THE world’s greatest living explorer, a thespian Dame, the wildlife photographer in our homes and a renowned brass band will be joining forces to bring a festival atmosphere to Winchester in July.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Dame Harriet Walter, Chris Packham and the Grimethorpe Colliery Band join feminist voice Germaine Greer, Tudor historian David Starkey, jazz singer Jacqui Dankworth and senior Rabbi, Baroness Neuberger, in the line-up for the 17th Winchester Festival of the Arts. It will run from July 4 – 13.

This year’s event pays tribute to Great War and Shakespeare anniversary themes. 

The Lunchtime Concert Series featuring young musicians is a weekday staple, as is the opening concert, which this year sees the Hampshire County Youth Orchestra return to the Cathedral stage with a programme that will include Holst’s Planets Suite. 

Youth is also represented by Classical Brit and Gramophone Award winner, Benjamin Grosvenor (21), who will be giving a piano recital at the Theatre Royal.

Baroque specialists, Canzona, will take their audience to 17th century Venice, while the life and loves of Franz Liszt will be explored through a fusion of theatrical and musical talent featuring Harriet Walter and Henry Goodman, with Lucy Parham at the piano.

Other prominent speakers in this year’s line-up include Sir Jonathan Miller, Barnsley poet Ian McMillan and Dr Anthony Seldon, political historian and headmaster of Wellington College, who will explore the impact of public schools on the conduct of the Great War.

Meanwhile, singers can Come and Sing with acclaimed composer and choral director, John Rutter; adult actors can explore their craft and banish any fear of Shakespeare at a workshop led by Globe on Tour director, Nick Bagnall; and the birth of Shakespeare will be celebrated through a Literature Comes Alive project.

Festival director Carol Butler, said: “I am particularly pleased with the variety offered in this year’s programme and look forward to sell-out audiences enjoying everything from the poetry of Shakespeare to the rousing music of a colliery band.“

Tickets will be on public sale from Monday, May 12.

For further information, pick up a brochure or visit the Festival website at

The dedicated booking line number is 01962 857 276.