James Simpson

Thursday December 7th 2017 7.30pm, St John's Chapel, Chichester, PO19 1UR.


Enjoy a delightful mix of seasonal words and music with actor/singing star Gareth Williams, poet James Simpson, actress Emily Rose Smith, the evergreen Jazz Smugglers band and free mince pies!

 Held in the atmospheric setting of grade 1 listed St John’s Chapel, the Festive Jazz Café is a great way to kick off the run-in to Christmas with mellow jazz classics and entertaining readings. Expect Gershwin, Cole Porter and all your favourite tunes, plus entertaining and inspiring readings.

 Gareth Williams had a number one million-selling smash hit with the Flying Pickets with Only You. His latest film, Peterloo, directed by Mike Leigh, is scheduled for next year. TV/Stage roles include Guys and Dolls, My Fair Lady, Eastenders and Murder in the Cathedral at Chichester.                                                                                        

Sussex poet James Simpson will be reading some of his recent inspiring poetry.  James is a Jerwood/Arvon Award Winner who has collaborated with the artist Carolyn Trant on two collections, Hunting the Wren and The Untenanted Room.  Performing alongside Gareth and James is Emily Rose Smith, whose credits include Goblin Market for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sydmonton festival, Canaries Sometimes Sing (London and Antibes), Dr Faustus with Sam West and Chekhov in the Festival of Chichester.

 A Festival of Chichester charity gala in support of the 2018 Festival.

 Tickets: £12; £10 (students) from the Novium, 01243 775888/816525


Scroll down for details of Open Mic Poetry at New Park Centre.



















Acclaimed poet Frieda Hughes, and the Jamie Leeming Trio with Emily Dankworth, entertain and inspire. Frieda will read from her brilliant collection of poems and paintings, Alternative Values. Enjoy a delightful mix of words and music with complimentary home-made cake in the splendid setting of grade 1 listed Ede’s House. Part of the Festival of Chichester.

 Tickets £15 from the Novium/TIC, Tower Street, Chichester, 01243 816525, or

Part of the South Downs Poetry Festival








We're all set for another great season of poetry with top guest poets and an open mic session for local and visiting writers.

Open Mic Poetry welcomes poets writing in any style and on any subject. All welcome. Listeners equally welcome.
We meet on the last Wednesday of most months - January, February, April, May, September, October and November - at New Park Centre, Chichester. 7.30pm. Sign up on the door to read.

We also offer A Celebration of Poetry with live music and a headline guest poet on National Poetry Day each October and in March.

Plus each June we run a spectacular Poetry & Jazz Café as part of the Festival of Chichester in Edes House, with a top name from the world of poetry and live jazz from brilliant musicians. Plus free cake!

Events autumn 2017 - Summer 2018

Wednesday 27 September 7.30pm, Open Mic Poetry at New Park Centre with poet Emma-Jane Hughes reading from her new collection, The Mechanics of Love. Emma teaches English/Creative Writing at Chichester University and Chichester College.  Open mic.

Thursday 5 October  7.30pm, A Celebration of Poetry on National Poetry Day at Chichester library, with Jeremy Page reading from his collection Closing Time. With Linda Kelsall-Barnett on classical guitar. Complimentary wine. Open mic. Tickets from library, 01243 777351.

Wednesday 25 October 7.30pm, Open Mic Poetry at New Park Centre with rising star Jessica Mookherjee reading from her collection The Swell plus new poems. Praised by Gillian Clarke amongst others. Open Mic.

Wednesday 29 November 7.30pm, Open Mic Poetry at New Park Centre. Special double-header with Alan Morrison reading from The Tan Raptures and Kevin Saving reading from A Want of Absence. Plus open mic.

Thursday 7 December 7.30pm, The Festive Jazz Cafe at St John's Chapel, St John's Street. Seasonal words and music with celebrity reader, poet James Simpson, actor Emily Rose Smith and the evergreen Jazz Smugglers Band. Free mince pies. Tickets £12 (students £10) from Novium, 01243 775888, office



2016-2017 events - historical listing.

Wednesday 26 October  7.30pm, Open Mic Poetry at New Park Centre with Rosie Jackson reading from her latest collection, The Light Box. Open mic.

Wednesday 30 November 7.30pm, Open Mic Poetry at New Park Centre with Irish poet C.L. Dallat reading from The Year of Not Dancing. Open mic.

Thursday 8 December 7.30pm The Festive Jazz Café at St John’s Chapel, St John’s Street, Chichester, PO19 1UR. With star of film/TV/stage Michael Jayston, actor Emily Rose Smith,  admired Sussex poet Hugh Dunkerley and the fabulous Jazz Smugglers Band.

Wednesday 25 January 7.30pm Open Mic Poetry at New Park Centre with Chichester poet Melanie Penycate reading new poetry. Open mic.

Wednesday 22 February 7.30pm Open Mic Poetry at New Park Centre with Charlotte Gann launching her new collection, Noir. Open mic.

 Thursday 23 March 7.30pm A Celebration of Poetry at Chichester Library. Distinguished poets John Greening and Penelope Shuttle read from their new joint collection, Heath. Plus live music from classical guitarist Linda Kelsall-Barnett, open mic section and complimentary glass of wine. Tickets £5 (includes wine) from Chichester Library, tel. 01243 777351

 Thursday 4 May 7.30pm Open Mic Poetry at New Park Centre. Acclaimed Irish satirical poet Kevin Higgins reads from Song of Songs 2.0 - New and Selected Poems. Launching in February in Washington DC and reprised in Chichester. Plus open mic. Don’t miss!

 Wednesday 31 May 7.30pm Open Mic Poetry at New Park Centre. Admired poet Susan Utting returns with her new collection, Half the Human Race. Plus open mic.

 Thursday 29 June 7.30pm The Poetry & Jazz Café at Edes House, part of the Festival of Chichester. Frieda Hughes reads from her brilliant poetry and paintings book, Alternative Values. Live jazz from Jamie Leeming Trio with star vocalist Emily Dankworth. Plus supporting poets and Complimentary Cake. Tickets £15 from the Novium/TIC, Tower Street, tel. 01243 775888

Tuesday 11 July 6.30pm Paintings & Poems at Chichester Cathedral as part of the Festival of Chichester and the South Downs Poetry Festival. John Haynes, Stephanie Norgate, Barry Smith and Sam Meekings are guest poets. Paintings by Frieda Hughes - a major exhibition of 400 Days and Alternative Values. Plus live classical guitar from Linda Kelsall-Barnett. Tickets £6 from the Novium/TIC, Tower Street, tel. 01243 816525 or









Acclaimed poet Don Paterson will make a welcome return visit to the Festival of Chichester to headline at the Poetry & Jazz Cafe at Edes House, West Street, Chichester on Thursday, 30th June, 2016. Starts 7.30pm.

Don will read from his brilliant new collection Forty Sonnets as well as revisiting some old favourites. The evening will also feature exciting live jazz, Sussex poets with new work and a cafe/bar serving complimentary homemade cake. Advance booking recommended.

Tickets (available from April) from Cloisters Shop, Chichester Cathedral, telephone 01243 813595 or visit 

Photograph  by Caroline Forbes.

Hear great poets in action. Matthew Sweeney reads his latest work on National Poetry Day.


 2015 – 2016 PROGRAMME

Guest poets launch each session, followed by an

open mic. Listeners equally welcome.  Refreshments.  Starts 7.30pm.


Thurs Oct 8     Matthew Sweeney       Chichester library

-         Acclaimed Irish poet celebrates National Poetry Day

Wed Oct 28th  Alan Morrison            New Park Centre

    -   Alan reads from new book Shadows Waltz Haltingly

Wed Nov 25th  Anne-Marie Fyfe     New Park Centre

-         Reads from new collection House of Small Absences

Thurs Dec 10th    Festive Jazz Cafe      St John’s Chapel

-         Seasonal special with Jazz Smugglers, Christopher Timothy, guest poet Stephanie Norgate and complimentary mince pies. Tickets from Cloisters Shop, Cathedral, 01243 813595 or         


Wed Jan 27th   Denise Bennett              New Park Centre

-         Denise reads from new collection, Parachute Silk

Wed Feb 24th   John Davies                 New Park Centre

-         Poems from the amazing ‘Shedman’. Don’t miss!

Thurs March 17th David Pollard            Chichester library

-          David presents a poetical and visual encounter with Self-Portraits

Wed April 27th Steven O'Brien              New Park Centre

-         Steve reads his latest poems and from his back catalogue

Wed May 25th Audi Maserati and Camilla Lambert  New Park Centre

-       performance poet and professor of zany poetics Audi entertains