Ageas Salisbury International Arts Festival has released the full 2014 Festival programme for its first year under new festival director Toby Smith. In 2014 the Festival looks north to the Nordic lands of the midnight sun, exploring the tensions between light and dark, city and nature, land and sea in a region of contrasts where the endless darkness of winter gives way to a summer of constant daylight. Some of the finest artists from the Nordic region will bring poetry, music, dance, photography, film and folk to the Festival, work is that is beautiful, expressive and quirky by turn.
The Festival programme features events for everyone to enjoy:
· The Festival opens in spectacular style with a Festival commission for a massed male chorus, Voices From No Man’s Land. More than 100 male voices will mark the centenary of the Christmas Truce between soldiers in World War One, in a special installation in the Cathedral Cloisters.
· Close Encounters on the opening Saturday of the Festival (24 May), will continue the Festival celebrations. The day will feature free entertainment for all in Salisbury Cathedral Close, including the classic Festival Playday, a wide variety of new, world-class street theatre and installations, diverse food stalls and more. The Fireworks will take place in the evening. The ever-popular Salisbury Live will host local bands in pubs throughout the city.
· On Sunday 25 May the Festival moves into the city for a new free event City Encounters as exciting street theatre, circus and dance spring up around the city with over 80 food stalls in the International Market. The much-enjoyed Salisbury Live @ the Farm will return for a second year.
· The Festival will host an exciting range of family events, including Festival favourites Illyria who return with a performance of Roald Dahl’s George’s Marvellous Medicine. A triple bill of family literature events includes music and storytelling from local children’s author Kristina Stephenson. There are plenty of events to engage children of all ages, from re-workings of classic stories like Pinocchio to entirely new experiences and workshops for hands-on creativity. There’s even a disco for under-fives.
· The 2014 literature programme boasts Kate Adie, Barry Norman, Rachel Joyce, Peter Snow and others, and offers a diverse range of topics for discussion and debate. The Festival is joined by Iceland’s leading poet and author, Gerdur Kristny, who will give live poetry readings inspired by the literature of her homeland.
· The glorious setting of Salisbury Cathedral will host a number of spectacular events, featuring highlights of this year’s classical music programme. The Cathedral will host a fitting tribute to the life and works of the late Sir John Tavener from the South Iceland Chamber Choir, as well as a magnificent performance by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andris Nelsons.
· Finnish virtuoso Pekka Kuusisto joins the CBSO and Andris Nelsons for a performance of the Sibelius Violin Concerto, the culmination of a series that showcases this Kuusisto’s multi-faceted artistic life, from projects based on Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and the music of Bach, to a words and music performance designed to send its audience off into a deep sleep.
· The Festival will showcase performances in numerous other fantastic settings around the city and across Wiltshire, including the Wardrobe Museum Gardens, Old Wardour Castle, Wilton Church and Roche Court Sculpture Park.
· The Festival offers a range of musical styles across Salisbury, from a rich classical programme to fun, popular music including the energetic Romanian troupe Taraf de Haïdouks, and Terje Isungset, one of Norway’s most distinctive artists who plays musical instruments hand-carved out of pure ice. Festival favourite Clare Teal celebrates her musical heroines, and Michael Morpurgo offers another beautiful evening as he returns to the Festival with the musical retelling of The Mozart Question.
· The Festival will showcase stunning dance and circus performances, including the Iceland Dance Company performing a triple bill of works by Scandinavian choreographers, and Sharon Eyal from Israel. Rime, a new show from Square Peg Contemporary Circus, combines circus with theatre and dance to tell Coleridge’s classic tale The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, all set to a Nordic-inspired sound track. The Festival also has a diverse film programme featuring a Nordic Noir Night of Jar City, Insomnia and Hour of the Lynx, the new film starring Sofie Gråbøl of The Killing.
· This year boasts a broad range of comedy events at the Festival headlined by Miles Jupp making a return to stand-up after his hugely successful 2012 tour. Mark Steel brings the immensely popular Mark Steel’s Back In Town to the Festival, offering a bespoke evening of comedy about the quirks of Salisbury. Audiences will be left breathless with laughter as Reduced Shakespeare Company races through every Shakespeare play and Luke Wright romps through his satirical verse in his hilarious show Essex Lion. Radio 4 favourite Alex Horne and the Horne Section brings spontaneous stand-up and spectacular performance to Salisbury Playhouse and fresh from the West End, Luke Kempner collides cultures in the brilliant The Only Way Is Downton.
· Six highlight events, released in December, have already generated great interest and enthusiasm for the 2014 Festival, with The Hilliard Ensemble and Jan Garbarek and singer-songwriter Madeleine Peyroux proving particularly popular.
Festival Friends can book tickets to any Festival events from Tuesday 25 February. Booking opens to the general public on Tuesday 4 March. Festival Friends memberships can be bought at any time.
Buy tickets online at salisburyfestival.co.uk or by calling the Box Office on 0845 241 9651.
Festival director Toby Smith said: “The midnight summer sun of the North has inspired our programming this year, and Salisbury’s summer will be packed with music, theatre, dance, art, film, literature, comedy and family events, burning brightly for 16 wonderful days from 23 May. The free opening weekend of outdoor arts, our family PlayDay, new commissions, live music and fireworks will signal the start of two glorious weeks ahead.”
Mark Cliff, chief executive of Ageas Retail and Distribution, added: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Ageas Salisbury International Arts Festival for the third year. The breadth of artistic excellence on offer at this year’s Festival is exciting and we look forward to sharing the experiences it will bring. The striving for excellence year on year coupled with a track record of delivering consistently high standards for people who attend are the very values that we too aim to achieve in our business.”