Each year Canterbury Festival runs a number of exciting public engagement projects that you can get directly involved in! From our Schools’ Poetry Competition to the Beautiful Noise Community Day and our 2023 Upstart Comedy Workshops, we believe in offering aspiring artists the opportunity to build on their creativity, develop their skill set and take part in Canterbury’s annual International Arts Festival.

We’ll be posting our 2024 call outs here, so keep your eyes peeled for updates.

The Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year Competition 2024 will be launched on Monday 4 March.  The competition has become a popular fixture in the poetry world attracting entries from all over the globe, last year we received a total of 553 poems. The judges this year are Luigi Marchini (Chair of SaveAs Writers), Derek Sellen (Poet of the Year 2023) and Mara Adamitz Scrupe (Dean & Professor Emerita, University of the Arts, Philadelphia and former Poet of the Year).

All the poems are judged totally anonymously, the poet’s name is not revealed to the judges.  Poems may be on any subject and in any format but no more than 60 lines long.  All entries must be accompanied by an Entry Form and a fee of £5 per poem payable by cheque or by PayPal invoice which is issued upon receipt of the entry.

From all the poems entered around 35 are chosen as the longlist and these poems appear in the Poet of the Year Anthology. The judges then choose a shortlist of around 15 poems, any of which may win the Competition. The Awards Evening is held on-line when the shortlisted poets are invited to read their work. The winners are then announced with the Poet of the Year collecting a prize of £200, second place £100, and third £50.

We welcome entries from everyone so whether you are a practised poet or have never written a verse before, but would like to, send your entries to Tina at the Festival Office.

An Entry Form can be downloaded here

Terms and Conditions can be downloaded here 


Applications for this year’s Canterbury Festival Visual Arts programme are now open. Artists working in all mediums are invited to get involved and join us in celebrating the arts in East Kent. If you are planning an exhibition, open studio or other free event between 19 October – 2 November, we want to hear from you.

Successful submissions will be featured as part of this year’s Festival programme with a dedicated page on the Festival website and a listing in the Festival brochure.

All responsibility for the organisation and marketing of the event lies with the organiser. Visual Arts events should be free and easily accessible.

We would love to hear from artists working in traditional media, photography, sound, video, ceramics, digital art or any other medium.

To submit your event to the Canterbury Festival 2024 Visual Arts programme, please download an application form below and return it to [email protected]

Deadline for submissions: Monday 29 April 2024

Celebrating art in all its forms, the 2024 Umbrella programme invites submissions from artists and performers based in Canterbury and East Kent. This year’s Festival will take place from 19 October – 2 November.

Previous Umbrella events have included theatre shows, art workshops, live music, lectures, dance performances and more. Successful submissions will receive a dedicated event page on the Festival website and a listing in the Festival brochure.

Responsibility for the organisation, ticket management and marketing of the event, lies with the organiser.

Acting as a Fringe to the core programme, Umbrella events are a brilliant opportunity for emerging artists to present their work to a Festival audience – broadening the Festival’s arts offer and providing exposure for independent events around Canterbury.

To submit your event to the Canterbury Festival 2024 Umbrella programme, please download an application form here and return it to [email protected]

Deadline for submissions: Monday 29 April 2024