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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.

Tuesday May 8

Photo credit: © University of Salford

Trevor Cox

Arts Centre, Devizes Road SN1 4BJ
Tel 01793 524481
12.30pm • 8 May • £8 (£7)
Book this event online

TREVOR COX – on how being able to speak makes us human.

How did the Neanderthals communicate? What part does your voice play in saying who you are? Do pitch, intonation, or accent matter? What is the relation between speaking and singing? How do you feel about the voices that say ‘Unexpected item in bagging area’ and ‘Hello, how are you?’ Anything else to say?

Author of Sonic Wonderland, broadcaster, university Professor of Sound, and President of the Institute of Acoustics, Trevor Cox, the ‘David Attenborough of the acoustic realm’, is author of Now You’re Talking, which takes talking from its beginnings to its digital age and tells the fascinating story of our ability to have a chat!

A C Grayling

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

A C GRAYLING – on Democracy and its Crisis.

What actually is democracy? What do we expect of it? How well does it serve us? What did the EU referendum in the UK and the presidential election in the US tell us about the strengths and weaknesses of democracy?

Professor of Philosophy at the New College of the Humanities in London, regular broadcaster on television and radio, frequent contributor to The Times, The Guardian, and New European, and author of numerous books, including The God Argument and The Age of Genius, A C Grayling has some answers.

In his latest book, Democracy and Its Crisis, he lays bare the specific problems of the twenty-first century and maps out a set of urgently needed reforms.

DOUBLE TICKET £15 for two events:
A C Grayling 6.30pm and Gill Sims 8pm

Photo credit: Martin Hunter

Gill Sims

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

GILL SIMS – on Why Mummy Drinks.

Presented in association with Mum’s the Word Writing Group

Mummy has an idea… when she can get away from all the other ideas, that the world is full of mums who go to advanced yoga classes, get tiddly on a half glass of white wine, and attend polite book clubs.

Mummy does not want to go quietly into that good night, of women with sensible haircuts who live only for their family and stand in the playground trying to trump each other by bragging about their

offspring’s academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and their latest overseas holidays.

Instead, she clutches a large and full glass of wine, muttering ‘FML’ over and over again, until she remembers that great idea…

Author of online sensation Peter and Jane, see, Gill Sims has now written a hilarious and truthful book, Why Mummy Drinks.

Mum’s the Word is a Swindon-based writing group, that meets monthly, and provides an opportunity for mothers to talk together, listen, write, and maybe even have a little drink. Contact

DOUBLE TICKET £15 for two events:
A C Grayling 6.30pm and Gill Sims 8pm

Photo credit: Lotte Fisher

Mark Fisher

Central Library Regent Circus SN1 1QG
Tel 01793 466454
7pm • 8 May • £6 (£5)

MARK FISHER – on The XTC Bumper Book of Fun for Boys and Girls.

Marking the 35th anniversary of the classic 1980s fanzine Limelight and XTC’s 40th anniversary, here is a fascinating book about a fabulous musical era. It not only features material from the original fanzine, published between 1982 and 1992, but also Andy Partridge talking about childhood, children, and creativity; Colin Moulding and Terry Chambers describing the art of the rhythm section; Dave Gregory remembering his work on three classic XTC albums; and comedians Phill Jupitus, Kevin Eldon, Stewart Lee, Joanna Neary and Paul Putner choosing their favourite XTC songs.

Author of three books, freelance feature writer and theatre critic Mark Fisher, whose latest book is The XTC Bumper Book of Fun for Boys and Girls, was still at school when, in his bedroom, with Cow Gum and Letraset, he co-produced and published the first issue of Limelight, the XTC fanzine, which went on to sell all over the world.


Central Community Centre Emlyn Square SN1 5BP
Tel 07960 322215
7.30pm • 8 May • £2

WONDERWORDS – an evening of open mic wordsmithery!

Wonderwords welcomes storytelling, poetry, singing, anecdotes, monologues, stand up comedy; anything word-based goes. But please note that Wonderwords is keen to promote and uphold the oral tradition and encourages participant performers to speak, sing, or tell from memory. Everyone with a song in their heart, a poem in their head, or a story on the tip of their tongue is welcome.

And if you just want to come along and listen, you are very welcome too!