Harry Potter actress Miriam Margolyes to switch on Hay-on-Wye Christmas lights

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Bafta award-winning actress Miriam Margolyes is to switch on Hay-on-Wye’s Christmas lights during the town’s winter festival next month.

The Harry Potter actress, known for playing Professor Sprout in the film franchise, will make her appearance on November 26, when she will also talk about her new memoir This Much Is True.

Carol singing will accompany the free switch-on event, which will take place between 5pm and 7pm in The Cheese Market.

Margolyes, also famed for her role in The Age Of Innocence – for which she won best supporting actress at the Baftas – will be joined on stage by broadcaster and classicist Natalie Haynes to talk about her book, which tells of her extraordinary life to date.

The Hay Festival Winter Weekend is being held in-person for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic began. (Hay Festival handout/PA)
The Hay Festival Winter Weekend is being held in-person for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic began (Hay Festival handout/PA)

More than 80 acclaimed writers and performers are set to take part in the Hay Festival Winter Weekend, among them Magpie author Elizabeth Day, adventurer Bear Grylls, Primal Scream frontman Bobby Gillespie and former footballer and pundit John Barnes, who will be talking about racism in the sport.

The festival has not been held in person for two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Events will take place in the centre of Hay-on-Wye, located on the edge of the Brecon Beacons, on the Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage, Baillie Gifford Stage and inside the festival bookshop, while livestreamed sessions will also be hosted online.

Organisers said they want to continue “embracing the festival’s new global audience”, saying that closed captioning will be offered for all digital events.

Katie Sutton, chair of Hay Chamber of Commerce, said: “Hay-on-Wye is so excited to be hosting Hay Festival Winter Weekend in person again, especially after 20 difficult months.

“We’re particularly delighted that Miriam Margolyes will be switching on the lights and we are all looking forward to welcoming people back to our beautiful town.”

For more information and to buy tickets, visit hayfestival.org/winter-weekend.

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