Welcome to Sea Fever

Friday 10th – Sunday 12th May, Wells Maltings

Well, well, well! Who’d have thought it? We survived Sea Fever 1 last May and now we’re actually sitting down to welcome you to the second of our festivals.
Of course it couldn’t have been done if we hadn’t been building on the foundations of twenty years of Poetry-next-the-Sea, on the enthusiasm and energy of our patrons and of our advisory board, on the help of our sponsors Hayes + Storr, and above all on the support of everyone whose attendance of SF1 made it such a success.
This year’s festival has the immeasurable advantage of being held in the main complex of the Maltings. It sees the return of the festival to where it was founded in 1997, albeit to a venue transformed into a state-of-art 21st century arts centre.
Formally opened only last autumn, the Maltings has already found its feet. We are fortunate in having such a venue at our disposal. In putting together the programme for this May, we certainly hope we are doing justice both to the eclectic traditions of Poetry-next-the-Sea and to the excellence of the facilities – and indeed Simon Daykin’s team – at the Maltings.
It is a privilege to be able to welcome back to the festival Sir Andrew Motion, who last graced Wells in the days when he was Poet Laureate. Equally exciting is the presence of long-standing Wells’ resident Roger Law, whose recent work as a
ceramicist is every bit as dazzling as the Spitting Image puppets that made his name.
These are both artists with international reputations, albeit from individuals rooted in East Anglia. Reflecting the regional theme – which we hope will make the festival distinctive – are writers much of whose work reflects the very special nature of this strip between the land and the sea. Amongst the most luminous is our old friend Kevin Crossley-Holland, one of the founders of PNTS. We are thrilled that he will be launching at the festival his new collaboration with photographer Andy Rafferty. This is Seahenge: A Journey. We are equally pleased that Julia Blackburn will be joining us, whose new work – Timesong – explores the lost land of the Dogger Bank.
Local, too are Benjamin Britten and WH Auden – sadly long gone – both of whom attended Gresham’s in Holt, and whose own collaboration in Night Mail we will be celebrating. We are fortunate indeed to have persuaded the composer and
film-maker Tony Britten to discuss this iconic film.
Finally – though it is invidious to pick out other individuals from our line-up – we are so pleased that our patron Matthew Hollis has agreed to present both a musical collaboration with Richard Scott, and some of his new work on The Wasteland.
For obvious reasons Harold Pinter is unavailable, but we do very much hope you will enjoy our own homecoming to Wells Maltings. Jim Ring and David Waller – Festival Directors