For the second year, the New Statesman is media partner to Latitude, the music and arts festival in Henham Park, Suffolk. Last year the NS hosted events on surveillance and privacy, dystopian fiction and videogames, featuring Jimmy Wales, Meg Rosoff, Laurie Penny, Helen Lewis and Toby Litt. The music bill was headlined by Damon Albarn.
The 2014 festival theme was Secrets and Lies. The NS can exclusively announce that the 2015 theme will be For Richer, For Poorer, For Better, For Worse.
Taking its cue from the traditional marriage vow, Latitude’s literature and arts programming will explore how individuals and communities conduct our public, private, personal and – especially pertinent after May’s election – political relationships.
Tania Harrison, arts programmer for Latitude Festival said:
“Whether it’s clicking ‘yes’ to Google’s terms of service, saying ‘I do’ in a marriage ceremony, or putting an X in a political party’s box at the general election, the agreements we make affect the lives of everyone around us. Yet at the same time, there’s a tension between the world in which we’re told we’re ‘all in this together’ and our society itself, with its growing extremes of rich and poor, social media oversharing and increasingly secretive state security agencies.
“This space between a promise and its fulfillment, participation and exclusion is incredibly rich territory for the people who make art and ideas. We’re working with an array of theatre companies, writers, performers and speakers to bring the theme to life at Latitude.”
Performances and events from organisations such as Forest Fringe, Theatre Uncut, The Roundhouse and Clean Break will look at the marriage between government and the electorate as well as last year’s near-uncoupling of England and Scotland. A new piece by Action Hero called Wrecking Ball “uses Terry Richardson and Miley Cyrus’s collaboration on a music video to examine how the nature of modern celebrity, mediated as it is by online and social media, means that many of us feel we have very intimate relationships with people we’ll never really meet.”
Harrison says the programme promises to address “whether we’re happy staying married to the status quo to, or whether – in the words of many a Facebook profile – it’s complicated”.
The New Statesman will host a satellite event in London in advance of the festival.