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Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
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10 artists have gone to town over Dickets at Zoom Arts next to St Leonards Warrior Square station

Putting Dickens on the map this Easter

Expectations are high for the ATownExploresABook festival which launches on Good Friday with events and spectacles at 34 sites around St Leonards-on-Sea. HOT’s Erica Smith shares her inside knowledge with us and tips us off about egg-rolling on Easter Sunday.

00ATEAB18side1This time last year, the streets of St Leonards were rife with Jane Eyre related exhibits and activities. This year the A Town Explores A Book festival has expanded, and its subject it Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations.

Gail Borrow from ExploreTheArch theatre company is the one-woman dynamo behind the festival – rallying shopkeepers, cafe owners and artists to engage with an antiquated book from 1860. She asked me, quite literally, to put the festival on the map and, as I type, local printers Fastprint are churning out 2,000 leaflets with a map in the middle.

Of the 34 venues for activity, 20 are along Kings Road and at St Leonards Warrior Square station. Within a short stretch of pavement, you can browse Dickensian antique shops, admire bespoke window displays and settle down in a cafe with a hot chocolate and a notebook to document your own expectations. The Wine Shed is hosting a variety of events including a Dickensian wine-tasting and a film show of David Lean’s 1946 adaptation of the great book.

There will be art installations weaving up the steps from the station to London Road and in three parks – Warrior Square, St Leonards Gardens and Gensing Gardens. There are also inter-active displays at the station and in Boots. And an intriguing participative exhibition in the South Lodge of St Leonards’ Gardens where we are all invited to leave a symbol of utopian home life.

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Gail Borrow exploring domestic violence through Dickens’ Great Expectations

Easter weekend is also the start of a 2-week run of The House of the Identity of Things – the latest ExploreTheArch production. These productions are known for their individual take on stories – using music, light and objects as well as actors to create a unique evening. This production promises to be darker than earlier pieces and is not recommended for under-10s. Those of you old enough and brave enough to visit will not be disappointed – especially since remarkable local musicians Ollie Cherer and Otti Albietz are in the cast. Audiences are limited to about 20 per night, so tickets often sell out. Book yours now through the website or pop into the Bookkeeper bookshop in Kings Road.

Oh yes, and if that’s not enough to do already, then there’s egg-rolling in St Leonards Gardens at 11am on Easter Sunday. Bring along a hard-boiled egg and see how far it gets.

Spoiled for choice? all the options are revealed in the map, available at the 34 participating venues and more. Pick up a copy of the map or visit the website and explore your town with Great Expectations!

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Posted 19:35 Wednesday, Mar 28, 2018 In: Public Arts

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