Another bumper weekend for Battle Festival

Contralto Mae Heydorn will be performing as part of Battle Festival
Contralto Mae Heydorn will be performing as part of Battle Festival

It’s another energetic round of events for Battle Festival this weekend with lots of classical music and an art fair.

It kicks off with an organ recital by assistant organist at Westminster Abbey, Martin Ford, at St Mary’s Church today (Friday, October 24).

As a solo recitalist, Martin has performed at numerous notable venues, including St Paul’s Cathedral in London and Bourges Cathedral in France, numerous BBC Radio broadcasts and a US tour.

Highlights of his time at Westminster include playing at the celebration for the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation.

The audience can look forward to work by Handel, Bach and Elgar in the programme.

Saturday is very busy day at St Mary’s with two concerts scheduled, the first at 11am which is one of the festival’s free events.

Billed as an imaginative programme of musical compositions set to Shakespeare’s text, the Coffee Concert includes readings by Battle-born actress and theatre director Clare Davidson.

Contralto Mae Heydorn and pianist Marisa Cornford will perform works by composers who have been inspired by the sonnets and writings of William Shakespeare.

Clare Davidson will recount her memories of the original Battle Festival, established by her parents in the 1950s, and will read passages from Shakespeare’s poetry.

Saturday morning also sees the opening of the Pure Autumn Art Fair at Powdermills Hotel, back with its sixth annual instalment.

The fair showcases 60 selected artists working across all fine art media including painting, drawing and sculpture.

The fair forms part of the festival’s Art Trail, held in venues throughout the town including galleries, boutiques, restaurants and open spaces.

Saturday is rounded off, again at St Mary’s, with a celebration of great English music for tenor, strings and piano with music dominated by Ralph Vaughan Williams, arguably the greatest composer Britain has seen since the days of Henry Purcell.

Drawing the classical performances to a close for 2015 is the Sunday Classics matinee performance showcasing contralto Mae Heydorn and clarinetist Nicholas Carpenter.

Ensemble 1066 perform a varied and diverse programme of popular classics with works by Mozart and Brahms take centre stage including Mozart’s two major chamber works featuring the clarinet.

The festival continues through to October 31, with affordable half-term family fun by Billy’s Band on Thursday 29.

The family concert introduces children to the wonderful world of Billy, ‘the greatest conductor that ever lived’.

Families will hear musicians performing live in a series of musical adventures.

It is hoped Billy will entertain children and inspire them to pick up a musical instrument and have a go.

Tickets are available on the door or in advance from Farrago and Penny Royal in Battle.

For more information about any of the events visit:, or call 01424 319982.

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1) Make our website your homepage at

2) Like our Facebook page at

3) Follow us on Twitter Text to display

4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

The Rye and Battle Observer - always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.