Release the Hounds is straining at the leash with its programme of events for year two of this exciting festival. Performance poets of national standing bring their literary talents to Knaresborough from Friday 12 to Sunday 14 September 2014.
Release The Hounds is the creation of DRAMA graduate Stephanie Jones. Having achieved her Masters in “Devising for Performance” Stephanie has returned to her hometown of Knaresborough to encourage young people to engage with the arts of the 21st Century and show that a successful festival can be produced in an area that tends to float under the cultural radar.
Events take place in a variety of venues around the medieval town, including The Mitre Hotel, Blind Jacks, The Cross Keys, Henshaws Arts & Crafts Centre, The Frazer Theatre Studio, Art in The Mill and in the Market Place, right at the heart of Knaresborough.
Encouraging festivalgoers to engage with contemporary arts, the not-for-profit three-day extravaganza hosts 21st century performance poets, allowing local residents to catch the kind of show that’s usually the preserve of larger towns or major cities.
FATLiP opens the festival with an early doors performance of the Lost Boy Sketches (Friday 12 September, 6pm, Henshaws Arts & Crafts Centre). This collaboration between spoken word artist and Elephant Collective member Toby de Angeli, theatre-maker Dana Segal and composer Jak Stephens uses storytelling to breath life into unusual characters.
The evening belongs to Ross Sutherland, rated by poet Ian McMillan for “producing poetry that’s epic on the human scale” (The Mitre Hotel, 8pm, includes chilli supper). Sutherland also hosts drama workshops during the day for students of King James’s School and Harrogate Grammar School. Friday also sees the return of the Emergency Poet, prescribing and dispensing poems as cures for all ills from the 1970s ambulance in the Market Place (From 1pm Friday. From noon Saturday and Sunday).
Saturday brings a devised tour from the Knaresborough Society of Possible Histories (KSPH), asking questions about what would have happened if historical events had played out differently in this small market town. This partnership between 3rd Place and Release the Hounds results in a new series of street tours over the weekend. ( From noon Saturday and Sunday).
A collaboration from York-based performer Henry Raby and Travels by Telephone results a heady mix of spoken word, poetry and sweet acoustic folk music in Practice Patience (Blind Jacks, 4pm).
The Cross Keys hosts Elephant Collective, a melting pot of writers, poets, rappers, visual artists and storytellers fresh from performances in places as far flung as Berlin and New York (Saturday, 6.30pm). The illustrative talents of artist John Pearson are on show in the Market Place during the day and Saturday’s top billing goes to Mike Garry (Henshaws Arts & Crafts Centre 8.30pm).
“He walks like a man and talks like a man and writes likes a great northern poet,” states broadcaster and journalist Paul Morley of Garry’s formidable talents. Garry has worked with Philip Glass and is due to perform alongside him at the Days & Nights festival in the Big Sur in California in September.
The final day of the festival welcomes Leeds-based writer and theatre-maker Matthew Bellwood, performing An Icy Man (Frazer Theatre Studio, 2pm, suitable for ages 14+), while the simply dazzling Katie Bonna, poet, actress and writer appears at Art in The Mill at 6pm.
The festival is brought to a fitting climax with brilliant wordsmith Luke Wright (The Hart Bar, 7.30pm) one of the best beat poets on the UK circuit who delivers slick poetry at its most playful and contemporary.