Welcome to the Quartz Festival website

The Quartz Festival 2014 will be held at Queen’s College, Taunton from Monday 29th September to Friday 17th October. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the festival, this year's Quartz will be extended by a week to incorporate the Quartz Festival of Dance, which will feature a number of special workshops. 

It is a great honour as Festival Director to be able to put together a special programme to celebrate this anniversary and it is my hope that there will be something for everyone to enjoy.

Last year’s Art Exhibition, expertly and imaginatively curated by Sara Dudman, was widely applauded as one of the most colourful, stimulating and thought-provoking exhibitions held in the south west. This year promises to be even better and will once again feature several ‘artists in residence’. By popular demand, we are delighted to welcome back Red Field Kitchen who will be providing homemade snacks and lunches throughout the Festival in a room adjacent to the Art Exhibition.

This year’s evening events bring together some of the most popular acts of recent years together with some new initiatives. We are delighted to welcome back The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, the travelling Shakespeare company who mesmerised us with As You Like It. This year they will be performing the Shakespeare classic, Romeo and Juliet. We also welcome back the Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers who will be presenting a full performance of their extraordinarily energetic and colourful show; this is not to be missed.

There is a healthy blend of new and established musical talent at this year’s Quartz Festival. For ‘those of a certain age’ we are delighted to host two iconic bands of the 1960s and 1970s, The Acoustic Strawbs and (John Lees’) Barclay James Harvest.  In a new initiative, we will be showcasing new and emerging talent including the Parisian jazz singer Liv Monaghan, Cornish ‘festival star’ Kezia and the promising Warrington band Man and the Echo. A special Student Festival Night will present a double-bill of outstanding emerging artists, Winter Mountain and Sukh. This event is specifically, but not exclusively, aimed at students and we hope that they will support this new venture.

We are delighted to welcome Dame Emma Kirkby, described as being one of the world’s greatest sopranos; this is a huge coup for the Quartz Festival and promises to be a truly unforgettable night. Lucy Parham, a previous winner of the BBC’s Young Musician of the Year, and the well-known actor Henry Goodman will present the life and music of Claude Debussy in a show entitled Reverie.

The Quartz Festival has always promoted comedy acts and this year is no exception. Comedy duo (and time travelling magicians) Morgan and West, will be presenting their much acclaimed Victorian ‘Grand Adventure’. This evening promises to be a riotous night’s comedy and tickets are expected to sell quickly.

A further new initiative is the Quartz Festival of Dance, which will take place in the week after the main Festival making use of the Queen’s College Performing Arts Centre to showcase a range of talent in the form of workshops and performances.

The Quartz Festival was the brainchild of Keith Wheatley and its longevity is the result of the passion and hard work put into the event by Keith and his colleague John Marston. There are many people both inside and outside Queen’s College – including our highly valued sponsors - to whom I owe an enormous debt of gratitude; I know they will continue to work tirelessly to make the Quartz Festival one of the premier arts events in the south west. Please support it so that it may continue to thrive and enrich our local community.


Simon Ross (Festival Director, 2014)


Please email sr@queenscollege.org.uk if you have any general enquiries about the Quartz Festival.

Sara Dudman is our art curator and can be contacted on 

Any schools or large parties wishing to visit the Quartz Festival should contact Jan de Caux on 01823 340880 or  to arrange the most convenient and enjoyable times for groups to visit.