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Canterbury Festival second week features music, mystery, Gentlemen of Few, Devil's Violin and the Tapestry of Light

By Angela Cole

With its rich mixture of performing arts, theatre and music to science and history, the Canterbury Festival is a celebration of all culture.

The county’s international arts festival, held each autumn, features some 200 events throughout its three weeks. Following its colourful opening parade, the festival continues with some gripping shows, in honour of Halloween.

We take a look at some of the highlights coming up.

The Canterbury Festival opening parade
The Canterbury Festival opening parade

The Masters of Mystery

Thursday, October 19 to Saturday, October 21

An evil presence is taking over the fictional town of Nottswood in Donelly & Maltby’s brand-new musical adventure for all the family. It’s up to teenagers Lock and Doc to solve their darkest challenge yet in this fast-paced musical from the creators of DrumChasers, which has been commissioned by Canterbury Festival, supported by the Marlowe. To book tickets at £15.25 – though the Friday is almost sold out – visit marlowetheatre.com or call 01227 787787.

Gentlemen of Few

Sunday, October 22

The Deal band perform a mixture of originals, reworkings and covers with intense and energy and passion, coining their own sound “nugrass”. They will play a blend of old-time bluegrass and classic rock at the Festival Spiegeltent at 6pm. To book tickets at £11.25 visit canterburyfestival.co.uk.

Deal folk band Gentlemen of Few
Deal folk band Gentlemen of Few

Dr Death and the Medi-Evil Medicine Show

Monday, October 23

Expect plenty of blood and guts in this family-friendly show as the time travelling Doctor Death (Simon Watt) reveals how some of the treatments of diseases of the past could be worse than what was being “cured”. Audience members could even get a taster of being treated. The show is at St Mary’s Hall Studio Theatre at 2pm. For tickets at £8 visit canterburyfestival.co.uk.

Doctor Death, coming to the Canterbury Festival
Doctor Death, coming to the Canterbury Festival

Devil’s Violin – Stolen

Wednesday, October 25 October

Daniel Morden and The Devil’s Violin Company transport their audience to the Land of No Return and an encounter with a king turned to stone, an old woman living in the claw of a giant cockerel and a glass man filled with wasps, at Canterbury Lodge. The story, which won this year’s Hay Festival Medal, is interwoven with live music by fiddler Oli Wilson-Dickson and cellist Sarah Moody.

A drumming workshop at the Canterbury Festival opening weekend
A drumming workshop at the Canterbury Festival opening weekend

The Lamentable Tragedie of the Canterbury Strangler

Thursday, October 26

An ‘anonymous’ Jacobean playwright penned this story, being presented at St Mary’s Hall Studio by the vibrant new Weighty Bowl theatre company, and which won Canterbury Festival’s Made in Kent: Theatre competition earlier this year. The tragedie centres on Grace, the glover’s daughter whose suitors are all being murdered by the mysterious Canterbury Strangler. Tragedy, romance and intrigue blossom as the lowly Lieutenant Dick and Constable Shins attempt to capture the Strangler.

The Tapestry of Light is on show throughout the Canterbury Festival
The Tapestry of Light is on show throughout the Canterbury Festival


The Tapestry of Light: Intersections of Illumination is on show at the Cathedral Chapter House and featuring the largest neon tapestry ever known, made up of 14 panels and is 36m long and 3m high.

It is a recreation of the 14th century Tapestry of the Apocalypse, a medieval French set of tapestries. The exhibition is free to enter, but normal entry charges to the precincts will apply.


This year’s Canterbury Festival runs until Saturday, November 4. For a full programme and to get tickets visit canterburyfestival.co.uk.

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