Festival Introduction

Tuesday, 09th June 2020

It has been a crazily bittersweet task to put together a festival this year. It has also been fantastically inspiring.


Almost the only thing that we know for sure is that we will never go back to where we were. Though this is very painful and tough for every one of us making our lives in the arts, it is also an opportunity for the survivors to recalibrate the sector for a modern world. To have a stake in that, it’s absolutely vital to keep creating, showing off and celebrating our imaginations as noisily as we can. As we see our livelihoods fall apart, we have to find ways not only to keep body together but also soul.


I’m full of admiration for all the tough, visionary, creative artists who have stuck with my Manifesto project. Seeing the richness and potential for sharing vision and ideas in this festival website is a cause for huge joy and inspiration. I fervently hope that survival will come with vision and that, among other things, privilege ceases to be a precondition for a foothold in the arts. I do hope every one of you peering into this kaleidoscope of vision will, as well as delighting in what you see and hear, also do whatever you can to help all these artists survive.


Bill Bankes-Jones

Artistic Director, Tête à Tête

Click here to head to 2020 Festival What’s On.


If you would like to help Tête à Tête and the artists creating these shows, take a look at this.






We are on sale!  After a very successful Pilot Performance for the DCMS and an online event for opera companies, we are back to performing.  This is only thanks to a huge act of faith on the part of a great many people.


Not least among these are an exceptional group of funders who deserve the warmest thanks.  Just a couple of weeks ago, we had got so far down the path of programming the festival we were nearly ready to go, but faced a complete shutdown of Trusts and Foundations in the face of the Covid-19 Crisis.  We owe the hugest vote of thanks to a very generous and rapid response from a visionary group of individual supporters:


Anthony Bolton, Sir Peter Bazalgette, The Nicholas Boas Trust, Sir Anthony & Lady Cleaver,  Sir Vernon & Lady Ellis, Peter & Fiona Espenhahn, Patrick and Louise Grattan and Sir David and Lady Verey, each of whom had both the faith and the generosity to help us make all these artists’ dreams come true when they were all on the brink of collapse.  


And if that was at the eleventh hour, then on the verge of midnight the Paul Hamlyn Foundation offered us some support which has substantially gone direct to these artists.  To quote my own self above, this has meant that we’re not only able to feed the souls of a great many many people, but also to provide them with at least a little bodily sustenance as well. 


On top of our general 75%/25% appeal through which a huge number of people contributed more modestly, mostly again to our festival artists, the roller coaster of 2020 has, for the time being at least, whooshed us high up and ready to go.  We can’t thank everyone enough for that.  I’m sure our artists would be really appreciative if you still wanted to help.


Meanwhile, I can’t wait, myself, to see the fruits of this generosity in the 50 or so events you can come to or which can come to you over the next few weeks.  I very much hope to see you along the way.


Bill Bankes-Jones                                            2nd September 2020.