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Play Me I’m Yours comes to Canterbury Festival along with popular Spiegeltent

By Lisa Daniels

Budding Billy Joels and would-be Alicia Keyses will be in line for a major treat as an international music phenomenon forms a central part of this year’s Canterbury Festival.

British artist Luke Jerram will be bringing his Play Me I’m Yours concept to the city’s streets in October, in which 10 uniquely-placed pianos will go on display for free public use.

The project has so far reached more than eight million people around the world – including in New York, Paris and 46 other cities – and has become a Youtube sensation.

The Play Me I'm Yours phenomenon comes to Canterbury, having been around the world including New York, with pianos set to appear across the city
The Play Me I'm Yours phenomenon comes to Canterbury, having been around the world including New York, with pianos set to appear across the city

Since 2008, it has seen more than 1,300 pianos, which have been decorated by local arts groups, placed for open use in spots as wide-ranging as markets, ferries, bus shelters and squares.

“This is really exciting that we’ve managed to get Play Me I’m Yours to come to Canterbury" - Amanda McKean, Canterbury Festival

They will form a key feature throughout Canterbury Festival, which returns between October 17 and 30, and offers a huge mix of music, theatre, comedy and street entertainment across the city.

Organisers have also confirmed that a three-year £162,500 match-funded Arts Council sum has been successfully raised through ongoing charity activities to ensure the return of the Spiegeltent venue.

The highly-distinctive tent, which is of classic Dutch design, has been used for a host of arts events around the world, and was first introduced to the Canterbury festival two years ago.

Thanks to the ongoing public donations, it has continued to host a wealth of events at its temporary annual home at the St Lawrence cricket ground.

These have spanned cabaret, comedy, dance and puppetry, with the quirky venue being widely-regarded as one of the highlights of the festival programme.

Amanda McKean, Canterbury Festival development manager, said: “This is really exciting that we’ve managed to get Play Me I’m Yours to come to Canterbury.

“As for the Spiegeltent, it has been fantastic for the past two years and people have really taken it to their hearts.

A fundraising campaign has succeeded to ensure the Canterbury Festival's Spiegeltent cabaret performance venue will return as one of its key attractions
A fundraising campaign has succeeded to ensure the Canterbury Festival's Spiegeltent cabaret performance venue will return as one of its key attractions

“It’s been operating at around 50% capacity for many of the shows, so that needs to be improved.

“These kinds of tents were originally from Holland and Germany and the particular one that we are having, the Salon Perdu, has been used all over the world, including an arts festival in Australia.”

On July 19, there will be a further summer picnic and concert fundraiser for the Canterbury Festival, featuring the Orbi Big Band. Tickets are £15.

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