Dotti Irving head shot in gray-scale

I think we’re terribly lucky here in the culture team at Four, in that what we do is fun. Sure, it’s hard work, not helped by the current COVID restrictions, but we work on such a rich mix of cultural projects – exhibitions, prizes, festivals, book launches, visual arts projects – and with such inspirational and creative people that what may look like work, is actually really enjoyable.

That came home to me particularly this month, working with the team on launching Simon Berry’s first ever audio play, The Dame and the Showgirl. Simon is an old friend and it’s a delight to see him at long last, fulfilling his life-long ambition of becoming a playwright. Laura tells you the full story – and I hope that it inspires any of you who are thinking of dreaded ‘retirement’ to think again….

In other activity we’ve been gearing up for the launch of Coventry as the 2021 UK City of Culture and building a terrific head of steam for the 2021 International Booker Prize, which announced its shortlist last week. We’re thrilled to have been able to tie in with the Royal Shakespeare Company on commissioning actors to read from the six books – you’ll hear more about that from Truda. The 2021 winner will be announced from Coventry Cathedral on Wednesday 2 June.

This month marked the tenth anniversary of the opening of the Turner Contemporary in Margate.  Turner Contemporary is a brilliant example of successful place-making. Since its opening in 2011, the gallery has welcomed almost 3.6 million visits and put £70 million back into the Kent economy. Titilope gives you the full story inside. Harriet tells you about our work with Jerwood Art Fund Makers Open 2021, who this month announced the six Jerwood Art Fund Makers Open 2021 awardees who have been selected from over 500 applicants.

Another date for your cultural diary is 22 May, the launch of Estuary 2021. This large-scale arts festival has been curated in response to the spectacular Thames Estuary and the lives, landscapes and histories found there. It’s already getting lots of very positive write-ups so do visit the website and plan your visit….

That’s it from me this month.  I hope you’ve enjoyed all our news and look forward to sharing more with you next month.

All best,



Read more about Coventry City of Culture here

Read more about International Booker here

Read more about Estuary 2021 here

Read more about Turner Contemporary here

Read more about Jerwood Arts here

Read more about the Dame and the Showgirl here