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The hounds to be released in Knaresborough

The medieval market town of Knaresborough is unlikely to know what hit it when Release The Hounds, a new and innovative festival, takes over its streets Friday 13 to Sunday 15 September. With events taking place at a variety of venues around the town – The Frazer Theatre, the Hart Bar, the Market Place and Knaresborough Castle – the literary dogs are making Knaresborough their own.


Encouraging people to engage with contemporary arts in their hometown, this not-for-profit, three-day jubilee brings performers from across the UK to the town, allowing locals to catch shows they may previously have been unable to access.

Cornish poet, playwright and theatre-maker Molly Naylor opens the festival with a bang with her brilliant Whenever I Get Blown Up I Think Of You (Friday 13 September). Naylor won plaudits and hearts with her 2010 debut, a brave, tough and funny piece of writing based on her personal experiences of the 7/7 bombings and later made into a Radio 4 play. Alongside poet Byron Vincent, Naylor also hosts drama workshops for students of King James’s School.

Dazzling performance poet Luke Wright is one of the best beat poets on the UK circuit and on Saturday 14 September introduces audiences to the cast of greedy politicians and boozy ne’er-do-wells in his collection of bar-room ballads. Wright is supported by compelling wordsmith Tim Clare, performing his epic Pub Stuntman. Third Angel presents The Lad Lit Project (Sunday 15 September), a candid look at men, their place in the world and how they make sense of it, and Bang Said the Gun, a poetry gig for those who don’t like poetry, brings its fast-paced word-wrestling to the Hart Bar on Sunday 15 September.

The beauty of Release The Hounds is it isn’t all about headline acts. In addition to the ticketed evening events, the festival also includes live street performances in public spaces throughout the day. The Emergency Poet (‘prescriptive poems’ delivered in a 1960’s ambulance) doles out wordplay first aid to passing crowds in the Market Place and at the Castle Top, and plans are afoot for further devised street performances by young drama graduates to be delivered around the town.

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