Alice Farnham & Jessica Streeting in conversation with Tony & Keith Britten

Thursday 27th July | 3.00pm
St Andrew's Church view festival venue map »

Tickets: £15 / £10 Concessions
Booking fee: £0.90
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Two sisters, two amazing stories! Interviewed by two brothers Tony & Keith Britten

Their journey begins with the wild freedom of life in a rural vicarage in Norfolk, where they both faced family tragedy at an early age.

Alice has now become one of Britain’s leading female conductors and is the author of In Good Hands: The Making of a Modern Conductor. She is passionate about inspiring women in their musical careers.

Jessica has written a memoir in the form of an epic poem, Sea-Change, which revisits their golden childhood in 1970s Norfolk until unforeseen tragedy changes their lives forever.  Stephen Fry, a family friend, provides a poignant foreword to this profoundly moving and evocative work.

Running Time 60mins with Q+A plus book signings

Alice Farnham
Alice is listed in the Classic FM Today's Ten Best Women Conductors and in the BBC Woman's Hour Music Power List.

Recent engagements include concerts with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, and Southbank Sinfonia. She has been a Guest Conductor on productions at Royal Opera House, Mariinsky Theatre, Calgary Opera, Folkoperan Stockholm, Wermlands Opera Karlstad, Grange Park Opera, Singapore Lyric Opera, and Teatru Manoel Valetta. She was Music Director for award-winning productions at Welsh National Youth Opera including Shostakovich’s Cheryomushki. Alice has conducted much of the standard ballet repertoire with companies including the Royal Ballet Covent Garden, Birmingham Royal Ballet, and Danish Royal Ballet.

She is Artistic Director of Women Conductors with the Royal Philharmonic Society and National Concert Hall Dublin Female Conductor Programme and is much sought after as a teacher. She was Organ Scholar at St Hugh's College, Oxford University and trained for three years with the legendary pedagogue Ilya Musin in St Petersburg.

Sea-Change by Jessica Streeting

In their ancient London taxi, Jessica Streeting’s family move east, deep into the Norfolk countryside.

It is 1975 and her father, the Reverend Paul Farnham, has a new position at the church of St Agnes, Cawston. Here they find a world populated by people who embody both the old and new ways of rural life. Children of the soil, whose parents have worked it for generations. The musical ones. The clever ones. The artists, accountants, shopkeepers and publicans. Among it all, their vicar played a role for all people. Admired and adored he strove to buoy his congregation week after week, unwittingly mythologising himself as he went.

The hole he left then, when in a moment he was ripped from the community, was huge.

In this epic poem Jessica revisits that place, for the first time addressing the grief she so quickly suppressed in the manner of the age. She brings to life in heart-breaking clarity a world made by industrious children and their imaginations, until tragedy muted the colours of that golden time.

With a foreword by Stephen Fry – for whom Paul Farnham played an inspirational role – Sea-Change is a book whose potency reminds us not only of the power of shared stories, but also that how they are told can make us all players in their drama.

“Whether evoking a vacant parsonage, an exposed Norfolk horizon, or the void left by traumatic and early loss, a genius of space pervades Sea-Change: a poetic memoir of singular poise and poignancy.”
Andrew Rumsey, Caught By The River

“It is a beautiful thing… A lovely book. It is moving and true. I suggest you buy it and read it.”
George Szirtes

Sea-Change is published by Propolis, Norwich

Jessica works as a public health nurse consultant in Central London. She writes about nursing and children, including a novel Last Summer in Soho. She lives in Westminster and Cromer, Norfolk.

Tony Britten
Tony is a composer who has adapted the music and written the text of the UEFA Champions League Anthem.

After training at the Royal College of Music, he worked for many years in the London theatre as a musical director, working for Cameron Mackintosh and at the National Theatre. He then moved into film and television as a conductor.

He has also directed a number of films including one about his unrelated namesake Benjamin Britten: Peace and Conflict (2013) and most recently John Craxton: A Life of Gifts (2022).

Tony was the founding Artistic Director of the Holt Festival at its inception in 2008 and continues to be an enthusiastic supporter.

Keith Britten
Keith is the co-owner of The Holt Bookshop, which he runs with Pam Horrocks, and the brother of Tony Britten.

Keith has been in the business for many years, having worked previously at Dillons and then went on to manage the bookshop at the Battersea Arts Centre. In the early days of the web, he moved into working on websites, which led him to work at William Reed Publishing.

He moved his business to North Norfolk a decade ago and has now come full circle when, in 2020, he took over The Holt Bookshop and moved it to Lion House Court, adding a second-hand shop just around the corner in 2021.