Deal Festival: a host of experiences to enjoy

Changeling Theatre's A Midsummer Night's Dream

Changeling Theatre will be performing A Midsummer Night's Dream at Walmer Castle as part of the Deal - Credit: Nicholas Dawkes Photography

Deal, with its lovely seaside location, pretty Georgian houses and Walmer Castle to explore just down the road is always worth a visit. But should you need a further reason - and especially if you're an arts lover - the return of Deal Music & Arts Festival (DMA) is sure to prove an enticement - the first chance audiences will have had to experience live performances in the town since March 2020. From July 2, music, theatre, film, talks, walks and a free Fringe Community Stage mean something for everyone to enjoy during this16-day festival. 

The theme this year celebrates the work of women in the arts, which means DMA is putting women composers and performers centre stage, with local jazz legend Norma Winstone and Nikki Iles, brilliant Baroque violinist Rachel Podger and singer Lucy Stevens and pianist Elizabeth Marcus bringing to life Virginia Woolf and Dame Ethel Smyth through words and music.

Rachel Podger by Theresa Pewal

Brilliant violinist Rachel Podger will be one of the star performers at Deal Festival 2021 - Credit:

Internationally famous oboist Nicholas Daniel opens the festival, playing alongside gifted students from the Purcell School; next, the Academy of Ancient Music joins Guildhall School Music and Drama students in performing music from Charles II’s London.

DMA is known for its promotion of young talent and the festival culminates with a big, brilliant concert by members of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO), which has chosen  Deal to be the new venue for its South East Academy, to be held later in 2021

 National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Great Britain

The National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Great Britain performing at Deal back in 2016 - this brilliant team will be back in 2021 - Credit: Tony_Nandi

 Virtuoso accordionist Samuele Telari brings out the drama in Mussorgsky’s Pictures from an Exhibition; award-winning duo Michael Foyle and Maksim Štšura perform the complete Beethoven Sonatas for Violin and Piano and Jamie Rogers, one of DMA’s original bursary winners and now Assistant Organist at Canterbury Cathedral, is back to give a recital.

Meanwhile, journalist and local resident Gavin Esler talks about his latest book How Britain Ends. The Changeling Theatre Company performs A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the grounds of Walmer Castle, there’s a spooky showing of The Cabinet of Dr Caligari with a live score by Minima, and a knees-up with The Old Time Sailors. The Community Stage at the front of St George’s Church offers a feast of free music; there are lunchtime concerts by rising stars. What more encouragement do we need? For tickets and the full programme, see

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