Opus, the company which publishes Now Then Magazine, is pleased to bring Festival of Debate to Sheffield for its fourth year, from mid April to late June.

In collaboration with over 40 partners large and small, we will host over 70 events exploring politics, culture and society in 2018, from panel discussions, keynote speeches and workshops to film screenings, theatre, music, spoken word, art exhibitions and much more.

For the first time, we have also organised events into five broad strands: Culture, Self & Identity; Democracy & Activism; Fairness & Equality; Futures; and Science & Environment.

We thought we’d take this opportunity to share details of just some of these events. To see the programme in full, we recommend picking up a brochure (most likely available wherever you picked this magazine up) or visiting festivalofdebate.com. Keep up with us on social media too – @FestOfDebate / #FofD on Twitter and FestivalOfDebate on Facebook. Further updates in our April and May issues.

Sam, Now Then editor-in-chief


“Dear agent of change & treasured component of the cosmos,

Welcome to Festival Of Debate 2018.

It’s been 12 months since the last Festival Of Debate and we’ve grown some, which should tell you something about the current state of the world. Our chance for a better world comes from facing issues head on, learning new points of view, making the effort to listen and being empathetic with one another. We believe this is everyone’s responsibility and hope that this year’s programme goes some way to furthering that ideal.

We ask you to remember that no problem can be solved in isolation, and that talking and learning about the issues we collectively face is the first step towards imagining and delivering solutions. When attending events, please be mindful of others, but most of all, carry hope in your fists, because change is coming and you are its agent.”

Festival of Debate team


Until Sun 1 July | Weston Park Museum | Free
In association with Museums Sheffield

In 1918 the women’s suffrage movement successfully led to the passing of The Representation of the People Act, the first step in a major electoral reform that would extend voting rights to 8.5 million women across the UK. To mark the anniversary of this landmark development in British democracy, Changing Lives celebrates how the people of Sheffield have stood up for what they believe in over the past 200 years

Wed 18 April | 7-9pm | Pennine Lecture Theatre | £12/£10
In association with DiEM25
Yanis Varoufakis – former Greek Minister of Finance and Member of the Hellenic Parliament, co-founder of the European movement for democratisation, DiEM25, and author of political autobiography, Adults in the Room – talks about why it matters for democrats in Britain and Europe as a whole that we get Brexit right, and why together we need to revive internationalism, the real alternative to the globalisation process which is robbing all of us of our futures. This event is followed by a meeting of DiEM25 activists which welcomes all on Saturday 21 April, 2-5pm, Workstation Creative Lounge.

Fri 20 April | 7:30-10pm | Theatre Deli | £10
Exploring the reasons behind the working-class Leave vote, whilst exposing the harsh realities of the Calais Jungle refugee camp, this is a vital and visceral spoken word show for the masses. Using poetic flair and observational storytelling, it’s an engaging and accessible production from one of the UK’s rising stars.

Tue 24 April | 7-9pm | Quaker Meeting House | Free
In association with Sheffield For DemocracyIn May, Sheffield City Region will elect a mayor, and Sheffield For Democracy is hosting a hustings event to introduce the candidates and their views to voters. Come and find out why they are standing and their plans for the city region. Hear their takes on the recent differences between the four local authorities – Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster – and how they can be resolved.

Fri 27 April | 7pm | City Hall Ballroom | £12/£8
Former Labour Leader Ed Miliband and radio presenter Geoff Lloyd bring their hit podcast, Reasons To Be Cheerful, to Sheffield City Hall for a special live episode. Expect optimism, ideas, special guests, stories of Ed’s failed interactions with inanimate objects, and Geoff’s interactions with animate ones.

Sun 29 April | 4-7pm | Showroom Workstation Creative Lounge | Pay As You Feel
In association with Our Mel
Our Mel in collaboration with Nadia Jama (BAME Officer Central CLP) presents Celebrating Women of Colour. This event is an opportunity to celebrate women of colour within the community, hearing about their personal journeys, challenges and achievements. It will include a short film screening, stalls, nibbles and drinks.

Tickets for Festival of Debate events are available through several outlets, including Tickets For Good and SIV Tickets. To buy tickets for paid events, or to sign up to attend free events, visit festivalofdebate.com.