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Lichfield Festival 2022

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by Tony Collins (subscribe)
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Thrilling programme helps celebrate 40 years in style
Lichfield Festival is to celebrate its 40th anniversary in style by bringing together a glittering array of stars from the worlds of dance, music, drama and comedy. The 2022 programme has been announced for 11 days of exciting performances between July 7 and 17. Headline performers include pop icon Tony Hadley, singer-songwriter Ayanna Witter-Johnson, folk band The Longest Johns, comedian Zoe Lyons, Ballet Cymru, and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. And in tribute to the first-ever Lichfield Festival in 1982, which included a young comedian called Stephen Fry in its line-up, the former QI presenter will record the winning entry of a special children's story-writing competition. The 40th-anniversary festival will be launched by its patron Tony Hadley with a concert at Lichfield Cathedral on July 7th.

Ayanna Witter-Johnson
Singer-songwriter Ayanna Witter-Johnson

Festival Director, Damian Thantrey, said: "Since the first event in 1982, Lichfield Festival has brought artists and musicians of the highest calibre, and audiences local and national, to this beautiful city,. Alongside fabulous established and up-and-coming artists, our 40th anniversary will feature works from the first Festival, new commissions, bespoke 1980s themed shows, music honouring the 150th anniversary of the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams and the inaugural Midlands Choir of the Year. As always, there will be dance, drama, comedy, family fun, fireworks and free events all the hallmarks that have made Lichfield Festival a cultural beacon for the last 40 years."

The Longest Johns
Folk duo The Longest Johns

As well as the opening concert, Lichfield Cathedral is also the stunning backdrop for Ballet Cymru's new production Dream, and performances by singer/songwriter and cellist Ayanna Witter-Johnson, and folk band and TikTok sensations, The Longest Johns. In addition, the festival's inaugural Midlands Choir of the Year Competition winners will be chosen in a cathedral showcase of the finest Midlands-based amateur singing groups. There will also be a 40-voice choral concert in the cathedral which includes From Silence a new commission by composer Thomas Hyde and international best-selling author Alexander McCall Smith. And Ronnie Scott's artistic director James Pearson, Lizzie Ball and an all-star band also play Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue and other American Classics; and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra perform their Heritage programme Basie & Beyond.

The Lord Chamberlains Men
The Lord Chamberlain's Men will be performing As You Like It

Elsewhere, The Hub will host another headliner in the guise of stand-up comedian Zoe Lyons. The classical music programme will also include several works from the first festival in 1982, and music honouring Vaughan Williams's 150th anniversary. There are also recitals by internationally-renowned cellist Steven Isserlis and celebrated guitarist Paul Galbraith, both regular visitors to Lichfield in the festival's early days. Amongst drama and dance are Justin Butcher's Walking to Jerusalem, The Lord Chamberlain's Men performing Shakespeare's As You Like It, and Indian classical Kathak dance and music from the Jaivant Patel Dance company. Family events include an adaptation of The Wind in the Willows; the return of the Festival Fireworks at Beacon Park on the final Saturday and a free-to-participate Day of Dance on the first Sunday.

Jaivant Patel Dance Company
Jaivant Patel Dance Company. Credit Ming de Nasty

Festival details and tickets are available from with general booking from May 3. Or call the Festival Box Office on 01543 306271 or email
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Why? A feast of music, comedy, dance and drama as Lichfield Festival returns
When: July 7 - 17
Phone: 01543 306271
Where: Lichfield Cathedral, The Close, Lichfield WS13 7LD
Cost: Price of shows varies
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