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About this year's Festival

"Whatever some hypocritical ministers of government may say about it, power is the greatest of all pleasures. It seems to me that only love can beat it, and love is a happy illness that can't be picked up as easily as a Ministry."
- Stendhal, De l'Amour (1822)



Stendhal knew, and that was 200 years ago. He could have been writing about 2024. Staying with the French (and they've got their own challenges right now), plus ça change. Indeed if you go online and check out the etymology of the word 'power', it's not pretty: c.1300, pouer, "ability; ability to act or do; strength, vigour, might," especially in battle; "efficacy; control, mastery, lordship, dominion, ability or right to command or control; legal power or authority; authorization; military force, an army..." You get the idea. From the Old French (them again) and the Latin, it looks like aggression, control and often violence are central to what people, men (and they usually are, men that is) have done and continue to do to get and retain power.


Can things be different? Are there forms of power that can exert authority and achieve good things without domination? How about culture and its fabled 'soft power'? And we haven't even got started on its other big meaning, meaning energy ...


This year, FlipSide goes head to head with various forms of power, brilliantly assisted by half a dozen wonderful guests from the worlds of performance, music, comedy, biography, place writing and investigative journalism. Whether it's about not taking sides at Sizewell with Will Atkins or taking the mickey out of the government with Rosie Holt, inviting us to intrigue in the Stuart court with Lucy Hughes-Hallett or investigating government betrayals with Amelia Gentleman, you'll find it all at FlipSide, alongside composing for change with Errollyn Wallen and acting the activist with Toby Jones. 


Threaded throughout the day, readings from poems pursuing power will remind us of the potency of the pen to stir hearts and minds.


So, whether you're with us or against us, do join the discussion with us in a venue new to Flipside, the Old Theatre in the heart of Framlingham. There are many things we can't affect in this world, but you do have the power to choose here. Just say yes to Flipside 2024.

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