Suffolk’s own Latitude Festival has long been widely renowned for its dazzling emphasis on arts in the broadest sense, and 2016 is no different. This year the Henham Park site welcomes back the Comedy, Dance on the Waterfront, Literature and Poetry line-ups, with a roster of well known and lesser heard names fitting to make this year’s weekend as diverse and dynamic as possible. Latitude’s Curator of the Arts Tania Harrison claims that the festival has “always prided itself on the breadth of our line ups”, and this year’s set-up is one to boast about; hard-hitting talks rub shoulders with the stand-up names of the moment, pulling together one of the most eclectic offerings anywhere outside of the Edinbrugh Fringe.
This year’s jam-packed Comedy stage bill is headed up by youth favourite and slow-climber Russell Howard, who has made his way from circuit stand-up to Mock The Week panelist, to BBC and Comedy Central golden child. His topical man-child witticisms will be propped up by other stellar names in the form of former Mock the Week bedfellows Josh Widdicombe, Mark Watson, Sara Pascoe, all big Fringe Festival and stand-up circuit names combining to form one of the season’s most enviable comedy ensembles.
Al Murray brings his very own Pub Landlord persona to the site, fresh off the back of last year’s General Election effort, when the Lord of Pints contested Nigel Farage in South Thanet, and put up a fair fight. Up-and-comers and underground starlets Daniel Sloss and James Acaster, both droll and deprecating in equal measure, kit out one of the most well-thought out comedy stages to be found on the UK circuit. Paul Merton’s Imrpo Chums, one of the best improvised comedy teams you’ll ever see made up of Paul, Mike McShane, Lee Simpson, Richard Vranch and Suki Webster, are also rocking up with absolutely no material and purely good intentions. If you like to go for a festival for some laughs, look no further than 2016’s Latitude.
Formerly released in full earlier this week, Latitude’s highest brow corner has bagged some big names. Former The Observer editor and respected economist Will Hutton is leading the names delivering thought-provoking content, and Hutton will be tackling the thorny topic of anxiety, and the need for radical social change to counteract the condition as a national and global epidemic. Rubbing shoulders with him at the top of the bill is Ben MacIntyre, bestselling author and spy aficionado, who will be revealing all on the inside line with MI5 that he was privy to while writing the biography of Soviet mole Phil Kilby.
Elsewhere Ewen MacAskill, the Guardian’s Defence and Security Correspondent, discusses the movement of information in a post-Snowden age, internationally acclaimed author of Sepulchre and Labrinth Kate Mosse is popping down to preside over the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, a prestigious award for the best fiction by a female writer, and controversial former editor of Loaded Martin Daubney is part of a panel discussing the implications of living in a porn-ridden society. Sara Pascoe is also taking time away from the comedy stage to talk through her new book Animal: How a Woman is Made, a systematic look at the fetishisation of the female form throughout history.
Poetry also forms part of the backbone of the arts at Latitude, and this year notable names come in the form of multi-instrumentalist Dizraeli, master of witty lyricism Andy Bennett, writer for children Laura Mucha and Nigerian poet and English teacher Caleb Femi.
The variety and huge scope of dance at Latitude is something to behold, and leading UK dance house Saddler’s Wells will be co-ordinating things down on the Waterfront Stage. Performances range from the Cuban-influenced stylings of Nilda Guerra’s !Vamos Cuba! to child sensation and interpretive revelation Botis Seva. Mercury-nominated nu-jazz starlets GoGo Penguin will be lending a helping hand on the backing track as choreographer Lynne Page dreams up an ambitious music-dance crossover Veils, that forms a contemporary look at 80s club culture “inspired by mirrors and palindromes”.
Classical yet progressive outfits The National Youth Dance Company (NYDC) and the New English Ballet Theatre will both be in attendance showcasing their latest work. The former bring In–Nocentes, a ritualistic piece exploring the elegance of youth and set to a re-imagining of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons; the latter will showcase Mad Women, a satrifical look at the lot in life of the 50s housewife, and the everyday conflict of the happy home.
Tickets are now on sale. All ticketing information for Latitude 2016 is available here.
Adult Weekend tickets £197.50 face value + £8 booking fee per ticket
Accompanied Teen Weekend tickets (13-15 years) £132.50 + £8 booking fee per ticket
Child Weekend tickets £7.50 + £2.70 booking fee per ticket