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From Friday 14 to Sunday 16 September 2018, Torbay is host to a weekend of events celebrating the birthday of Agatha Christie produced by International Agatha Christie Festival.

Heading the bill is the world-premiere at the Palace Theatre, Paignton, of a “forgotten play”, The Lie written by Agatha Christie in the 1920s. Written in the wake of the break-up of her first marriage to Archie Christie, it reveals both a remarkable sensitivity to the emotional life of her characters as well as the dramatic ingenuity that became the hallmark of her later world-famous thrillers, such as The Mousetrap and Witness to the Prosecution.

West End theatre producer and founder of the official Agatha Christie Theatre Company Julius Green discovered the play while researching his book, Agatha Christie: A Life in Theatre at the Christie Archive Trust. On Sat 15th September, Agatha Christie’s birthday, the play will be read publicly for the first time ever in a staged reading directed by Julius Green and with the permission of Mathew Prichard, Agatha Christie’s grandson and Chair of the festival, at the Palace Theatre Paignton:

As Mathew Prichard describes:

“I'm delighted that this absolute gem of an early play by my grandmother that was left forgotten in a drawer for many years, can finally be brought to life by Julius Green and his company in Torbay at the festival dedicated to her work and legacy in Devon. This demonstrates once again her love and inspiration for the theatre, even at an early age.”

Torbay Council’s Executive Lead for Tourism, Culture and Harbours, Nicole Amil, said:

“Dame Agatha Christie was born in Torbay and grew up and loved holidaying here. It is wonderful to be able to celebrate her birthday through a fantastic programme of events over her birthday weekend including the forgotten play - The Lie. Once again, the Queen of Crime’s celebrations promise to bring a touch of literary history to the Bay.”

The Birthday Celebration weekend this year also has a host of Agatha Christie special events to celebrate the crime writer’s life and writing, as well as the arts that inspired her.

Across the weekend, Torre Abbey Museum will be presenting the haunting Elephants Can Remember – HoloLens Edition which uses an archive recording of Christie reading the first chapter of her final Poirot mystery in an immersive reality fantasy to literally bring her words to life.

Torquay Museum are hosting a dedicated Christie Mystery Day for all die-hard Agatha Christie fans curated by Christie expert Dr John Curran. The day will feature rare film screenings, radio works, guest talks and lectures as well as tours with new artefacts in the Museum’s dedicated Christie gallery.

Supporting contemporary young voices too, the Birthday Celebration also features a special Young Writers’ Project created over the summer by the young people of Doorstep Arts in Paignton together with Beyond Face theatre in Plymouth. Both groups have been working with the medical immunologist turned cult crime writer Hawa Jande Golakai from Liberia, West Africa, to create a new performance inspired by shared push and pull feelings towards one’s home town. Visiting Torbay as one of the festival’s residency artists as part of a visit that will also take her to Edinburgh International Book Festival, Golakai is very excited to finally pay homage to one of her greatest inspirations, and a writer whose life similarly spanned the worlds of medicine and literature, Agatha Christie.

On Saturday 15 September, Christie’s beloved home, Greenway, will be hosting a celebration fête with traditional games and stalls and across the weekend Welsh choreographer Sioned Huws will be performing her celebrated Niwa-Gardd-Garden dance, inspired from the traditional folk “deer dance” story of north-eastern Japan. In the spirit of a birthday gift to inspire and enrich, this beautiful dance with Japanese performer Honami Shimizu acknowledges Christie’s own love for dance, her passion for travel and discovery and the simple joy of timeless, mythical stories. It will be performed at various outdoor sites across the bay over the weekend and concluding as part of the Torre Abbey Museum Garden Party on Sunday afternoon.

Kate Farmery, Executive Director of Torbay Culture, said:

"Agatha Christie’s connection with Torquay is such a significant part of our heritage. It is wonderful to see her work and the inspiration she provides for other artists celebrated so effectively in this weekend of events."

For full details, see www.iacf-uk.org. Tickets are available for individual events at each venue ranging from FREE to £35. Hawa Jande Golakai will also be presenting a writer’s talk at Torre Abbey Museum at 2pm on Friday 24 August.

For booking details see www.iacf-uk.org or call Torre Abbey Museum at 01803 293593.


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