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Kent College celebrates three-years as Headline Sponsor of Canterbury Festival

Canterbury Festival 2020 succeeded against the odds, delivering over 50 socially distanced events over two weeks from 17 – 31 October. This would not have been possible without the support and generosity of organisations that share the Festival’s vision and values in extremely challenging times.

Dr David Lamper said “ We are delighted to be associated with the Canterbury Festival and we applaud the organisers for their courageousness in ensuring the event happened this year. It was so appreciated by the community.”

2020 marked the third year of Kent College’s Headline Sponsorship. With a shared passion for musical and academic excellence, Kent College has enabled the Festival to develop emerging artists, showcase the very best in performance, deliver community participatory projects and provide opportunities for young people to explore and develop their creative talent.

Launching in 2018 and continuing annually, the Kent College Lecture has proven to be a highlight of the Festival’s  Talks programme. Expert speakers have included award-winning architect Ptolemy Dean, the BBC ‘s Sky at Night presenter Chris Lintott and most recently author and physicist Jim Al-Khalili. These engaging events have provided a unique opportunity for both general audiences and Kent College students to hear directly from and engage with experts in their fields. Pupils were invited to attend all events and take part in exclusive Q&A sessions.

In 2019 Kent College opened the doors to their stunning new concert hall, The Great Hall. Canterbury Festival had the honour of holding several events in the space in 2019 and a further nine in 2020. The venue was a hit with artists and audiences alike, who gave glowing feedback on its contemporary design, satisfying acoustics and excellent accessibility. Generously provided to the Festival at no cost, the Great Hall welcomed national and international acts including classical ensembles Classico Latino, the Sacconi Quartet and Festival Chamber Orchestra; flamenco virtuoso Eduardo Niebla; theatre and performance companies Bumper Blyton, Graffiti Classics and Mig Kimpton; as well as a series of speakers including Kadie Kanneh-Mason who joined Executive Head of Kent College Dr David Lamper for an insightful and inspiring talk.

In addition to live public events, the Great Hall also played a crucial part in the Festival’s digital activities – hosting the 2020 Young Musicians’ Bursary Competition Final. Five talented young musicians performed on the Great Hall stage and received feedback from the Festival’s judges. Each performance was filmed and released digitally during the Festival between 19 – 23 October. These films demonstrate why supporting young musicians is so important and the role that facilities such as the Great Hall play in their career development.

As a Headline Sponsor Kent College have worked with the Festival to provide unique opportunities to inspire their students and engage with professional artists. These have included exclusive interviews with artists and speakers such as Classico Latino, Jim Al-Khalili and Kadie Kanneh-Mason, as well as the opportunity to attend exclusive concert rehearsals. As part of the Festival’s year-round participatory work pupils have also taken part in a number of projects including the Festival’s Schools’ Poetry Competition and Made In Kent Project – which both featured a series of classroom workshops led by Festival practitioners. The Festival also actively engaged in Kent College activities and were delighted to support their 2019 and 2020 Arts Week events.

Both organisations are extremely proud of the partnership and Canterbury Festival is eternally grateful for the support and trust of such an important local institution. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on both education and the arts, however it is clear that as we move forward, creative development, collaboration and participation are more important than ever. 

Photo credit: Tim Stubbings