Star-studded celebration of protest and politics to arrive in Sheffield

Ed Miliband and Geoff Lloyd.
Ed Miliband and Geoff Lloyd.

One of the UK’s largest festivals of protest and debate will return to Sheffield next month - bringing major figures from the world of politics to the Steel City for the fourth year in a row.

Festival of Debate 2018 will see ex-Labour leader Ed Miliband, Greek economist Yanis Varoufakis and Bake-Off runner-up Ruby Tandoh speak at events across the city.

Ruby Tandoh.

Ruby Tandoh.

It will also feature a performance of Trump! The Musical! and a closing party marking 100 years of women’s suffrage with activist Helen Pankhurst and poet Hollie McNish.

In all, 75 events will take place across the festival with 10,000 tickets on sale in what organisers say will be their biggest programme yet.

Festival organiser, Joe Kriss, said: “Sheffield has a long history of being a city of debate and new ideas.

“Sheffield’s original newspapers the Sheffield Iris and The Sheffield Register were a hotbed of political activism and radical historical figures such as John Ruskin and Edward Carpenter found many a sympathetic ear across the city.

Yanis Varoufakis.

Yanis Varoufakis.

“The festival builds on this history by offering a huge range of speakers, debates, exhibitions and performances all designed to explore the key political, economic and social issues of the day.”

Festival of Debate began just before the 2015 general election with the aim of encouraging engagement with the key issues facing the UK before it went to the polls.

The first year was so successful that it became an annual fixture.

As well as the stars of the political world, the festival is also run in collaboration with a whole range of community and grassroots organisations across the city.

Sheffield Save Our NHS are running an event offering local people a chance to share their thoughts, memories, hopes and fears for our national health system and the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign are holding a talk about why the miners’ strike still matters today, aimed at younger people who might not have experience of the original events.

Festival founder, James Lock, said: “Our chance for a better world comes from facing issues head on, learning new points of view, making the effort to listen and being empathetic with one another.

“We believe this is everyone’s responsibility and hope that this year’s Festival programme goes some way to furthering that ideal.”

Festival of Debate opens on Wednesday, April 18 and runs until Friday, June 29. For the full Festival line-up and ticket information, see www.festivalofdebate.com.