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2014 Literary Weekend REVIEWS click here *******************************************************************************

Need inspiration for a Christmas present?  ZRI performed at the Petworth Festival this summer to great acclaim.  The CD is available for £12 + £2 p+p, payable by card or Paypal at: Jon Banks directly at



USB Bracelets:  New at the 2014 summer festival were live recordings of six of our events.  "The quality is superb and the immediacy of the event terrific"

The recordings are still available from Live Band Audio.  For full information please email:



Click here for a review of our headline event of the 2014 Petworth Festival is The Petworth Plays and here to read one from our youngest member of the audience, Daisy, aged 4½.

 "The balmy evening and the parkland setting could not have been more perfect for the frolicking nymphs and the gloomy chapel was an ideal backdrop for the blood-curdling Duchess of Malfi."

A unique set of Jacobean dramas that have been in Lord Egremont's family and the Petworth House collection since the 17th century. Click to hear about this project from our Artistic Director, Stewart Collins. 



Two hugely successful festivals in 2013!

PetworthFestival LiteraryWeekendDear All

Two hugely successful festivals in 2013 and the Petworth Festival moves onwards and upwards towards 2014.

Thanks to all our supporters once again whether audiences, Friends, Patrons, sponsors or volunteers.

Arts festivals in West Sussex have not had the easiest of times in recent years, but the Petworth Festival has managed to thrive and develop and we know who we have to thank. Particular thanks of course are due to all who contributed to this year's Literary Weekend in November. Few who attended will forget the five days as it proved to be one 5 star experience after the other. Philip Ziegler, Antonia Fraser, the exquisite piece of puppet theatre, Nobody Rides the Unicorn, and the astonishing mix of Schubert's Winterreise and Captain Scott's diaries that made up 'The Fatal Chance'… and so on.

Please bear in mind as we move into 2014 that many many festival events now sell out to Friends of the Festival all of whom enjoy priority booking periods. We firmly recommend that you join, not least so that you gain the earliest notification of festival activities and, of course, invitations to key launch events.

The warmest wishes from all of us at the festival

Stewart Collins
Artistic Director


Petworth Festival has an award-winning Artistic Director and an award-winning volunteer!

Stewart Collins Award Winner Petworth Festival Award Winning Volunteer

Stewart Collins won the BAFA Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Arts Festivals at the 2012 Conference for Festivals. It is awarded by the BAFA Board and previous winners have included Michael and Emily Eavis of Glastonbury fame, Nick Dodds, Brighton Festival; Richard Phillips, Leamington Music; Judith Serota, Spitalfields Festival and Tania Harrison, Latitude Festival. Its not limited to BAFA Members.

Angela Azis, Petworth Festival Board Member, volunteer co-ordinator and volunteer responsible for all front of house requirements has won a national award for 'Exceptional Service' in 2013. Angela's citation reflected on her 'tireless work in putting the festival on' together with her 'unstinting good humour and commitment to the local community'.











February 2014

Welcome and Thank You to New Petworth Festival Sponsors!

Artful Teasing

Rodney H Downes

Guilt Lingerie Ltd

Meghdoots Mystic Masala

Spriggs Florists

W Sx Dec & Fine Arts Society


November 2013

A very warm welcome to this, the third Petworth Festival Literary Weekend.  Given that this year's event stretches over five days you may well question the use of the word "weekend", but we thought we'd stick with the title as we know from comment received that the short, sharp format of the Autumn event is appreciated even if the strict notion of a weekend has become slightly blurred!

To our great joy, the whole idea of the Literary Weekend seems to have been taken to the collective heart of Petworth, and once again we are delighted to present a range of events that promises to explore, chllenge and entertain.  We are also delighted that we are now firmly on the map as far as the country's major authors and publishers are concered given the quality of events that we are attracting.

Thank you to our audiences, sponsors and partners alike for helping to turn this venture into a success. We are confident that the classs of 2013 will continue where we left off.

Stewart Collins
Artistic Director



November 2013 

Natural History South Downs

Latest news .... we are delighted Dr Tony Whitbread, Chief Executive of the Sussex Wildlife Trust will be joining Robin Crane at the event at 2pm on Saturday 9 November - The Natural History of the South Downs National Park

Wonders of nature caught on camera in stunning book was the headline for the Midhurst & Petworth Observer's report of Richard Williamson's interview with author Robin Crane.  (Photo by M Ball)


September 2013 
Thank you to our audiences, thank you to our sponsors and thank you to our performers. The 2013 Petworth Festival has proved to be a huge success on every level and hopefully it will remain long in the memory.

Personal highlights? Raphael Wallfisch and Peter Donohoe; The Tim Kliphuis Trio; Mr James' Garden; Bernard d'Ascoli; Hadeep Singh Kohli – but I have to stop myself here as there were SO many other events at which audience members on the night were demanding that we re-invite the performers for 2014. We'll have to see how that plays out – although as you may know my particular preference is always for trawling in new waters when approaching the next festival – but what we can say is that we have had a bumper year on all fronts and that we anticipate 2014 riding on the crest of a wave.

Next stop of course is the literary weekend – which this year rather stretches the word 'weekend' as it runs for five days between Wed 6 and Sunday 10 November. Details will be announced in October, but already we have a very strong line up in the late stages of planning, so do watch this space!

For now – thank you for your support and I hope you'll treasure the echo of a bumper series of events.

Stewart Collins
Artistic Director




Petworth Festival - Summer 2013 - 16 July-3 August

Petworth Festival 2013 kicked off with the superb event that was Mr James' Garden.

  "We went on the first night having booked as soon as we saw the event advertised. I did worry that the music would be a bit Classic FM top ten but not a bit of it. Just the right amount of edge mixed with the wacky and the wonderful. I think a few members of the audience were struggling, but that made it even more endearing and all the more authentically surreal :-) All that music, beautifully played, plus the glorious setting and the ambient sounds of the countryside settling down after a long hot day made for a genuinely magical event. I'm sure Mr James would have been proud." "We went on the first night having booked as soon as we saw the event advertised. I did worry that the music would be a bit Classic FM top ten but not a bit of it. Just the right amount of edge mixed with the wacky and the wonderful. I think a few members of the audience were struggling, but that made it even more endearing and all the more authentically surreal :-) All that music, beautifully played, plus the glorious setting and the ambient sounds of the countryside settling down after a long hot day made for a genuinely magical event. I'm sure Mr James would have been proud."



Petworth Festival - Sponsors' Party June 2013

Thank you to Upperton Vineyard for hosting our Sponsors' Party at their superb location in Tillington, a mile outside Petworth.  The hospitality from the Rogers family was amazing, not to mention the quality of their English Sparkling Wine. 



Petworth Festival - Launch Parties - April 2013

Launch parties for Festival Sponsors, Patrons and Friends were held on 29 and 30 April. Supporters collected their Summer Brochures together with priority booking forms.

Stewart Collins' (Artistic Director) enthusiasm during his presentation was so infectious that guests were completing their booking forms there and then!

Priority booking for Sponsors, Patrons and Friends in now on - booking for the general public opens on Friday 31 May.



Petworth Festival - Summer 2013 - 16 July-3 August

For preview information due out in mid-March followed by priority booking from 9 May join the Patron and Friends scheme. Download a Patron or Friend gift form. Otherwise booking opens to the General Public on Friday 31 May 2013.



2012 Literary Weekend - a great success!

Thank you to everybody who supported the second Petworth Festival Literary Weekend!

Celia ImrieIf you were able to attend any of the events we hope you will feel duly stimulated, entertained - or preferably both. From Adam Nicolson's opening words to Celia Imrie's final anecdote, we were treated to a succession of fascinating events with many a highlight. Our new events – the 'Petworth Reads' project with Kathryn Flett and the one-to-one sessions with Book Guru Clare Christian - also proved to be great additions to the weekend, and we truly hope that we will be back with a third edition in November 2013. Watch this space for dates.

In the meantime my colleagues and I are beavering away on producing the programme for July 2013 so please put the dates firmly in the diary (15 July – 3 August). As you may note, we will be running a slightly longer festival this coming year thanks to two special additional events that we feel will 'hit the sweet spot'. Do please look out for details when we unveil the programme in April.

But again thank you for your interest and, above all, support of the Literary Weekend whether as a sponsor, patron, friend or audience member. We hope we continue to reward your loyalty. Onwards and upwards!

Stewart Collins
Artistic Director



Second Literary Weekend 15-18 November 2012

Due to the tremendous success of the Literary Weekend last year, the Petworth Festival is extremely pleased to announce a second weekend of top-class authors, a little music and comedy .... full details to be announced 6 October. Box office opens on 6 October, on-line, by telephone (01798 344576) and by post.



Chamber Music at Petworth Festival 2012

Dante QuartetOne of the Petworth Festival's traditional strengths, the 2012 line up includes a remarkable range of soloists and ensembles. Benjamin Grosvenor, Cristina Ortiz and Martin Roscoe all give piano recitals, and the Skampa and Dante Quartet's (pictured) showcase the high art of the string quartet. Other concerts feature the clarinet of Michael Collins and the Hilliard Ensemble, the jewell in the crown being a performance of Mahler's 4th Symphony in a special reduction made for the CBSO's ICE ensemble.



Children's Events at Petworth Festival 2012

The TwitsFamily entertainment features large in this year's Petworth Festival programme. Brilliant improvisatory troupe Kepow bring their family show Whose Story is it anyway? to the Leconfield Hall on Sunday 15 July, the following weekend featuring a fully staged outdoor production of Roald Dahl's The Twits in the beautiful surrounds of Bignor Park. The Festival officially kicks off on Friday 13 July with a performance of the jazz cantata Captain Noah and His Floating Zoo, featuring 60 local children and top rank professional forces.



Speaker at Festival Service 12 July 2012- Maggi Hambling

The speaker at this year's PACT (Petworth Area Churches Together) Festival Service is to be Maggi Hambling. "When I was 14 my art exam was being invigilated by the biology mistress, with whom I was deeply in love. I had been trying to draw attention to myself by throwing paint at people, when suddenly I looked at the clock and it was 20 past three and I had to have a painting done by half past. I chose the subject of laziness. I produced a painting of a woman lying on a chaise longue with a book in her hand, but she was so lazy she wasn't reading it. When the results came out I was top of art." Extract taken from the Telegraph Magazine, 19 May 2012. from an interview by Georgia Dehn.


October 2009

Petworth Festival is pleased to announce the appointment of Stewart Collins as its new Artistic Director. Stewart will be responsible for programming the events for the 2010 Festival, which starts on 10th July.

As its Artistic Director, Mr Collins has for 17 years been responsible for the very successful Henley Festival; an annual event following on a few days after the Regatta, and will continue to arrange this important event. He has been for 11 years, and will continue to be, the executive artistic director at the Holders Season festival in Barbados. Also the chairman of the British Arts Festivals Association, Stewart Collins has enjoyed spells as broadcaster and writer and was a founder member of the international vocal group, Cantabile. Of Petworth, Mr Collins said:

"I am hugely looking forward to taking on the challenge of a quality festival that clearly enjoys tremendous local support. I’m absolutely aware of the dictum ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’, but equally I hope to bring some of my own specialities, passions and experience to a very special festival."

Robin Bryant, the Chairman of Petworth Festival said:

"We could hardly believe our luck in being able to attract Stewart to take us through the next stage of our development – I am quite confident that Stewart will enjoy himself here and I know we shall enjoy having him at Petworth."

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