The legendary actor and playwright Steven Berkoff reads from Lord Byron’s classic poem Don Juan. Described as ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’ in his lifetime, we celebrate Byron’s bicentenary in 2024. With music from the Romantic period played by pianist Elena Toponogova, contemporary South Downs poetry and complimentary prosecco.

The South Downs Poetry Festival is delighted to link up with the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association to celebrate the bicentenary of Lord Byron’s death. Admired and reviled in his own time, Byron is now recognised as one of the great Romantic poets.

Who better than the legendary actor and playwright Steven Berkoff to bring Byron’s verse to sizzling life?

Berkoff is the author of a range of acclaimed plays and adaptations including East, West and Decadence as well as versions of Kafka’s Trial and Metamorphosis. Films Steven has acted in include A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, Octopussy, Beverly Hills Cop, Rambo, Under the Cherry Moon, Absolute Beginners and The Krays. He directed and co- starred with Joan Collins in the film version of his play Decadence.

He has published a variety of books on the theatre such as the production journals I am Hamlet, Meditations on Metamorphosis and Coriolanus in Deutschland.

The music includes Harold in Italy by Berlioz, which was inspired By Byron’s poetry. George White will take the viola part with Elena Toponogova on piano.

Elena is a concert pianist and chamber musician based in London. Her main interest is Romantic repertoire with an especial focus on the music of Nikolai Medtner. Elena has been performing as a soloist and chamber musician in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Norway and appeared at the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatoire, Salzburg Wiener Saal, Amaryllis Fleming Hall, V&A Museum, St.Martin-in-the-Fields among many others.

Emily Rose Smith has performed in London and Chichester, acting with Nick Moran in Chekov, Sam West in Dr Faustus and reading with Roger McGough and Louis de Bernieres in Chichester Cathedral.

Tickets £15, students £12.

Organiser: The South Downs Poetry Festival

Event Details
Event Details