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Programme 2016

Unless otherwise stated all sessions should last an hour, to allow plenty of time to get to the next session — with perhaps a coffee or a snack from the school canteen on the way.

Please note that some events may have to change or be cancelled at short notice - we aim to minimise any alternations of course and will give you as much notice as possible.


11:00 A Plague on Both Your Houses
  Ruth Scott     Great Hall
  Ruth Scott brings together some of Shakespeare’s insights about conflict and its transformation with the powerful present day stories of men and women dealing with conflict and its legacy.  Read more
11:00 Shakespeare: A Beginner's Guide
  Paul Edmondson     Recital Room
  Come and find out how Shakespeare tackled the biggest themes of humanity - power, history, war and love – and what he means to readers, actors and directors today.  Read more
12:30 The Food of Love
  Alycia Smith-Howard & Alan Deegan     VLR (Library)
  Shakespeare scholar Alycia Smith-Howard and former Head of catering at Stratford-upon-Avon College Alan Deegan have teamed up to write an idiot-proof cook book recreating Elizabethan recipes for the modern palate. Find out more and taste some of their recipes!   Read more
12:30 The Most Unkindest Cut of All
  Kate Charles     Recital Room
  Why are crime novels with church backgrounds so enduringly popular? Kate Charles discusses this and her latest novel, False Tongues.  Read more
14:15 The Shakespeare Circle
  Paul Edmondson, Stanley Wells, Michael Wood & Carol Rutter     Recital Room
  Who were Shakespeare’s friends and family? His neighbours and his rivals? His fellow actors and collaborators? A distinguished team of scholars, biographers and writers tell the stories of those closest to Shakespeare.  Read more
14:15 Sounding the Sonnet: from Shakespeare to 'Seamus' and beyond
  Malcolm Guite     Great Hall
  Readings and reflections on the sonnet form from a modern sonneteer. Malcolm Guite will take you on a tour of the sonnet from Shakespeare, through Shelley and Seamus Heaney, to sonnets in the 21st Century.  Read more
15:30 Such Stuff as Dreams are Made on 
  Sam Wells     Great Hall
  Through a series of short, thoughtful meditations, Sam Wells's book Learning to Dream Again shows what true wisdom — wisdom shaped by Jesus's earthy humility, shameful suffering, and effervescent joy — might look like for Christians today.   Read more
15:30 The Quality of Mercy                SOLD OUT
  Elizabeth Butler-Sloss      Recital Room
  Come and hear distinguished retired judge Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss in conversation with Canon Dr Ed Newell.   Read more
17:00 Great Shakespearean Actors: from Burbage to Branagh
  Stanley Wells     Great Hall
  Who are the greatest actors to have tackled Shakespeare’s roles? Professor Stanley Wells examines what it takes to be a great Shakespeare actor.   Read more
17:00 Pray You, Tread Softly
  Michael Northcott      Recital Room
  Professor Michael Northcott considers the relationship between the natural environment and Christian theology and ethics.    Read more
19:00 Pre-Dinner Drinks 
19:30 Festival Gala Dinner       SOLD OUT

Join us for a drinks reception and sumptuous three course Gala Dinner. This year's after dinner speaker is Ben Crystal, an actor, author and producer, and expert on Original Pronunciation.    Read more

21:30 After-dinner Speaker
  Ben Crystal


10:00 Snatches of Old Tunes
  Stephen Cottrell     Great Hall
  Stephen Cottrell reflects on the source of comfort we find in the poetry of the Bible, Shakespeare and others – and explores what this means in a culture that has increasingly lost the habit of learning things by heart.  Read more
10:00 I Would Not Wish Any Companion in the World But You
  Sarah Perry   VLR (Library)
  Sarah Perry's debut novel, After Me Comes the Flood, was published to great acclaim in 2014. Come and hear her talk about her life, her writing and her current project.  Read more
11:15 Shakespeare and Religion
  Alison Shell     Great Hall
  What was the religious context in which Shakespeare lived and worked? How was he understood by his literary contemporaries - both Catholic and Protestant?  Read more
11:15 To Thine Own Self Be True
  Catherine Fox, Richard Beard & Sarah Meyrick     Recital Room
  What does it take to become a writer? Three authors discuss the challenges of getting published in a world that can be hostile to faith.  Read more
12:30 Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven       *FREE EVENT*
  Michael Ramsey Prize Readers    VLR (Library)
  The Michael Ramsey Prize celebrates the most promising contemporary theological writing from the global Church. Come to hear from some of the Prize’s Readers as they announce the 2016 shortlist.  Read more
12:30 It is the Stars; The Stars Above Us, Govern Our Conditions
  David Wilkinson & Allan Chapman     Recital Room
  In Shakespeare's day it was common to talk about our fate being in the stars. Even today, untold numbers of people consult their star signs for clues about what lies ahead. Two eminent scientists with an interest in astronomy discuss the relationship between cosmology, destiny and faith through the ages with Martyn Percy.  Read more
12:30 Churlish Priests?
  Catherine Fox     Great Hall
  Novelist Catherine Fox has set her latest two books in the fictional but utterly believable Diocese of Lindchester. She talks to Canon Angela Tilby about the world of Acts of Omission and Unseen Things Above.  Read more
14:30 Stargazers: Copernicus, Galileo, the Telescope and the Church
  Allan Chapman     Recital Room
  The period from 1500–1700 saw an unprecendented renaissance in astronomy and the understanding of the heavens. Allan Chapman explores whether Galileo and his ilk were so unusual for their time, bright sparks of knowledge in a sea of ignorance. Or were contemporary Popes, churchmen, and rulers actually fascinated by astronomy, and open to new ideas?  Read more
14:30 By Her Own Letters, Which Makes Her Story True
  Judith Maltby, Alison Shell, Francis Spufford, Jane Williams & Catherine Fox       Great Hall
  Why are there so many fine Anglican women novelists? From Charlotte Bronte to PD James, from Dorothy L. Sayers to Barbara Pym, from Charlotte Yonge to Elizabeth Goudge… who were these women and what do they have in common?   Read more
15:45 Words without Thoughts Never to Heaven go
  David Wilkinson      Recital Room
  In his latest book When I Pray, What Does God do? David Wilkinson draws upon science, the Bible and human experience to explore the tricky question of how and why God answers our prayers, and equally why our prayers often go unanswered.  Read more
15:45 Shakespeare and Other Inspirations
  Salley Vickers     Great Hall
  Salley Vickers, author of the word-of-mouth bestseller, Miss Garnet’s Angel and seven other acclaimed novels talks to Ed Newell.  Read more
17:00 One Man in His Time Plays Many Parts
  Richard Coles & Francis Spufford     Great Hall
  In his 2014 book Fathomless Riches the Reverend Richard Coles described his remarkable journey from 1980s pop icon to parish priest. Now he brings the story up-to-date with the years since his ordination.  Read more
17:00 Carnal, Bloody and Unnatural Acts
  Richard Beard     VLR (Library)
  A charismatic cult leader is dead. One by one his followers are being assassinated. In his latest novel, Acts of the Assassins, Richard Beard explores the fate of the 12 apostles.  Read more
18:30 If Music Be the Food of Love, Play On
  North Cotswold Chamber Choir     Recital Room
  Music and poetry reflecting the works of William Shakespeare performed by the North Cotswold Chamber Choir.   Read more
18:30 BBC Beyond Belief: Storytelling in Christianity   *FREE EVENT*
  William Crawley and guests            Chapel

A special recording for Radio 4's Beyond Belief, a discussion programme which examines the place of faith in today's complex world. William Crawley presents.   Read more

20:00 An Actor's Life for Me     *NEW SESSION*
  The Shakespeare Revue Company 
  A sparkling musical entertainment which reveals the pleasures and perils of ‘Life Upon the Wicked Stage’: intimidating auditions, demanding divas, fearsome landladies and Shakespearean scrapes!   Read more


09:30 Festival Eucharist at St Mary's
  St Mary's Church, Bloxham
  A service with a Shakespearean twist. Preacher: The Rt Revd John Pritchard, former Bishop of Oxford.
11:15 Sans Everything? Enjoying Life in the Departure Lounge
  David Winter     St Mary's Church, Bloxham
  David Winter talks about his most recent book At the End of the Day with the retired Bishop of Oxford.   Read more
14:15 Alas Poor Gorick!           
  Martin Gorick     Stratford-upon-Avon
  The Ven. Martin Gorick, Archdeacon of Oxford and former Vicar of Holy Trinity, Stratford-upon-Avon, will lead a walking tour of Shakespeare highlights from cradle to grave. Meet outside Shakespeare’s Birthplace in Henley Street.  Read more
17:00 Tea at St Mary's
  St Mary's Church, Bloxham
17:30 Songs of Praise
  St Mary's Church, Bloxham

Free event - no need to buy a ticket, just come along and join us at St Mary's Church.

This concluding service reflects the festival theme with words by Shakespeare, hymns by his contemporaries George Herbert and John Milton, and Collects from the Prayer Book of 1559.


Bloxham 2016 shakesperean