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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.

Thursday May 4

Polly Toynbee & David Walker

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

POLLY TOYNBEE & DAVID WALKER – on why an assault on the state harms us all.

Is the welfare state in danger? What are the key roles of the public sector? Who depends on public services? How important are public services in holding the country together? Will the post-Brexit market provide health care, schools, police, research, flood protection, care in old age, grants to the arts, and welfare for all who need it?

Polly Toynbee is a columnist for The Guardian and David Walker is former director of public reporting at the Audit Commission. Together, they have co-authored Dogma and Disarray and Better or Worse. Now they offer us Dismembered, which takes the reader on a journey, today, into the public services, assessing its work and weighing up its importance and its cost.

Brian Clegg

Arts Centre, Devizes Road SN1 4BJ
Tel 01793 524481
6.30pm • 4 May • £8 (£7)
Book this event online

BRIAN CLEGG – with an illustrated talk on life, the universe, and everything!

Once, we sought absolutes, certainties, and facts to explain the world around us. But as science has developed, relativity has swept away many of those certainties, leaving only a handful of unchangeable essentials: absolute zero, nothingness, and light. As a result, is science better now and is it taking us closer to the essence of being human?

Author of numerous books, broadcaster, editor of, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Brian Clegg has now written The Reality Frame, which takes the reader on a fascinating journey from empty space all the way to the human mind.

DOUBLE TICKET £13 for two events:
Brian Clegg 6.30pm and Marcus du Sautoy 8pm

Elizabeth St John

Lydiard House, Lydiard Park SN5 3PA
Tel 01793 466664
7.30pm • 4 May • £6 (£5)

ELIZABETH ST JOHN – on loyalty, family bonds, love, and betrayal in the decadent Stuart Court.

Presented in association with Lydiard Park Heritage Trust

What was life like for Lucy St John, a beautiful orphaned girl of English high society in the early days of the rule of James 1, times of glittering pageantry and cutthroat ambition, when the most dangerous thing one could do was to fall in love?

In The Lady of the Tower, a dramatic story is told through the eyes of the author’s ancestor Lucy, using her family’s surviving diaries, letters, and court papers.

In order to tell this story, author Elizabeth St John, who was brought up in England but now lives in California, has tracked down family papers from Lydiard Park to the Tower of London. Although her ancestors sold a few mansions and country homes along the way – it’s hard to keep a good castle going these days – Elizabeth’s family still occupy them, in the shape of portraits, memoirs, and gardens that carry their imprint.

Marcus du Sautoy

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

MARCUS DU SAUTOY – on What We Cannot Know!

How much can we know? How far can we go? What are the limits of human understanding, especially about the physical universe? Is it possible that one day, we will know ‘everything’? Or is it axiomatic that there will be fields of understanding that will always be beyond us? And if so, how do we cope with living in such a world, a world we don’t really get?

Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford, Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science, prize-winning writer, broadcaster, and communicator, and pretty good footballer to boot, Marcus du Sautoy OBE is the author of What We Cannot Know, a journey to the edge of knowledge, in which he travels to the boundaries of understanding, questioning contradictory theories and assessing cutting edge data.

DOUBLE TICKET £13 for two events:
Brian Clegg 6.30pm and Marcus du Sautoy 8pm

Wayne Holloway-Smith

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

Wayne Holloway-Smith – from local lad to published poet.

Born and raised in Swindon but lured away by the bright lights of London, Wayne is back in town!

Wayne Holloway-Smith, Swindonian, co-editor of Poems in Which, and university tutor, will talk about growing up here, and how life in Swindon has influenced and shaped his writing. He will perform and read poems from his new book, Alarum, which will be available to buy on the night.