When we finally get out of lockdown, there’s bound to be huge excitement and enthusiasm for the Arts – the same Arts that we took for granted until 2020. But at the moment things are very much up in the air, events are postponed or cancelled and many organisers are keeping schtum about their plans. Hastings Fat Tuesday? Jack in the Green? Many websites refer only to past events or tell you to ‘Watch this Space’.  Although some venues and organisations may have disappeared forever, we hope that, like the Artic wood frog which stays frozen until the sun comes out in spring, the Arts will experience a renaissance. Here are some shows and festivals with local relevance that look likely to go ahead.

Installation by Andreas Angelidaki
PICTURE: Stathos Mamalakis

England’s Creative Coast Waterfronts

Various locations between Southend-on-Sea and Eastbourne throughout the summer

Waterfronts is a series of commissions that takes the history of the South East Coast and issues such as economic migration and the impact of the climate crisis as starting points. Seven artists from across the world will create seven new works, situated on, and made in response to, seven coastal towns – places ‘on the edge’ – ‘the border between land and water’. Exhibitions will open sequentially throughout the summer until autumn. Artists include: Andreas Angelidakis, working with the Hastings Contemporary; Holly Hendry, working with De La Warr Pavilion; and Mariana Castillo Deball, working with Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne. 

See their websites for more information. dlwp.com

Landscape from a Dream by Paul Nash
PICTURE: Tate gallery

Seaside Modern Art and Life on the Beach.

Hastings Contemporary.
Dates tbc. 

The exhibition is hopefully opening this year after its postponement last summer. According to their website, “This exuberant anthology show will examine a half-century of artistic experimentation at the seaside along with archive photographs and advertising posters, making a case for the beach and the lido as sites of the Modernist movement as integral to the development of modern British art as the cafes and arcades of London and Paris.” The exhibition explores the British love affair with the seaside and includes not only some of the best of Modern British Artists (Ravilious, Hepworth, Paul Nash) but also archive seaside photos, posters and other artefacts. 

Find out more at  hastingscontemporary.org/exhibitions

The Hastings Virtual Fringe Festival 

The Brighton Festival is hoping to go ahead later in the year. Meanwhile Hastings will be staging its first ever Virtual Fringe – an open-access Festival providing an opportunity to showcase visual art, music,
short films, spoken word and filmed performances in a digital space.

The programme will be published in February 2021 on their social media channels and a specially created website. 

See their Facebook page for updates facebook.com/Hastingsfringe 

A Town Explores a Book Festival 

Around St Leonards and online. From 1st April  (April Fool’s Day) onwards

This unique community festival explores and responds to a different classic book each year; this year it will be Edward Lear’s 1871 anthology, Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany and Alphabets. It will be the second year that the festival has run in lockdown and there will be more diverse events including sound recordings, songs and artworks to turn St Leonards into a nonsense world. 

For more information go to atownexploresabook.com


Evening of film and music: Electric Palace Cinema.
Date tbc.

A fundraiser for the Electric Palace, presented by Trash Cannes and Last Thursday Film Club. With live improvised scores performed alongside films made by filmmaker and performer, Duncan Reekie.

Also at the Electric Cinema: 
• We Love This Town
The updated version: a must-see compilation of colourful Hastings people and events over the past 30 years captured on film by local filmmaker Glenn Veness
• Hope Gap, filmed and set in Seaford, East Sussex, Annette Bening and Bill Nighy star as a couple navigating a separation.

For more information go to electricpalacecinema.com

Hastings Musical Festival Online

Because of the current uncertainty around Covid-19, the Hastings Musical Festival is going to be run as a virtual festival in 2021. There are four sections: Dancing, Singing, Instrumental and Speech & Drama. This year there are additional classes for choreography and composition as well as some new ones for drums and even a class for pipe organs – only possible because the festival is virtual.  Entries will be recordings: videos and musical scores that are sent in and judged by independent adjudicators. The plan is to hold a ‘highlights concert’ later in the year. 

Check their website for updates hastingsmusicalfestival.org.uk/virtual

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