Freedom Festival returns with a bang for 2017

The full line-up for one of Hull’s most celebrated and diverse festivals has today been announced at a packed launch event. Fusing original dance and outdoor spectacle with ground-breaking theatre, live music, debates and exhibitions, Freedom Festival will provide a platform to the very best national and international performers and artists.

Taking place from 1 – 3 September, the festival regularly attracts over 100,000 visitors into the city to enjoy its offering of extraordinary performance and culture. It was launched in 2007 to commemorate anti-slavery pioneer William Wilberforce.

Amongst the many highlights in the festival programme is Les Girafes, the official opening show by French theatre company Compagnie Off, which sees giant giraffes making their way through the city from King Edward’s Square with a mesmerising melange of live music, theatrical madness and riotous colour.

Hip hop dance company Southpaw will bring Rush, a special mass participatory dance piece, working with the local community and professional dancers to create a home-cooked feast for the eyes uniquely for Hull.

In addition, site responsive outdoor theatre specialists Periplum return to Hull following their thrilling 7 Alleys performance in East Park with a jaw-dropping adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel Farenheit 451.

Another one to pop in the diary is Haircuts by Children presented by Canadian company Mamalian Diving Reflex, where children aged between 8-12 are trained by professionals before being let loose in a local hairdresser.

Younger visitors will have plenty of fun exploring the delights of The Trip, which invites brave spectators to make an unforgettable journey into a wondrous machine. There’ll also be plenty of experiments to get stuck into in the University of Hull’s Science Tent, old-school wooden games and unexpected mess and chaos from Verniseurs, who will wander around the city.

Rounding off the weekend is the Freedom FEASTival, an enormous community feast to be shared in Queens Gardens, featuring an abundance of delicious home-grown produce.

Mikey Martins, Artistic Director and CEO of Freedom Festival Arts Trust, said: “Programming Freedom Festival is always a joy — there’s just so many incredible nationally and internationally acclaimed artists who want to perform in Hull.”

“Freedom is very much anchored to the heartbeat of the city, but with a big global voice on issues that affect us all. There’s a real undercurrent of revolution and resistance to what’s happening in the world at the moment, which we want to shout about.”

“That said, there’s also a huge amount of fun and playfulness this year — we don’t want to lose that sense that you never know quite what’s around the corner! We really hope that everyone will come and enjoy what’s happening during the day and stay for the evening programme to really experience the action from beginning to end.

Martin Green, Director of Hull UK City of Culture 2017, said: “Freedom Festival is one of the most exciting events in Hull’s cultural calendar, bringing together world-class artists and performers alongside thought-provoking ideas and mirroring the spirit of the city from which it was born.

Freedom Festival takes place from 1 – 3 September in Hull City Centre.