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Agatha Christie Festival

PUBLISHED: 16:45 01 September 2008 | UPDATED: 15:25 20 February 2013

The Riviera Belle on the Dart

The Riviera Belle on the Dart

Get all the information you need on the Agatha Christie Festival

Dame Agatha Christie is in the Guinness Book of Records as the World's Bestselling Author. Her books have sold a remarkable two billion copies in 44 languages, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. To celebrate her achievements, from 15-21 September the fourth annual Agatha Christie Festival will be held on the English Riviera.

Torquay's most famous daughter has left a literary legacy that certainly deserves to be celebrated. Famously, her play The Mousetrap has enjoyed the longest theatrical run ever, not having missed a single performance since 1952. Recently Agatha Christie Limited targeted younger audiences through the licensing of several computer games and graphic novels. Agatha Christie also appeared in an ingenious episode of Doctor Who this year, perhaps finally explaining the mystery of her 11 days' disappearance in 1926 (she was killing a giant alien wasp, apparently).

The Agatha Christie Group of the Torbay Cultural Partnership co-ordinate the annual festival to coincide with what would have been her 118th birthday on 15 September. The festival attracts curious Christie fans from across the globe, with a wide range of exciting events planned to celebrate the life of this remarkable woman.

There will be walks, talks, a theatre production, films, a tea dance and boat trips. So, solve the mystery of what to do this September and treat the family to a week of murder and mayhem on the English Riviera. It would be a crime not to...

And Then There Were None

The Agatha Christie Theatre Company will be returning to the Princess Theatre with an all-star production of And Then There Were None. Nearby Burgh Island served as the atmospheric inspiration for this tale of ten strangers stranded in a torrential storm and haunted by an ancient nursery rhyme. One by one the guests start to die, but with only the fallen believed to be innocent, who amongst them is the killer?

The all-star cast features Gerald Harper, who is best known for playing the title roles in Adam Adamant Lives and Hadleigh; Alex Ferns, well known for his award-winning role as the notorious Trevor in EastEnders; and veteran actor Derren Nesbitt from Where Eagles Dare and The Persuaders.

Tickets for this production of what is Agatha Christie's best-selling story ever range from £9 to 19.50. For more information visit www.princesstheatre.co.uk.

Open-air Screening at Oldway Mansion

Following on from the huge success of last year's screening of Death on the Nile, when more than 400 people enjoyed this all-

star classic, Peter Ustinov is back as Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. This year there will be a screening of the follow-up movie, Evil Under the Sun, against the spectacular backdrop of Oldway Mansion in Paignton.

Seating is on the croquet lawn, so bring along a rug or chairs and wrap up warm. Refreshments will also be available from the Oldway Mansion tearoom, or you can bring a picnic and something refreshing to drink. The all-star cast includes James Mason, Maggie Smith, Jane Birkin, Roddy McDowall and Diana Rigg, and the soundtrack was composed by Cole Porter. For more information visit www.englishriviera.co.uk and click on the Agatha Christie Festival link.

A Week of Agatha Christie Films

One of the world's smallest cinemas, the 24-seat Blue Walnut Caf in Chelston, will be screening a series of Agatha Christie films throughout the week. Fans will be able to enjoy 'Agatha Christie - A Life in Pictures' every afternoon (with lunches also available), while evening screenings of classic films will also take place throughout the week, with dinner from 6pm and film screenings at 7.30pm. For further details

of the films being screened, e-mail info@bluewalnut.com or call them on 01803 605995.

Murder Mystery Dinner

Try to solve a grisly whodunnit while enjoying a sumptuous three-course dinner. The Murder Made To Measure theatre group will bring out the inner Poirot in you, as you solve the clues to find the murderer. There are prizes for the most diligent detectives and plenty of audience participation throughout the evening. Tickets cost 25. For more information visit www.englishriviera.co.uk.

Period Tea Dance

At the annual tea dance, held in the opulent setting of Oldway Mansion Ballroom, you can dance on the very same floor where Isadora Duncan once performed and Agatha Christie herself enjoyed a waltz. The period sounds will be provided by the High Society Band, and cream teas will be served. Period costume is encouraged. Tickets cost just 7.50 and are available from Torbay Libraries.

The World of Agatha Christie

An exclusive audience will be able to enjoy an evening with Agatha Christie's grandson, Matthew Prichard, at Torquay Museum. Mr Prichard will talk about the life and times of his grandmother, with a wine reception preceding the talk. You will also be able to enjoy a visit to the Agatha Christie Gallery and what is a fascinating exhibition about her life on the English Riviera. Tickets are available from Torquay Museum on 01803 293975.

Greenway by River and Sea

Greenway Estate, the former home of Agatha Christie, now owned by the National Trust, is a 'must see' for any Agatha Christie fan. Riviera Belle will be operating a series of special cruises to the estate throughout the week, either from Torquay and Brixham up the Dart, or from Totnes downstream. Two special cruises have also been planned, one to include high tea and a guided walk around the estate and a second with a cream tea and a special talk from local historian, author and geographer John Risdon. Visit www.englishriviera.co.uk and click on the Agatha Christie Festival link for more information.

Torbay Reads

In September, Torbay will become one big book club and anyone can join. A free copy of Agatha Christie's The Detectives - a collection of short stories starring her most famous sleuths - can be picked up from various locations across the Bay. You can add your thoughts about the book, or any of Christie's other works, to an online Torbay Reads page at www.torbay.gov/libraries, which will also detail the book locations, and there will be free guides about her life and work available from libraries across the Bay. The initiative is supported by Agatha Christie Limited and organised by Torbay Library Services.

MATTHEW NEWBURY

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