Canterbury Festival returns with a must-see programme of music, performance, talks, family events and much more from Saturday 19 October – Saturday 2 November.
Over two weeks, Canterbury’s annual celebration of the arts brings together a programme that is packed to the brim with global stars, emerging local talent and stunning live performances.
With venues including Canterbury Cathedral, The Marlowe Theatre, Kent College’s newly built Great Hall and the spectacular touring Salon Perdu Spiegeltent; Canterbury’s most ambitious Festival unifies the city’s cultural hubs and invites audiences of all ages and backgrounds to be inspired, delighted and stunned.
2019 marks 10 years of support by Canterbury Christ Church University, as the Festival’s Partner and Principal Sponsor. A home to world-leading research in the arts, the University makes an enormous contribution to the artistic and cultural life of the region and has been instrumental in the Festival’s development – helping reinforce Canterbury as a thriving hub for arts and culture.
Canterbury Festival is delighted to follow up last year’s sell-out shows at The Marlowe Theatre with four unmissable dates. Innovative British Singer-songwriter and two-time Mobo award winner, Laura Mvula, performs her only show of the autumn! Architect of the Buena Vista Social Club Juan de Marcos brings the sound of Havana to East Kent with the Afro-Cuban All Stars. Don’t miss chart-topping folk pop duo Ward Thomas, who are on scorching form since the release of their 2019 album Restless Minds. The Festival is also very excited to welcome Jack Savoretti who kicks off his autumn UK tour at The Marlowe; Jack’s 2019 album, Singing to Strangers, has received rave reviews and was number one in the charts for six weeks.
This year’s classical line-up features superb live musicians and vocalists from around the world. The Festival begins with The Sixteen Choir and Orchestra at Canterbury Cathedral performing one of the most magnificent pieces in the classical repertoire, Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610.
Don’t miss the world premiere of The Keys of Canterbury, a Festival commission by John Harle performed by one of the UK’s brightest stars, saxophonist Jess Gillam, and the Frisian Symphonic Wind Orchestra.
In I, Clara, actress Juliet Stevenson takes on the role of Clara Schumann accompanied by pianist Lucy Parham, together they mark 200 years since the composer’s birth. The Sacconi Quartet brings to life Kent College’s spectacular new venue, the Great Hall, with pieces by Rachmaninov, Arvo Part and Jonathan Dove. Later in the week Classico Latino and Omar Puente perform songs from the Latin American songbook – channelling the tropical spirit of old Cuba with a unique classical twist. The Festival is brought to a triumphant close by the celebrated vocal ensemble Tallis Scholars.
From the world of Jazz, rock and blues comes a plethora of acts including; The 360 Band featuring Average White and members Hamish Stuart, Molly Duncan and Steve Ferrone; Tex-mex Border music from Los Pacaminos featuring Paul Young; and Americana super group Orphan Colours featuring members of ahab, and Norah and the Whale.
Canterbury Christ Church University present a series of free concerts and performances taking place at St Gregory’s Centre for Music and Anselm Studio. The programme includes classical pieces by Beethoven, Ravel, Fauré; as well as the music of John Williams, gypsy swing in the style of Django Reinhardt and big bands. In addition, the University’s Commercial Music students will perform an effortless selection of classics; and students studying Dance Education will perform a selection of their choreography.