What's On Festival Week

Make the most of your visit to Bury St Edmunds for the festival and head to one of the many events being held in the town and beyond!

The 2019 Bury St Edmunds Festival boasts a stellar line up; with headline acts including Nigel Kennedy, Rick Wakeman, Clare Teal and her Big Mini Band, The Puppini Sisters and Georgia Mancio to name but a few!

In between concerts, there is a jam-packed schedule of events being held in Bury St Edmunds and Beyond, our guide has all you need to plan the itinerary of your trip!

Theatre & Art

The Trials of Oscar Wilde - 16th May - Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds

Thursday, 14 February 1895; the triumphant opening night of The Importance of Being Earnest and the zenith of Wilde’s career.  Less than 100 days later, he found himself a common prisoner sentenced to two years’ hard labour.  So what happened during the trials and what did Wilde say? Was he persecuted or the author of his own downfall? Using original words spoken in court, you can feel what it was like to be in the company of a flawed genius suddenly reduced to a man of no importance.

Cloisters Exhibition: Bury St Edmunds Art Society - 17th - 31st May - The Cloisters, St Edmundsbury Cathedral

Bury St Edmunds Art Society exhibition is set in the beautiful Cloisters of St Edmundsbury Cathedral. The Bury St Edmunds Art Society was established over 70 years ago making it one of oldest and largest art societies in Suffolk.

Members of the Society work in an ever-widening range of media, including: painting - in watercolours, oils and acrylics; drawing; print-making and sculpture. Free entry. 

Festival Eucharist - 19th May at 10am - St Edmundsbury Cathedral

For this year's Festival Eucharist, the Celebrant and Preacher will be The Dean of St Edmundsbury, the Very Rev'd Joe Hawes. St Edmundsbury Cathedral Choir will sing Haydn’s Missa Sancti Nicolai accompanied by the St Edmundsbury Players.

Tickets are free of charge, booking not required.

Beowulf - 20th May at 7pm - The Apex

In a legendary time of heroes and warriors, Prince Beowulf battles demons and magical beasts. The oldest surviving poem in Old English, Beowulf is a fantasy saga which has inspired countless retellings of the myth, including Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. 

Having formerly worked with the likes of Duran Duran and The Rolling Stones, Armonico Consort’s composer-in-residence Toby Young (former BBC Proms Young Composer of the Year) has set this touching epic drama to music. 

Written for soprano, choir, harp, keyboards and children’s choir, with strong folk-pop influences, and a gripping script from one of the authors of Have I Got News For You, Beowulf will entertain the whole family.

Theatre Royal Star Trail - 25th May onwards - Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds

The Theatre Royal Star Trail will see stars placed on the pavement in prominent positions in the town centre – not unlike the world-famous Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Pick up a Star Trail leaflet from May 25th to October 27th from the Visitor Information Points in the town to take part. Find all the stars will be able to enter a draw for one of 10 prizes! Just fill in the trail leaflet and return the form!

Each of the celebrities featured had performed at or has a connection with the historic Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds which celebrates its 200th birthday this year! Find Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellan, Sir Derek Jacobi, Joanna Lumley and many more!

Julian Clary Born to Mince - 25th May at 7.30pm - Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds

'Are you ready for some filth? I know I am. It’s been a while since I sallied forth to pleasure the provinces with my particular brand of saucy innuendo. Let me at them!’

In this outrageously camp new show, (that he was going to call Bed Knobs and Knee Pads but was advised might not sell too well in Harrogate), renowned homosexual Julian Clary will bare his soul as never before in the interests of light entertainment.

Step Back in Time

Lavenham's 1940s Commemorative Weekend - 17th -19th May - The Swan at Lavenham

A weekend commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the 487th Bombardment Group, 8th United States Army Air Force moving in to RAF Lavenham (AAF Station 137), celebrating all things 1940s. 

The events are organised by a local committee of like-minded volunteers called ‘Friends of Lavenham Airfield'. The vintage 1940s commemorative events in Lavenham are to remember the 487th BG, 8th USAAF's WWII service and sacrifice.

Over the weekend many events will take place in Lavenham, including:  

Lavenham Vintage Craft Fair - Saturday May 18 10.30am to 4pm.

Mission 760: n Untold Story by Bob Jacobs - Friday 17 May at 7pm.

Keep an eye on the Facebook page for details of 2019 events as they are announced!

Walking Tour: Hysterical Bury St Edmunds - 18th May at 11am - War Memorial on Angel Hill

A nasty Norseman (called Boneless), a saintly Saxon (with a big nose), the riotous rabble and many mean old monks make up the story of Bury St Edmunds! Talk Mum, Dad or the Grandparents into booking the family on to this activity trail around the heart of our VERY old town... An hour of hysterical historical (and sometimes hidden) stuff to do and see.

Suitable for family groups with children aged 6 and above. No more than 4 children per one adult, please.

Walking Tour: Brackland - The Long and Short of It - 19th May at 10.30m - Outside Moyse's Hall Museum

Explore the hidden secrets of this quaint area of Bury St Edmunds. Learn about historic people, dens of iniquity, buildings of intrigue, a place of survival, and experience a journey of damnation, salvation and reformation on this fascinating guided tour!

Ticket price includes coffee and a pastry, the tour will last around 90 minutes and will finish at The Apex.

Discover Lavenham's Secrets - 20th May at 10.30am - Lavenham Guildhall

Enjoy a short talk about Lavenham Guildhall over coffee and pastries in The Guildhall's pretty tea room before enjoying a guided walk around the historic and unique medieval village of Lavenham uncovering secrets and hidden tales.

Walk: Beating the Bounds - 25th May at 10.30am - Abbey Gate, Bury St Edmunds

Beating the bounds is an old custom still kept in some parts of Britain, of marking the boundaries of a church parish - carried out by marching round them and hitting the ground, or certain boundary marks with long sticks.

The ceremony is performed once a year, usually on Ascension Day or before Easter. This tour will determine the popular boundary of the Abbey of St Edmundsbury. Bury St Edmunds was once called St Edmunds Bury or Burg meaning a fortified town, and before that it was Beodericsworth, or variations of that spelling.

Walking Tour: A Sideways Look - 26th May at 10.30am - War Memorial Angel Hill

How often do you really look at the town you're visiting? Have you ever passed an oddity or curiosity and wondered what on earth it was?

Join this tour around Bury St Edmunds, using novel standpoints, which will simultaneously surprise you, inform you and help you lift your gaze (safely) above head height! Ticket price includes coffee and a pastry.

Kentwell through the Ages - 25th - 27th May - Kentwell Hall

Take a fascinating journey through the fashions, food and entertainments Thru' The Ages at Kentwell Hall; From a Neolithic camp to the twentieth century, there's plenty to see and do for the whole family. 

The Real Middle Earth Tour - 26th May at 11.45am - West Stow Anglo Saxon Village

The Anglo-Saxon origins of The Lord of the Rings story are explored in this guided tour.

Find out about the links between Tolkien and the Anglo-Saxon world on a guided tour from a member of the Tolkien Society and a Middle Earth enthusiast. 

The Anglo-Saxon Village was also a set used in ‘Born of Hope’ a fan film which prequels The lord of the Rings. The tour, which lasts a little over an hour, concludes with a ‘riddle battle’ like that in The Hobbit. 

Enjoy the Outdoors

Street Theatre - 18th May - Abbey Gardens

A host of fantastic street theatre performers will delight you, amaze you and put a smile on your face in this free performance taking place in the Abbey Gardens.

Tickets: Free of charge

Paws in the Park - 19th May - Nowton Park

Take the whole family and join in the waggy-tailed fun at Paws in the Park. With arenas, dog agility and gundog scurry, food and drink stands, children’s amusements, craft stands, dog accessories and dog groomers.

enter your dog into the best puppy, handsomest dog and scruffiest mutt contests and be inspired by the dog agility demonstrations.

Helmingham Hall Gardens Spring Fair with Artisan Market - 26th May from 10am - 4pm - Helmingham Hall

An exciting day out for experienced and novice gardeners alike!

The 2019 Plant Heritage Plant Fair & Artisan Market is set to be bigger and better than ever before! With specialist nurseries, artisan products, conservation zone, entertainment and children’s activities, there is something for every taste and age. 

Bury St Edmunds Whitsun Fayre - 26th & 27th May 

For two days on the last bank holiday weekend in May the town centre is transformed into a sea of colour with plant, flower and home produce stalls, and the popular urban beach. Not to be missed!

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