The International Agatha Christie Festival is back
- Credit: Agatha Christie Festival
The International Agatha Christie Festival returns this year for the greatest ever celebration of Torbay’s celebrated author and champion.
After running the festival online in a 2020 blighted by the Covid pandemic, organisers have a schedule packed with superb attractions, educational talks and, of course, wonderful stories from the world’s most famous crime author.
The festival runs from September 11 – 18 and bookings can be made by visiting www.ticketsource.co.uk/agathafestival - tickets are expected to sell out quickly for some events. Tickets for Fringe events are available on the Festival website www.iacf-uk.org
Two of Britain’s best-loved authors – Anthony Horowitz and Kate Mosse in conversation about Agatha Christie and much else besides.
Agatha Christie’s grandson, Mathew Prichard will open a new exhibition about Christie’s travels in the Middle East.
Brian Eastman, producer of the ITV television series Agatha Christie’s Poirot, in conversation with Dr Mark Aldridge, author of Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Greatest Detective in the World and Agatha Christie on Screen. Brian will also introduce a special showing of Murder on the Links starring Sir David Suchet.
The day begins at Torre Abbey Museum with an illustrated exploration of Agatha Christie’s London hosted by City of London & Westminster tour guide Tina Hodgkinson. While all day in the grounds of Rowcroft Hospice there will be an Agatha Christie Treasure Hunt.
After lunch, Carla Valentine will be speaking about her new book, Murder Isn’t Easy: The Forensics of Agatha Christie. Carla is the curator of the Pathology Museum at Barts Hospital and presenter of Channel 4’s The Bone Detectives.
In the evening, Torquay Museum will host the premiere of a new film directed by Sabine Scharnagl: Agatha Christie and the Near East focuses on the archaeological experiences of Christie and her husband, Sir Max Mallowan, and will be followed by a panel discussion.
The day begins with an attempt to solve the mystery of Hercule Poirot by Dr Mark Aldridge, author of Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Greatest Detective in the World and Agatha Christie on Screen.
In the afternoon, the Spanish Barn hosts a live edition of the hit US podcast All About Agatha, hosted by Kemper Donovan and Catherine Brobeck.
In the Spanish Barn in the evening, the award-winning storytelling theatre company Scary Little Girls present an evening of stories by Agatha Christie and other writers of the Riviera.
The day begins with Judy Dewey, curator of Wallingford Museum, on ‘Life with the Mallowans’ in the town where Christie spent her final years.
In the afternoon, Martin Edwards, president of the Detection Club and author of the Lake District Mysteries and The Golden Age of Murder will talk about the craft of crime fiction and, later, host a crime-writing workshop for aspiring local writers.
In the evening, the Festival moves to the evocative surroundings of historic Oldway Mansion and an evening of classic ghost stories by M R James with Moonstone Theatre.
After lunch there will be a unique event at Dartmoor Prison where Dr Jamie Bernthal-Hooker, author of Agatha Goes to War, will speak about the moorland mysteries of Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The talk will be followed by a guided tour of the evocative French and American prisoner of war cemeteries.
And in the evening, on board the Golden Hind in Brixham harbour, there will be a very special event to mark Christie’s birthday with award-winning actress Annette Badland, star of Midsomer Murders, EastEnders, Dr Who and The Archers.
Events begin with The Queen of Crime in the Queen of the Suburbs, a talk by Dr Jonathan Oates, archivist and historian, on Christie’s childhood in the London borough of Ealing.
In the afternoon, author Sophie Hannah talks about her role in continuing to tell stories about Christie’s best-loved detective Hercule Poirot. This is followed by local history expert Matt Newbury on Christie’s interest in wild swimming, followed by the premiere of Agatha Swims, a 6 minute mini-film featuring Agatha’s favourite bathing spots and a panel discussion with Karen Marshall, producer and fellow wild swimmer.
The evening closes at the Palace Theatre, Paignton, with the first of two performances (the other is on Saturday the 18th) of Dracula: The Bloody Truth, a production by the acclaimed company Le Navet Bete in association with Exeter Northcott Theatre.
Opening the day, Kate Jackson – author of The Pocket Detective – will be speaking at Paignton Zoo about animals in the work of Agatha Christie and other great crime writers.
In the afternoon, at Paignton Picture House, Professor Mike Wilson talks about Agatha Christie and Grand-Guignol theatre, and later he will be joined by Adam Nevill, author of The Ritual, to discuss the enduring popularity of horror and supernatural fiction.
And in the evening, the Festival returns to the Palace Theatre, Paignton, for the UK professional premiere of The Stranger, Agatha Christie’s gripping psychological thriller, performed as a rehearsed and costumed reading.
The final day begins with Dr Julius Green, author of Agatha Christie: A Life in Theatre, on ‘Poirot on stage’.
Later in the day, things take a sporting turn with Murder: Of Course!, which takes place at Abbey Park Pitch ‘n’ Putt Golf Course and later, a wild sea-swimming event between Beacon Cove and Meadfoot Beach in Torquay, where Agatha Christie swam regularly.
And in the closing event of the Festival, Dr Mark Aldridge, will be in conversation with Guy Slater, producer of the BBC television series, Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple. Guy will also introduce a special showing of A Pocket Full of Rye starring the late Joan Hickson OBE.