Victoriana and music hall songs for Conan Doyle

Holmes Fest 2017 will mark Arthur Conan Doyles arrival in Portsmouth
Holmes Fest 2017 will mark Arthur Conan Doyles arrival in Portsmouth

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WRITERS and artists are to celebrate the arrival of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in Portsmouth 135 years ago this June – with a night of story and song.

Holmes Fest 2017 will feature stories especially penned in homage to the Sherlock Holmes author, as well as Victorian music hall songs from a line-up of local authors and performers.

And the audience is invited to get into the spirit of the time, with a prize for the best dressed Victorian.

The event is the idea of author and local historian Matt Wingett, whose book Conan Doyle and the Mysterious World of Light, examines the author’s life in Southsea.

It was there that he invented his most famous character, Holmes, in the same year as converting to Spiritualism.

‘Conan Doyle gained so much from his life in Portsmouth’, said Matt.

‘He was full of unstoppable energy and played in goal for Portsmouth Association Football Club, played cricket with the gentlemen of the town and bowls with the lord mayor.

‘And in between seeing patients at his surgery in Elm Grove he began writing short stories and novels.

‘It was while he was in Portsmouth that the idea for a brilliant detective came to him, and in 1887 the first Sherlock Holmes novel – A Study In Scarlet – was published.

‘Holmes Fest 2017 won’t only celebrate Sherlock Holmes, but many aspects of Conan Doyle’s life, Victoriana, Portsmouth, detective fiction and more besides.

‘Internationally-published authors and playwrights will perform their stories, while local musicians and singers will add to the Victorian flavour with music hall songs.’

Members of the Gosport Steampunk Society will also be on hand to give lessons in Victorian duelling and projected film footage will enhance the performances.

Holmes Fest 2017 will be held at The Square Tower, Old Portsmouth on June 28. Doors at 6.30pm. Refreshments will also be available. Tickets cost £7.50 and are available from wegottickets.com/event/401304.