Curtain to go up on 'best ever' Agatha Christie International Festival

Agatha Christie on Torquay Pier

Agatha Christie on Torquay pier - Credit: The Christie Archive Trust

This year's Agatha Christie Festival promises to be the biggest and best ever.

Organisers are hoping that with the lifting of Covid restrictions, they will be able to deliver the International Agatha Christie Festival in full.

It will make up for the disappointment of last year's festival which was ravaged by the pandemic and was limited to on-line coverage.

It will also delight the world-wide army of Christie fans and put the Bay firmly on the cultural and general community map.

The festival will run across eight days between September 11 and September 18 at venues across the resort.

Festival logo

Festival for all - Credit: International Agatha Christie Festival

Heather Norman-Soderlind,  chair of the International Agatha Christie Festival, said: "We are pleased to report that the Festival has secured Arts Council England project funding as well as funding from a variety of trusts and foundations.

"This year the line up is possibly the best it's ever been. As our residents emerge from a difficult year and visitors begin to return to the Bay, we intend this year's Festival to act as a curtain raiser for the cultural life of the Bay returning to normal."

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This year's line-up includes popular literary stars Kate Mosse and Anthony Horowitz coming to Torquay and a whole series of 'firsts' - unperformed work by Christie, Torbay's most famous daughter.

There will also be a new exhibition about Christie's travels in the Middle East at Torre Abbey and a series of festival 'fringe' events, including a wild swimming event - 'Agatha Swims' - off Beacon Cove, her favourite beach in the Bay.

There will also be 'participatory' activities with older residents in partnership with Dance in Devon, a whole week of creative writing classes for Year 6 schoolchildren in the Bay in partnership with The Writers' Block and a 'Young Writers' Exchange' for young people out of school run in partnership with Doorstep Arts.

Heather said she was aware of the Torbay Weekly supporting Rowcroft Hospice as its charity of the year with a target of raising £50,000 over the next year and added: "We are also hosting a Christie-inspired 'Treasure Hunt' in partnership with Rowcroft Hospice and in support of their fundraising."

News about the events and the programme are being released regularly with some events sold out within minutes.

"Because a ghost story performance by Moonstone Theatre at Oldway Mansion sold out in minutes for September 14, Torbay Council has kindly allowed us to host a second performance there on the evening of September 15 so there's still a chance for your readers to secure their seats.  And still plenty of availability for all other activities," said Heather.

Award-winning actress Annette Badland will appear in a special event on The Golden Hind in Brixham harbour;  a new film will be shown about Dame Agatha and her archaeological experiences with husband Max Mallowan in Iraq and Syria; and a host of acknowledged authorities of her life and work on stage and screen will be presenting at venues across the Bay.

Fringe events will also include guided tours and even the opportunity to go seal-watching on the Dart by Christie’s home at Greenway House.

Over the coming weeks, the Torbay Weekly will be publishing details of all the events.

Tickets are on sale for most Festival events from www.ticketsource.co.uk/agathafestival - They are expected to sell out quickly for some events. Tickets for Fringe events are available on the Festival website.