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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.

Friday May 12

Photo credit: © Martin Patmore

Laurence Rees

Arts Centre, Devizes Road SN1 4BJ
Tel 01793 524481
12.30pm • 12 May • £7 (£6)
Book this event online

LAURENCE REES – on The Holocaust.

How did the Holocaust happen? Why did the Holocaust happen?

Prize-winning author and former Head of BBC TV History programming, Laurence Rees has spent twenty-five years meeting survivors and perpetrators. Now, in his magnum opus, The Holocaust, he combines their enthralling eyewitness testimony, a large amount of which has never been published before, with the latest research, to create the first accessible and authoritative account of the Holocaust in more than three decades.

His gripping narrative reveals the series of escalations that cumulatively created the horror; and proof of plans to kill not only Jews but millions of others.

Stephen Law

Arts Centre, Devizes Road SN1 4BJ
Tel 01793 524481
6.30pm • 12 May • £8 (£7)
Book this event online

STEPHEN LAW – on beliefs, baloney, and intellectual black holes.

Presented in association with the Swindon Philosophical Society

Why are some of us the willing slaves of wacky beliefs? Why do we look for preposterous untruths in place of plain facts? Where do conspiracy theories begin and how are they sustained? How can we immunize ourselves against absurd beliefs? What, if anything, should we believe, rather than know?

Author of numerous books for adults as well as children, Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of London, and editor of Think: Philosophy for Everyone, Stephen Law is the author of Believing Bullshit: How not to get sucked into an Intellectual Black Hole, a witty and insightful critique, in which he explains a few things, and asserts others. See if you agree!

DOUBLE TICKET £13 for two events:
Stephen Law 6.30pm and Think Slam 8pm

Henry Hemming

Central Library, Regent Circus SN1 1QG
Tel 01793 466454
7pm • 12 May • £5 (£4)

HENRY HEMMING – on one of MI5’s greatest spymasters!

Who was M? What does it take to be the leader of a spy ring? How do you create a fearless secret agent? What are the personal costs of leading the double life of a spy? What does a spy actually do? Are spies good or bad? Would you be a spy? Any other questions?

Author of five previous books, about real, disturbing, and fascinating characters and events, Henry Hemming, in his latest book M, now takes a close look at the life and exploits of one Maxwell Knight, a jazz obsessive, author of a definitive work on how to look after a gorilla, and legendary spymaster, an intriguing and puzzling paradox if ever there was one.

Think Slam

Arts Centre, Devizes Road SN1 4BJ
Tel 01793 524481
8pm • 12 May • £8 (£7)
Book this event online

THINK SLAM – philosophy as thought-provoking entertainment!

Presented in association with the Swindon Philosophical Society

This is what will happen at the eighth Swindon Think Slam. Competitors have 3 minutes to present a thought-provoking idea, theory, or story. From then on, it’s a knockout! Keen but kindly judges, chosen from among the keen and kindly audience, and including Stephen Law as judge-supremo, will decide who pleases the thinking parts that others cannot reach, who inspires good, great, or gruesome thoughts, and who does not.

Just as in all good sporting competitions, there will be a first round and a final! Though there may well be moments of seriousness, nervousness, and puzzlement, a spirit of wonder, wit, and good cheer will prevail!

The winner will be crowned eighth Swindon Think Slam Champ and receive a bubbly-filled trophy, rapturous applause, and words of congratulation from our guest judge supremo Stephen Law.

Cool compere, thinker, and writer in her own right, Sara-Jane Arbury, will maintain good Think Slam order, with clear instructions, firm hand, and thoughtful slam smile; and will be ably aided by sensible scorer, terrifying timekeeper, and crowd-pleasing prizes-provider Matt Holland.

HOW TO ENTER. Anyone brave and thoughtful enough, by their own standards, can apply to enter. If you wish to enter the eighth Swindon THINK SLAM, please contact the Festival on 01793 771080 or at

DOUBLE TICKET £13 for two events:
Stephen Law 6.30pm and Think Slam 8pm