Celebrating Talent
Performing Arts Competition Since 1908


Molly Townson

Hastings Musical Festival presents a one-of-a-kind Musical Evening celebrating the life of our beloved former chairman, Molly Townson (1943-2019). Molly was an inspiration to several generations of singers and performers, and this is our chance to remember her joyfully together.

This gala evening will honour every aspect of Molly’s musical life, from her own singing to her subsequent career as a singing teacher, with special focus on her long association with the Hastings Musical Festival and the Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition. As such, we welcome back previous Festival winners who have gone on to successful careers as performers, including Molly’s daughters, singers Melanie Stace and Emma Stace. There will also be contributions from the various performing groups with which she was associated, including Soirée, her touring Edwardian musical entertainment and Cantabile, her choir, with choreography by Pauline Ash of Laton Ash Dance Centre.

The evening will also feature performances and appearances from famous friends in the wider world of music, including Shirley Collins MBE, the Hastings-born Queen of English Folk Song (and former Festival judge); celebrated composer, double bassist and former classmate Gavin Bryars (who wrote the last songs Molly sang in public); and composer Errollyn Wallen MBE, 'the renaissance woman of contemporary British music’ (The Observer) and formal resident and Festival competitor. The celebration will be compèred by Molly’s son, Wesley Stace.

All proceeds will go to the Molly Townson Bursary Fund, for young people intending to pursue a career in the performing arts.

Ticket prices: £12, children and students £6. Tickets will be on sale from the White Rock Theatre Box Office

Molly Townson Service of Thanksgiving speech

We have set up The Molly Townson Bursary for young people intending to pursue a career in the performing arts. All donations will be matched by an anonymous donor. To donate in Molly's memory please follow the link below.

Hastings Muscial Festival Banner

Open for 2020 Festival Entries until the 30th November 2019

Hastings Musical festival 2020

About the Event

Hastings Musical Festival takes place at the White Rock Theatre over 2 weeks in March each year. Dancers, singers, musicians and actors of all ages perform in classes which are marked by an adjudicator who is a specialist and an expert in the field. Feedback is given to everyone and the winners of each class are announced. In many classes a trophy is also awarded.

Hastings Musical Festival Newsletter

Sign up to receive the Hastings Musical Festival email newsletter.

I consent to my information being used under the terms of the privacy policy.

From our Gallery