Arts & Entertainment Urban Echo News 

First acts announced for the Bradford Festival

Bradford Council has announced a host of high quality acts and workshops for this year’s Bradford Festival which will be staged in Bradford’s’ award winning City Park from 28-30 July.

People can look forward to seeing lots of highly innovative and colourful street theatre.

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, musical saw and harp playing, puppetry, audience participation and slap-stick comedy!

A derelict house appears in the middle of City Park and a furious bird has taken up residency in the chimney and squawks territorially when anyone comes near the house.

Three very different characters appear in the audience and a battle of wills and skills unfolds with ducking and diving, wheeling and dealing and ingenious plans evolving as each person tries to gain a room inside.

One of Cardiff’s most exciting, original and eclectic companies and pioneers of all things retro, vintage and the wonderfully absurd, Kitsch & Sync Collective will stage, Bedraggled

Three ‘bedraggled beauties’ are swept up on City Park’s ‘shores’, serenading shipwrecked sailors with their sublime, sultry sounds. 

But these mermaids are not anything like the ones you’ve heard about in fairy tales. 

Audiences can expect ‘underwater warblings, mermaid mambo manoeuvres, fish maracas, octopus opera’ and much more! 

Innovative British street theatre company, Acrojou will show, All at Sea, a theatrical installation set in a boat. 

In limbo between life and death, a lone boatman traverses a vast ocean of memories and past hopes, accompanied by his own personal storm. 

All at Sea combines melancholic humour, striking design  and visual poetry, in a moving and atmospheric ‘row-about installation’. 

Bristol-based artistes, Cake Ladies, bring their flamboyant stilt-walking show by the same name. 

With lashings of charisma and oozing with charm, the Cake Ladies are a saucy roaming tea party which dishes up sweet treats with a touch of glamour. 

These colourful human tables will serve a visual and gastronomic feast of charm and confectionery. 

This year’s Bradford Festival has an eclectic range of local, national and international music which will suit a wide range of tastes. 

Ice Cream: The Opera by local arts organisation, Freedom Studios, is a charming 30-minute act performed in and around two ice cream vans. 

Ice Cream tells the story of lovers, Romano and Geetha who are trapped in a hostile family feud. 

A bitter battle plays out between the parents. 

Insults are hurled, jingles are amplified and weapons are brandished. 

Geetha and Romano proclaim their love and try in vain to calm the situation, but are caught in the crossfire with dramatic consequences. 

Lovers of rock and pop will enjoy, Rupert Stroud, one of a breed of hotly-tipped West Yorkshire musicians currently attracting the attentions of regional and national audiences. 

Rupert’s powerful beat-driven and melodic sound has drawn support from BBC Introducing, 6Music’s Tom Robinson, and Radio 2’s Dermot O’Leary, Alex Lester and Bob Harris. 

His band has opened for world-renowned acts such as James Blunt, Texas and The Feeling. 

Highly original alternative indie band, Fie! Fie! Fie! from Birstall, who were nominated for the Outstanding Band Award at the Yorkshire Gig Awards have been booked for the festival. 

They recently featured on BBC Radio, MADE TV and Radio Rock – The Blitz in Hollywood, USA and received a standing ovation at the International Musicport Festival. 

Combining guitars, vocals, percussion and soulful harmonies, they add sincerity and wit in equal measure and will have Bradford crowds screaming for more. 

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

Ling’s career began as a child prodigy at the age of seven, performing to thousands during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. 

Her brilliance won her a place at the prestigious Sichuan Conservatory of Music. 

Now based in Nottingham, Ling Peng has collaborated with artists in various fields and across many cultures working with classical orchestras and Jamaican reggae, Indian, African, Romania and Russian musicians. 

She fuses western art forms with Chinese, bringing new perspectives, new audiences and new understanding to both Chinese music and culture. 

Innovative, Delhi-based band, The Ska Vengers blend ska rhythms with elements of dub, punk, jazz and rap to produce refreshingly different, energetic and danceable music. 

The Vengers play very much for the moment, introducing politically and socially relevant themes into their work. 

In 2012, they created a media storm when they performed for 2000 inmates at Asia’s larget jail, Tihar in Delhi. 

The Ska Vengers have appeared at the Notting Hill Carnival, London Mela, Bestival and the Wilderness Festival. 

This year’s festival will again offer interesting opportunities for children and adults to develop new skills and try out a wide range of creative and fun activities. 

Festival goers can create colourful celebration crafts using the bright colours of Mexico and with a ‘Day of the Dead’ theme with celebrated local and internationally exhibiting artist, Morwenna Catt

People can make a traditional Nichos box, a miniature Mexican shrine in a matchbox then personalise them with collage, drawing and reflective and colourful materials. 

Festival goers can craft colourful Mexican waggle sticks with ‘fancy patterns and swishy streamers’ to wave in the crowds, and Mexican sugar skull masks to ‘wear and scare’. 

Cardboard Joe, ‘a thickerthanpaper but thinnerthanwoodhero’ has a very special task, one that he needs imaginative and brave young adventurers to help him with… 

Children from 3 to 93 are invited to step into Cardboard Joe and The Book of Mysteries, an interactive music and storytelling  pop-up animation tent at by Shipley-based arts organisation, 154 Collective

Visitors to the festival will have the opportunity to ‘unlock their inner rock star’ at drumming, guitar and base, and DJ and music recording sessions run by the Bradford-based, School of Rock and Media

Master sculptors from Sand In Your Eye, who have created incredible ice and sand art works in City Park and Bradford city centre, will teach people how to make beautiful decorative sand castles. 

Bobsie Robinson , Culture, Policy and Events Manager, Bradford Council, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for people to come into Bradford and enjoy three days of high quality entertainment. 

“This year’s Bradford Festival has a rich variety of street theatre, music and workshops. 

“We have something for everyone here and entry is free. 

“The festival is part of a varied programme of events and activities designed to bring people together and support economic growth in the city centre.” 

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

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

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