2018 is set to be another strong year for UK festivals. Get out your diary and check out our snapshot of festivals in theatre, dance, live art and outdoor arts from January to June
Catch up with UK theatre and dance festivals in 2018
Rear View, Greenwich & Docklands International Festival. Photograph: IOU
LONDON INTERNATIONAL MIME FESTIVAL | 10 JAN – 3 FEB | LONDON
A selection of innovative physical and visual theatre from around the world.
RESOLUTION 2018 | 12 JAN – 23 FEB | LONDON
The UK's biggest dance festival for emerging artists is back for its 29th year at The Place. Resolution welcomes 81 artists to create original works.
CALM DOWN DEAR | 15 JAN — 4 FEB | LONDON
A celebration of all things feminist and theatrical, Camden People's Theatre has a festival line-up of new theatre from the front line of the battle for gender equality.
NOW 18 | 16 JAN — 17 FEB | LONDON
The Yard presents five weeks of double bills and explosive new work from artists who are making exciting and radical performance right now.
LONDON LUMIERE FESTIVAL | 18 JAN – 21 JAN | LONDON
More than 40 UK and international artists will reimagine London’s iconic architecture and streets, transforming the city into a nocturnal art exhibition.
MANIPULATE | 27 JAN – 3 FEB | EDINBURGH, ABERDEEN & GLASGOW
Puppet Animation Scotland’s Manipulate Festival presents pieces of innovative international visual theatre and animation across Scotland each year.
QUEER CONTACT FESTIVAL 2018 | 27 JAN – 24 FEB | MANCHESTER
Contact celebrates it’s 10th anniversary with a packed programme of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and more) arts and culture. Expect theatre, music, dance, cabaret, comedy, spoken word, and visual art.
VAULT FESTIVAL | 24 JAN – 18 MAR | LONDON
London’s biggest arts festival brings hundreds of new shows, events and performances to The Vaults's underground chambers. Comedy, drama, music and film.
EVERY THIRD MINUTE FESTIVAL | 9 FEB – 31 MAR | LEEDS
A brand new festival of theatre and dementia from West Yorkshire Playhouse. Created by people living with dementia, the programme features performance and live music that explores new ways of looking at dementia.
SPRINT 18 | 6 – 24 MAR | LONDON
Camden People's Theatre presents new and unusual theatre from artists at the very start of their careers or artists with new projects to perform.
WOW FESTIVAL | 7 – 11 MAR | LONDON
WOW – Women of the World festival celebrates women and girls, and looks at the obstacles that stop them from achieving their potential through talks ,performances, workshops and more.
STRIKE A LIGHT FESTIVAL | 21 – 27 MAR | GLOUCESTER
Strike A Light present two festivals a year of contemporary performance in Gloucester, alongside artist development programmes and participation projects within the community.
NATIONAL STUDENT DRAMA FESTIVAL | 24 – 30 MAR | LEICESTER
Founded in 1956 to celebrate the best student theatre the UK had to offer, today the festival offers a platform for all young people to come together and celebrate the power of performance.
CIRCUSFEST | 3 APR – 6 MAY | LONDON
Celebrating the future of circus at the Roundhouse. From the spectacular to the intimate, the festival showcases the point where circus collides with theatre, dance, live art, film and virtual reality.
EXPERIMENTICA | 11 – 15 APR | CARDIFF
Chapter Arts Centre presents a dynamic programme of live art and performance and an opportunity for UK and international artists at all stages in their career to present challenging, experimental works.
LET'S DANCE INTERNATIONAL FRONTIERS 2018 | 29 APR – 12 MAY | LEICESTER
THE CATHEDRAL QUARTER ARTS FESTIVAL | 3 – 13 MAY | BELFAST
A 10-day festival of stars, fringe acts, emerging artists and household names in music, comedy, literature, theatre and visual art taking place in Belfast's historic Cathedral quarter.
ALCHEMY | 4 — 7 MAY | LONDON
Southbank Centre’s annual festival showcasing the best of music, dance, literature, comedy, fashion, art and design from the UK and South Asia.
BREAKIN’ CONVENTION | 5 – 7 MAY | LONDON
Breakin' Convention is the UK's festival of hip hop dance theatre. Hosted and curated by UK hip hop theatre pioneer Jonzi D at Sadler's Wells, this year celebrates its 15th anniversary with a line-up of acts from around the world and around the corner.
TAKE ME SOMEWHERE | MAY (dates tbc) | GLASGOW
A celebratory festival of contemporary performance, taking place in venues across Glasgow, building on the legacy of The Arches’ arts programme.
BRIGHTON FESTIVAL | 5 – 27 May | BRIGHTON
The largest mixed arts festival in England, including the Streets of Brighton street arts festival and the Caravan Showcase — a showcase of contemporary performance for promoters. Brighton Festival 2018 will be headed up by Brighton-based visual artist David Shrigley.
MAYFEST 2018 | 10 – 20 MAY | BRISTOL
Bristol’s annual festival of contemporary theatre, presenting a broad range of unusual, playful and ambitious work from theatre makers from Bristol, the UK and beyond.
NORFOLK & NORWICH FESTIVAL | 11 — 27 MAY | NORWICH
The flagship arts festival for the East of England presents 17 days of innovative performance, music, literature, art and free events.
SPARK FESTIVAL | 21 – 28 MAY | LEICESTER
Presenting theatre, dance, music, visual arts and digital media events for young people aged 0—13 years.
EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN'S FESTIVAL | 26 MAY – 3 JUN | EDINBURGH
Formerly known as Imaginate, the UK’s largest performing arts festival for children and young people presents performances from around the world in Edinburgh and on tour in Scotland.
BATH FRINGE | 25 MAY – 10 JUN | BATH
The festival is among the oldest operating in England and includes around 200 events. It was set up as a counter balance to the ‘classical’ Bath Music Festival and it's run mostly through volunteers.
PLYMOUTH FRINGE FESTIVAL | 25 MAY – 10 JUN | PLYMOUTH
Plymouth’s annual celebration of theatre and live performance will showcase companies from across the UK along with the best in homegrown talent from the South West.
PULSE FRINGE FESTIVAL | 31 MAY – 9 JUN | IPSWICH
LIFT 2018 | 1 – 30 JUN | LONDON
Since 1981 LIFT has been pioneering new forms of UK and international theatre, presenting spectacular performances and moments of magic in every corner of the capital.
INCOMING FESTIVAL | JUN 2018 (dates tbc) | LONDON
Celebrating the best emerging theatre companies from across the UK and beyond.
INTERNATIONAL DANCE FESTIVAL BIRMINGHAM 2018 | 1 – 24 JUN | BIRMINGHAM
The theatres, streets and squares of Birmingham come alive with some of the best of international dance and movement.
GREENWICH & DOCKLANDS INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL | 22 JUN – 7 JUL | LONDON
London's leading outdoor arts festival — showcasing the very best of UK and international outdoor arts. Since 1996 GDIF has produced hundreds of inspiring and spell-binding street theatre shows.
HIJINX UNITY FESTIVAL | JUN 2018 (dates tbc) | CARDIFF
A varied programme of inclusive and disability arts that includes professional and community programmes.
IGNITION DANCE FESTIVAL 2018 | JUN 2018 (dates tbc) | LONDON
Demonstrating the extraordinary breadth, depth and diversity of choreographers working in the UK today.
THE LAST WORD FESTIVAL | JUN 2018 (dates tbc) | LONDON
The Last Word festival is home to a mix of live performances that all have a story to tell.
IMAGINE WATFORD | JUN 2018 (dates tbc) | WATFORD
A two week festival of nationally and internationally acclaimed street art of the highest quality. Watford Town Centre is transformed into a place of wonder and excitement.
Check back here or follow us on Twitter @UKTheatreDance for our next festival update later this year.
These are just some of the festivals we’re working with or recommending to international colleagues. Do you run a UK festival that’s not on this list? Get in touch and invite our team to get an update on your work. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.