Keats in Chichester: a Bicentennial Celebration

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Jointly organised by the University of Chichester and South Downs Poetry Festival, in association with the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association.

Enjoy a sparkling programme marking the bicentenary of the visit of John Keats to Chichester which sparked his great poem, The Eve of St Agnes, and of his leaving England for the last time in 1820 to seek relief from tuberculosis. A highlight is the dramatic reading by actors and poets of the story of Keats in Chichester with a focus on his letters, followed by a rendition of the famous poem La Belle Dame sans Merci, Keats take on a visionary romantic theme.

The day kicks off with a short talk by Professor Fiona Price on the letters of Keats to set the scene. The programme culminates with dramatic readings of Keats poems and a reconstruction of letters between Keats and his lover Fanny Brawne, read by poets James Simpson (as Keats), Stephanie Norgate, Naomi Foyle, Barry Smith and actors Emily Rose Smith (as Fanny Brawne) and Chloe Salaman. The landmark statue of Keats, sculpted by Vincent Gray, will be the scene for a poetry happening inspired by The Eve of St Agnes itself. Smith and Salaman have many acting credits including Chekov and Dr Faustus for the Chichester Festival (Smith) and Dragonslayer, Winston Churchill and Fanny by Gaslight (Salaman). Simpson is a Jerwood/Arvon award-winning poet. Stephanie Norgate and Naomi Foyle have published many acclaimed poetry collections. Refreshments. FREE ENTRANCE.


18 January, 17:30 - 19:30


St Pancras Church