BENEDICT Cumberbatch and Bob Geldof are among the big names set to appear at Charleston Festival.

Actor Joanna Lumley, Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas and journalist Emily Maitlis are also due to appear at the event in Firle, near Lewes.

Tickets for the festival, which takes places from May 19 to May 29, are on sale now.

The Argus: Joanna Lumley will appear the Charleston FestivalJoanna Lumley will appear the Charleston Festival

Oscar nominee Benedict Cumberbatch will read TS Eliot's The Waste Land to music composed by A Clockwork Orange author Anthony Burgess.

Organisers of the event say the performance will be a "world exclusive".

Green Party MP Ms Lucas will be discussing adapting life and art in response to the environmental crisis.

Bob Geldof will host a talk about how his beliefs have changed over the years.

The Argus: Caroline Lucas will be speaking at the Charleston Festival.Caroline Lucas will be speaking at the Charleston Festival.

More acts announced reveal a range of topics to be discussed, including art, politics, feminism and the environment.

Organisers say this year's festival will also feature "events for children, young teens and their families" for the first time.

A spokesman for the event said: “The programme is far reaching, bringing together a Nobel Prize winner on the effects of colonialism, Jim Al-Khalili on how far should we trust science, and Lady Hale, the Supreme Court’s first female president, on civil liberties, freedom of speech and artistic freedom.

“Award-winning actor Benedict Cumberbatch opens the ten-day programme with one of the great works of modernist literature, TS Eliot’s The Waste Land.

“Singer-songwriter Bob Geldof looks back on his life and the truths he stands by today, while best-selling author Julian Barnes discusses his latest book Elizabeth Finch with writer and biographer Hermione Lee.

“New this year is a series of family events with Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Morpurgo, Lauren Child, Philip Reeve and Jessie Burton.”

There will be a shuttle minibus service throughout the festival between Lewes railway station and Charleston for people attending.

For the full festival programme, and to book online, visit or ring the box office on 01323-408520 from Monday to Friday.