Steeleye Span, Steve Harley and a musical premiere among Holt Festival highlights announced tonight

Holt Festival 2015 - Steeleye Span

Holt Festival 2015 - Steeleye Span - Credit: Archant

Folk rock pioneers Steeleye Span, pop chart topper Steve Harley, and a world premiere charting the life and music of composer George Gershwin are among the early highlights announced by this summer's Holt Festival.

Holt Festival 2015 - Steve Harley

Holt Festival 2015 - Steve Harley - Credit: Archant

Celebrity appearances also include author Jeffrey Archer, former MI5 head Dame Stella Rimington and journalist turned I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here contender Michael Buerk discussing Islamic fundamentalism.

The festival now in its seventh year aims to provide a mix of music, theatre, literature and art.

This year's programme ranges from comedy and cuisine to pop and classical.

It is under the stewardship of new artistic director Charles Pugh, who said his main objective was to ensure there was 'quality arts and entertainment across a range of styles and disciplines.

Holt Festival 2015 - Jeffrey Archer

Holt Festival 2015 - Jeffrey Archer - Credit: Archant

'I'm looking to make my first festival as director intriguing, provocative and amusing – and of course entertaining.'

Other acts announced at this week's launch include:

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?classical crossover boy hand Blake

?punk poet, comedian and rock star John Cooper Clarke

Holt Festival 2015 - Mariano Mangas

Holt Festival 2015 - Mariano Mangas - Credit: Archant

?award winning classical guitarist Mariano Mangas performing his first ever British show

?cricket anecdotes from Test match commentator Henry Blofeld

?culinary chat between former Masterchef presenter Loyd Grossman and restaurant critic Tom Parker Bowles

?a retelling of a Scottish myth re-located to the north Norfolk coast

Holt Festival 2015 - Blake

Holt Festival 2015 - Blake - Credit: Archant

The early programme announcements gave a flavour of the full programme of shows and events that would be revealed in May, said Mr Pugh.

It is staged in the last week of July, has become one of the highlights of the Norfolk arts calendar and is enticing more visitors into the area.

The 2015 Holt Festival runs from 19 – 26 July.

Tickets for the early shows go on general sale on March 9. Call the box office 01603 598699 or visit www.holtfestival.org

Holt Festival 2015 - Loyd Grossman

Holt Festival 2015 - Loyd Grossman - Credit: Archant

Holt Festival is supported by Gresham's School. Festival media partners include the Eastern Daily Press, and Mustard TV.

Are your organising a major arts event in north Norfolk? Email richard.batson@archant.co.uk

EVENT DETAILS

(at Auden Theatre unless stated)

Monday July 20, 2pm

Henry Blofeld and Peter Baxter: Rogues on the Road -

Globetrotting reminiscences and anecdotes from Test Match Special commentator Blowers and his producer. Tickets £20/£5

Monday July 20, 8pm

John Cooper Clarke with special guest Martin Newell - Punk poet, comedian, movie radio and rock star. TV and radio presenter, and bard of Salford. Tickets £22/£5

Tuesday July 21, 2pm

Tom Parker Bowles and Loyd Grossman - Original Masterchef presenter, entrepreneur, writer and all round foodie in conversation with Mail on Sunday and Esquire restaurant critic. Tickets £15/£5

Wednesday July 22, 6pm, Holt parish church

Mariano Mangas - One of the world's greatest classical guitarists and chairman of Flamenco at the Conservatory of Rotterdam stages his first ever UK performance. Tickets £20/£5

Wednesday July 22, 8pm

Blake -Brit Award winning harmony trio, who have topped charts around the world, sing eclectic classical music and pop songs. Tickets £25/£5

Thursday July 23, 2pm

Michael Buerk and Ernie Rae - The award-winning broadcast journalist will discuss Islamic fundamentalism with the radio presenter and former BBC head of religious broadcasting. Tickets £15/£5

Friday July 24, 2pm, Lawns Hotel

Dame Stella Rimington in conversation - The first female director general of MI5, now a successful novelist, talks about her creative life and career. Tickets £15/£5

Saturday July 25, 6pm

Hello Mr Gerswhin - World premiere of a brand new musical about George Gershwin's remarkable life - creating modern classics such as Rhapsody in Blue and Porgy and Bess - and tragically early death. Tickets

£20/£5

Saturday July 25, 8pm, Theatre in the Woods

Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel - Steve Harley has had a prolific career covering four decades including Top 20 hits including Judy Teen, and the number one Make Me Smile (Come Up & See Me). Tickets

£30/£5

Sunday July 26, 4pm, Theatre in the Woods

Jeffrey Archer: Politics Life & Literature - The author of 33 books, former MP and chairman of the Conservative Party will talk about his life, books and career in politics. Tickets £15/£5

Sunday July 26, 6pm

Lorraine and Alan - A Marine Biology graduate falls in love with a mysterious young woman he discovers lying amongst the seals in a retelling of a Scottish myth. Tickets £20/£5

Sunday July 26, 8pm, Theatre in the Woods

Steeleye Span - Folk rock pioneers with a new live show featuring their classics (All Around My Hat, Gaudete) alongside newer songs from their 2014 album Wintersmith. Tickets £25/£5

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