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With the ROOT 1066 International Festival now in full swing, here’s your guide to what’s happening over the coming week.

Edith – a pilgrimage and film
Saturday 17 & Sunday 18 September

This weekend, see King Harold reunited with his common-law wife Edith, whose weathered statue mourns him still in Grosvenor Gardens, St Leonards. Film maker Andrew Kötting and author Iain Sinclair walked a 100-mile pilgrimage from Waltham Abbey to St Leonards, via Battle Abbey where Harold fell, symbolically reconnecting the lovers after 950 years of separation.

You can see the film, with a special live performance, on Saturday 17 September, 8pm at Kino Teatr, £10. Or, visit Grosvenor gardens on Sunday 18 September to see your own personal 5-minute version, as the Flat Pack Castle becomes a two-seater cinema for the day. 11am to 4pm, free.

Artist talks – John Cole and Hew Lock
Saturday 17 September

Also this weekend, there are two artist talks. John Cole, the photographer behind the portraits currently hanging among the net huts, will be in conversation with the Fishermen’s Protection Society on Saturday 17 September at 2pm at the Stade Hall. Entrance is free but space is limited.

Meanwhile, Hew Lock will be discussing his 2011 work, For Those in Peril on the Sea – which inspired the exhibition that will be on display at Electro Studios Project Space on 1 and 2 October. The talk will take place on Saturday 17 September at 2pm at Hastings Museum & Art Gallery. Tickets cost £5.

Feast of the Dead – a medieval banquet
Wednesday 21 to Sunday 25 September

If that’s tickled your appetite, how about a medieval feast to see you through the week? Every evening from Wednesday 21 to Sunday 25, the Stade Hall will be playing host to Feast of the Dead. Part banquet, part theatre, participants will be served an authentic 11th century three-course meal, while interacting with the ghosts of the battlefield. Tickets cost £25/£18, or £15 for the Wednesday preview, and vegetarian and vegan options are available. Book at: http://bit.ly/2cWPSHf.

Clash! – a choral spectacle
Saturday 24 September

Next weekend, don’t miss Clash!, a unique musical event involving seven local choirs, who will converge in the cathedral-like atrium of Sussex Coast College. Poets and spoken word artists have collaborated with composers from across the South East to create a musical ‘tapestry’ in response to the Bayeux Tapestry’s narration of the great Battle of 1066. Performances take place at 4.30pm and 7.30pm on Saturday 24 September. Tickets cost £7/£5 – go to barefootopera.com/tickets/clash-24th-sept.

Buoys Boys – new exhibition opens at the De La Warr
Opens Saturday 24 September

Leading British artist Fiona Banner presents an immersive installation exploring her ongoing interest in language and its limitations. The exhibition, which takes place both inside and outside of the De La Warr Pavilion, incorporates a series of inflatable full stops from different fonts blown up to human scale. The exhibition is open from Saturday 24 September to Sunday 8 January and entry is free.  There will be an artist’s talk at 11am on Saturday 24 September – tickets are £7/£5/£3.50 from dlwp.com.

DRIFT – how do you navigate a place?
Guided walk Saturday 24 September

This inclusive artwork that reveals how young people with complex needs experience the world in different ways. From now until Sunday 16 October, you can find sound and video installations at three different locations around the town – Warrior Square station ticket office, Bottle Alley, and in the East Hill Lift top station. Join participants for a free guided walk on Saturday 24 September – meet at Warrior Square Station at 11am.–

For more information on these events and many more, visit 1066contemporary.com.

ROOT 1066 International Festival has been funded by Hastings Borough Council, Arts Council England and the Coastal Communities Fund. For the latest news, follow @ROOT1066 on Twitter, or like facebook.com/ROOT1066.

New contemporary arts festival commemorates one of English history’s most important dates.

The Battle of Hastings was a significant moment in this country’s history and a hugely rich source of inspiration – both on the history of the country itself and the impact it has had on our culture and identity.

To mark the 950th anniversary of William the Conqueror’s invasion of England, a new, six-week contemporary arts festival has been created and gets underway on 3 September (running until 16 October). 

ROOT1066 is composed of spectacular indoor and outdoor events across 1066 Country in East Sussex staged by internationally renowned artists and companies, including Glyndebourne Opera, Chris Levine, Wildworks Theatre, Marcus Harvey and Turner Prize short-listed Fiona Banner, plus many more. It includes 13 new commissions and premieres, all exploring big themes such as Who are we?  Where do we come from?  What is important to us? 

Highlights of the rich and varied programme include:

  • I Am A Norman – a photography project highlighting contemporary Normans. Nigel Green and Andrew Moran have traced people who live in 1066 Country with a surname derived from the original army of Norman knights and their retinues and photographed them in a setting of their choice. These photographs will be on display in bus shelters from 1-31 September. Familiar faces in familiar settings, connecting us to the past.
  • A pioneering large scale sound and light event – iy_Project – has been designed by the acclaimed light artist Chris Levine, famous for his 3D light portraits of The Queen, the Dalai Lama and Kate Moss and collaborations with The Eden Project and top recording artists (most recently with Philip Glass at Glastonbury in a special tribute to David Bowie).  He will be working in collaboration with sound artists to create a spectacular immersive experience on the seafront, which will include an invitation beamed over the Channel to Normandy to signify the start of the festival. (Saturday 10 September)
  • Making its world premiere on Saturday 1 October at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill, new opera PUSH will be performed by soloists from Glyndebourne and musicians drawn from some of the UK’s major orchestras, while 250 children and adults from across 1066 Country will form the accompanying choir for this thrilling and innovatively staged production. PUSH, written by internationally acclaimed composer Howard Moody, is inspired by the compelling, true story of Simon Gronowski, who was pushed from a train bound for Auschwitz by his mother in 1943. Mr Gronowski himself will be guest of honour at the first performance.
  • Paying cheeky homage to British Museum Director Neil MacGregor’s ground-breaking series for BBC Radio 4, Hastings Museum and Art Gallery is telling The Story of Hastings in 66 Objects. From a 1066 silver penny and part of a Spanish Armada boat to a JL Baird letter and a MOD’s Lambretta, members of the public picked their favourite works from the 100,000 held by the museum to create a new exhibition that covers the Norman invasion, through Tudor, Stuart, Georgian and Victorian periods into the 20th (On now)
  • WildWorks are renowned for their unique style of site-specific theatre. Their show The Great Survey is inspired by the Domesday Book of 1086, which was entitled The Great Survey of the Wealth of England.  But where the first Great Survey focused on the country’s physical wealth in terms of land, livestock and other possessions, this one 930 years later will be focusing on the town of Hastings greatest riches: its people and communities. Their show will take place in the shadow of Hastings Castle (9-11 September) and feature a revolving cast of 50 local people.
  • Jerwood Gallery presents a major exhibition of the celebrated English artist Marcus Harvey. Inselaffe is a German word meaning ‘Island Monkeys’ – used to describe the people of Britain, a tongue-in-cheek theory that evolution must have stalled in the UK.  Harvey’s most recent work forges motifs and emblems of Britishness, such as military memorabilia and joke shop knick-knacks, into collaged portraits of historical figures – from Nelson to Margaret Thatcher, Napoleon to Tony Blair (until 16 October).
  • Leading British artist Fiona Banner presents an immersive installation at the iconic De La Warr Pavilion, exploring her ongoing interest in language and its limitations. The exhibition, Buoys Boys, which takes place both inside and outside of the gallery, is a play on digital versus material experiences. (24 September – 8 January 2017).

All these events, and many, many more, will work in partnership with other 1066 commemorations and celebrations, including the Battle Festival (throughout October) and a monumental re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings (15 & 16 October).

ROOT1066 is curated by Hastings Borough Council’s Polly Gifford, who says “Hastings has a long artistic tradition and a growing reputation as a cultural hot spot for outstanding contemporary arts, with an eclectic arts scene fuelled by a thriving community of artists.  ROOT 1066 shows off the best the area has to offer, with unique projects from local, national and international artists that will linger in the memories of audiences and leave a lasting legacy for the area.”

The ROOT1066 Festival Patron is playwright and scriptwriter, Hastings born, Sir David Hare. He says “ROOT 1066 comes along at just the right moment to mark the re-birth of this part of the world. Its curious beauty and distinctive melancholy are as powerful as ever. But now at last it has sturdy young life as well.”

You can download a full festival programme now at www.1066contemporary.com



A unique, one-off musical event involving seven choirs is taking place in Hastings in September as part of ROOT1066 Festival of Contemporary Art.  The event will be taking place on the 24th September 2016.

Poets and spoken word artists have collaborated with composers from across the South East to create a musical ‘tapestry’ of completely new choral commissions responding to the Bayeux Tapestry’s narration of the great Battle of 1066. Each of the seven choirs – over 250 voices in total – will be performing a unique piece, whilst the internationally renowned composer Orlando Gough, eminent in working with community choirs, and expert in bringing together different voice types, has composed an ambitious new piece especially for the event: this will be performed by all seven choirs singing together. The event, which is produced by Barefoot Opera, will take place in the cathedral-like atrium of Sussex Coast College, and will be prefaced by choirs’ singing journeys to the atrium by train and from the seafront.

‘Hastings has a wide number of fantastic and diverse choirs, but never before have they all performed together. The idea was to draw them all together under the same roof and have them sing completely new music.’ (Jenny Miller, Barefoot Opera)

The seven choirs who have never performed all together before include well-established groups like Hastings Philharmonic and Sound Waves, to a completely new choir – Hastings Calling – created especially for the Clash! by musician Otti Albietz. The other choirs include Harmony 1, Vocal Explosion, Opera South East and Hastings Youth Choir. This is a completely cross-generational event involving young singers who are more accustomed to performing pop music, to those more familiar with operatic and world music styles. We expect the event to be as challenging and liberating as it is exhilarating.

The poets involved include Jill Fricker, Frances Viner, Antony Mair, Anne Rouse, whilst the composers include Karen Wimhurst, Frances Lynch, Kenneth Roberts, Juliet Russell, Otti Albietz and Marcio da Silva. There will also be two percussionists performing at the event – Liam Genockey and Emmanuel McDonald. Radiator Arts, whose talented team of artists and designers are well known for creating large scale community spectacles, (e.g. Walking with Fish) are leading on the visuals for the event. They have also recruited several illustration students from Sussex Coast College to work with them to produce several massive painted backdrops.

Tickets are available from www.barefootopera.com/tickets and cost £7/£5 concessions.

Clash! is part of the ROOT 1066 International Festival, a festival of contemporary arts inspired by the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings and funded by Hastings Borough Council and Arts Council England. For all the latest news and information go to www.1066contemporary.com, like the Facebook page ‘ROOT1066’ or follow ‘ROOT1066’ on Twitter and Instagram.


A partnership between Normandy Tourism and 1066 Country Marketing, based in Hastings and which promotes the eastern part of East Sussex, has produced a medal-winning garden at Hampton Court flower show.

The Norman medieval garden, called ‘Le Clos D’Hastings’ was designed by Normandy native Stephane Marie, the respected celebrity gardener presenter of the number one French TV horticultural show, who has a huge fan base. (The French Monty Don). The medal-winning garden is divided into two sections. The first represents the ancestral meadows on both sides of the Channel, the second a densely planted area designed like a tapestry, featuring plants from around the world that the English and Normans, with their shared passion for gardening, have enjoyed sharing for centuries.

Kevin Boorman, manager of 1066 Country marketing, explained :- “We were very pleased to work with our friends from Normandy tourism on this project. And Stephane Marie is a great fan of 1066 Country, having previously visited the area and featured Great Dixter on his show.

“As well as helping provide financial support, 1066 Country marketing staff are on the stand every day promoting this area, including its splendid and varied gardens and parks, the 950th anniversary events, and the ROOT1066 international contemporary arts festival.

“We also helped decorate the stand, and I’m very grateful to Sue Bower of Nelson Antiques in Hastings High Street who provided a fantastic oak table, two benches and a blanket box.

“Hampton Court flower show is an incredibly popular event, with well over 100 000 visitors expected over the next few days. It is a great opportunity to market our own fantastic gardens and for us to promote the many events that are taking place here this year.”

The Battle of Hastings may be the most famous date in British history, but a lot has happened in the 950 years since. To mark the anniversary and as part of the ROOT1066 Festival of Contemporary Arts, Hastings Museum & Art Gallery will be opening a new, permanent display of its local history collections, from 1066 up to the present day.

Cllr Dawn Poole the council’s lead member for culture explained:

“The idea for the exhibition was to take 66 Objects that represent key stories that portray some of the people, some of the places and some of the events, both national and local; those that have really shaped the town of Hastings.

“950 years is a long time with a lot of history to cover and 66 objects is actually a lot of objects to look at! In the new exhibition we’ve included some objects and some events that have national significance such as the Spanish Armada and the first and second world wars but we’ve also included events that are very particular to Hastings

“As far as possible we have tried to put people at the centre of the story from local characters like the 11th century moneyer Dunninc and medieval Godfrey the Scrivener, to those who have had an international impact, like Robert Tressell and John Logie Baird.

All sorts of objects have been selected, from everyday items to coronation costume. Cllr Poole is putting in the third object in its case.  It’s a wine jug that dates from around 1100, which was excavated at Hastings Castle.  The base has signs of blackening, showing that the wine was probably heated over an open fire.  Wine became increasingly popular after the Norman Conquest and the Domesday Book records many newly-planted vineyards for the Norman rulers.

The new display will be open from Saturday 25 June at Hastings Museum and Art Gallery.

Museum opening times: April to October – Tuesday to Saturday 10am-5pm. Sunday 12 noon-5pm.  Entry is free.