2023 Festival Event

Tom Courtenay

Tom Courtenay in conversation with Michael Billington

Sir Tom Courtenay is one of Britain’s most illustrious actors.  His career spans five decades of award-winning stage, film and television performances.  He meets leading theatre critic Michael Billington, to discuss his early career including his iconic role in The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962).  Regarded as one of the top British films ever made, it tells a story of rebellious youth and class consciousness.

Tom starred in a string of successful films such as Doctor Zhivago (1965) The Dresser (1983) and 45 Years (2015) but claims his main love is theatre.  His memoir Dear Tom: Letters from Home – is a collection of letters between Tom and his mother which captures his time as a struggling young actor in the heyday of the swinging sixties.  His recent work includes The King of Thieves (2018) and The Railway Children Return (2022). 

Tom Courtenay - Dear Tom

Michael Billington is a specialist writer on theatre.  He was the chief theatre critic for The Guardian for almost thirty years and has written more than 10,000 reviews.  He is the author of State of the Nation: British Theatre Since 1945, awarded the Theatre Book Prize.

Michael Billington

Other events

Top features writer Ysenda Maxtone Graham and bestselling author of the Emmy Lake Chronicles, AJ Pearce, meet for a witty and thoughtful discussion about the ever-changing world of women at work and ‘Jobs for the Girls’.
Oliver Soden joins the actress Patricia Hodge, to discuss the life and work of Noël Coward. A deeply complex man, Coward was endlessly talented but notoriously prickly and contradictory.
Leo McKinstry and Joshua Levine debate the heroes of World War II – from forgotten pilots of the maritime wing of the RAF to the world-famous SAS, pioneering risk-takers of a radically new form of warfare.
Simon talks about his research into one of the most unsettling times in Britain, the interwar years of 1919 – 1939, an era marked by political upheaval, monarchical crisis, deep social division and change.
Anne Glenconner discusses her astonishing life of stark contrasts, joy and loss, in conversation with the indefatigable broadcaster and author, Gyles Brandreth.
As a physicist and oceanographer, Helen gives a fascinating insight into the powerful and dynamic force of the ocean, its vast power and how it impacts the natural world and society. As a world class British sailor, Tracy Edwards brings a different perspective.
Sir Anthony Seldon and Sonia Purnell have both written intriguing accounts about Boris Johnson, they discuss the Johnson years, his life, ambition and time in power at No. 10.