Festival brings three days of fabulously flamboyant family fun

Bradford’s biggest and brightest festival returns to City Park in late July (28-30) bringing a colourful and multicultural programme of arts, activities and entertainment.

This year’s Bradford Festival draws on Britain’s rich cultural talent and features award-winning and highly acclaimed street theatre, music and dance.

Celebrated women’s street theatre company, Circo Rum Ba Ba, brings The Crow House, a silent movie-inspired show using acrobatics, silks trapeze artistry, hat juggling, puppetry and slap-stick comedy.

One of Cardiff’s most exciting, original and eclectic companies, Kitsch & Sync Collective will stage Bedraggled where a trio of bold and brash mermaids shock and entertain onlookers with their feisty and fishy antics.

Audiences will be able to catch a glimpse of a possible future where air pollution hits crisis point in Urban Astronaut by innovative British street theatre company, Highy Sprung.

Internationally acclaimed theatre company, Mind the Gap have worked with cutting-edge Liverpool theatre company The Kazimier to stage Mirror Mirror, a thought-provoking piece about the experiences of people who are considered ‘different’ in today’s society.

Award-winning local interactive performance company, Same Difference, will bring their ‘walkabout, much-talked-about, splendorous, spectacular, scientific discovery machine’ in Sense-O-Matic which explores how we use our senses to discover our environment.

Anyone wishing to sample different types of music will be able to indulge in a rich and varied programme stretching from rock, ska, pop and folk to contemporary fusion, opera and Chinese classical music.

Delhi sensation, The Ska Vengers, will drop into Bradford from their UK tour to perform their refreshingly different, energetic and danceable music mixing ska rhythms with elements of dub, punk, jazz and rap.

The Cable Street Collective who blend rich flavours from Swaziland and Malawi with Latin and European influences of ska, indie, pop and swing, will delight festival audiences with uplifting, happy melodies.

Bradford-based Freedom Studios will perform the premiere of Ice Cream: The Opera, a charming 30-minute piece combining great tunes and big drama performed in and around two actual ice cream vans.

Lovers of Northern Soul can keep the faith with authentic renditions by The Signatures Northern Soul who bring acclaimed front-man, Stefan Taylor.

Passengers will be treated to impromptu performances at the Bradford Interchange train station in Street Piano where a beautifully decorated instrument will offers an open invitation to anyone to play whatever they wish.

People interested in world music can experience the delicate and soulful harmonies of the ancient erhu, or Chinese violin, played by master virtuoso, Ling Peng.

Audiences will be treated to an authentic expression of contemporary Indo-African fusion music in Afrindo Strings which features the nationally reputed, Jasdeep Degun on Sitar, internationally famous Kora artist, Tunde Jegede and the magical tabla player, Renu Hossain.

Dance lovers will be treated to a beautiful piece telling the story of British WW1 soldiers by infusing South Asian dance with poems by Wilfred Owen and Thomas Hardy in War – a scourge of hearts by Bradford dancers, Shrikant Jyoti and Gayathri.

Three of the ‘planet earth’s greatest superheroes’ will battle it out for the title of ‘Most Supreme Superhero Ever’ in KAPOW by celebrated British dance company, 2Faced Dance Company.

The Bradford Festival has masses of opportunities to have different kinds of hands-on experiences and create large collaborative art works with over twenty workshops and interactive activities.

Dance lovers can learn colourful and energetic Bollywood routines with celebrated choreographer, Jay Kumar who has performed at events and dance workshops across the world.

Bradford-based arts group 154 Collective will stage Cardboard Joe and The Book of Mysteries, a pop-up music and storytelling animation tent where young adventurers and their families decide how the adventure unfolds.

People will get an opportunity to learn how to make sensational sand sculptures with master sculptors, Sand In Your Eye.

The Bradford School of Rock and Media will help young people (5-19 years) to unlock their inner rock star with drumming, guitar, bass, DJ and music recording sessions.

Festival-goers will be able to create colourful Mexican celebration crafts with a ‘Day of the Dead’ theme with celebrated local and internationally exhibiting artist, Morwenna Catt.

Bradford artists, Musarat Raza and Nasreen Akhtar will show people how to make scintillating braided bracelets and Indian peg dolls decorated with fine organza and sari silk yarns, and brightly coloured kites and paper lanterns personalised with bold patterns and ethnic prints, sparkly sequins and metallic paints.

Steampunk-inspired top hats, arm braces, chunky bracelets, brooches, hair pins or frames will be created in an workshop full of ‘enigma, wonderment and delight’ with the help of artist, Zoreena Bano.

Artists from Wur Bradford will encourage people to explore movement, photography, mono printing and collage to create a large collective piece of wall art celebrating the creativity of everyday people.

Festival-goers can enjoy a range of fun fair rides and buy specialty foods and unique gifts from a food, drink and craft market.

The Bradford Festival runs from Friday to Sunday evening, 28-30 July, in Bradford’s City Park.

Entry is free. Visit the website for further details or follow the festival on Facebook and Twitter.

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