It’s back! This year, Canterbury Festival will be running from the 14th October to the 4th November. With many events set in the dramatic centrepiece of the Festival Spiegeltent, the scene is set for the razzle dazzle of entertainment and variety at its best. There will be over 200 events going on in the city; amongst them, there will be a flash-mob opera during the opening parade, a free pottery throwdown, a luminescent tapestry, competitions celebrating the best of talent in Kent, scientists paired with spoken word artists, and anything and everything from cabaret to comedy, dance to theatre, walks, talks, and scientific experiments with a twist.
Here are some of Canterbury Culture’s must-sees for the festival:
14 – 28 October | 10am – 4pm | Location TBC
For the first two weeks of the festival, you can handcraft your own pot for free. Experienced potters will be there to help you, and you can take your unfired creation home with you. Keith Brymore Jones, potter and judge of the BBC’s Great Pottery Throwdown, will be launching the project.
Le Gateau Chocolat
27 October | 7pm | Festival Spiegeltent
Le Gateau Chocolat is a bit of a sensation in cabaret comedy; he will utterly woo you with his baritone depths and operatic extremities. In this show, Icons, Le Gateau Chocolat explores relationships with our icons – the people, the moments, the books, the relationships that have come to shape us, or the ideal we aspire to. From Kate Bush, and Whitney, Elvis to Wagner; expect an emotional evening of shapeshifting and nostalgia.
Watch the Gateau Chocolat with Joey Essex in the Radio 1 studio:
There’s showcases of the very best comedy, dance, theatre and poetry talent from all across Kent. If you’re a budding comedian or fancy yourself as the next Sarah Millican, the comedy competition is open until 6th October.
We Live By The Sea
30 October | 7.30pm – 8.40pm | St Mary’s Hall Studio Theatre
28 October | 10.30am – 10pm | Augustine Hall
In the 1960s and 1970s the ‘Canterbury Sound’ was a buzzword used to refer to the psychedelic and progressive rock that artists such as Caravan and Soft Machine went on to shake up the UK with.
Celebrating the musicians of then and now, this day-long event features various performances and talks from speakers throughout the day.
17 October | 6pm – 8pm | The Foundry
Canterbury’s own microbrewery The Foundry hosts the Beer Lab, providing a tasting menu of selected beer styles and an insight into the brewing process, while scientists from the University of Kent will explore the use of yeast in biology, from producing alcohol to understanding human diseases.
All in all, a very important scientific event. You must go. For science reasons.
Tapestry of Light
14 October – 3 November | 10am – 5pm | Canterbury Cathedral Chapter House
Art meets nano-technology meets the apocalypse. A glowingly bright illuminated tapestry reimagination of the famous 14th-century château d’Angers Apocalypse Tapestry will be brought to Canterbury cathedral during the festival, after its world-premiere in Brussels. Made using phosphorescent nano-pigment particles, the 36-metre tapestry re-creates with light a historically significant medieval tapestry, representing the Book of Revelations. Hauntingly mesmerising, and located in the ethereal setting of the Cathedral chapter house, a work of this scale is not one to be missed.
Tom Allen: Absolutely
31 October | 7.30pm – 9.30pm | Shirley Hall
In the last year, 33-year-old Tom has supported Sarah Millican around the world, sold out his Edinburgh show, and passed his driving test. Exceedingly camp observational comedy that has graced the floorboards of the Hammersmith Apollo.
2 – 4 November | 7pm – 8pm | Festival Spiegeltent
Marlene’s Cocktail Cabaret
2 – 3 November | 9.30pm – 11.30pm | Festival Spiegeltent
Take one part diva, one part human disaster area, most parts gin. Then, mix liberally with some of the very best music, variety and burlesque talent in the UK, et voilà! A night of unforgettable entertainment that will have you shaking with laughter and stirred in the most delightful way.
Rich Hall: Live
3 November | 8pm – 9pm | Shirley Hall
Who doesn’t love Rich Hall? He’s an American comedian with a penchant for the blues and an alter ego called Otis Lee Crenshaw.
And recent events haven’t exactly left him wanting for material…
26 October | 9.30pm – 11.30pm | Festival Spiegeltent
Rag ‘n’ Bone man recently hailed her as ‘one of the finest singers this country has to offer’, so why haven’t we heard of her before? Her latest album People We Become, was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee and has inherited a little piece of its soul in its bluesey, earthy hits. A really powerful voice.
The Slightly Fat Show
24 – 25 October | 7pm – 8pm | Festival Spiegeltent
Expect orchestrated mayhem, riotously good comedy, live music, circus trickery, incredible illusions and plenty of surprises. It’s best described as ‘Cirque du Soleil meets Monty Python’. Variety is back (and it’s Slightly Fat).
For tickets and more information, visit www.canterburyfestival.co.uk.