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Bookings and

See details included with each event

Tickets for most events can be booked in advance either online, by phone, or from the venue box office.


For most events, you can book your tickets online by clicking the "Book this event online" link beside the event details. All bookable events can also be found in the May section at…


To book by phone, call the number beside the event.


Or, on the day, tickets, if still available, can be bought on the door at each venue.

But please, with popular events, please check first for availability!

The ticket price in brackets applies to people entitled to concessions.


Most evening events scheduled at Swindon Arts Centre are available to buy as a double ticket at a reduced price. But these discounted tickets cannot be bought online. Should you wish to purchase double tickets, please call the box office on 01793 524481.

If you have any queries about booking or the Festival in general, please email us or ring 01793 771080.

Wednesday May 3

Photo credit: Sam Ardley

Irving Finkel

Arts Centre, Devizes Road SN1 4BJ
Tel 01793 524481
12.30pm • 3 May • £7 (£6)
Book this event online

IRVING FINKEL – on the world’s oldest way of writing.

Cuneiform script, on tablets of clay, traces its roots back to 3,200 BC when, for the first time ever, someone came up with the idea of writing! The choice of clay as writing medium in ancient Mesopotamia meant that records of all kinds could survive down to modern times, preserving fascinating information about ancient civilization, ranging from elementary school exercises to revealing private letters or beautifully calligraphic literature for the royal library. Ancient inscriptions can lead to a new way of thinking, about the past and the present!

Writer, broadcaster, cuneiform tablet curator in the British Museum in London, and founder of the Great Diary Project, Irving Finkel is co-author of Cuneiform, a fascinating, informative, and beautifully illustrated book that brings the past to life.

Oliver James

Arts Centre, Devizes Road SN1 4BJ
Tel 01793 524481
6.30pm • 3 May • £9 (£8)
Book this event online

OLIVER JAMES – on how to change yourself and your life, for the better!

What are the causes of our individuality? What is the part of our genes? What is the part of our upbringing? Yes, it’s a new take on that old chestnut: nature or nurture?

In his latest book, Not in Your Genes – the real reasons children are like their parents, psychologist, documentary producer, and author of numerous best-selling books, including They **** You Up, Oliver James drills deep down into the childhood causes of our individuality. He shows that, as adults, we can change. We can reclaim our fate from a notionally predetermined destiny. And as parents, we can radically alter the trajectory of our children’s lives. And as a society, we could largely eradicate criminality and poverty! Really?

DOUBLE TICKET £14 for two events:
Oliver James 6.30pm and Mark Lawson 8pm

Photo credit: Pete Helme

Mark Lawson

Arts Centre, Devizes Road SN1 4BJ
Tel 01793 524481
8pm • 3 May • £8 (£7)
Book this event online

MARK LAWSON – on accusations, allegations, and reputations.

When does an allegation become a historical one? How should such allegations be dealt with? Who should be protected, defended, and supported? At what stage of proceedings, and how, can it be decided who is ‘the victim’? How often is it true that there is no smoke without fire? How can one measure the destruction of a career, a reputation, or a life? How should we behave? Why were books like Crime and Punishment, The Trial, and The Allegations written?

Novelist, television broadcaster, journalist, and erstwhile presenter of Radio 4’s Front Row, Mark Lawson is author of The Allegations, in which a leading academic is arrested for a potentially reputation-ruining historic assault. A friend he turns to for support is also the subject of career-ending accusations. Both are bewildered, as are family and friends.

A work of fiction with a ring of truth.

DOUBLE TICKET £14 for two events:
Oliver James 6.30pm and Mark Lawson 8pm

The Swindonian Evening

The Tuppenny, Devizes Road SN1 4BD
Tel 01793 323643
9pm • 3 May • Free!

THE SWINDONIAN EVENING – a mixed bag of music, poetry, and comedy.

Presented in association with The Swindonian

A night of music and poetry: a relaxed soirée that blends socializing with culture in a chilled and sumptuous atmosphere.

Music will come from folk-pop pixie Tamsin Quin; poems courtesy of Poetry Swindon, with selected readings from the best local poets; and the night rounds off with songs, stories, and comedy from Shaun Buswell.