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Brand new Lutonia Festival set to put Luton on the literary map

LUTON FESTIVAL 5 March – 2 April 2016 It is a town known for its airport and its football club, which often attracts attention because of its low literacy rate and reputation for extremism. But this year, Luton will become the home of a new annual festival of art and culture when ‘Lutonia’ opens in March.

Lutonia-Logo-BLACK-CMYK-no-date_XLRG_XLRGOver four weeks, 30 events embracing different art forms including poetry, art, film, theatre, dance and music along with circus acts, author workshops and debate, will take place across the town. Highlights include performances from the inimitable ‘punk poet’ Dr John Cooper Clarke in what will be his first visit to Luton, poetry readings by local actor and now director, Colin Salmon and Forward Poetry Prize winner Mona Arshi and a family sing-a-long with broadcaster, author and song writer Cerys Matthews.



JohnCooperClarke_Final685There will be a Poetry Parliament arguing today’s current affairs through poetry and the premier of the short film Oh Syria, My Syria. Filmed and produced by a local student, the film follows the life of Syrian refugees as they live in Zaatari camp, Jordan.



Events also encompass an 8 hour ‘Beats Day’ on Saturday 19 March at The Hat Factory, including a 60th anniversary performance of Alan Ginsburg’s ‘Howl’, along with music, an art exhibition and ‘Beat Books’ bookstore.



The festival is curated by former punk singer Steve Abbott, who left school in Luton with only 3 GCSE’s. He says: ‘Luton might seem like the last place to host such an arts event, but in fact it is the ideal location as it is a town rich in the cultures of the world where over one hundred languages are spoken.’



The eclectic programme of events starts on Saturday 5 March and finishes on Saturday 2 April. Most events take place across Luton Culture venues, predominantly the Luton Library Theatre, Luton Central Library and The Hat Factory.

To find out more and to book tickets, go to, call the box office on 01582 878100 or follow on social media @lutonlibraries, #Lutonia.

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