Rother District Council secures over £19m Levelling Up funding for community, creativity and skills in Bexhill

Rother  District Council has been awarded over £19m for community, creativity and skills in Bexhill.

The investment of £19,192,000 from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund will enable the delivery of cultural-led regeneration to improve the lives of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in Rother.

The money will help fund the transformation of the De La Warr Pavilion on Bexhill seafront and the development of new community facilities in Sidley, creating new jobs, upskilling local residents and bolstering career progression in the area’s creative and cultural sectors, particularly for young people.

Cllr Doug Oliver, leader of Rother District Council, said: “We are thrilled to have been awarded government funding to level up community, creativity and skills in Rother. This investment gives us the opportunity to harness the potential of the iconic De La Warr Pavilion, providing learning and skills opportunities as well as creating new jobs. It will also enable us to work with Heart of Sidley (Big Local) to develop a much-needed community and recreation facility in the heart of Sidley, which will support the local community. The funding will be transformative for our communities.”

The De La Warr Pavilion is a pioneering centre for arts and culture that plays a pivotal role in driving the local economy through tourism, regeneration and skills development in Rother, East Sussex and the wider South East region. The proposed development includes improved accessibility for audiences, new auditorium technical and other learning facilities, the redevelopment of spaces for outdoor community events, and new environmental systems to help meet net carbon neutral ambitions. The total cost of the scheme is £23.4m and funding will be sought from other sources to cover the remainder of the project costs.
Stewart Drew, Director & CEO, De La Warr Pavilion, said: “Earl De La Warr’s vision for our amazing building was a People’s Palace that would drive the growth, prosperity and culture of the area. We want to be more relevant to more people and are hugely excited about the potential of this project to reach the more disadvantaged communities in our area and continue to be a catalyst for growth and prosperity. More spaces and better facilities mean we will be able to dramatically increase creative engagement, deliver high quality skills training including T Levels, provide flexible learning spaces, and attract new visitors.”

In a project led by Heart of Sidley (Big Local), the Levelling Up investment will also fund crucial community facilities in Sidley, one of the most deprived wards in the country. The proposed community hub at Sidley Recreation Ground will connect Sidley with the De La Warr Pavilion and the town centre, providing increased opportunities for residents to develop their skills and access education and employment.
Jay Carroll, Chair of Heart of Sidley, said: ‘As Heart of Sidley approaches the last two years as a Big Local area, this is some very exciting news. Enabling us, without question, to align our vision in fulfilling a lasting legacy in fully transforming the old toilet block at Sidley Recreation Ground, into a state-of-the-art community hub and sports changing facilities. We want local people to have as much opportunity as possible to be actively involved, and to feel proud to be part of a community with such a commitment to its future.”

Huw Merriman, MP for Bexhill and Battle and sponsor of RDC’s Levelling Up Fund application, said: “I am absolutely delighted that Rother has been successful in this hugely significant Levelling Up bid which I have been proud to support. This £19m funding demonstrates the government’s commitment to levelling up extends to communities in the South East which are often, mistakenly, considered to be affluent. We have six of England’s most deprived wards in Rother and this funding will improve access to vital learning and training opportunities as well as giving tourism and the local economy a tremendous boost. The De La Warr Pavilion already does great work in working with our local communities and this bid will enable to do so much more. It is really important to me that this project will deliver opportunities for the residents of Sidley.”

Read our Frequently Asked Questions here

De La Warr Pavilion
The De La Warr Pavilion (DLWP) is a centre for arts and culture in an iconic modernist building by the sea, designed by refugee Erich Mendelsohn and émigré Serge Chermayeff. It opened in 1935 as the ‘people’s palace for art and culture’ and now produces an innovative and integrated cultural programme of exhibitions and learning programmes as well as a diverse and popular programme of live music and comedy.
The Pavilion takes the lead in the development of cultural tourism and skills in the region and plays a central role in the cultural and economic growth in Sussex.
For more information visit

Heart of Sidley (Big Local)
Heart of Sidley is a Big Local area. 8 years ago, we were awarded £1milllion by Local Trust to make a massive and lasting positive difference to our community. The Heart of Sidley started to use its funding in 2014 and is due to finish in 2025. The idea behind the Big Local is about bringing together all the local talent, ambitions, skills and energy from individuals, groups and organisations who want to make their area an even better place to live.
Heart of Sidley is a community-led partnership, led entirely by local residents, in partnership with local organisations, businesses and others. We’re supported by a Big Local representative and two locally trusted organisations – Rother Voluntary Action and Optivo.
As we prepare our charity, Heart of Sidley Community Association, for the exciting future ahead, we continue to work with the community to ensure that we work towards the community’s priorities. We have a very proactive and driven group of people on board, who are all part of the Sidley community themselves. We ensure voices are heard and action is taken in our commitment to improving the area and opportunities for local people.
For more information visit

DLWP Chair Julian Bird awarded OBE in New Years Honour’s List

Huge congratulations to our Chair of Trustees, Julian Bird who received an OBE in the New Years Honours List!
Julian has been instrumental in leading the De La Warr Pavilion Charitable Trust, joining as a Trustee when he was Chief Operating Officer at Tate, and becoming Chair when he was CEO of the Society of London Theatre and Theatrical Management Association (SOLT) and the Executive Producer of the Olivier Awards, the UK’s main annual theatre awards ceremony (pictured here).
Julian’s knowledge and years of experience in the live performance industry was essential in steering the sector through the darkest days of the pandemic, supporting us to ensure that the business emerged intact from the economic challenges of the past three years. Earlier this year Julian announced his departure from SOLT to launch a new production company, Green Room Ents, with producer Nica Burns. He also broadcasts a weekly show for Bauer Radio’s station Magic at The Musicals.
Julian’s family are local and he has been a regular visitor and fan of the Pavilion all his life.
Thank you Julian for your ongoing dedication to DLWP!

Peace & Goodwill, Christmas 2022

At the end of another year, we would like to thank you all for your continued support.

Whether you are a ticket buyer, gallery visitor, artist, musician, young person, workshop participant, Instagram follower or just here to meet your friends in the Café, we love that we are at the heart of such a wonderful community of people.

And as we head towards economically challenging times, we are grateful for the support of over 1000 Members & Patrons, Arts Council England (NPO) and Rother District Council.

We would like to say thank you and wish you all  “peace and goodwill” this festive season. You can hear these words spoken in over 30 languages in Peace and Goodwill, a winter soundscape on our north staircase by artist Mary Hooper, which acts as a soundtrack to a new commission of illuminated lanterns – Ice and Snowflake – created by Radiator Arts and our own Blueprint Collective. If you can’t get to visit us this Christmas, then you can still hear Peace and Goodwill on our soundcloud here.

The Pavilion is a registered warm space, ready to welcome you throughout the holiday season.  Originally built in 1935 with a grant from the Ministry of Health the Pavilion, with its large glass windows and doors, was acknowledged as a natural solarium, harnessing the sunshine of the south coast to create a bright, warm place where people could rest and restore.

We hope you will do the same here this holiday season –  visit our free exhibitions, shop, eat and enjoy all the Pavilion has to offer.

With peace and goodwill

Stewart Drew

Director & CEO

DLWP Volunteers win Volunteer of the Year Award 2022

Congratulations to the DLWP Volunteers Team who won Rother Voluntary Action’s Volunteer of the Year Award 2022!

Our nomination said:

Our fantastic  volunteers work on a range of projects but most regularly they support our Art Sundays and our Holiday Art Activities. These are free creative activities that targets young people and families from low socio-economic backgrounds. The volunteers work every second Sunday from 1 – 5pm and also during holidays, for example our Sunset Screenings during August.

Each volunteer welcomes participants and makes them feel comfortable. They talk them through the art activity and support them in learning skills like cutting out shapes, collage, painting, drawing and 3D making. They give them encouragement and guidance. Each Art Sunday we cater for 60 – 100 participants, which we could never achieve without our volunteers!

Overall as a team they work about 800 hours a year to support all our community activity. The group also leads Building Tours giving an insight into the history of Bexhill, the De La Warr Pavilion Building and architecture, popular with the older members of our community. They also volunteer and help with our accessible inclusive gigs for adults with physical and learning disabilities. Their support is vital to us being able to help so much of our community.

Pictured is Ron Wood, who has been a volunteer for ten years, who accepted the Award on behalf of the team.

Introducing Kim Byford, Project Director for Talent Accelerator

Kim Byford, Project Director Talent Accelerator is offering one-to-one 30-minute  free online coaching session available all day on 19th, 20th and 21st December – follow the link below to book:

If these times don’t suit or you would prefer to meet in person, please contact Kim Byford to book a time.

Kim Byford  joined DLWP as Project Director for the Talent Accelerator from Bexhill College where she was Head of Performing Arts and Associate Principal (Community). In this role she took a wide-angle view of the College’s relationships within the local community as well as forging relationships with the arts community to ensure clear career progression routes for young people.

Kim was part of the steering group, with Rother District Council, De La Warr Pavilion and Flatland Projects, for the development of Beeching Road Studios, a new creative hub for Bexhill. She understands the local context for young people and is committed to supporting them to fulfilling creative careers.

Kim has had a long career post-16 education working in a variety of Colleges and Sixth forms across the country since 2000. She is committed to introducing  children and young people to new experiences, believing that this builds confidence which increases achievement across the curriculum and raises aspiration. Previously she has taken students to perform in Venice, receive conservatoire actor training in Prague as well as a host of performances in festivals and venues.

Kim will use her experience to lead the Talent Accelerator programme – to develop stronger ties between industry and education to create a unique framework enabling education settings and creative industry employers to co-design new learning and real-world skills programmes. Talent Accelerator will help our young people:

• Understand the different types of companies and organisations in the creative, cultural and digital sectors and the range of roles and opportunities on offer.

• Increase their creativity, identify the skills needed for those roles and support them to develop and add to their own skillset.

• Give them valuable experience working alongside creative people in vibrant and exciting places and spaces.

• Prepare them take advantage of the growing creative, cultural, and digital employment opportunities East Sussex has to offer – or even create their own.

Read more about Talent Accelerator here


Artist Mary Hooper is composing a sound track for this year’s Christmas lantern installation in the north staircase of the Pavilion. The sound track will be compiled from recordings of winter woodland sounds, footsteps in the snow, ice melting, and reindeer.

Mary would like to feature  voices of people from different countries saying “peace and goodwill” speaking in their own languages.

If you would like please follow the instructions  below – any age or gender or nationality is welcome to join in!

How to record:

  • Please record on your phone yourself, or a friend or relative saying “peace and goodwill” in your/their own language
  • Try to record without too much noise in the background.
  • Leave a short pause – count to 4 and say “peace and goodwill”
  • After you have spoken the words count to 4 again, stop recording and save.
  • Email the recording to  to with the subject line “Christmas message” or share to whatsapp on 07939645939 with the subject title Christmas message.

Thank you for taking part!  The deadline is Tuesday 6 December.

If you would like your name mentioned then  please write your name in the email or message.

Arts Council NPO announcement: standstill award of £517,785 p.a. 2023-2026

 The De La Warr Pavilion announces a standstill award from Arts Council England of £517,785 per annum as part of their National Portfolio of organisations for 2023 -26.

The De La Warr Pavilion is delighted to announce that we have been selected as one of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisations for 2023-26, along with other celebrated arts and cultural organisations across England. Considered “strong” on all ACE measures, this award represents a standstill in our funding and reflects the Arts Council’s continued belief in the Pavilion to make a difference through culture in our communities and beyond.

We would like to thank the Arts Council England and the National Lottery UK who, alongside Rother District Council, have supported us for many years, and in particular during the acute challenges of the pandemic. We will support Arts Council England to deliver their Let’s Create strategy, with the ambition that by 2030 England will be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish, and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high-quality cultural experiences.

This funding will complement Arts Council’s recent award of £400,000 from their Capital Investment Fund towards a significant Auditorium Technical Upgrade – the first step towards securing further significant capital investment in the building. Read more here

In addition the Pavilion, in partnership with Artswork and Skills East Sussex, has received £196,000 for Talent Accelerator – a pioneering Skills programme that supports young people from areas of high deprivation, rurally-isolated locations and under-represented backgrounds to access and reach their potential within the creative industries. This is the spearhead of DLWPs emerging Skills programmes which include partnerships with Little Gate Farm and the Bexhill Jobs & Apprenticeships Fair to create new opportunities for young people.  Read more here

We are thrilled that our partners Outlands Network have also been welcomed into the Portfolio. Born out of an ACE Strategic Touring grant led by the De La Warr Pavilion, Outlands is an open membership network that supports and unites producers of experimental music and interdisciplinary performance across England.

We will continue to closely work with and support our many partners and networks within the region, some of whom have serious funding challenges ahead.  We will continue to :

  • Work with our partners in Sidley to create new cultural opportunities for young people aged 10-16 in one of the top five deprived wards in the UK.
  • Support artist networks through our strong partnership with Towner Eastbourne, Beeching Road Studios (Bexhill) and Flatland Projects to extend opportunities for emerging artists and curators in our area.
  • Develop programming and new industry placements for skills development of young people with Eastbourne Winter Gardens.
  • Attract funding to conserve the heritage of our unique Grade I Listed modernist building.

Stewart Drew, Director & CEO says,

“Thank you to Arts Council England for recognising the significance of the De La Warr Pavilion in bringing creativity and culture to communities in an area of high deprivation, and 420,000 visitors each year. It is brilliant to have the security of this standstill funding as we face new challenges with the cost of living crisis and energy costs.

As part of our bold vision as a flagship centre for arts and culture in our region, we will continue to deliver free exhibitions from major international artists, a varied live programme of 90+ performances a year, and a diverse programme of learning, participation and schools’ activities. Working with our partners that include the Refugee Buddy Project, Bexhill Museum, Heart of Sidley and Turner Prize nominated Project Art Works, we will co-create with our diverse communities to deliver meaningful creative engagement for young people, families and children, neurodiverse people, those with disabilities and people from low socioeconomic backgrounds.

Our continued support for Beeching Road Studios, Bexhill, and Flatland Projects will allow emerging artists and curators to thrive in the region, building a vibrant cultural economy, where young people will want to live and work.

Our ambitious music and comedy programme will continue to bring headline, international acts to Bexhill, and we will lead region-wide music development and skills initiatives with partners Create Music, Eastbourne Winter Garden, and #1066musiccity.

We are a catalyst for cultural regeneration, driving the cultural, tourism and economic health of the region by taking a lead within our networks, including Sussex Modern, 1066Country, Culture East Sussex and fulfil the potential of the region through Towner Eastbourne’s delivery of the Turner Prize 2023.

Our beautiful Grade I Listed building is at the heart of what we do. We continue to conserve and protect the important heritage of the Pavilion and develop a viable business model so that we can remain as a much-valued community asset for the next 85 years.”

Arts Council England Chair, Sir Nicholas Serota, said: “As well as continuing our commitment to our many established and renowned cultural organisations, I am deeply proud of the support we will be giving to those new organisations which will help ignite creativity across the country.  We are facing economic pressures at present but this funding is about an investment in our future. This portfolio will support the next generation of visionary inventors, makers, performers and artists. In particular, the growth of our funding for organisations that support and develop work for children represents a profoundly important long-term investment in our country’s talent.”

Arts Council England Chief Executive, Darren Henley, said: “Together, each of the 990 organisations that have been offered funding today will contribute to a portfolio that is rich, varied and truly national. This is our widest ever spread of investment across the country, ensuring that many more people will have access to a wider choice of exceptional art, culture and creative opportunities on their doorsteps. We are in tough times but we must remember creativity brings with it extraordinary dividends, boosting our country’s economic growth, creating jobs, bringing communities closer together, and making us happier as individuals. Everyone deserves to enjoy the benefits it brings, and with this investment, we believe we’ve taken a decisive step towards making that vision a reality.”

Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan said: “Thanks to this new government funding package, spreading more money to more communities than ever before, people living in areas from Wolverhampton to Wigan and Crawley to Chesterfield will now get to benefit from the deep economic and social rewards culture can bring.

“We continue to support our icons such as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Royal Shakespeare Company, but today’s announcement will see organisations in places all too often overlooked get the support they need to transform access to the arts for everyone – no matter where they live.”

See more on Arts Council England’s 2023-26 Investment Programme on their website:




The De La Warr Pavilion and Towner Eastbourne are thrilled to announce their collaboration in working together to programme holiday activities for families.

Between us we have selected four artists from East Sussex to deliver an artistic programme across both galleries, developing  their socially engaged practice across the current academic year.

They are Harry McMorrow (top left), Hannah Collisson (top right), Laura Ribbons (bottom left), and Lucie MacGregor (bottom right),

The artists are paired together to work as a duo. Workshops will  respond to themes in the exhibitions on display, which will include themes such as environmental concerns, queer and trans intimacies, anti-racist practices and migration. As well as delivering workshops, the four artists will be supported as a cohort with regular practice development sessions at each gallery. The research, both theory and practice based, undertaken by each will be shared and contribute to the overall learning.

At the end of the programme the  artists will lead an open workshop for artists reflecting on their experiences, as an evolution of the workshop Acts of Transfer: Sharing Social Practice, held at Towner Eastbourne in May ’22.

Hannah Collisson is a multi-disciplinary artist, facilitator, and musician based in St Leonards on Sea. Her work spans theatre, performance, poetry, music and photography. With a background in journalism, storytelling is a common thread running throughout Hannah’s work. She is fascinated by place making and stories told and untold. Hannah is a director of ExploreTheArch, a company which develops experiential theatre, site specific installations and community projects, and a director of Lifesize, a community arts CIC. She is a member of Babes in Arms, a collective of artist mothers, currently exhibiting at DLWP.

Lucie MacGregor is a multi-disciplinary artist, whose making spans the collective gesture as a notion to stir mindful collaboration, to facilitate social change and to consider conversation as creative material. Drawn towards recycling materials connected to her personal geographies, paper pulp has become a therapeutic and playful process for her to question the blurriness between drawing and sculpture. Lucie is currently facilitating workshops with young people at Camden Arts Centre, Drawing Room London and recent exhibitions include make 2022 at Freelands Foundation, a collaborative commission with The Children’s Art School in Kirklees and Deptford X Festival 2021

Harry McMorrow, (BA) is a non-binary queer artist living in St Leonards on Sea. They create tufted wall rugs usually focused around specific iconography and trends from the past. They are currently working on their first solo show, Come As You Are, which will be showing at Big Yin Gallery from November 4th. As well as being a practicing artist they are studying for their postgrad cert in education at University of Brighton. When not training to teach, or making art, they run a queer club night, Club FliQ.

Laura Ribbons (b.1990) is an artist, curator, educator and environmentalist. She graduated from Wimbledon College of Art in 2012 and also holds a Masters degreein environmental anthropology. She has exhibited across the UK and internationally, including in Spain, where she lived between 2018-2019. By exploring her fascination with plants and the ways in which we coexist with them, her bold, mixed-media paintings celebrate the resilience of plants and represent a desire to find solace and resolution in nature against the backdrop of the climate crisis. In 2022 Laura worked with Watts Gallery to co-create an outreach project around sustainability and this summer took part in Towner’s Open Plan residency. She currently lives and works in Hastings.


Announcing a new Creative Development Network Programme, 2022-23

Developing approaches to equality, diversity, representation, and anti-racist practice in schools through arts, culture, and creativity.

The De La Warr Pavilion is thrilled to announce a major primary schools’ programme in partnership with Artswork. From October to January 2023 we are leading a Creative Development Network with seven local schools that will develop approaches to equality, diversity, representation, and anti-racist practice in schools through arts, culture and creativity. Schools taking part are All Saints CE in Sidley, Catsfield Church of England (VC), Chantry Community, Christ Church CE, Little Common, Polegate and St Peter & St Paul C E (VA).

We have  appointed Christina Peake as lead artist and Reem Acason as support artist to deliver this comprehensive and exciting new programme.

The programme has many aspects which include:

  • Exhibition Visits by Year 5 or Year 4 students to the  Pavilion to engage with Zineb Sedira’s exhibition Can’t You See the Sea Changing?
  • Art School Days with creative activities and learning led by the artists in each school.
  • Teacher CPD Sessions, both online and at the De La Warr Pavilion
  • Online Hub for the support of the network and the sharing of knowledge along this process.

The programme built by the artists develops learning through concepts and themes such as environment and identity, narrative and storytelling, temporal spaces, and the empathetic imaginary.

Christina Peake (on left of picture)  is a transdisciplinary artist and an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Researcher with the University of Westminster and The National Archives. Christina’s fascination with cultures was nurtured by her Bajan and British parents who were adamant that she should know both sides of her heritage. This led to ‘home’ emerging across two-nation states, the Republic of Barbados and the U.K., visiting families and natural spaces that embodied those worlds to her as a child and cemented her interest in art, culture, heritage and nature as an adult and dual citizen.

Historically, this fascination was to become focused for her through three threads: cultural plurality, engaging the natural world and storytelling, which evolved to reflect a commitment to art, ecology, liberatory practices and the empowerment of ethically minoritised communities and practitioners. Christina’s practice is research-led, engaging communities and marine environments, with field-work informing a synergistic approach, sourcing material from autobiographical and individual testimony to historical narrative. Christina works to contribute to the formation of new eco-social assemblages through diverse media, emerging methodologies, colonial collections, community engagement and education, forming an expanding archipelago of works across her practice, creating new territories of immersive experiences, learning and radical imagination.’

Reem Acason’s  work explores the parallels and differences which exist across cultures. She is interested in folklore, family stories and people’s personal journeys through life. She references historical portraiture and iconography in her paintings then weaving in individual narratives and the symbolism of patterns, animals, motifs and popular culture. Reem was born in Bahrain and moved to the UK as a child and is currently based in Crowborough. She graduated in 2007 with a first-class degree in Fine Art and works as an artist and arts educator, including with those from under-represented and marginalised groups. She has exhibited widely in the UK and internationally, including twice at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. In 2021 she was shortlisted for the Ruth Borchard Self Portrait Prize. In the summer of 2022 she took part in the Open Plan residency programme at the Towner Gallery and have been selected for the ING Discerning Eye.

Image L to R : artists Christina Peake and Reem Acason



Sunday 6 November, 2022


Join us for a Sunday evening with Hastings-born Shirley Collins (MBE), for a very special show and a few Traditional Jack In The Green surprises…

Shirley’s love and support for the DLWP rings true as this is one of only two headline shows this year! We’re extremely proud to host a wonderful night of traditional folk, dancing and merriment with Shirley and the Traditional Jack In The Green team.

Shirley’s Lodestar Band comprise of Music Director, Ian Kearey (ex-Blue Aeroplanes and Oysterband), Pete Cooper and Dave Arthur (Rattle on the Stovepipe), Pip Barnes and of course her star dancer, Glen Redman, from Brighton Morris Men.

We were lucky enough to catch up with Shirley this week…

“This will be my second appearance at the De La Warr.

The first was well over fifty years ago! I think it was at a folk festival held there in 1965!

The poster for the event read:

The Waterson Quartets just back from their nationwide tour.

“(I think they’d just come down from Hull!)”

 Shirley Collins – England ‘s versatile young instrumentalist.

(I could just about play a dozen chords on the banjo!)

 Paul Simon – from Texas

(Yes! Bottom of the bill as it was most likely one of his first ever gigs in England as an unknown!)

 From 1978 – 1982 I lived in Bexhill around the corner in Sea Road, just two minutes from the beach; one of our favourite evenings was sitting on the terrace drinking G&T’s and watching the sun go down and the domes glowing in the evening light.

I used to run along the sea front every morning – and one day I saw a sign outside one of the premises in front of the De La Warr that read ‘Gypsy Anita Lee – Your fortunes told, your problems solved…I went in…and I’ll tell the full story of that during the concert on November 6th!!

It was from Bexhill in 1980 that I flew to Australia to sing at The Sydney Opera House.

And the last time I visited was in 2018 to hear Richard Thompson’s wonderful concert. Before then, I’d seen the Grayson Perry exhibition in 2008 and Antony Gormley’s installation on the roof in 2010. That last one made me feel very nervous!

Lots more tales to tell about Bexhill…but I’ll save them for November 6th!”



Born in Hastings in 1935, Shirley was fascinated by folk songs as she was growing up, songs she heard on the radio or sung by her grandparents in Anderson shelters. She left home for London to immerse herself in the burgeoning folk scene; at a party held by Ewan MacColl she met Alan Lomax, and in 1959 she joined him in the USA on the renowned field trip ‘Southern Journey’, recording American folk songs and blues, a formative journey for her personally and professionally.

On her return to England, Shirley cemented her role at the forefront of the Folk Revival, recording over a dozen albums including the influential Folk Roots, New Routes with avant-garde guitarist Davy Graham, and No Roses, from which The Albion Country Band was formed. However, in the 1980s, Shirley lost her singing voice – later diagnosed as a form of dysphonia – and withdrew from performing live. It was only in 2014, after coaxing from David Tibet (Current 93), that Shirley sang in public for the first time since 1982. Since then, she has produced two acclaimed albums for Domino Records, Lodestar and Heart’s Ease and performed live at a handful of important festivals with her Lodestar Band including Celtic Connections, Brighton Festival, Green Man, Cambridge Folk Festival, Copenhagen Documentary Festival, Supersonic, as well at major venues including The Barbican, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and The Sage Gateshead.

Though Shirley Collins (MBE) was absent from the music scene for many years, her impact did not diminish, as the likes of Graham Coxon, Jonny Greenwood, Stewart Lee and Angel Olsen lauded her. A documentary The Ballad of Shirley Collins was released about her in Autumn 2017. She was given the ‘Good Tradition’ award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2008, elected President of the English Folk Dance & Song Society and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Music from Sussex University all in the same year. Shirley released her first memoir, America Over the Water, in 2004, (re-printed by White Rabbit in 2021) and has published her autobiography, All In The Downs (2018). Heart’s Ease was released by Domino in 2019, just as the COVID lockdown started, it has been toured very little and this will be a rare chance to hear some of that material live.