm–2.20pm | Panelled Room,

The Master’s House | Free

Crispin Best lives in London and at His first pamphlet was published under the Faber New Poets scheme in 2016.

Supported by Herefordshire Libraries

20 minutes with…Faber New Poet Rachel Curzon

3.40pm–4pm | Panelled Room,

The Master’s House | Free

Rachel Curzon’s first pamphlet was published under the Faber New Poets scheme in 2016. Her poems have appeared in The Rialto and Poetry London.

Supported by Herefordshire Libraries

20 minutes with…Faber New Poet Sam Buchan-Watts

4.40pm–5pm | Panelled Room,

The Master’s House | Free

Sam Buchan-Watts’s first pamphlet was published under the Faber New Poets scheme in 2016. His poems have appeared in Poetry London and Salt’s Best British Poetry series. Supported by Herefordshire Libraries

Sunday 2 July

20 minutes with… Smith|Doorstop poet Jenny Danes

12.15pm–12.35pm | Panelled Room,

The Master’s House | Free

Jenny Danes won The Poetry Business New Poets Prize and her work has appeared in various magazines including The Rialto and Magma.

Supported by Herefordshire Libraries

John Masefield Inspires

1pm–1.30pm | Baptist Hall | Free

Join the Herefordshire Stanza Poets in their marking of the 50th Anniversary of the death of Ledbury’s Poet Laureate as they read their own poems inspired by his life and writings.

20 minutes with…Smith|Doorstop poet Suzannah Evans

2pm–2.20pm | Panelled Room,

The Master’s House | Free

Suzannah Evans’ pamphlet Confusion Species was published as one of the winners of the Poetry Business Competition. She is currently working on a collection of apocalyptic poems.

Supported by Herefordshire Libraries

20 minutes with…Smith|Doorstop poet Tom Sastry

3.40pm–4pm | Panelled Room,

The Master’s House | Free

Tom Sastry was one of Carol Ann Duffy’s Laureate’s Choice poets. His pamphlet, Complicity, is full of things which alarm him such as clowns, grandmothers and spiders.

Supported by Herefordshire Libraries

20 minutes with…Smith|Doorstop poet Stephen Knight

4.40pm–5pm | Panelled Room,

The Master’s House | Free

Stephen Knight has published four collections of poems, two of which, Flowering Limbs and

Dream City Cinema, were shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize.

Supported by Herefordshire Libraries

Monday 3 July

Community Segments

11am–12 noon | Panelled Room,

The Master’s House | Free

Following last year’s admired event, participants from the Festival’s vital programme of community workshops present a fascinating set of poetry, sparked at the sessions and written throughout the year. Listen to pieces inspired by artefacts and art from Hereford Museum & Art Gallery alongside poems written in response to the ordinary and extraordinary world around us. In the words of one contributor, ‘the energy in the workshops flows into my pen and sets it dancing!’

Supported by Herefordshire Libraries

Poetry Gallery

2pm-4pm | Trumpet Corner Tea Room and Galleries,

Ledbury HR8 2RA | Free

A free afternoon of original work from Just Write Poetry, Malvern Writers’ Circle and Trumpet Corner Artists. Come and enjoy the galleries and garden. Tea and cake available. Sunshine booked but not guaranteed!

Tuesday 4 July – Saturday 8th July

Summoned by Bells

Tuesday 4 July–Friday 7 July

12.30pm–2pm | 5pm–6.30pm

Saturday 8 July

12.30pm–2.30pm | 3.30pm–5pm

St Michael’s Church | Free

The bells will ring out from St Michael’s Church Ledbury at lunchtime on Tuesday 4 July to mark the start of 15 hours of sponsored poetry reading in the church in 10 themed sessions over five days. Come and hear poems with a variety of themes including independence, freedom (4 July!), place, travel, protest, nature, childhood and The Bard! All poems chosen by sponsors will be included, with an appropriate dedication, in the booklet which will form the programme for the event and will be available both in the Festival Box Office and in the church before the Festival begins. Refreshments will be available.

There is no charge for attending but you may wish to make a donation.

Dreamcatcher: Schools Showcase

10.30am–11.30am | Community Hall | Free

Pupils from Ledbury and Eastnor Primary Schools will perform the poems they have made into songs as part of a partnership project with Three Choirs Festival in Worcester, inspired by Edward Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius. The pupils have worked with voice coach Robbie Jacobs, composer Freya Waley-Cohen and poet Roz Goddard. The pupils will be accompanied by professional musicians.

Tuesday 4 July

Homend Poets

6.30pm–8.30pm | Icebytes | Free

Local poets read their work in this informal poetry and music event. All are welcome to bring along poems or music to share, or simply relax and listen during an evening that is guaranteed to be enjoyable.

Wednesday 5th July


Wednesday 5 July – Saturday 8 July

All performances are free

Drop in to experience these short 10 minute events in locations around Ledbury

Ground-breaking site-specific performances combine physical theatre, music and poetry spanning the stages of life. Two poets, one from the UK and one from Europe, create one piece, connecting through the air as they breathe in two countries. Directed by Rachel Lambert and Estelle van Warmelo. Music by Kim Humphreys, Jenny-May While, Leo More and Livi van Warmelo

11.15am Infant

The Children’s library at The Master’s House meets a Children’s hospital in Slovenia for the first in the series of site-inspired events; with remarkable text from poets Alison Brackenbury and Aleš Šteger.

12 noon Schoolchild

The Ledbury Recreation Park meets a schoolyard in Croatia evocatively encapsulated by poets Sara-Jane Arbury and Goran Colakhodžic.

1.30pm Youth

The air of Ledbury High Street spills into a city park in Macedonia, breathed out by Megan

Barker and Nikolina Andova.

2.15pm Worker

We witness the voices of the Ledbury Market Place in counterpoint with the market in Sibiu,

Romania through the words of poets Fiona Sampson and Lilliana Ursu.

3pm Statesman

The air of authority inside the Market House and a council building in Slovakia push at bureaucratic borders as illustrated by Jonathan Edwards and Martin Solotruk.

3.45pm Graveyard

‘Born astride of a grave,’ we step into St Michael’s churchyard simultaneously breathing in the ambience of a cemetery in Poland through poets Paul Henry and Katarzyna Ewa Zdanowicz.

7AIRS The Beginning and The End

Saturday 8 July | 8pm–8.30pm

The Market House

A one-off event bringing together the week’s poetry in a celebratory promenade performance uniting people through song and air.

Friday 7 July

61.  Eric Gregory Poets

11.30am–12.30pm | Burgage Hall | Free

The Eric Gregory Awards consistently identify some of the best young poets including Sarah Howe, Andrew McMillan and many of the poets who headline the Festival. Come and hear this year’s winners.

62.  National Poetry Competition Winners

1.15pm–2.15pm | Burgage Hall

Free But Ticketed

First prize winner Stephen Sexton lives in Belfast where he is studying at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry. His pamphlet, Oils was published by The Emma Press. Second prize winner Caleb Parkin is a freelance poet, performer, facilitator, educator and filmmaker, based in Bristol. Third prize winner TL Evans has been writing poems mainly on his phone on the train to and from London over the last year or so. He is a member of The Poetry Society’s Brixton Stanza.

The Ledbury Doors Poetry Trail!

1.30pm–3pm | The walk will start and

finish at The Market House | Free

Come on a walk with a difference as pupils from Ledbury Primary School take you on a guided tour around the town and perform poetry in various doorways! This event builds on last year’s successful Bench Poetry project, with a return visit from poet Sara-Jane Arbury. The children created poems and films inspired by selected doors around Ledbury, and explored ways of linking values with their local environment. You can view their work online through the QR codes on the doors or better still, why not join our jolly jamboree today and see the children performing live!

Saturday 8 July

20 minutes with… Tiziano Fratus

10.30am–10.50am | Panelled Room,

The Master’s House | Free

Tiziano Fratus lives in a little village at the foot of the Italian Alps. He has coined the concepts of Homo Radix (Rootman) and Alberografia (Treegraphy). His latest collection is Ogni albero è un poeta (Every Tree is a Poet).

Supported by Herefordshire Libraries

Outdoor Magic in the Walled Garden

11am–4pm | The Walled Garden | Free

Wondrous events and activities for families including Flit, Flap and Fly: A Squawking

Adventure!, Quirky Folk, Minstrels of Magic, The Nursery Rhyme Trail and Sally Crabtree

Creativity Conjurer. Come along and join in the fun!

11.30am | 1pm | 3pm

Flit, Flap and Fly: A Squawking Adventure!

Flit, Flap and Fly is a squawking adventure that follows a young chick’s frantic and funny journey towards independence, and his relationship with his fine-singing father. Suitable for all ages (but particularly aimed at 4-7 year olds) the audience is invited to join the pair in the nest, where they find themselves part of the daily life of a unique bird family.

Sponsored by The Worcestershire Branch of The English Speaking Union

Emergency Poet: The World’s first poetic first aid service

A mix of the serious, the therapeutic and the theatrical, The Emergency Poet offers consultations inside her ambulance and prescribes poems as cures. In the waiting room under an attached awning Nurse Verse dispenses poemcetamols and other poetic pills and treatments from the Cold Comfort Pharmacy.

20 minutes with… Faber New Poet Elaine Beckett

12.15pm–12.35pm | Panelled Room

The Master’s House | Free

Elaine Beckett’s first pamphlet was published under the Faber New Poets scheme in 2016. Her poems have been longlisted for The Bridport Prize.

Supported by Herefordshire Libraries

20 minutes with… Yekta

11.30am–11.50am | Panelled Room,

The Master’s House | Free

Born in Vallée-aux-Loups, near Paris, Yekta is a composer, author, guitarist, pianist, singer and prolific collaborator.

Supported by Herefordshire Libraries

20 minutes with…Charlotte Van den Broeck

12.15pm–12.35pm | Panelled Room,

The Master’s House | Free

Belgian poet Charlotte Van den Broeck’s collection Kameleon reveals poetry greatly influenced by her background as an onstage poet: narrative, rhythmic, contradictory, colloquial, multi-layered.

Supported by Herefordshire Libraries

20 minutes with… Nikolina Andova

2pm–2.20pm | Panelled Room,

The Master’s House | Free

Nikolina Andova was born in Skopje and has published two books of poetry and won the prestigious Bridges of Struga award and contributes to the new wave of Macedonian haiku.

Supported by Herefordshire Libraries

20 minutes with… Veronika Dintinjana

3.40pm–4pm | Panelled Room,

The Master’s House | Free

Veronika Dintinjana combines poetry with translation and her work as a surgeon. Dintinjana has represented Slovenia in the final of the first European Poetry Tournament in Maribor.

Supported by Herefordshire Libraries

Sunday 9 July

Coffee Morning with Malika’s Poetry Kitchen: Fantastic Beasts

11am–12noon | Muse Cafe | Free | Coffee and delicious cakes available to purchase

A special event giving you the chance to read poems with members of this influential London collective of writers. Bring your own poem or a favourite by someone else on the theme Fantastic Beasts.

20 minutes with… Jack Thacker

12.15pm–12.35pm | Panelled Room,

The Master’s House | Free

Jack Thacker is studying for a PhD on contemporary poetry and agriculture at the Universities of Bristol and Exeter. He won the 2016 Charles Causley International Poetry Competition.


A celebration of 21 years of Ledbury Poetry Festival and the 400th anniversary of the town’s iconic Market House.

Poetry, music and entertainment | 11am–6pm

Food market | 12pm–4pm

Immerse yourself in this really special day when Ledbury pulls out all the stops to create a magnificent celebration. The Poetry Festival, Ledbury Food Group, and Ledbury Town Council bring you the best of local food and drink accompanied with the most exciting poetry, music and entertainment collected on Ledbury’s High Street for many a year. Be thrilled and enthralled by the Baltic inspired melodies of Flatworld, the 70s drenched tones of Sequins, and the hip swaying Samba Galez, “the beat hit me to my primal core”. Poetry Slam champions Brenda Read-Brown and Nick Lovell will serve up brilliant cut and thrust performance poetry. Look out for contemporary pop up Dancefest performances. Dancefest’s community companies of all ages have created new dances inspired by poetry and will be dancing on the High Street and in outdoor spaces around the town. Clapperbox puppet theatre will entertain all day, and Ledbury Fringe buskers will fill the nooks and crannies. The Town Council has arranged heritage exhibitions and art displays, birthday cake and a Bake Off! It will be an unmissable day, made even more special by the appearance of local beatboxing legend, Dave Crowe. Since wowing the judges of Britain’s Got Talent in 2008 with his incredible vocal percussion, Dave has gone on to become an international beatboxing superstar, and returns to perform in front of his home crowd.

Parking: Bye Street and St Katherine’s Car Parks are FREE all day. Overspill car parking at John Masefield High School, Mabel’s Furlong, HR8 2HF (by donation), and Ledbury Primary School, Longacres, Ledbury HR8 2BE

Producers who will be present include: Old Granary Pierogi, Wychbold Fudge, Imaginative Gourmet, Pixley Berries, Croome Cuisine, Crazy Creperie, Wykeham Gardens, Hanley Swan Bakery, Just Rachel, Canapés by Gill, The Handmade Scotch Egg Company, Myrtles Kitchen, Jus, Bentleys Castle Fruit Farm, Pork & Two Veg and Monkland Cheese Dairy.

Sponsors: Authentic Bread Company, New Grove Trust, Tilley Printing, Your Name On It

20 minutes with… Ellie Daghlian, Mel Pettitt and Catherine Choate

1.20pm–1.40pm | Panelled Room,

The Master’s House | Free

Bristol University Poetry Centre and the scene in the city nurtures a wealth of young talent, reflected in the promise shown by undergraduates Ellie Daghlian, Catherine Choate and Mel Pettitt.

20 minutes with…Ruth Stacey and Katy Wareham Morris

3.40pm–4pm | Panelled Room,

The Master’s House | Free

Ruth Stacey and Katy Wareham Morris launch their new pamphlet Inheritance.



An exhibition of textile art

The Weavers Gallery | 29 June–9 July

Open daily 10–5 pm | Admission free

This year’s exhibition is an eclectic mix of textile techniques, inspired by the theme of Fantasy. Many pieces are based on poems or other literary work, while others are simply the product of their creator’s imagination!

Working from the Wood

Tinsmiths, Tinsmiths Alley, 8a High Street,

Ledbury, Herefordshire HR8 1DS

A chair exhibition marking the bicentenary Bosbury chair-maker Philip Clissett (1817-1913) whose ladderback and spindleback chairs influenced designers and architects of the Arts & Crafts Movement. The exhibition shows Clissett’s legacy in chairs made currently by designer-makers Mike Abbott, Gudrun Leitz, Lawrence Neal, Koji Katsuragi, Neil Taylor and Sebastian Cox.

Mike Abbott will give a talk about Philip Clissett at 4pm, Saturday 15th July at the Burgage Hall, Ledbury. Tickets are available on-line at www. or by phone 01531 632083.

BookArt 17

The Weavers Gallery | 30 June-9 July

Open daily 10-5pm

An exhibition of all things book-ART-ish, words and images lashed together with twine, clay, wood, paint, print, cloth and imbued with a sense of the unexpected, featuring work from 13 Ledbury based artists.