Hay Castle Events

As well as tours and exhibitions, we hold a variety of events here at Hay Castle. You can see upcoming events and buy tickets below. For our past events listings please click here.

Everlasting dried flower crown workshop

With Lisa from Down by the River

Venue: Hay Castle Clore Learning Space
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Join Lisa from Down by the River to create a beautiful everlasting dried flower crown during Hay festival! Together we will gather and create our own unique crowns with a range of stunning naturally dried flowers, learning the floristry techniques required to create a long lasting arrangement which can be enjoyed during the festival and as a memento for years to come.

All materials provided. No experience necessary

Afternoon Workshop 2pm - 5pm (timing may vary according to how everyone is doing on the day)


Flower Crown Workshop 2
£60.00
Everlasting dried flower crown workshop

Historical Fiction Writing Workshop

With Bestselling author Barbara Erskine

Venue: Hay Castle Clore Learning Space
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Join bestselling author Barbara Erskine - The Lady of Hay - to learn about researching a historical novel in our one day writing workshop.

There is much fascination and surprise to be found in historical research. Whether you are an established writer of historical fiction, a beginner or just a lover of history, the subject is addictive and rewarding.

Barbara will share her own experiences of what she has learned and failed to learn over her years of writing history-based novels and encourage an informal discussion about the intricacies and pitfalls involved; the excitement and danger of diving down rabbit holes; the best ways of channelling a passion for meeting the real or imagined inhabitants of the past: when to take short cuts and when that can spell disaster; how to pull up messages from hoofbeats and gas lamps and stones; the fine line between fiction and biography ; whether it’s better to use books or on-line sources and much more.

And maybe there will be talk of ghosts . . .

PAY WHAT YOU CAN

We would like our events to be as accessible as possible while also making sure that we cover costs and are starting to introduce 'pay what you can' tickets.

We have tickets available at £75 (reduced rate), £100 (actual cost), and £125 (pay it forward).

Consider contributing more on the scale if you:have the ability to comfortably meet all of your basic needs

  • have investments, retirement accounts, or inherited money
  • travel recreationally
  • own the home you live in
  • have a relatively high degree of earning power due to level of education (or gender and racial privilege, class background, etc.)

Consider contributing less on the scale if you:

  • have difficulty covering basic expenses
  • are supporting children or have other dependents
  • are an elder with limited financial support
  • have unstable housing and/or limited access to reliable transportation

If you select an amount at the higher end of the scale, you will make possible future events and activities and support our volunteers who are generously contributing time. Thank you!

Adult
Historical Fiction Writing Workshop
£100.00
Historical Fiction Writing Workshop (unwaged)
£75.00
Sold out

Indian-style Embroidery Workshop

One day workshop with Susan Smith

Venue: Hay Castle Clore Learning Space
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In this workshop you will have the opportunity to learn how to do the following:

Form a range of hand embroidery stitches

Apply fabrics together using fusible webbing

Attach beads and sequins in embroidery

Make simple cords and tassels

Stitch shisha (traditional Indian mirror-work)

Attendees will need basic sewing skills and embroidery kit with needles etc. Sequins, mirrors and other materials will be provided.

Adult
Indian Style Embroidery Workshop
£85.00

Basket Weaving Workshop

One Day Workshop with Helen Munday

Venue: Hay Castle Clore Learning Space
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Come and make a foraging basket which you can use to collect fruit, vegetables or flowers.

This workshop runs all day with breaks for tea and coffee and lunch.
Please feel free to bring a packed lunch or have lunch in our cafe.

All materials provided.

Basket Weaving Workshop
£85.00

Tom Marshman - Section 28 and Me

Tea Party with a difference

Venue: Great Hall
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Section 28 and Me Wales

Tom Marshman is working to gather communities to explore the impact of Section 28 legislation introduced by Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government. By hosting a series of tea parties to discuss the impact of Section 28 on the queer community in Wales.

Tom wonders if growing up within the decade in which queer life was silenced has made him a bit of a show off, compelled to share queer or LGBTQI+ stories? He has observed many other peoples strong reactions to this legislation. Emotions are running high, particularly at this dangerous moment when a repeat of similar legislation is possible, returning to the silencing of queerness in the UK.

The tea parties are a place for communities to meet and share their stories over tea and cake. You could have lived through this time or be curious to know more, everyone is welcome. Tom is collaborating with Welsh artists to present short performances connected to the topic to provoke conversation, these presentations will provide starting points for discussion.

This event is part of our April Ashley season and is produced in partnership with Hay Pride.




We are running Pay-What-You-Can ticketing with tickets at £3 / £5 or £8


Section 28 Tea - £3
£3.00
Section 28 Tea - £5
£5.00
Section 28 Tea - £8
£8.00
Tom Marshman - Section 28 and Me

Bindarella - "a back alley myth, upcycled and retold"

Ragged Storytelling Collective Presents

Venue: Great Hall
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Trespassing onto a stage near you…

A baby cries in a bin at night - as a Faceless Man carves land for profit; a tall tower rises - as the World Tree shakes; and the fate of the earth hangs upon a single silken spider's thread.

Binderella is a tale for our times, the wild birth-myth of an Anti-Goddess who challenges the forces of greed and despair that seek to steal our future from us. This anarchistic wonder story peeks through the cracks in our society, fusing an environmental rallying cry with an uplifting call for compassion and courage in this age of crisis.

In this debut performance The Ragged Storytelling Collective; Kestrel, Heulwen and Hazel, weave their unique patchwork vision, stitching the raw energy of punk storytelling with a haunting thread of Welsh folk melody and song in this fiercely modern epic.

Originally developed through Beyond the Border Storytelling Festival's New Voices scheme in 2021 and made possible through investment from Arts Council Wales National lottery Funding. With creative support from internationally acclaimed storyteller Daniel Morden, and leading Welsh folk musician Oliver Wilson-Dickson, this show will leave you spellbound.

Kestrel is a dynamic and passionate performer with a unique vision. Binderella is a compelling mash-up of memoir, myth and the Matrix. A must-see! -Daniel Morden

“A back-alley fairytale, scavenged, upcycled and retold!”

“I defy anyone not to enjoy this show!”

-1 hour 30 minutes Storytelling and Music

This production is produced with the help of the Arts Council and NightOut.


Night Out
Adult
£10.00
Concession (student/unwaged)
£8.00

Barbara Erskine in conversation with Mari Fforde

The Story Spinner

Venue: Hay Castle Clore Learning Space
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Barbara Erskine is the author of sixteen bestselling novels and three collections of short stories that demonstrate her interest in both history and the supernatural. Lady of Hay, her first novel, has sold millions of copies worldwide.

Her forthcoming novel The Story Spinner is a time-slip set in the heart of the Welsh countryside. The reader meets poet and would-be novelist Cadi Jones as she researches her latest project – the story of a Welsh queen who has been lost to the pages of time. As Cadi writes, she stumbles across an undiscovered chapter of history. This takes the reader to Roman Britain, Arthur’s Legend and even the Holy Grail as Cadi finds herself fighting for everything she holds dear, even her own life. The novel will be released on 1st August 2024.

Barbara will be in conversation with Mari Fforde, Learning and Activities Manager at Hay Castle.

This event will give exclusive early insight into Barbara's next novel - The Story Spinner
photo by Chris Norton
Price: £10.00
Barbara Erskine in conversation with Mari Fforde

Jewellery and Antiques Evaluation Day

with Kate Bliss

Venue: Hay Castle Clore Learning Space
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Kate Bliss, a regular face on BBC antiques programmes and an independent jewellery and fine art valuer is hosting a free ‘drop-in’ Valuation Day for jewellery and silver as well as other antiques and contemporary fine art.

Have you recently inherited items you know nothing about? Do you have jewellery you never wear? Kate offers a unique opportunity to find out more about your valuables including their potential value.

A Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain, Kate has over 20 years experience valuing single items to unique collections and whole house contents. Whether it’s the right time to realise some assets or simply de-clutter, Kate will provide you with a verbal consultation and arrange items for sale if suitable.

Drop-in for a free valuation in the Clore Learning Space 10am to 4pm, Sat 13th July.

FREE EVENT
Jewellery and Antiques Evaluation Day

Kids Summer Holiday Make & Take 31st July 10:30am

Come and get crafty in our Learning Space

Venue: Hay Castle Clore Learning Space
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The theme this summer is WHO AM I?

These drop in sessions are designed for kids to come and get creative in our Clore Learning Space and explore who they are through different art forms.

We have coloured pens, glue, tissue paper, paints, stamps and other crafty stuff.

Sessions cost £5 per child and children must be accompanied at all times
Kids Make & Take 31st July 10:30am
£5.00
Kids Summer Holiday Make & Take 31st July 10:30am

Kids Summer Holiday Make & Take 31st July 1pm

Come and get crafty in our Learning Space

Venue: Hay Castle Clore Learning Space
Read more
The theme this summer is WHO AM I?

These drop in sessions are designed for kids to come and get creative in our Clore Learning Space and explore who they are through different art forms.

We have coloured pens, glue, tissue paper, paints, stamps and other crafty stuff.

Sessions cost £5 per child and children must be accompanied at all times
Kids Make & Take 31st July 1pm
£5.00
Kids Summer Holiday Make & Take 31st July 1pm

Illustrated talk by Phil Cope - The Oldest Music

Celebrating poetry inspired by our sacred springs and holy wells

Venue: Hay Castle Clore Learning Space
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Following writer and photographer Phil Cope's last packed-out visit to Hay with his illustrated introduction to the living wells of Wales, he is now returning to introduce his latest wellspring publication, The Oldest Music / Y Gerddoriaeth Hynaf / An Ceoil is Sine.

This book celebrates the poetry inspired by Welsh and Irish sacrecd spring and holy well sites, and their often incredible tales. The poems in The Oldest Music range between our earliest-known works by Gwynfardd Brycheiniog [born c.1170], Lewys Glyn Cothi [c.1420-90] and Ieuan ap Rhydderch [c.1430-1470], as well as contemporary responses by Angela Graham, Tony Curtis, Seamus Heaney, Dafydd Williams, Cathal Searcaigh, Julian Cason, WB Yeats, Phil Carradice and Phil Cope, himself.

"Poetry is one of the most powerful tools we have for the expression of our feelings. and the wellsprings of both Ireland and Wales have from earliest times inspired, confused and angered our writers".
(from the book's Introduction)

Phil Cope's "evocative photographs of wells in Wexford and Pembrokeshire are little works of art in themselves / the sort of beautiful object you might well turn into an offering, a gift of thanks for helping you see things better, to understand the world a little more clearly".
(from Jon Gower's Western Mail review)


The Oldest Music is the first in a series of five small trilingual volumes linking Wales with Ireland through the responses of our painters, printer-makers, story-tellers, poets and photographers (as part of the Ancient Connections Project). It is published in Wales by Parthian.
Phil Cope Talk The Oldest Music
£10.00

Twelfth Night Outdoor Production

Willow Globe Theatre Company

Venue: Hay Castle Lawn
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Twelfth Night - one of Shakespeare’s best loved plays and sunniest comedies. Twelfth Night is full of music, merriment, misconceptions and madness - set in fairytale Illyria, a ship is wrecked but love is in the air….


Sunday 18th August 5pm.


On the Castle lawn

Bring your own picnic and seating.

Adults £15
Under 16’s £7.50
Family (2 adults/2 kids) £37.50

Twelfth Night Adult
£15.00
Twelfth Night Under 16s
£7.50
Twelfth Night Family Ticket (2 adult 2 kids)
£37.50
Twelfth Night Outdoor Production

The Secret Diary of Henry VIII at Hay Castle

Outdoor production by Three Inch Fools

Venue: Hay Castle Lawn
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The Three Inch Fools present an essential guide on how to keep your head in the Tudor Court. Unexpectedly thrust into the limelight, young Henry navigates the ups and downs of courtly life, and all whilst fighting the French (again) and re-writing religion. The Fools hit the road with this brand new comedy - a mad-capped take on Britain’s most epic monarch, and those infamous wives.

On Sunday 1st September, join us at Hay Castle in Hay-on-Wye. Bring your own cushions, and camping-chairs and join us on our outdoor adventure. Come prepared for the weather - the performance will continue come rain come shine!

This performance is an outdoor performance. We recommend that you bring blankets/chairs/cushions etc. to sit on. Come prepared for the weather with warm coats and waterproofs etc, as the performance will continue come rain come shine! We ask that you don’t bring umbrellas as these can obscure the view for other people in the audience. 7pm start time, picnics welcome from 6pm. The performance will last approximately 100 minutes (+ a 20 minute interval).

We recommend booking tickets for this performance online in advance. For further information about this performance please email boxoffice@threeinchfools.com.

The Secret Diary of Henry VIII at Hay Castle

Talk by author Ann O'Brien

Bringing Medieval Women to Life – Treason and Betrayal in the Mortimer Household in A Court of Betrayal

Venue: Hay Castle Clore Learning Space
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Sunday Times bestselling author Anne O'Brien was born in West Yorkshire. After a BA Honours degree in History at Manchester University and a Master's in Education at Hull, she lived in East Yorkshire as a teacher of history. Today she has sold over a million copies of her books in the UK and internationally. She lives with her husband in an eighteenth-century timber-framed cottage in the depths of the Welsh Marches in Herefordshire. The area provides endless inspiration for her novels about the forgotten women of medieval history.

Why write about medieval women? What is so special about Joan de Geneville?

Medieval women are for the most part invisible other than as wives, sisters and daughters of the men who rode out to war and manipulated power in their own interests. History was invariably written by men who had little interest in the role of women. But surely some of them, intelligent, well-informed and generally clever women, were involved and played a major role in their family history, and even in royal Court intrigue. These are the jewels of history waiting to be discovered and used in historical fiction. They deserve to be brought onto centre stage.

Why Joan de Geneville? The Mortimer family dominated the Welsh Marches in the Middle Ages, with their widespread ambitions, the often tragic consequences of their political choices, and their important marriage alliances. Joan de Geneville was the wealthy heiress wife of the notorious Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March. A woman of courage, of resilience, she was also a woman imprisoned and betrayed. Could she survive the taint of treachery, for herself and for her children? A Court of Betrayal is her story.


Price: £10.00

Talk by Peter Ford on the people of Hay Castle

Who Lived in Hay Castle?

Venue: Hay Castle Clore Learning Space
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Hay Castle and its mansion have bee in the town for nearly 1000 years. What do we know about the people who lived there? Peter Ford will explore some of the following inhabitants:


  • The Norman baron.
  • The lady who entertained the Duke of Beaufort.
  • The Sheriff of Breconshire who sold the castle to his son for £5.
  • The mercer whose descendants were all called Richard or Henry.
  • The vicar who turned down promotion to continue to stay in the castle.
  • The dowager lady whose granddaughter lived to be 111 years old.
  • The fisherman.
  • The fairground operator.
Price: £10.00