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Canterbury Festival from October 16 to October 30 with arts events, starting with medieval pageant


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From flowers and live music to wildlife, nature and spine-chilling tales, the arts are coming to Canterbury in all their glory for an annual festival.

The Canterbury Festival brings an impressive line-up to the city for two weeks of theatre and comedy to music and gaming, running until Saturday, October 30.

Canterbury's Medieval Pageant through the streets of the city Picture: Matt Wilson
Canterbury's Medieval Pageant through the streets of the city Picture: Matt Wilson

It all kicks off with a Medieval Pageant and trail through the streets of the city this weekend on Saturday, October 16.

Honouring the 850th anniversary of St Thomas Becket, local schoolchildren have designed a giant Thomas Becket to join the pageant, alongside giant replicas of Henry II and Queen Eleanor.

The colourful parade, organised by Canterbury BID and featuring historical characters and re-enactment groups, music, and giants, will enter the city from the Westgate Towers at 11am, parade through and finish in the Buttermarket. There will also be family trail on offer until 5pm that day with a chocolate coin for completed ones.

For opening night, Armonico Consort will play polyphonic works in Canterbury Cathedral and, on the same night, Scotland’s best-selling female album artist, Barbara Dickson takes centre stage with Nick Holland at the Great Hall, Kent College.

The Festival Chamber Orchestra perform Timeless Classics and Mick Doran, principal percussionist of the English National Opera showcases An A to Z of Orchestral Triangle Playing. Rounding off the week will be The Kingdom Choir delivering an uplifting performance in Canterbury Cathedral.

Barbara Dickson
Barbara Dickson
Dad's Army Radio Show will be at the Canterbury festival
Dad's Army Radio Show will be at the Canterbury festival
The Kingdom Choir. Picture: Canterbury Festival
The Kingdom Choir. Picture: Canterbury Festival

This year’s opening week features a variety of mind-expanding talks, from David Reekie discussing Edith Swan-neck and the wider story of Anglo-Saxon women, and remarkable Wren, Christian Lamb (aged 101) in conversation with Simon Robinson.

Zoologist and BBC wildlife presenter Megan McCubbin explores Living Wild, Weird and Wonderful and Fred Pearce will be answering important questions about the fate of our trees while David Whitehouse will be giving a kaleidoscopic tour of humanity’s future in space.

There will be a range of varied theatre performances. Join Mig Kimpton as he takes you on A Kentish Floral Journey; stories, facts and plenty of fabulous floral arrangements, or you can laugh out loud at Perry and Croft’s classic BBC sitcom brought to life in Dad’s Army Radio Show.

Need some Halloween inspiration? Dyad Productions Female Gothic will ensure you have an uncanny evening to remember and Rebecca Vaughan will be telling three spine-chilling tales from the Victorian era.

The final day of opening week will be filled with a Beautiful Noise Community Celebration, a day of bite-size performances by local musicians across the city, in both indoor and outdoor venues.

Card Ninja
Card Ninja

The festival also features family shows, during half term week, including Mr Pineapple Head, working in the style of a silent clown, performing physical comedy and slapstick routines to music on Monday, October 25 in Westgate Hall, and Card Ninja brings a flurry of high-flying card stunts performed by Javier Jarquin, aka Card Ninja, on Thursday, October 28.

To find out more about the pageant, click here and for the full festival programme, click here. You can also pick up a copy of the brochure from the Festival Office at 8 Orange Street, Canterbury CT1 2JA. You can also buy tickets by calling 01227 457568 or popping in to the festival office between 11am and 4pm Monday to Friday.

For more Entertainment news across Kent click here.

Read more: All the latest news for Canterbury

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