Nevill Holt gearing up for huge multi-arts festival which will welcome dozens of household names

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
The stunning 13th century Leicestershire estate will celebrate art in all its forms next month when scores of famous names and acclaimed productions stop by for a three-week festival.

Nevill Holt near Market Harborough has expanded its annual opera festival to host music, theatre, art, comedy and fascinating talks from June 1 to 26 in the inaugural Nevill Holt Festival.

The unique historic setting has drawn rave reviews as the home of the Nevill Holt Opera over the last 10 years, and its new multi-arts approach will see the likes of Andrew Marr, Elizabeth Day, Phil Tufnell and Kristin Scott-Thomas share the line-up with Mozart and Max Richter.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Fans of music, comedy, theatre and literature will have the chance to marvel at stunning visual arts exhibitions and picturesque vistas during their visit, with the estate home to important works by some of Britain’s most acclaimed contemporary artists and offering breathtaking panoramic views over three counties.

Nevill Holt TheatreNevill Holt Theatre
Nevill Holt Theatre

Beyond classical and contemporary music and opera, novelists and broadcasters will take to the stage alongside well-known comedians, actors and historians in performances across Nevill Holt’s award-winning theatre, medieval chapel and landscaped grounds.

In addition to a two-day residency from Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Orchestra, leading jazz and soul musicians Alexis Ffrench, Jalen Ngonda, Cecile McLorin Salvant and Jordan Mackampa will join comedians Jason Byrne, Seann Walsh, Mark Watson and the Austentatious improv group throughout the three-week festival.

Cricket legends Jonathan Agnew and Phil Tufnell will share captivating and hilarious tales in An Audience with Aggers and Tuffers on June 14, with other onstage versions of podcasts including Elizabeth Day’s How To Fail; Richard Coles, Cat Jarman and Charles Spencer’s Rabbit Hole Detectives, and Rachel Johnson and Plum Sykes’ Difficult Women.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Actor Anton Lesser, who played Thomas More in the TV drama Wolf Hall, will read excerpts from Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning novel, with original music by Debbie Wiseman performed by Katherine Rockhill.

The festival will include appearances from Alice Roberts, Emma Dabiri, Jenny Kleeman, Anthony Quinn, Mary Wellesley, Amy Trew, Audrey Osler, Love Ssega and Kassia St. Clair – while Michael Morpurgo will read passages from his novel War Horse with music from the National Theatre production.

As well as enjoying a range of food and drink from fine dining to BBQ, visitors will have the chance to explore outstanding pieces of modern British sculpture which feature throughout the gardens – including works by Anthony Caro and Antony Gormley.

Throughout its history, the estate’s owners have championed the arts, from the Kirkby and Nevill families to the Cunards, to its current owner David Ross, who has spent 12 years on the estate’s restoration.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

There will also be reduced-price ticketing opportunities for hundreds of young audience members – and on the back of a partnership with the Royal Opera House which has involved 1,500 schoolchildren performing across the region, one local primary school production will be featured at the festival.

David Ross said: “After twenty years of our highly popular summer opera festival, we wanted to create a more accessible model to build and expand upon our past success.

“I have always wanted the work we do here to be inviting to a genuinely wide range of audiences, and by expanding the programme we aim to create a Festival that has something for just about everyone.”

The 2024 festival will include the organisation’s first ever guest festival director in the form of award winning director and producer James Dacre and a new executive chair of the board, former director of Sky Arts, James Hunt.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

James Dacre said: “For three weeks in June, Nevill Holt will be alive with music, performance, conversation and celebration.

“The very best of the performing and visual arts as well as literature and conversation will all join together in this magical place to present a diverse, entertaining and unique Festival that I hope everyone will be proud of.”

James Hunt said: “Nevill Holt Festival 2024 will host an extraordinary programme of local, national and international talent.

“Thanks to the generosity of our many supporters, one of the Midlands’ most spectacular and notable estates will once again welcome an ever-broader audience fulfilling the long-held dream of owner David Ross to create a truly inclusive arts festival and venue fit for the 21st century.”