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Causley Festival of Arts and Literature launches crowdfunding campaign to secure its future

The University of Exeter and the Charles Causley Trust have a longstanding connection. The 20th century Cornish-born poet and former Exeter academic, Charles Causley, bequeathed a large collection of poems, papers and correspondence to the university, which are held in Exeter’s Special Collections. In the summer of 2020, just a few months prior to the signing of a virtual Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the two heritage institutions partnered up to host a Digital Literature Festival via Zoom. This year, the Charles Causley Trust is hoping to be able to host its annual Festival of Arts and Literature, an event that has taken place since 2010. However, in order to do so, they are seeking support through a fundraiser.

Causley enthusiasts have watched the Festival grow over the years, allowing for more artists and events to contribute to the Festival’s programme, with record attendance in 2019. However, the festival came to a halt last year as a result of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The organisers of the Festival and the Charles Causley Trust had to rethink their approach to planning and delivering the Festival, which resulted in a digital Festival. The completely online event allowed fans of the Festival to participate in events, workshops and learn about Launceston’s great poet.

While the 2020 digital event was a huge hit – with more than 600 tickets booked and drawing both a local and worldwide audience – the Festival missed out on its all-important fundraising aspect, from bar sales and ticket income. This important income is essential for the next iteration of the festival to take place.

At the start of 2021, the festival organisers found themselves in a predicament. Without that money set aside ahead of time, they are unable to support and pay the performers and artists for their contributions to the Festival — many of whom come from the surrounding area and the South West as a whole. Without some funds in the bank, organisers have concerns about the future of the festival.

The event organisers understand how important the arts are to supporting people’s mental health, particularly in such uncertain and concerning times. This year they are looking more widely for support, in order to make the Causley Festival of Arts & Literature happen once again.

Chair of the Charles Causley Trust, Ian Tunbridge, said: “Charles Causley’s work is not only an essential part of Cornish heritage, but the festival gives the Trust a chance to continue to support the work of both emerging and established writers, performers and artists at a time when they need as much support as we can offer them.”

Not only does the Festival promote the legacy of Charles Causley, whose writing continues to have a wide and profound impact on readers, writers, students, in Launceston and around the world, the event also inspires others to delve deeper into their own creativity. Hosted by excellent writers, artists, performers and creators that come together in Launceston for those few days over the summer, the Causley Festival inspires residents and visitors. It gives them a closer look into Launceston’s past, its present, its connections to the literary and cultural world, and how the arts can be incorporated into our lives.

Ian continued: “The Festival is an essential part of the Charles Causley Trust’s commitment to ensure the legacy of Charles remains stronger than ever. To think that due to the most challenging year that we have all faced it might not be able to go ahead saddens us all, which is why we have launched the Crowdfunder campaign.”

The Festival is appealing to its existing community of supporters, as well as to all local residents, regional neighbours and visitors to Launceston, to help fundraise for this year’s event. An online Crowdfunder has been set up to gather support, with a target of £7,500. This funding would be enough to safeguard the 2021 Causley Festival, in either a virtual, traditional or blended capacity. To show their appreciation, the Trust are offering a range of potential rewards for some of those who make a donation — including raffle tickets for each donor to win a stay at Cyprus Well, Charles Causley’s former home in Launceston, and now an inspirational centre for writers and artists.

To donate to the Festival, please see: