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Holmes Fest 2024
5 February, 2024

Holmes Fest 2024

The Conan Doyle Estate are proud to be supporting Holmes Fest 2024. An evening of fun, sketches, poetry and song celebrating the life and times of Arthur Conan Doyle in Portsmouth, and his greatest creation Sherlock Holmes will run on 18th February at the Square Tower, Old Portsmouth.

Holmes Fest 2024 will feature stories and sketches specially penned in homage to Doyle, along with Victorian music hall songs from an all-star line-up of local performers. The audience are invited to join in, too, with a prize for The Best Dressed Victorian!

Holmes Fest is the idea of author and historian Matt Wingett, whose book Southsea Stories and Beyond gathered together all of Conan Doyle’s uncollected stories, including those he wrote in Southsea at the beginning of his writing career.

"Conan Doyle’s time in Portsmouth was life changing for him,” says Matt. “Lucie Worsley’s recent tv series Killing Sherlock really showed how central Portsmouth was to his creation of his famous detective, Sherlock Holmes. That’s why I’ve decided to celebrate his life in Southsea.”

In fact, his first Sherlock Holmes novel, A Study In Scarlet was written in just 6 weeks in Portsmouth in 1886 – and his next Holmes novel The Sign of Four followed in 1890, also while he was living in Southsea.

Acting Legend

Acting legend Mark Wingett (pictured) will join the line-up of Holmes Fest 2024. Mark spent his school years in Cowplain and Horndean, and as the son of a Royal Navy officer was always in Portsmouth. He has maintained links with the city ever since, visiting his parents in Horndean and often visiting Portsmouth for diving expeditions. Mark’s big chance came when he was cast to play Dave in the cult movie Quadrophenia, and spent 25 years playing Jim Carver in ITV’s police show The Bill. This year, Mark’s brother Matt, the show’s organiser, asked Mark if he’d like to appear in Holmes Fest. 

“Of course I said yes,” says Mark. “It’s great to be back in the town, and this show at the Square Tower should be great fun,” he adds. As for his appearance, he says: “I can’t tell you what I’m doing yet, as it will be a surprise.”

The evening will feature other locally-produced talents, including Jonathan Fost as Sherlock Holmes, Nick Downes, Vin Adams and David Penrose performing a comedy radio play, local author Christine Lawrence as Mrs Hudson, while poet Jackson Davies will perform his specially penned poem “The Fresh Prince of Bohemia”. Actress and singer Nathalie Gunn will also perform a monologue and The Gosport Steampunk Society will present their melodrama about the last deadly duel in England. Music will be added by Hudson and LeStrade performing music hall hits of the day, plus the Holmes Fest anthem – Hurrah for Arthur Conan Doyle.

Holmes Fest 2024 is part of Portsmouth Bookfest and will be held at The Square Tower, Old Portsmouth on Sunday 18th February, doors open from 7.00pm. Light refreshments will also be available.

Tickets can be purchased HERE

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