Posted 21 April 2016 by Andrew Gardner
A spectacular festival is coming to Hastings this year which I'm very excited about. The Root 1066 International event is a contemporary arts festival taking place mainly from 9 September to 2 October, with amazing new works shedding new light on the history and legacy of 1066 (to which I'm always tempted to add, "And All That", which is not in the least irreverent; Sellar & Yeatman brought history alive for many children before Horrible Histories came along). Throughout this summer there will be other, related "contemporary multi-media responses to the events of 1066", as the official website puts it, to lead us gently into the main festival.
I'm particularly looking forward to Chris Levine's laser and light show on Hastings Pier; and, in July, the British Artist Blacksmiths Association will make a public artwork for Hastings based on how the Norman conquest affected the English language - an interesting theme on its own account but I'll be intrigued to see this unusual interpretation. A mass forging in public just sounds amazing!
Root 1066 will also feature outdoor theatre by Wildworks; a community opera composed by Howard Moody commissioned by the Battle Festival 2016, in partnership with the Glyndebourne opera company; and a wide range of exhibitions and performances at major Sussex galleries including the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill and the Jerwood Gallery in Hastings old town, as well as many other venues around 1066 country.
I love the fact that this response to the Battle of Hastings and its key role in history is being explored in ways other than the many wonderful historical re-enactments it has inspired, but this festival shows real imagination and a new outlook. So if you've already booked your holiday cottage in 1066 country do look out for some fabulous events - and if you haven't booked yet, quick, check out our website for self-catering accommodation before everyone else does - click here to see our cottages in the area!