Posted 16 September 2016 by Andrew Gardner
In East Sussex for most of this month you can check out the Root1066 International Festival - so named, apparently, for the Battle of Hastings being the root of English culture as we know it. And nothing to do with puns on Route 66, no, of course not.
Root1066 is a multi-artform festival featuring new commissions and inspiring projects throughout the Hastings area, offering a new perspective on the history and legacy of 1066. Local, national and international artists are involved so there's plenty to see and do. In fact if your surname is of Norman origin you might even be represented in the photographic exhibition 'I Am A Norman', the result of a project that recorded some modern descendents of William of Normandy and some of those who fought alongside him and settled here afterwards. Wonder if he brought any Gardners?!
Sussex playwright and Root1066 patron Sir David Hare will be 'in conversation', as they say, at the Kino-Teatre, St Leonards, on 16th September. And now for something completely different: there was even a Battle of Hastings BMX contest featuring an international field at The Source Park on 10-11 September. These people have thought of everyone!
Week three has a heavily artistic feel but the Feast of the Dead promises to be an anarchic performance and musical ride through the aftermath of that battle and its effects on the past, present and future. They say "Whether you're Norman, Anglo-Saxon or just hungry, come dressed as a battlefield ghost and ready to raise a glass to the past!" I should add that it's for ages 15 plus and probably not suitable for young children.
The poster for week 4 shouts CLASH, which made an old rocker flutter slightly but turns out to be a barefoot opera - a fabulous idea, an invasion of choral choirs. Seven Hastings choirs have each worked with a composer and a poet to create musical narratives inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry, and all linked by a new piece from composer Orlando Gough.