UK theatre and dance festivals in 2019

| by Harriet Guest

Tags: Dance Festivals Theatre Cultural diversity Live art Queer arts Outdoor arts

Looking for outdoor arts, LGBT+ arts or some of the best contemporary performance from the UK and beyond? We've put together a snapshot of UK-wide performing arts festivals from January to June

East Wall at the Tower of London LIFT Image Richard Leahair finale choreographed by Hofesh ShechterEast Wall at LIFT festival 2018. East Wall was produced by East London Dance and Hofesh Shechter Company, commissioned by Historic Royal Palaces and presented by Historic Royal Palaces and LIFT. Photo: Richard Leahair

 

January


OUT TO LUNCH ARTS FESTIVAL | 4 – 27 JAN | BELFAST

Cathedral Quarter Arts serves up a menu of international theatre, music, comedy, film, spoken word and hot food.

LONDON INTERNATIONAL MIME FESTIVAL | 9 JAN – 3 FEB | LONDON

A selection of innovative contemporary visual theatre from UK and international artists.

PUSH FESTIVAL 2019 | 11 – 26 JAN | MANCHESTER

Showcases the creative talents of the North West of England with a programme of performance, exhibitions and events.

RESOLUTION 2019 | 11 JAN – 23 FEB | LONDON

A festival that supports and showcases UK emerging dance artists is back for its 30th year at The Place, welcoming original works from 70 artists.

NOW 19 | 15 JAN – 16 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.


VAULT FESTIVAL
 | 23 JAN – 17 MAR | LONDON
London's biggest arts festival features over 400 shows from more than 2,000 artists – celebrating new writing, theatre, comedy, cabaret and immersive performance in underground chambers.

 

February


MANIPULATE | 2 – 12 FEB | EDINBURGH, ABERDEEN, GLASGOW
Puppet Animation Scotland’s festival presents innovative visual theatre and animated film from international theatre artists and film-makers.
 

QUEER CONTACT FESTIVAL | 8 – 9 FEB | MANCHESTER
Contact brings a weekender of LGBTQ+ arts and culture. Expect theatre, dance, spoken word, and open forum events.

IMAGINE CHILDREN'S FESTIVAL | 13 – 24 FEB | LONDON
A platform for some of the best of children's theatre, literature and music, including free events and workshops.
 

PULSE FRINGE FESTIVAL | 26 FEB – 14 MAR | IPSWICH

A 10-day festival focusing on new and innovative approaches, Pulse offers a bright and inspiring snapshot of contemporary theatre and performance.

 

March


FESTIVAL OF REST AND RESISTANCE | 4 – 16 MAR | LONDON
An inclusive festival from Battersea Arts Centre presenting the best of the UK’s disability arts scene. Curated by Jess Thom of Touretteshero.

SPRINT 19 | 5 – 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 | 8 – 9 MAR | LONDON

WOW – Women of the World festival celebrates women and girls, looking at the obstacles that stop them from achieving their potential, through talks and performance.

STRIKE A LIGHT FESTIVAL | 21 – 27 MAR | GLOUCESTER

Strike A Light presents two festivals a year of contemporary performance in Gloucester, alongside artist development programmes and community participation projects.

April


NATIONAL STUDENT DRAMA FESTIVAL | 13 – 19 APR | LEICESTER

Celebrating the best student theatre in the UK, NSDF offers a platform for young people to present work over a week-long performance festival.

TRANSFORM FESTIVAL | 26 APR – 4 MAY | LEEDS

Transform takes over arts venues, city sites and outdoor spaces across Leeds with international and local artists. Expect radical and socially conscious work.

LET'S DANCE INTERNATIONAL FRONTIERS 2019 | 29 APR – 12 MAY | LEICESTER

LDIF brings innovative dance from around the world to Leicester. The 2019 festival celebrates black dance – exploring styles that have grown out of African and African Caribbean aesthetics.

IN BETWEEN TIME FESTIVAL | TBC | BRISTOL

IBT presents radical and new art works, encouraging audiences to think differently about the world and ourselves.

 

May


BREAKIN’ CONVENTION | 3 – 5 MAY | LONDON
Hosted and curated by UK hip hop theatre pioneer Jonzi D at Sadler's Wells, the UK's festival of hip hop dance theatre includes breakin' crews, popping, krump, house and street dance. 

THE CATHEDRAL QUARTER ARTS FESTIVAL | 3 – 12 MAY | BELFAST

A 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.

WANDSWORTH ARTS FRINGE | 3 – 19 MAY | LONDON

WAF brings together over 700 creatives in an open access arts festival in south west London, with a focus on inclusive and participatory work.

BRIGHTON FESTIVAL | 4 – 26 MAY | BRIGHTON

An annual celebration of dance, theatre, music, live art, circus, film, literature and outdoor events. 2019's Guest Director is award-winning singer and songwriter Rokia Traoré.

NORFOLK & NORWICH FESTIVAL | 10 – 26 MAY | NORWICH

The flagship arts festival for the East of England presents 17 days of innovative performance, music, literature, art and free events.

TAKE ME SOMEWHERE | 11 MAY – 2 JUN | GLASGOW

Building on the legacy of The Arches venue, this festival showcases Scottish and international contemporary performance – focusing on diverse voices.

SURF THE WAVE | 16 – 19 MAY | BOURNEMOUTH

A showcase of UK dance for UK programmers created from an 18-month development programme. The programme runs to create opportunities for dance to tour in the UK.

DEAFFEST 2019 | 17 – 19 MAY | WOLVERHAMPTON

The UK's leading Deaf led film and arts festival supports and develops D/deaf artists from the UK and around the world.

BATH FRINGE FESTIVAL | 24 MAY – 9 JUN | BATH

Set up as a counter movement to the 'classical' Bath Music Festival, the Bath Fringe Festival includes around 200 events across all art forms, and is run mostly through volunteers.

SALISBURY INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL | 24 MAY – 9 JUN | SALISBURY

The historic city of Salisbury is transformed by theatre, dance, film, music, literary events and visual art with both ticketed events and free performances.
 

EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN'S FESTIVAL | 25 MAY – 2 JUN | EDINBURGH

Formerly known as Imaginate, this is the UK’s largest performing arts festival for children. Expect some of the best theatre and dance from around the world for young audiences.

PLYMOUTH FRINGE FESTIVAL | 27 MAY – 1 JUN | PLYMOUTH

An annual celebration of theatre and live performance, showcasing companies from across the UK along with the best in homegrown talent from the South West.

 

June


2 DEGREES FESTIVAL 2019 | 1– 9 JUN | LONDON
A festival of art and climate change run by Artsadmin. 2 Degrees aims to urge people towards individual and collective action through a programme of performance, discussion and public installations.

INCOMING FESTIVAL | 24 – 30 JUN | MANCHESTER AND LONDON
Celebrating the best emerging theatre companies from across the UK and beyond.


GREENWICH & DOCKLANDS INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL
 | TBC | 
LONDON
London's leading outdoor arts festival – showcasing the best of UK and international outdoor arts over two and a half weeks in June and July.


HIJINX UNITY FESTIVAL
 | TBC | CARDIFF
Hijinx is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year with a varied programme of inclusive and disability arts that includes professional and community programmes.

IGNITION DANCE FESTIVAL 2019 | TBC | LONDON
West London's annual dance festival returns in its sixth year with new work.

IMAGINE WATFORD | TBC | WATFORD

The streets of Watford are brought to life by two weeks of nationally and internationally acclaimed street art. 

 

 

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 theatreanddance@britishcouncil.org.


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