A free family festival of Circus, Music and Art
Revitalising the arts and renewing citizens’ connection with the city, Unlocking Peterborough is a free festival for all the family. An exciting and unique programme of events run from October to December, featuring circus performances, strolling musicals, street theatre, work by local artists and a Christmas winter wonderland. Unlocking Peterborough will not only reconnect citizens with their incredible local culture but employ powerful creative statements to unify the community.
Kicking off the festival is LOVEART on 17th October. A 12-metre-high vibrant red heart frames an elegant aerial show. The fabric heart is the result of recent developments in fabric technology and 3D stress test modelling; fluctuations in the internal air pressure enable the heart to lift the aerial performer while modulations in air flow give the impression of a heartbeat. This image is universally understood by all and fulfils its own message; Love Art.
Following this enchanting combination of aerial spectacle and artistry are strange encounters this Halloween. October 30th and 31st will witness other-worldly creatures including the silent Las Muertas Stilt Walkers. With ethereal dresses that flicker with light and burst with colour, these spooky figures only break their eerie aura if lively music breaks their spell, causing them to break into dance. Cali and Mari the Octopi will also walk the streets, lighting up at night to magical effect, while Damsels in Distress will roam and flirt from atop their dragons in their search for Prince Charming.
November will marry the magic of autumn with Urban Canvas Street Games. Fun and open for all to join in with, this interactive event opens the month, later followed by the Winter Wonderland Birds on 27th – 28th November. These feathered beauties bring the sounds of peacocks to Peterborough with magnificent visual effect. More sound is brought by the Dickensian Christmas Ding Dong, a virtuoso strolling musical performance decked in holly and ivy. Christmas stilt walkers Tinsel and Cracker will roam Peterborough with a huge helping of festive fun and cheer.
The sparkle of Christmas is brought by the mesmerising Winter Fairy. On 11th – 12th December, this snow-kissed figure leaves audiences in awe as she conjures crystal balls and skilfully moves them like ice bubbles. Zooming around will be the Roller Skating Illuminated Presents, fitted in giant present costumes with twinkling illuminations. The Christmas Belles are a ribbon-waving, stilt-walking duo who ring out yuletide chimes of good cheer with syncopated hand chimes.
The grand finale on 18th – 19th December is Spark!. This street theatre show combines high-impact drumming with kaleidoscopic lighting design. With excellency in costume design and audience in interaction, a Spark! performance is never forgotten once seen.
Unlocking Peterborough is presented by Peterborough Positive, and funded by the Welcome Back fund, supporting a safe and successful reopening of local economies.
The City Animation Steering Group (CASG)
This project is made possible with thanks to the Government’s Welcome Back Fund, granted to Peterborough City Council, delivered by the City Animation Steering Group, and overseen by Nene Park Trust. The CASG is made up of volunteers from across the city. Organisations and creative partners have come together to develop and inspire creative opportunities in Peterborough city centre, working with retailers and businesses to build footfall and support the local economy. The CASG was established as part of the Peterborough Cultural Strategy, building a vision for Peterborough’s cultural future.