It's July and that means the Lichfield Festival is here! Check out the second part of our blog on this year's festival highlights.

Tue 12 July, 7.30pm, Lichfield Cathedral – National Youth Jazz Orchestra: Basie & Beyond

A performance from The National Youth Jazz OrchestraIt’s a pleasure to welcome back the National Youth Jazz Orchestra this year. 

They’re full of youthful energy and with their swinging rhythm section and hugely talented soloists – not only are they the best in British big band, but NYJO is also a hot-house for new talent, whose former members include Amy Winehouse. 

Their heritage programme salutes a master jazzman, the legendary Count Basie, who kept the spirit of swing alive as jazz transitioned from the dance floor to the concert platform. 

Expect to hear his influence on artists such as Dizzy Gillespie and Quincy Jones in this fabulous tribute too.

Full information is available at

Wed 13 July, 7.30pm, Lichfield Cathedral – Ayanna Witter-Johnson

Ayanna Witter-Johnson with her celloAyanna Witter-Johnson is a unique artist and, against the backdrop of Lichfield Cathedral, this show will be something very special indeed. 

A classically-trained, MOBO-nominated, singer-songwriter, cellist and pianist, Ayanna has toured with Courtney Pine and Andrea Bocelli. 

She weaves classical, jazz, reggae, soul and R&B into her music and plays her cello with the bow, strums it like a guitar or taps it like a percussion instrument. 

Fresh from her South Bank shows in London, you’ll soon be able to catch her alongside Whoopi Goldberg in the new Amazon TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys…so get to see her at Lichfield while you can!

Visit to buy tickets.

Fri 15 July, 3pm & 7.30pm, Lichfield Guildhall – Walking to Jerusalem: Justin Butcher

Justin Butcher tells the story of Walking to JerusalemIn 2017, Justin Butcher organised a pilgrimage of over 3000km from London to Jerusalem to mark three major anniversaries in the Palestinian struggle. 

More than 100 walkers took part.  Nine walked all the way. 

Based on the book he wrote on his return, Butcher brings their story to life in a playful and inventive blend of stand-up and theatre, tracing the ups and downs of their path to Jerusalem. 

A multi-talented writer and actor who has worked all over the world in theatre, TV, radio and film, Justin’s plays include the multi-award-winning Scaramouche Jones, originally starring Pete Postlethwaite, which has been staged continuously in many productions and translations around the world ever since its 2001 premiere.   

Book your seat at

Sat 16 July, 4pm, The Hub at St Mary’s – Jessica Walker 80s Cabaret

Jessica WalkerThis is a real throwback to the 1980s, the days of big hair and shoulder pads. 

Singer Jessica Walker is a long-time Festival favourite, and she and pianist Joseph Atkins have created a cabaret of ‘80s music specially to celebrate the Festival’s 40th anniversary. 

They’ve picked out songs by Dolly Parton, Annie Lennox, Barbra Streisand ... and Kate Bush, back topping the charts again with Running Up That Hill, thanks to Netflix and smash-hit series Stranger Things.

Further details are available at

Sun 17 July, 2.15pm, St Michael’s Church – Steven Isserlis talk: The Bach Cello Suites

Steven Isserlis at workInternationally-renowned cellist, Steven Isserlis, appeared frequently at the Festival in its early days, and back in 1988 he performed the complete Bach Cello Suites, a pinnacle of the cello repertoire. 

He’s now written an acclaimed book on the subject, delving into the history and emotional journey, which he’ll discuss in this talk, illustrating it with examples live on stage. 

It’s a great set-up for his late evening recital in the Cathedral (9.15pm) of 19th century sonatas by Moscheles and Beethoven which closes the Festival.  

Find out more at

Image: Satoshi Aoyagi

More festival highlights

Read 10 Reasons to Visit the Lichfield Festival: Part 1 for the rest of our round-up of this year's festival.

The 2022 Lichfield Festival runs from July 7th to 17th. Full details of this year's programme can be found at

Thank you to the team from the festival for putting this blog together.


Lichfield Festival
Arts Festival
The Lord Chamberlain's Men perform Shakespeare's As You Like It at Lichfield Festival