Arts & Entertainment Urban Echo News 

Bradford Festival to highlight local talent

Local artists will stage a colourful range of innovative and creative street theatre, dance, music, workshops and activities at this year’s Bradford Festival which is to be held in City Park, Bradford in July.

Internationally acclaimed, theatre company, Mind the Gap, will perform the premier of Mirror Mirror, a thought-provoking collaborative piece developed with cutting-edge Liverpool theatre company, The Kazimier.

Through ‘absurd performance’, technology and playful imitation, Mirror Mirror explores the experiences of people who are considered ‘different’ in today’s society and prompts the audience to ask themselves: who’s in front of the mirror?

Shipley dancer, Shrikant Subramaniam joins, Jyoti Manrai from Bradford to stage a contemporary dance piece, War – a scourge of hearts.

This beautiful dance piece tells the story of British WW1 soldiers by infusing the language of South Asian dance forms of Kathak and Bharatanatyam with poems by Wilfred Owen and Thomas Hardy.

Award-winning local interactive performance company, Same Difference, will stage, Sense-O-Matic which features a Victorian-inspired ‘fantastical object’ which ‘documents sights, sounds, smells and all other sensations’.

Visitors to the festival will be encouraged to help Sense-O-Matic’s madcap lab-rats complete their ‘very important research’ and discover everyday details which are often overlooked.

Formerly known as the Bradford Playhouse, Fused Imagination will stage a light-hearted children’s show, Red Bill’s Air Race.

The central character, Bill, a rubber duck, is looking for children to help teach him to fly.

Budding scientists, aviation experts and paper folding champions will work with Bill’s larger-than-life engineers, ground crew and flight attendants to build, test-pilot and race paper planes around Bradford’s City Park.

Shipley-based arts company, Q20 will show Elephant Gigante, a new street theatre piece which gives visitors the chance to experience ‘the majesty and serenity of the Serengeti’.

Moving through the crowds like cruise-liners through the mist, enormous, fully-animated puppets will ‘amaze and entrance’ visitors to the Bradford Festival.

The elephants will pause to meet people as they make their way to City Park’s ‘watering hole’ where they restore old friendships, tussle for dominance, groom each other and play.

Baildon artists from Sponge Tree will treat people to You Gotta Laugh, a unique workshop combing storytelling, yoga and laughter.

Laughter yoga exercises will be inspired by and entwined into tales of Bradford’s colourful history bringing new levels of energy and relaxation to participants.

Festival favourite, Bradford artist, Lou Sumray will return with her live charcoal sketching show, Promenading Artist.

This year, Lou is bringing some extra easels so people can join in and work alongside her.

Artists assembled by renowned Asian arts organisation, Kala Sangam will perform Indo-African fusion music in Afrindo Strings.

Nationally reputed, Jasdeep Degun on Sitar will collaborate with internationally famous kora artist, Tunde Jegede and the tabla player, Renu Hossain.

Bradford-based artist, Zareena Bano will help people make their own Steampunk-inspired top hats, arm braces, chunky bracelets, brooches, hair pins or frames in workshops with an atmosphere ‘full of enigma, wonderment and delight’.

Artists from Wur Bradford will help festival-goers to create, Put Yourself in The Picture, a large collective piece of wall art. 

Jean McEwan, Chemaine Cooke and Ruth Fettis will encourage people to explore movement, photography, mono printing and collage to make an artwork celebrating the contributions and creativity of local people.

Bobsie Robinson, Culture, Policy and Events Manager, Bradford Council, said: “The district has a vibrant and talented arts scene and we are very proud to showcase some of our best artists at July’s Bradford Festival.

“Many are returning after having performed in previous years and it is wonderful to see them flourish.

“The festival continues to provide an important platform for local artist to develop and show new work and to meet and collaborate with artists from all over the world.”

In 2016, the Bradford Festival attracted over 150,000 people into Bradford city.

Admission is free.

For further information and updates, visit or follow Bradford Festival on Twitter and Facebook.

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