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Fringe events around the Birthday Celebrations

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What else is on over the Agatha Christie birthday week?

The main events will take place on Thursday 15th September at Torre Abbey in Torquay, but if you’re coming for a longer stay in South Devon, here are some of the other Agatha Christie-related events you might enjoy:

Greenway, Agatha Christie’s Holiday Home

Greenway, Christie’s breath-taking holiday home on the banks of the River Dart, is open daily to visitors. From 14th-16th September the property is hosting a number of events, including a Literary Dinner with Dr John Curran, a book signing with Sophie Hannah and a Dead Man’s Folly walk and talk in the grounds – the inspiration for the novel.


Torquay Museum

Agatha Christie’s father Frederick Miller was a patron of the Torquay Natural History Society, and now the museum hosts the UK’s only permanent Agatha Christie gallery with items from the set of ITV’s Poirot, starring David Suchet. On 13th and 14th September the museum will host a lecture with Dr John Curran, and three film showings, including John’s ever-popular Mystery Film Night.

Museum pic

A Murder is Announced

Highly-renowned amateur theatre company TOADS are performing A Murder is Announced between 5th and 17th September. This classic Christie puzzle of mixed motives, concealed identities and red herrings will take place at the Little Theatre, one of the quirkiest theatre venues in South Devon.

Murder on the Nile

Respected amateur theatre company Bijou Theatre Productions are performing Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Nile at the Palace Theatre in Paignton from 12th-15th September. The play is one of Christie’s most iconic thrillers, where tempers flare on a Nile paddleboat.


Exciting future for the International Agatha Christie Festival

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Torbay’s globally-popular International Agatha Christie Festival (IACF) is set to build on the success and growth of its recent celebrations of the Devon-born author’s works, times and legacy, following a successful application to The Charity Commission for it to become a registered charity.

The change of status has been granted in recognition of the festival’s mission to perpetuate the memory of the world’s best-selling crime novelist and most successful woman playwright and expand on its arts, cultural, educational and heritage activities linked to her work and interests.

As part of the new approach, the Board is also going to provide more time for content creation by making the main festival a biennial event from 2017 onwards, complemented by an Agatha Christie Day, featuring a special event on Dame Agatha’s birthday – 15th September – in alternate years.

Mathew Prichard

Announcing the decision, Dame Agatha Christie’s grandson, Mathew Prichard, who chairs the festival’s board of trustees, said:

“Gaining registered charity status is a very positive step in the evolution of an event which now attracts visitors and attention from all around the world and makes an extremely valuable contribution to the reputation, cultural life and economy of an area my grandmother loved lifelong.  

One immediate advantage is that it will allow us to seek different types of funding from a wider range of partners and sources and so introduce more of the original content which proved so popular in 2015. We hope this will result in an even more enticing event for fans worldwide and the fast-growing number of culture and heritage tourists, while also of course benefitting Torbay businesses and people.”

Frances Hughes, Torbay Council’s representative on the Board and its Assistant Director (Community and Customer Services), added:

“Moving the festival to a two-year cycle will give us the scope to research, develop, resource and promote a well-rounded and exciting programme. One of the lessons we learned from the terrific 125th anniversary festivities of last year is that visitors are eager for fresh insights and original presentations and these cannot be produced overnight. But we will, of course, ensure that 15th September continues to be a highlight of the Torbay year.”

The Board – on which Mathew Prichard and Frances Hughes are joined by representatives of Agatha Christie Ltd, HarperCollins publishers, the English Riviera Tourism Company, Francis Clark accountants, and Wollen Michelmore solicitors – is currently planning a special event for the first Agatha Christie Day this September, the details of which will be announced soon.  In addition, the Board is looking to recruit a director to curate the International Agatha Christie Festival 2017.

IACF will also be working closely with Torbay’s new Culture Board to maximise the festival’s contribution to Torbay’s overall cultural tourism offer and increase engagement still further.

Among the Christie developments due to happen between now and the next festival are the publication of a second new Hercule Poirot story, Closed Casket, by Sophie Hannah and Hollywood’s completion of a new film version of Murder On The Orient Express, directed by Sir Kenneth Branagh.