Torbay reveals dazzling array of stories and voices with literary and arts festival in celebration of the ‘Queen of Crime’ Agatha Christie.

From Thursday 12th to Sunday 15th September, Torbay will set the stage for over 30 literary events, performances, story-telling, guided walking tours, writer’s talks and interactive, immersive art events for the latest edition of the International Agatha Christie Festival 2019.

The now annual festival celebrates the life-long connection of Torbay with the world famous mystery writer, as her birthplace and the corner of South Devon she loved and returned to throughout her life.

James Tyson, Director of the festival describes:

“Working closely with the Agatha Christie family we have worked to reinvigorate the festival as an opportunity and a place to inspire others about the life and works of Agatha Christie. Also to be reminded that to become a world famous author, first of all one must have a love of books and literature, an insatiable and playful curiosity about the world and people, and then a prodigious capacity to work tirelessly at one’s craft.

“Agatha Christie had all these things, and it was actually a childhood in Torquay, which at the time was one of the most beautiful and desirable resort towns in Britain – attracting some of the greatest literary figures of its day, from Oscar Wilde, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Henry James, Rudyard Kipling – as well as its extraordinary coastline and landscape – that sparked and nurtured this talent in her.”

Discover Torbay’s extraordinary landscape

The festival programme includes several commissioned artworks, performances, concerts and walks, such as artist Jennie Savage’s As Light Through a Prism or Zuppa Theatre’s Vista, that invite audiences to experience the town and its architecture through trails, audio-walks and guided tours that reflect on this fascinating history.

As Alex McLean, Director of Nova Scotia’s Zuppa Theatre describes:

“For Vista we have developed a mobile phone app that takes audiences on a journey through the local environment. Along the path a series of audio recordings are triggered on audience members’ phones, featuring conversations about health and its relationship to space. We ask how we might reimagine the places we live. Vista is a kind of platonic dialogue in the form of ambulatory theatre.”

Intimate literary events Visitors can explore a fascinating spectrum of the latest crime writers, from Sophie Hannah, author of the new Hercule Poirot books, to the heartfelt and moral complexity of the 2017 Jhalak prize winning author Jacob Ross in his Caribbean-set forensic mysteries.

A new generation of women crime writers The festival also showcases resonant contemporary stories with Yvvette Edwards discussing her novel The Mother, which explores inner-city London knife crime, as well as the stylish country-house and espionage thrillers by a new generation of women crime writers such as Erin Kelly, Lucy Foley and Charlotte Philby, granddaughter of the notorious Cold War spy, Kim Philby.

The Queen of Crime

And yet the final word is unmistakably with Agatha Christie herself, with the Palace Theatre in Paignton hosting a costumed reading of one of Christie’s rarely performed stage masterpieces, A Daughter’s A Daughter directed by West End producer Julius Green, and Unfinished Portrait, an exhibition of photographs and objects from the Christie Archive, many of which have never been seen.

From the macabre to the magnificent, this is set to be an extravaganza of events for all ages.

Tickets for each individual event, as well as location and timings are now available here.


Image: Christie Archive Trust, International Agatha Christie Festival 2019.