UK theatre and dance festivals in 2020

| by Harriet Guest

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

Looking for 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 | 3 – 26 JAN | BELFAST

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

LONDON INTERNATIONAL MIME FESTIVAL | 8 JAN – 2 FEB | LONDON

A selection of innovative contemporary visual theatre from UK and international artists, including World, UK and London premieres.

RESOLUTION 2020 | 9 JAN – 21 FEB | LONDON

The Place's annual festival of new choreography and performance from UK emerging dance artists. Every year the festival welcomes original work from over 70 artists.

PUSH FESTIVAL 2020 | 18 JAN – 1 FEB | MANCHESTER

Showcases the creative talents of the North West of England with a programme of performance, exhibitions and events on screens, stages and spaces across Manchester for 2 weeks.

NOW 20 | 21 JAN – 22 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 2020 | 28 JAN – 22 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.


MANIPULATE | 31 JAN – 8 FEB | EDINBURGH
Innovative and challenging visual and physical theatre, film and puppetry from international theatre and filmmakers comes to Scotland.   

 

February


CREATIVE DISRUPTION | 10 – 15 FEB | LONDON
A programme of 10 theatre shows created by the Arcola Theatre's participation programme in schools and the local community.

SPARK FESTIVAL | 10 – 16 FEB | LEICESTER
A children's arts festival for young people aged 0-13. Programme includes dance, theatre and music performances across venues and schools in Leicester, giving school children the chance to collaborate and create with professional artists.
 

IMAGINE CHILDREN'S FESTIVAL | 12 – 24 FEB | LONDON
A platform for some of the best of children's theatre, literature and music, including free events and workshops at the Southbank Centre in London.

 

March


SPRINT 19 | 5 – 29 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 | 6 – 8 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.

HOMEGROWN FESTIVAL | 30 MAR – 9 APR | LONDON

A festival of theatre, dance, music and workshops at Battersea Arts Centre. Led by young people, the performances will explore ideas around the climate crisis, migration and the digital world.

 

April


NATIONAL STUDENT DRAMA FESTIVAL | TBC | 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.

EXPERIMENTICA | 5 – 11 APR | CARDIFF

The Chapter Arts Centre hosts a programme of live art, performance and interdisciplinary projects, offering a significant platform for UK and international artists to introduce their work.

LET'S DANCE INTERNATIONAL FRONTIERS 2020 | 29 APR – 12 MAY | LEICESTER

LDIF brings innovative dance from around the world to Leicester. The 2020 festival celebrates ten years of the festival with the theme 10 Years, 10 Countries, 10 voices: Black Classics, and focuses on dancers, companies and choreographers that have grown out of African and African Caribbean aesthetics.

 

May


BRIGHTON FESTIVAL | 2 – 24 MAY | BRIGHTON
An annual celebration of dance, theatre, music, live art, circus, film, literature and outdoor events across familiar and unusual locations across Brighton and Hove.

BREAKIN’ CONVENTION | 2 MAY – 6 JUN | UK WIDE
Hosted and curated by UK hip hop theatre pioneer Jonzi D a the UK's festival of hip hop dance theatre includes breakin' crews, popping, krump, house and street dance. For 2020 Breakin' Convention will tour to 11 cities across the UK.

MAYFEST | 6 – 23 MAY | BRISTOL

Mayfest focuses on experimentation and playful work with a programme of ambitious contemporary theatre from UK and international theatremakers.

NORFOLK & NORWICH FESTIVAL | 8 – 24 MAY | NORWICH

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

WANDSWORTH ARTS FRINGE | 8 – 24 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.

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 | 14 – 31 MAY | GLASGOW

A festival of contemporary performance taking place in venues across Glasgow. The events are created through a programme of artistic development opportunities combined with inspirational work from Scotland and beyond.

EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN'S FESTIVAL | 20  – 31 MAY | 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.

BATH FRINGE FESTIVAL | 22 MAY – 7 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 | 22 MAY – 7 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.
 

PLYMOUTH FRINGE FESTIVAL | TBC | 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


LIFT FESTIVAL | 3 –28 JUN | LONDON
This biennial festival takes over iconic landmarks, outdoor spaces and venues across London with a programme of international theatre focusing on the political and social necessities of our time.

PULSE FESTIVAL | 4–7 JUN | IPSWICH
A week long festival that is part curated, part open application, focusing on new and innovative approaches and offering a snapshot of contemporary theatre and performance.

GREENWICH & DOCKLANDS INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL | 19 JUN  4 JUL | 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.

BE FESTIVAL | 19 JUN  4 JUL | BIRMINGHAM
Birmingham's annual festival of international arts returns in SUmmer 2020 for a week of live art, theatre, circus and visual arts.

INCOMING FESTIVAL | 22  28 JUN | BRISTOL, MANCHESTER AND LONDON
Incoming celebrates the best emerging theatre companies from across the UK and beyond. 2020 marks the 7th edition of the festival.


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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