Published: 06:00, 14 October 2020
| Updated: 14:40, 16 October 2020
From a head-spinning Shakespearean show to magical music in historic surroundings and live fun and frolics for little ones, we’ve all missed the arts entertaining us.
So this weekend, put your hands together for the first festival returning to stages in the county, as the Canterbury Festival takes a brave bow in 2020.
The event may be a scaled-down version of its usual self, but don’t let that fool you - there’s plenty of highlights from a variety of acts, whatever genre you’re looking for, from slapstick to acrobatics, and classical to contemporary.
Festival director Rosie Turner said: “Safety comes first, and I expect it will feel strange to be sitting at distance, but we felt it was important not to let down our loyal customers. I hope people will take their own precautions – wear a mask – and enjoy some respite from the stress that we’ve all lived with in recent months.”
Rob Smith is the marketing manager of the Canterbury Festival
Running from Saturday, October 17 to Saturday, October 31, it launches with award-winning vocal ensemble Tenebrae performing a sold out programme of works by Maxwell Davies, Francis Poulenc, Joanna Marsh, Ēriks Ešenvalds, Holst and John Rutter, along with locally-born harpist Camilla Pay at Canterbury Cathedral.
Beethoven’s 250th birthday is celebrated with innovative pianist Joanna MacGregor performing all of his sonatas over three days from Friday, October 23 to Sunday, 25.
There'll be an adrenalin-fuelled performance from the Barely Methodical Troupe where handshakes become handstands and backslaps become backflips at the Malt House Theatre and speakers include former government minister Oliver Letwin talking tech on Monday, October 26, David Reekie shining a light on the Kentish background of the Bayeux Tapestry and author and broadcaster Loyd Grossman uncovers one of the greatest artistic double acts in history - Pope Alexander VII and Gian Lorenzo Bernini on Thursday, October 22 at Canterbury Cathedral Lodge.
Or for a riotous improvised parody chock full of innuendo and lashings of puns, there's Bumper Blyton - Enid Blyton for grown-ups, - on Wednesday, October 28 at the Great Hall at Kent College.
For families, the smash-hit Shakespearience will fly through Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet and Twelfth for ages five and up on Wednesday, October 28 at Westgate Hall and Squashbox Theatre presents its first ever show for Halloween on Tuesday, October 27 at Westgate Hall which is recommended for brave children aged six and up.
Book at canterburyfestival.co.uk
The festival has also teamed up with local groups and artists to launch a city-wide art exhibition, HeArt of the City Arts Trail which runs during the festival and celebrates creativity and the role it plays in health and wellbeing.
Many of this year’s artworks were created as part of lockdown projects and include the King’s Mile Community Photo Exhibition and digital screens at Whitefriars displaying poems by the shortlisted poets of this year’s Under 18s Poetry Competition.