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Hull’s Freedom Festival Announces Monumental 2021 Return



Freedom Festival, is back for its 14th year in 2021 with an extended programme spanning sixteen days – starting 20 August to 5 September.

The Festival will be mounted in in venues (galleries, museums, theatres, empty shops) and public spaces across Hull, presenting an exciting programme of music, performance, visual arts and talks including a number of special commissions and events.

The majority of Festival events will be free but in line with government guidance, most events will be ticketed to manage capacity. An initial release of tickets for events will be available from Friday 2 July at midday. 

Mikey Martins, Artistic Director and Joint CEO of Freedom Festival Arts Trust, said: “We are delighted to confirm our Festival dates for 2021 and announce the first wave of events.

Today we can announce a few of the events you will be able to experience at the Festival this year including a return by Luke Jerram who last was at Freedom Festival with the hugely popular Museum of the Moon in 2018; this year we are proud to present Gaia (earth). For Freedom we are working in association with Hull Minster (where Gaia will be presented), and the Woodland Trust. Audiences will experience this amazing installation surrounded by trees with a bespoke soundscape. During the Festival around Gaia there will be a series of special events, concerts and talks which will include a specially commissioned  performance by The Broken Orchestra, and the culmination of a project based around climate change in association with Westcott Primary School.

We are also presenting a number of audio adventures/walks where alone or in a group you can be  part of a created experience through the streets of Hull, exploring the known and less well known parts of our city. Aria Entertainment and WEF Productions join forces with Freedom to present C-O-N-T-A-C-T. a sell-out performance during both Paris and London runs. Become totally immersed in the world of our characters for 50 remarkable minutes, as you plug into this joyous, poetic and liberating experience; walk the path with the performers and share their sensations and thoughts, as the action unfolds before your eyes. Only Expansion by Duncan Speakman remixes the sound around you so you can experience what climate change may sound like through augmented audio.

We are excited to be bringing performances back to the city this year at Stage@TheDock, featuring 15ft6 from Belgium and their circus skills based show League & LegendRise by Tribe – a powerful female-led dance piece and four other pieces to be announced soon. And at Hull Truck we will be presenting for families, Daryl Beeton’s solo show, A Square World; a playful story of what happens when you don’t fit in. Using ingeniously designed abstract props, his non-verbal performance gets children to think about disability and how we can include everyone.

Internationally renowned Blast Theory create interactive work exploring social and political questions, placing audience members at the centre of their work. In 2021 audiences will be able to experience Rider Spoke. Grab your bike and explore your city, recording stories about your life and listening to other people’s. If you don’t own a bike we will have a small number of bikes available so that as many people as possible will be able to enjoy this experience.

There will also be some incredible installations, all commissioned by Freedom Festival, such as Where There Is Light, created by SquidSoup/ArtReach and sanctuary seeking communities in Hull and across the country, exploring the theme of light, delivered at the Ferens Art Gallery. Another installation is Arrivals + Departures by Yara + Davina, an interactive exploration of birth death and the journey in between, which comes to Hull following appearances in London and New York.

We will be presenting a series of Freedom Talks and commissioned online film and audio content, and will be releasing further details of these in the coming weeks.

As well as the core 16 day Festival, our year-long event. The Hull Vigil, continues daily at Hull College until 3 May 2022. And I am delighted to say that as a Festival encore, Freedom Festival is co-presenting the iconic Canadian modern circus company 7 Fingers, in their new show Passagers at Hull New Theatre on 28 September. If you enjoyed any of the remarkable circus companies like Circa that Freedom has presented over the past few years, you won’t want to miss this show.

I can also announce today that we are working on creating a special event for Hull this winter. I can’t say too much but ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’

We remain a festival powered by people, that’s what Freedom Festival is and what fuels us. We believe bold, exciting and insightful artistic experiences are fundamental and a necessary part of our modern society. We work with artists who are brave, innovative and hugely talented and we’re incredibly excited to have expanded the festival across 16 days this year to allow as many people as possible to attend events that may have a limited capacity due to government guidelines. “ 

Anthony Baker, Executive Director and Joint CEO of Freedom Festival Arts Trust, said: “In this challenging Covid-19 environment, we are so pleased to be able to bring you this exciting and relevant programme of events across this extended period. I especially want to thank our partners and funders, without whose support we would be unable to bring you our remarkable celebration of art, community and humanity annually. Particular thanks go to Arts Council England and Hull City Council who continue to believe in our work and the impact we make in our great city.

The first wave of tickets will be available at midday on Friday 2 July. Additional information and ticket announcements will be released over the coming weeks. To keep up to date visit

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