About Us

A reader-led festival of creative responses to a heritage book in St Leonards-on-Sea delivered by ExploreTheArch theatre company supported by ATEAB Funds team.
What happens when a community explores its literary heritage?
In our busy world, it is hard to find time for a heritage text, exploring it in a searching, unfurling enquiry of unknown destination.
To leave these books on the shelf means that we miss out on vital insights into our society’s history, facilitating understanding of where we have come from, where we are now and where we might head to.
In creating the annual A Town Explores A Book festival in 2017, artistic director Gail Borrow was inspired to explore British heritage writing with community partners through creative, inclusive community art projects running November – March and the Schools ‘8 Ways to Connect’ engagement programme delivered January – March, turning the volume up on voices not commonly foregrounded in literary platforms. The resulting multi-site festival of creative responses to the book choice is open to the public in the April school spring holiday with companying workshops and interactive forums.
The festival’s community partners are passionate about the power and reach of art in everyday places. Together with St Leonards-on-Sea’s vibrant creative independent businesses offering window displays and events, a whole town has created an environment in which everyone’s thoughts and wisdoms can be shared and valued. 
St Leonards-on-Sea is the most inspiring place in which to take ownership of heritage literature.
Fifteen #ATownExploresABook schools ensure that over 3000 children now take part in a festival project and the writing competition. This festival community is growing all the time, supported through the ‘8 Ways to Connect’ programme. View the resources that they explored in the 2023 festival here.