Share this page

Poetry Fest 2018

Inspired by a theme of Peace and Reconciliation

The 65th Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival celebrates the best local and international talent. From open mics and hands-on workshops to performances from world renowned artists.

Do you love writing Poetry?  Enter our poetry competition and you could win £300!  All you need to do is write a poem about peace in no more than 200 words. 


Washed With Such a Peace: Readings by Christopher Eccleston & Niamh Cusack 
Sunday 17 June, 7.00 - 9.30pm

Poetry for reconciliation, inspired by the final words printed in the First Folio (the end of Cymbeline), this recital will include poetry from all periods about peace and reconciliation. With readings by Christopher Eccleston and Niamh Cusack.

This will take place at The Shakespeare Centre, Henley Street, Stratford Upon Avon, CV37 6QW

Book now: Washed With Such a Peace


Open Mic Night
Monday 18 June, 7.00 - 9.30pm

Come and share your favourite poem, or a favourite work of your own, with a crowd that loves to read, write, and listen to poetry. Hosted by Wendy Freeman. We have another Open Mic Night on 14 November.

This will take place at The Shakespeare Centre, Henley Street, Stratford Upon Avon, CV37 6QW

No ticket required, just turn up!

Krystyna Dubrowska
Krystyna Dabrowska

Translation and Reconciliation with Sasha Dugdale and Krystyna Dabrowska 
Tuesday 19 June, 7.00- 9.00pm

Join Sasha and acclaimed Polish poet Krystyna as they share their work and talk about how they have been inspired by the theme of reconciliation. 

This will take place at The Shakespeare Centre, Henley Street, Stratford Upon Avon, CV37 6QW

Book now: Sasha Dugdale and Krystyna Dabrowska


Poetry Mass 
Wednesday 20 June, 7.30pm

Please join us in the Guild Chapel, for a service of thanksgiving and Holy Communion formed around poems for peace in our lives and the world around us. We are delighted to be presenting this year’s Poetry Mass in collaboration with Coventry Cathedral. Led by Paul Edmondson.  

This will take place at The Guild Chapel, Stratford Upon Avon

No ticket required. Just turn up.


War Girls read by Ruth Sillers 
Thursday 21 June, 12.00 - 1.00pm

Ruth Sillers performs extracts from her audio book compilation, War Girls. Join us to hear the remarkable and largely unsung experiences of women in the First World War: ordinary women living in extraordinary times. Their stories are not just of hardship and suffering, but joy and excitement at the new opportunities opening up from women. 

This will take place at The Shakespeare Centre, Henley Street, Stratford Upon Avon, CV37 6QW

Book now: War Girls


Alice Oswald - The Music of Nature 
Thursday 21 June, 7.00 - 8.30pm

****We are sorry to announce that due to unforeseen personal circumstances Alice Oswald has cancelled this and forthcoming events****

Join award winning poet Alice Oswald for a magical reading reflecting the music of nature. Alice studied Classics at Oxford and then trained as a gardener before becoming a professional poet. Her new collection, “Falling Awake” was published by Jonathan Cape in July 2016, was the winner of the Costa Poetry Award 2016. In June 2017 she was awarded the International Griffin Poetry Prize 2017

Tony Harrison
Tony Harrison (credit Ross Ferguson)

An evening with Tony Harrison
Friday 22 June, 7.00 - 8.30pm

Tony Harrison is one of the most distinguished and important poets of his generation: controversial, working-class, and scholarly. His poetry cries out to be read aloud. He will be reading from his poetry and talking about his art and life (with opportunities to ask him questions). He'll also be signing copies of his Collected Poems which will be available for purchase.

'Tony Harrison has changed the entire landscape of British poetry.' Don Paterson

'Tony Harrison is the greatest poet of the second half of the twentieth century... He writes brilliantly about class, love and Britain.' Daniel Radcliffe.

This will take place at The Shakespeare Centre, Henley Street, Stratford Upon Avon, CV37 6QW

Book now: Tony Harrison


Black Box Poetry 
Saturday 23 June, 2.00 -3.00 pm

Local school children, community groups and poetry enthusiasts have all been working with In-Public to create poetry about peace. Join us to hear the poems they created and be inspired by the talent and creativity on show. 

This will take place at The Shakespeare Centre, Henley Street, Stratford Upon Avon, CV37 6QW

No ticket required. Just turn up.


Midsummer Day Poetry and Bonfire 
Saturday 23 June 7.30-9.00pm

Come and celebrate Midsummer day with a traditional bonfire in the beautiful grounds of Anne Hathaway's Cottage - there will be songs and poems and a very special atmosphere. Bring a picnic blanket - refreshments will be available (additional charges apply) 

This will take place at Anne Hathaway's Cottage, Stratford Upon Avon, CV37 9HH

Book now: Midsummer Day Poetry and Bonfire


Wilfred Owen (1893-1918): Readings by Dame Sian Phillips & Alex Waldermann 
Sunday 24 June  7.00 - 9:15pm 

Of all the First World War poets Wilfred Owen is often regarded as the one who embodied most substantially the horror and the pity of the conflict. This programme has been devised for the Festival by Roger Pringle to mark the centenary of the poet’s death, which coincided with the end of the War. The evening will feature not only the poems that have made Owenfamous but also some of his remarkable letters, especially those to his mother.  Readings by Dame Siân Phillips Alex Waldmann. 

This will take place at The Shakespeare Centre, Henley Street, Stratford Upon Avon, CV37 6QW

Book Now: Wilfred Owen

ACE explanation box for poetry festival

Getting organised?

Plan Your Visit

Snap up your tickets

Book now

Discover Shakespeare's family homes

Find out more

More events

See all events
This is where the story began Enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of a working Tudor Farm Relive Shakespeare’s love story Walk in Shakespeare's footsteps The home of Shakespeare’s daughter, Susanna