< back
Canterbury Festival collage image

Canterbury Festival 2021 launches this Saturday 16 October: Coming up in Week 1

Saturday 16 October – Saturday 30 October

Canterbury Festival 2021 has arrived. Putting the Arts firmly on the map this year’s Festival has an impressive line-up. From theatre to comedy, music to gaming, there is plenty to guarantee an unforgettable 2 weeks.

The Festival begins in the city centre with Canterbury’s Medieval Pageant and Trail. Presented by Canterbury BID this colourful parade features historical characters and re-enactment groups, music and giants. The Festival welcomes Armonico Consort for its opening night at Canterbury Cathedral. Performing multipart polyphonic works from the 16th Century, this is set to be one of their most epic concerts. Alternatively, on the same night, Scotland’s best-selling female album artist Barbara Dickson takes centre stage with Nick Holland at The Great Hall, Kent College.

There’s even more music to be enjoyed throughout the week as The Festival Chamber Orchestra perform Timeless Classics. Mick Doran, Principal Percussionist of the English National Opera showcases An A to Z of Orchestral Triangle Playing; an inspirational, if slightly whirlwind insight into the life of a musician. The Festival’s Young Musicians’ Bursary Competition Final returns showcasing the best of Kent’s young musical talent. Ending the week, The Kingdom Choir will deliver an uplifting performance in Canterbury Cathedral.

This year’s Festival opening week features a variety of mind-expanding talks, covering a range of topics. David Reekie discusses Edith Swan-neck and the wider story of Anglo-Saxon women. Join journalist Peter Williams who has had access to some of the world’s milestone events over the course of a 70-year career. Furthermore, the remarkable Wren, Christian Lamb (aged 101) will be in conversation with Simon Robinson. The Festival talks will also be shedding light on some important issues that concern our planet. Get behind nature with zoologist and BBC wildlife presenter Megan McCubbin, as she explores Living Wild, Weird and Wonderful. In addition, Fred Pearce will be answering important questions about the fate of our trees. If your eyes are fixated more towards the stars, then David Whitehouse has got you covered. Based on up-to-date scientific findings and a healthy dose of realism, David gives a kaleidoscopic tour of humanity’s future in space.

Taking place across the opening week will be several theatre performances. Each one taking you to the theatre in unexpected ways. Witness Kent Chamber Opera’s inaugural production of Carmen: Her Life and Loves; a vibrant production, set to move and excite audiences, Carmen is sure to be one to watch. Join Mig Kimpton as he takes you on A Kentish Floral Journey; stories, facts and plenty of fabulous floral arrangements, this is a truly unique evening. Why not laugh out loud at Perry and Croft’s classic BBC sitcom gloriously brought to life in Dad’s Army Radio Show. Complete with sound effects, vintage music and all your beloved characters, this highly-acclaimed production is a must. Need some Halloween inspiration? Dyad Productions Female Gothic will ensure you have an uncanny evening to remember. Join Rebecca Vaughan as she tells three spine-chilling tales from the Victorian era. You might want to bring a pillow to hide behind for this one.

That’s not all! The final day of the Festival’s opening week is jam packed with the Beautiful Noise Community Celebration. In a day of performance, local musicians will play and sing in locations across the city with a selection of indoor and outdoor venues hosting bite-size performances throughout the day. As a culmination of the community celebration, led by Ian Swatman, a representative band of great musicians from local schools will perform an evening of the best tunes around.

The fast-approaching Canterbury Festival’s 2021 opening week doesn’t disappoint. There has never been a more exciting time to visit Canterbury and participate in this internationally-renowned Festival.