One of the UK’s smallest and most unique cities is gearing up for its second Ripon Theatre Festival.
With multiple unusual pop-up performance locations, city streets and open spaces adding to the list of more traditional venues, there’s lots to do. And as the festival organisers prepare for more than 50 events over five days, community performers are rehearsing to perform alongside the professional line-up of more than 20 visiting theatre companies and street acts.
Larger events such as the fast-paced Robin Hood for families at Fountains Abbey and the charming Sense and Sensibility at The Old Deanery are matched by mini events which enable local cafés and shops to get involved. The Market Place, Minster Gardens and Ripon Spa Gardens will be transformed into Festival Zones for the weekend with street theatre, music, mime, circus and dance filling the bill.
From the ancient Crypt in Ripon Cathedral to the back of The Little Ripon Bookshop, this year’s Ripon Theatre Festival will see puppets, stories and drama popping up across the city.
Gav Cross, master storyteller, will be thrilling young audiences in three different venues, miniature puppet shows will be found in venues as varied as the tiny and historic cabmans’ shelter, The GreenHouse shop and Ripon Cathedral. There will be hourly entertainment in the bookshop, brunch events at The Unicorn Hotel and Claro Lounge and a short series of spoken word, storytelling and drama in the atmospheric crypt of the Curzon Cinema.
Pop-up events are either free or Pay What You Can and form just one series within the full festival programme which includes ticketed theatre performances, many at the city’s studio theatre, Ripon Arts Hub. With the final weekend of street theatre, walkabout acts, open-air theatre, music, dance and hands-on activities, organisers promise colour, drama and fun. Festival runs 7-11 June.