Winchester has an exciting and diverse range of arts and culture events throughout the year. Winchester culture ambassador, Madelaine Smith talks us through some of the highlights for 2023.
Winchester’s calendar of festivals got off to a great start this year with the Winchester Books Festival and the Winchester Chamber Music Festival.
Art at St Barts is a new series of lectures taking place at St Bartholomew’s Church in Hyde. World renowned artists including Tracey Shepherd and Alice Kettle will talk about their work and their artistic journey. Later in the year Hyde900 will once again run a weekend of events celebrating the history and legacy of the Hyde area of Winchester in the King Alfred weekend.
Winchester Cathedral is a centre for arts activity throughout the year from lunchtime concerts of music featuring local musicians as well as pupils of schools and colleges from around the county.
A brand-new exhibition at the Cathedral The Elements of Sculpture explores diverse and individual artworks linked to the majestic building in which they are displayed. Five talented sculptors have been invited to place their work within the majestic interior of Winchester Cathedral, specifically in locations which share the same materials to create new and different ways of seeing and understanding the architecture and objects within this historic building. There will be workshops for all ages as well as an Artist Panel Talk event.
Throughout the year poetry is a part of the fabric of Winchester with activities run for children by the Hampshire Poet, Nazneed Ahmed Pathak, an annual Young Poet Competition to the biennial Winchester Poetry Festival which returns this year and takes place over three days in October.
Theatre Royal Winchester and The Arc, both on Jewry Street provide year-round programmes of mixed arts and are both frequently venues for other arts organisations and festivals in the city. The Arc also presents a world class programme of exhibitions in The Gallery and gives local artists the opportunity too for exhibition space in the City Space Gallery.
Another arts space is The Nutshell which is a hub for the creative community in Winchester, as is The Chesil Theatre which is Winchester’s leading amateur theatre, renowned for performing high quality productions, ranging from comedy to classics.
All of the providers of culture in Winchester come together each year to showcase their venues and their activities at the annual Heritage Open Days in September. Heritage Open Days is a free ten-day festival which celebrates Winchester’s history, architecture and cultural heritage – that includes everything from old buildings, transport, gardens, open spaces, theatre, household objects, books, fashion, postcards, to food and drink!
There is never a dull moment in Winchester!