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International Family Festival bOing! comes to the Gulbenkian in Canterbury this August bank holiday weekend

By Angela Cole

It’ll be an experience – a weekend of theatre, dance, music, film and fun for the family comes to Canterbury, much of it free. Here's a taste of what's on at this year’s bOing! festival.

Headlining the festival is a world premiere of a brand-new adaptation of the dark and classic tale Pinocchio.

Pinocchio will bring to life the famous marionette as he embarks on a fantastic journey to become a human boy.

Pinocchio will headline the bOing! festival in Canterbury
Pinocchio will headline the bOing! festival in Canterbury

The show by the Jasmin Vardimon company was co-commissioned for bOing!.

It is one of a number of premieres being held at the two-day family festival, with a world premiere of Dybwikdans’ Princess and the Pea and a multi-sensory story of discovery specifically developed for audiences with profound and multiple learning disabilities, Frozen Light’s Home.

Grab a pen and kick off your shoes for an interactive story show, the Doodle Dance Show by Greenwich Dance, and explore a beautiful garden in an extraordinary interactive performance with Mr Bu in Compagnia TPO’s Pop Up Garden.

Little bunnies aged two and younger can also take a hop into the festival’s Burrow for poetry, performance, music and more.

Kids can head to the Burrow for storytelling and more at bOing!
Kids can head to the Burrow for storytelling and more at bOing!

Three of the greatest superheroes get ready to battle it out for Most Supreme Superhero...Ever in 2Faced Dance Company’s KAPOW!

The ART31 stage returns for 13 to 25-year-olds with a mix of local acts, while there will be a silent daytime disco, activity tents and films selected by film critic Mark Kermode.

(In)Visible Dancing will be dancing in Canterbury at 3pm on Friday, August 26, the day before the festival.


Petrol heads with a wild imagination will enjoy the RIDE at bOing!
The outdoor spectacular, RIDE, tells the story of three strangers whose lives collide on a journey in Stanley, a 1980s Ford Orion.

An old Ford Orion is the star of Ride at the bOing! festival
An old Ford Orion is the star of Ride at the bOing! festival

The performance uses dance to explore man’s reliance on machines. Suitable for all ages, its characters embark on their journey in Stanley, but realise it has a life of its own.

Described as a mix of Transformers and Herbie, the team behind RIDE worked for more than 200 hours in five weeks to make the show as surprising and compelling as possible for audiences of all ages.

Co-commissioned by the Gulbenkian and Dance Village at Bristol Harbour Festival, the production has been put together by ZoieLogic Dance Theatre, a theatre company that gets men dancing and challenges perceptions of men in dance.

RIDE will be performed free at 12.30pm and 3.30pm on both days in the outdoor space.


There are performances – and then there are experiences.
Mirazozo by Architects of Air features a luminarium, built out of PVC, that takes visitors to another world.

Mirazozo, an installation to experience at bOing!
Mirazozo, an installation to experience at bOing!

It has taken six workers about five months to build, resulting in an immersive experience that feels different for everyone.

Artistic director Alan Parkinson’s aim is to make a space where everyone can enjoy it and take something away from it.

“I do what I do because when I go into the structures I experience the same thing now that I experienced 25 years ago when I built my first one,” he said. “The sense of being touched by the beauty of the phenomenon of light.”

It’s best to book a timeslot by calling 01227 769075. Tickets are £3. It is open from 10am to 4.40pm.


The bOing! festival is at the Gulbenkian in Canterbury on Saturday, August 27, and Sunday, August 28, between 10am and 5pm both days.
It features showcases from leading companies, artists and performers, with a mixture of free and ticketed shows.
For details of performances and times click here.

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