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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 9

Afua Hirsch

Arts Centre, Devizes Road SN1 4BJ
Tel 01793 524481
12.30pm • 9 May • £8 (£7)
Book this event online

AFUA HIRSCH – on race, identity, and belonging.

You’re British. Your parents are British. You were raised in Britain. Your partner, your children and most of your friends are British. So why do people keep asking you where you are from?

Broadcaster, barrister, social affairs editor for Sky News, and prize- winning author, Afua Hirsch is the author of Brit(ish) which is about a search for identity. It looks at our awkward relationship with history, everyday racism, and why it’s so tricky to talk about race.

Fairness is a familiar value but immigration is reckoned to be a present problem. Brit(ish) is the story of how and why this came to be, and is an urgent call for change.

Michael Rosen

Arts Centre, Devizes Road SN1 4BJ
Tel 01793 524481
5.30pm • 9 May • £12 (£10)
Book this event online

MICHAEL ROSEN – on childhood, self-discovery, and Literature!

Presented in association with Arts and Humanities Research Council

What makes us who we are, nature or nurture, genes or environment? What influence do our parents, our siblings, and our family history have on who we become?

Prolific award-winning author, broadcaster, former Children’s Laureate, and currently Professor of Children’s Literature at Goldsmiths University, Michael Rosen grew up in the suburbs of London but had worldwide family influences in his home. Despite these, Michael followed his own journey of radical self-discovery, writing and performing in experimental theatre, and getting arrested during the movements of ’68. His memoir, So They Call You Pisher, puts us in the picture.

Darren Henley

Arts Centre, Devizes Road SN1 4BJ
Tel 01793 524481
7pm • 9 May • £8 (£7)
Book this event online

DARREN HENLEY – on the benefits that art and culture bring to our lives!

What does music do for you? Why do you read books full of made up stories? What’s all the drama about drama? Does dance do it for you? What’s in a picture or a film that makes you walk round galleries and sit in cinemas? What does it mean to ‘be creative’? What do you do when your work is done? What is this thing called culture? Have you got enough of it? Any other questions?

Chief Executive of Arts Council England, former MD of Classic FM, author of two government reviews into music and cultural education, and recipient of an OBE for his services to music, Darren Henley has written The Arts Dividend which looks in depth at key benefits that art and culture bring to our lives: encouraging our nation’s creativity; advancing education; positively affecting health and wellbeing; supporting innovation and technology; providing defining characteristics to villages, towns and cities; contributing to economic prosperity; and enhancing England’s reputation for cultural excellence on the global stage.

DOUBLE TICKET £15 for two events:
Darren Henley 6.30pm and Ben Okri 8pm

Photo credit: Pete Helme

Ben Okri

Arts Centre, Devizes Road SN1 4BJ
Tel 01793 524481
8.30pm • 9 May • £9 (£8)
Book this event online

BEN OKRI – on dreams of our age.

Do you like stories? Do you like paintings? What is the relationship between painting and writing? Do they both come from a similar place? And for the writer and painter, what part do dreams and reality play? And where do stories and images come from? And do you like hearing stories and seeing paintings?

Booker Prize-winning novelist and poet, Ben Okri, whose books have been translated into 27 languages, has collaborated with painter and printmaker Rosemary Clunie, whose work has been exhibited worldwide, to produce The Magic Lamp, comprising 25 illustrated fairytales for adults. Who can say which came first, the image or the word? But here they are, beautiful, plentiful, and together.

DOUBLE TICKET £15 for two events:
Darren Henley 6.30pm and Ben Okri 8pm

John Man

Central Library, Regent Circus SN1 1QG
Tel 01793 466454
7pm • 9 May • £6 (£5)

JOHN MAN – on the Amazons as Archetype.

Since the time of the ancient Greeks, we have been fascinated by notions of hard-fighting, horse-riding Amazons. But no nation of Amazons was found.

Now, research has revealed that they existed. In graves scattered from Crimea to Mongolia, the battle-scarred bones and weapons of Amazon-like women prove that myth had a basis in reality.

In his latest book, Amazons – the real warrior women of the ancient world, best-selling author, explorer, historian, and travel writer, John Man examines the Amazons in reality and in myth.