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Hull’s Freedom Festival returns for its 16th year with an exciting programme of events

Freedom Festival, Hull’s award-winning international arts festival, is back for its 16th year promising a packed programme in Hull city centre and online for 9 days with over 135 performances.

The festival features more than 350 individual performers, artists, musicians, visual artists, creatives, and plenty who cannot be easily ‘pigeonholed’ into one form or the other. Expect the unexpected!

Starting on 26th August with a finale weekend from 2nd – 4th September, the festival promises to be packed with excitement, awe, joy, beauty and thought-provoking content which audiences anticipate from Freedom Festival.

Mikey Martins, Artistic Director & CEO of Freedom Festival Arts Trust says, “We’re hugely excited and looking forward to our new 9 day festival format.

It’s been a tricky couple of years for us all, and we believe a festival like ours, with so many different and generous ways of accessing a world class programme, is more important than ever.”

The festival has gone from strength to strength since 2016, going from a 3 day festival, to 5 days in 2017, 2018 and 2019, then online and broadcast in 2020, and 17 days in 2021. Freedom Festival has also delivered other unique international creative programmes for the city such as The Hull Vigil from May 2021 – May 2022 and The Awakening in March 2022. The team have carefully constructed a 9 day programme which carries both indoor and outdoor work and culminates in the kind of big weekend the city has come to expect from Freedom Festival; including a feast of performing arts, installations, talks and debates, films, intimate digital experiences and truly something for everyone at whatever pace you prefer.

In multiple locations across Hull city centre, the 2022 festival brings a huge programme to audiences with highlights such as the opening at Hull New Theatre from multiple award-winning Australian Circus heavyweights Gravity & Other Myths – ‘Backbone’, the large-scale puppetry and promenade spectacle ‘MO and the Red Ribbon’ presented by Cie L’Homme Debout, and Cie Dyptik’s world-class and hugely powerful dance performance ‘Mirage’.

Alongside the vast free programme offer, Freedom Festival have expanded their ticketed offering at various venues across the city, including a series of ‘Freedom Sessions’, musical concerts, gigs and musical performances including a showing of the BFI-produced film ‘Arcadia’ with the live score played by Adrian Utley (Portishead) and Will Gregory (Goldfrapp) plus ensemble in Hull Truck Theatre. Also look out for the return to the city of Arun Ghosh performing ‘Canticle of the Sun’ with a stellar ensemble in Hull Minster, plus the album launch and Pizza Pop Party of local musical heavyweights LIFE.

These sit alongside a very unique series of indoor shows; the life-affirming theatre show ‘All the Sex I’ve Ever Had’ presented by the exceptional Canadian company Mammalian Diving Reflex; La Mecánica from Mallorca present ‘The Little Things’, a wonderful and unique family show for kids and their adults; and many more shows to explore and enjoy indoors as well as outdoors. Any ticketed shows are set at very affordable prices, so you’ll be coming back for more and more over the 9 days.

The indoor programme is presented with support from their partners at Hull Truck Theatre, Hull New Theatre, Social and Princes Quay – do check out the programme for all information as soon as you can, and snap up those tickets as things will sell out!

They are also excited about the online/on-demand programme this year, which will be available on their website, YouTube and social media from 26th August – 4th September. It will contain a series of Freedom Talks presented in partnership with the Wilberforce Institute, a short documentary series from our partners over in Freetown, Sierra Leone – Freetown Media Centre and Mr Barmmy Boy, plus content from multiple artists in the wider programme, podcasts produced by Broken Orchestra, and the continuation of the Re:Score project supported by Yorkshire Film Archives.

It is the perfect way to bring everyone back together again to experience extraordinary world-class and unique performances, exhibitions, discussions about what really matters; it really is a feast of a festival truly like no other festival, because it is of Hull.

The festival represents and is always inspired by the city’s human values, its unique humour and creativity, and its inherent mischief. We look forward to welcoming you to Hull city centre for a festival like no other.

It’s not only the festival that has a new format; The Arts Trust who produces Freedom Festival have taken the opportunity to restructure and welcome in several new team members, who make the complex and ever-challenging business of delivering the programme to the streets of Hull possible and sustainable. Alongside this core team, they work with many local freelancers, as well as interns from Hull University, which marks the start of a reinvigorated and hugely exciting three-year partnership between the Freedom Festival Arts Trust and the University of Hull.

The festival have also announced the continued partnership and support of Arts Council England, Hull City Council, Keepmoat, Wykeland/Beale, KCOM, HCAL Museums, NOVA studios, and new friends and partners G.F. Smith, Studio Blue, and SAUCE.

The Freedom Festival programme is now available via the website www.freedomfestival.co.uk, with the free printed programme launching mid-August, available to pick up from local businesses and at the festival sites around Hull city centre, including the information desk at Hull Interchange.

Follow @freedomfesthull on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to get the latest news and updates.

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