Follow us


Silkscape Completed by Participants at High House Production Park!

Posted 10 October 14

Due to less than favourable weather conditions during the Silkscape live paint finale at Night of Festivals, ArtReach and Kinetika Studios arranged for the participants from Leicester to head down to High House Production Park in Thurrock. High House is the home of many creative bodies including Kinetika, The Backstage Centre and the Royal Opera House.  There the participants, led by artist Ali Pretty, successfully completed the enormous 40 metre “freedom map” of Leicester.

Silkscape has formed an integral part of Night of Festivals and was commissioned especially for the Leicester section for tour. In the build up to the festival, local artists were invited to attend workshops to create features and patterns that were inspired by their cultural walk around the city. These designs featured some of Leicester’s most iconic cultural attractions including Belgrave’s Golden Mile, the Mahatma Ghandi Statue and the Clock Tower.

More information on when and where the impressive piece will be displayed will be available in the coming weeks. Keep up to date by following ArtReach on Twitter or liking on Facebook.

You can have a look at what else Kinetika are up to here.

Leicester hosts final stop of Night of Festivals Touring 2013/2014!

Posted 22 August 14

Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th August saw Leicester host the final event in the Night of Festivals 2013/2014 Tour!

The city was awash with colourful carnival costumes and exciting music performances as Night of Festivals kicked off Leicester’s City Festival 2014 in style. Based in the heart of the city by the Clocktower and running through Humberstone Gate West, audiences were thrilled by some truly marvellous live music acts including Abdelkader Saadoun, Sura Susso and Tongue Fu.

The gumboot dancing workshops provided by ACD Arts also proved a hit as the locals gathered to watch the brave participants who donned their wellies and took part in front of the crowd! The tempo didn’t slow down there though as throughout the day, the Carnival Interventions programme took over! The superbly designed costumes by Mandinga Arts brought joy to the faces of thousands as they paraded in and around the festival site. There were some energetic and skilful carnival performances by local participants from Curve Young Company, Stagecoach and Scufflebox Theatre Company, amongst others!

As a special addition to the Night of Festivals programme, Leicester’s event saw local artists and participants accompany Kinetika Artistic Director Ali Pretty in the live paint finale of the mammoth Silkscape project. During the summer months, Ali’s group has been producing designs for a near 40 metre piece of silk which will act as a “Freedom” map of Leicester incorporating such attractions and landmarks as the Golden Mile, the Cultural Quarter and Richard III.

The Night of Festivals team are now busy planning for 2015 and beyond so watch this space! You can keep updated through our Facebook and our Twitter.

Night of Festivals Carnival Rehearsals in Leicester!

Posted 31 July 14

Night of Festivals in Leicester is only two weeks away! At the heart of the event will be the “carnival interventions” programme and with that the first of two rehearsal weekends took place at Leicester Secular Hall on 26th and 27th July.

Engaging with local groups and individuals is a significant element of Night of Festivals and the variety of participants makes each Touring event unique! At the weekend, the young performers of Stagecoach Leicester took on the role of the Animal Farm Cats and Mice, whilst members of Curve Young Company also enjoyed rehearsing as Harlequins, Cows and Fluorescent Skeletons. Joining the other groups were members of Scufflebox Theatre Company who will be bringing the Animal Farm Pigs and Frogs to life!

The weekend’s activities were led by Mandinga Arts’ choreographer Theah Dix. She encouraged the participants to feel the rhythm and energy of the festival by taking them through Samba dancing routines and interactive, improvisation activities. Following this, participants had the opportunity to try on their costumes to get a firsthand experience of how it wll feel at the festival.

The “carnival interventions” programme will be sure to wow audiences over both festival days on 16th and 17th August and provide the city of Leicester with a wonderful spectacle that will live long in the memory!

Jess Green and Shruti Chauhan to perform with Tongue Fu in Leicester!

Posted 24 July 14

We are pleased to announce that Night of Festivals Touring in Leicester will be treated to not one, but two brilliant, local spoken word artists! Jess Green and Shruti Chauhan will be joining up with Tour regulars Tongue Fu on Saturday 16th August in the Festival Performance Dome in Humberstone Gate/High Street.

Nottingham, Boston and Slough have borne witness to the enigmatic and charismatic delights of Tongue Fu and now its Leicester’s turn! Known to be one of London’s liveliest poetry acts, Chris Redmond and the Tongue Fu band will take audience members on an inventive and experimental journey in live literature, music and improvisation!

Each event on the Night of Festivals Tour has seen the band collaborate with local poets to deliver their stories with improvised, multi-genre soundtracks. In Leicester, the wonderfully talented Jess and Shruti will both perform alongside the band at 7.30pm on Saturday 16th August in the Dome.

To see their artist profiles, follow the links below:

Jess Green

Shruti Chauhan

For full programme details, click here!

This event is brought to you in partnership with Writing East Midlands, the writer development agency for the region. Writing East Midlands works closely with writers and a range of organisations, including schools, universities, libraries and arts & performance venues, to develop opportunities for established and emerging writers and to help build strong relationships between and their communities.

Fantastic designs at Silkscape workshops in Leicester!

Posted 18 July 14

Silkscape continued to build its momentum on Monday and Tuesday as Embrace Arts hosted the workshop stage of the Night of Festivals project.

Following on from the stimulating walk in June, the workshops saw lead artist Ali Pretty and local participants produce numerous designs that will feature on the 40 metre piece of silk. This huge canvas will now be painted live on Humberstone Gate West as part of Night of Festivals on 17th August!

Many of the designs have been directly inspired by the walk and will feature some of Leicester’s most important cultural features and locations such as the Mahatma Gandhi statue on Belgrave Road and Curve theatre. The designs will adopt a variety of elements which symbolise the freedom and diversity present in this multicultural city. This is particularly relevant to the overarching theme of Night of Festivals.

The next step in delivering this piece will be the live paint finale which will take place on Sunday 17th August beginning at 11am. Prior to this, the designs will be waxed onto the silk in preparation and we will be holding an extra workshop at Embrace Arts on 16th August for anyone who wants to get involved and help the artists in this endeavour.

For photos from the walk and workshops, visit our Facebook here. For more details on the how you can get involved, call 0116 261 6882 or alternatively email

Produced by ArtReach and Kinetika, Silkscape is supported by the Joyce Carr Doughty Trust, through City Arts Nottingham.

St Martins Square taken over by Freedom Square flags!

Posted 15 July 14

Over three days from 11th – 13th July, local people from Leicester came to St Martins Square in the city centre to participate in workshops dedicated to the creation of the Freedom Square installation for Night of Festivals, Leicester. Led by artist Alinah Azadeh, designs were created by participants with the aim to share what “freedom” means to each individual in the context of a multicultural 21st century city.

Following on from previous workshops held for Night of Festivals events in Nottingham, Boston and Slough, it was Leicester’s turn to put their stamp on the installation. A wide variety of groups including Mencap, Age UK, Slapdash Art and many others incorporated their ideas and concepts of freedom and helped create the exciting and colourful project which will be on display throughout the Festival on 16th and 17th August.

With so many interesting designs completed, the anticipation for Night of Festivals in Leicester is now building rapidly! The festival will be a FREE event held in the City Centre and Humberstone Gate West running 11am – 10pm on Saturday 16th and 11am – 5pm on Sunday 17th August and will feature live music, spoken word, carnival interventions, storytelling, samba dancing and so much more!

For more information on how to book your place at any of the activities or performances then please call 0116 261 6882 or alternatively email

Opportunity to participate in Freedom Square workshops in St Martins Square!

Posted 10 July 14

The workshops will be held at St Martins Square Shopping Centre on the following dates:

Friday 11th July

Saturday 12th July

Sunday 13th July

Each workshop day is split into three sessions:

Session One: 10.30am – 12 noon

Session Two: 1.00pm – 2.30pm

Session Three: 3.00pm – 4.30pm

Following the tremendous successes in Nottingham, Boston and Slough, the Freedom Square workshops will be coming to Leicester this weekend! The workshops are one of numerous events we will be putting on in the build up to Night of Festivals Touring in August!

So we ask you:

What does “freedom” mean to you? Is there a particular image, symbol or word that comes to mind?

These FREE workshops allows you to incorporate all your ideas onto a coloured piece of fabric square with your creation later becoming part of a spectacular installation at Night of Festivals which will take place at Humberstone Gate West on 16th and 17th August.

Artist Alinah Azadeh has been specially commissioned for the Night of Festivals Tour 2013/2014 to create the installation and will be hosting each session. The FREE 1 ½ hour sessions will consist of fabric painting, graffiti style block printing and stencilling. All ages and abilities are welcomed and it has proved to be a fantastic family activity!

For further information on Night of Festivals Touring to participate in one of Alinah’s Freedom Square workshops simply contact ArtReach on 0116 261 6882 or alternatively email with your name and preferred workshop slot.

ArtReach is recruiting for Leicester!

Posted 08 July 14

Having worked with hundreds of participants across each of our previous locations, ArtReach is looking for a number of local people to take part in the Night of Festivals “Carnival Interventions” programme. We will be looking for children (7+), teenagers and adults to play a key role in the festival led by the renowned Carnival Arts organisation Mandinga Arts (!

Each step of the tour has incorporated local participants and has yielded fantastic results. We want Leicester to produce the same! Our participants will benefit greatly from the professionally run workshops that precede the festival and are always guaranteed to have great fun as the characters which are inspired by Animal Farm and the Mexican Day of The Dead!

Carnival costumes include amazing and spectacular Fluorescent Skeletons, Mice, Frogs, Cats, Suckling Pigs, Golden Birds, Harlequins and a Giant Skeleton.

Prior to the workshops we will be hosting a short presentation so that potential participants can hear more about the carnival and see for themselves what is involved. This will be held at the LCB Depot (Cultural Quarter) on Wednesday 16th July at 5.30pm.
Those who are interested in participating need to be available on event days (16th / 17th August) and be able to attend a rehearsal slot over each of the weekends of 26th/27th July and 9th/10th August.

To find out more and secure a place as a Night of Festivals Carnival participant then contact us call 0116 261 6882 or email

A brilliant evening’s walk for the Silkscape participants!

Posted 27 June 14

The Silkscape project got off to superb start on Wednesday evening as a selection of the artists involved were led through the streets of Leicester by Kinetika Artistic Director Ali Pretty. Silkscape will see Ali, alongside a variety of talented artists from the local area, paint a 40 metre length of silk which will act as a “freedom map” for Leicester. The colossal piece will take in elements from all over the city as a representation of the diversity and culture that has been made possible by artistic freedom. The project perfectly complements the overriding Night of Festivals theme of celebrating the values of freedom through artistic innovation.

With a city containing so many landmarks and venues to see, the epic 4 hour walk only brushed the surface of what Leicester has to offer. Amongst others, the group visited Victoria Park, New Walk Museum, Jewry Wall, Leicester Cathedral and the Guildhall, the Peepul Centre, the Golden Mile and even an impromptu stop off at BBC Leicester!

For photos from the walk, visit our Facebook here

Taking in the sights and sounds of the multi-cultural city, the artists were gaining ideas and inspiration to take forward into the Silkscape workshops which will take place at Embrace Arts on 14th and 15th July. Following this, the spectacular live paint finale will commence on 17th August right in the city centre for Night of Festivals Touring’s final stop for 2013-2014.

Produced by ArtReach and Kinetika, Silkscape is supported by the Joyce Carr Doughty Trust, through City Arts Nottingham.


Night of Festivals Lights up Slough!

Posted 03 June 14

On Friday and Saturday (30/31 May) Night of Festivals, full of colour, inspiration and artistry (not to mention some talented local participants and performers), made a stop off in Slough with over 10,000 each day enjoying and interacting with the events. The days were packed full of live music, storytelling, moving image, visual art and carnival interventions, with the High St and Town Square chock full of local people enjoying the carnival atmosphere (and the lack of rain!).

Many people attended both days, drawn by the carnival interventions from Mandinga Arts and Paraiso Samba, but which also featured young talent from SWIPE, the Creative Academy, Ryvers and Parlaunt Schools. The diversity of the audience was particularly noticeable with Night of Festivals succeeding in drawing in, and drawing together, people from many different cultures.

The event clearly touched a chord with thousands recording images of the carnival and taking the risk of trying new artistic experiences, including the delightful sound of Sura Susso and his Kora. People took to their seats in the Performance Dome not quite knowing what to make of this large instrument Sura had placed in front of him, but once the beautiful sounds of the Kora started to ring out, the audience was mesmerized by 45 minutes of intriguing music. We can’t wait for Night of Festivals Leicester (16/17 August).


Nanoplex to appear again at Night of Festivals Slough!

Posted 23 May 14

If you’ve never been to Night of Festivals, you might well be thinking to yourself ‘what in the world is a Nanoplex!?’ Well I’m going to tell you. The Nanoplex, once an old touring caravan has been a consistent feature of Night of Festivals over the years and has been converted into a fantastic, surround sound moving image gallery. It is home to a series of short, intriguing moving image pieces that will certainly open your eyes to new experiences and cultures.

This year you’ll have more choice than ever in the Nanoplex with no less than 9 short films to choose from:

Screen 1

Night of Festivals (ArtReach)

A look back at Night of Festivals in 2010, when the Festival celebrated the bi-centenary of Latin American Independence.

Screen 2:

Witnesses (Michael Nyman)

This 2012 commission from international composer and film maker, Michael Nyman (composer for The Piano, Man on Wire, and The End of The Affair amongst other work) is inspired by the life and work of Spanish playwright Federico Garcia Lorca and by his play

Blood Wedding – Both Lorca’s life story and the events of the play are hugely relevant to the themes of Night of Festivals.

Screen 3:

Journeys to Leicester (ArtReach)

A short moving image piece that explores the physically and emotionally challenging journeys five refugees have taken to get to the UK.

Screen 4:

Cine Opera (Michael Nyman)

Another ArtReach commission shot in 2010 at the Teatro Cine Opera in the centre of Mexico City, the piece is concerned with recording the passage of time and the qualities of public space. It lyrically documents Nyman’s visual take on a cinema built in the 1940s but now in a state of almost total disrepair.

Screen 5:

Dambudzo (Ery Nzaramba)

Created by Rwandan Refugee – The short is a parody of Dambudzo Marechera (Zimbabwean

novelist and poet) receiving the Guardian Fiction Award in November 1979.



Camera Obscura (Marta Maia)

After the World (Kai-oi Jay Yung)

The Engine Room (Chris Billington)





Come to the Yurt in Slough High Street!

Posted 22 May 14

Accompanying the other exciting elements of Night of Festivals in Slough is The Storytelling Yurt. Now for those who are unfamiliar, a yurt is a beautiful, circular structure which has deep roots in both Asian and African history; with our Storytelling Yurt being made in Mongolia. It serves as the perfect setting for storytelling due to its cosiness, intimacy and eccentricity. Throughout Night of Festivals Touring, The Storytelling Cafe has brought  tales to life in this extraordinary environment.

The Storytelling Cafe is home to three dedicated and experienced storytellers Mike Payton, Rachel Murray and Helen Appleton. They will share magical tales from across the globe, which is fantastic entertainment for children and families. However, adults will be just as enthralled by the engaging trio as The Storytelling Cafe “aims to bring storytelling back to adult audiences!”

So whatever age you are, come to The Storytelling Yurt and prepare to dive into a sea of tales – feel the joy and sadness, the love and hate, the fear and excitement that these stories have brought to the world for hundreds of years.

All stories performances are FREE, but you may need to book in advance to avoid missing out! Email or phone through ArtReach on 01628 675800.

Night of Festivals to wow Slough families!

Posted 19 May 14

With spectacular free carnival performances, samba music and dance, storytelling, live music and participation events, the multi-cultural extravaganza, Night of Festivals, with activities for all ages, will be filling Slough Town Square and High Street on 30 and 31 May.  See for detailed programme information.

Latest exciting news is that Paraiso Samba, performing throughout the day on Saturday 31 May (11am – 9pm) has just been recruited by the Brazilian Embassy to deliver a special Opening Ceremony performance in Trafalgar Square to celebrate the start of the World Cup in Rio! Slough audiences have a fantastic opportunity to see this company in action ahead of the World Cup with its extraordinary and vibrant brand of samba. Night of Festivals Director, David Hill, said “it’s fantastic that Paraiso will be performing as part of the World Cup celebrations. They are an amazing and colourful company that always attract a large crowd and have an infectious brand of music and dance.”

Other highlights of Night of Festivals include a continuous programme of storytelling for families, with three accomplished professional tale tellers (Storytelling Café) delivering riveting tales from around the world in 40 minute sessions across each day. Both days commence at 11am with a vibrant, fun and noisy African gumboots dance workshop – open to all ages (from toddler to 90), no experience needed, and guaranteed to get a smile on every face with foot stomping routines to the powerful rhythm of African drums. Bring your own welly boots if you can, but plenty of spares provided for those without.

Throughout both days there will be continuous carnival activity in the town centre, with a dazzling array of giant puppets (including the Mexican Skeleton and the Giant Pig), animal themed costumes, samba dancers and processional live music (performed from a moving rickshaw!).  Lots of local people and children from Slough schools are performing, so you may meet people you know dressed as frogs, cows, mice, cats or exotic cubanas!

If you’re up for something a bit different come along to the Festival Performance Dome at 7.30pm on Saturday 31 May to experience Tongue Fu! Led by BBC Radio 4’s Chris Redmond, four poets and storytellers will be challenged to share their work to the background of improvised music from the accomplished Tongue Fu band of three. And you can expect to complete your evening with a grand carnival performance finale.

Whilst all events are free you can book for storytelling and Performance Dome sessions by e-mailing or by phone through Festival organisers, ArtReach, on 01628 675800

Night of Festivals is financially supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. It is commissioned for Slough by Slough Borough Council.

Night of Festivals – Carnival Rehearsals

Posted 15 May 14

With Slough set to host Night of Festivals, carnival rehearsals took place at the West Wing Arts Centre with a huge part being played by local participants. Members of Slough Creative Academy enjoyed a great day of rehearsing as Cubanas, Katrina’s and Sexy Cows (yes you heard correctly). The opportunity to dress as fluorescent skeleton’s were of interest to local community group SWIPE, who also took on the responsibility of the Bull puppet and exotic birds.

On Sunday morning, West Wing welcomed participants from 2 local schools – Ryvers Primary School and Parlaunt Primary School and children from both were excited to dress as cats and mice in preparation for the ‘Animal Farm’ themed carnival. Mariana Whitehouse subsequently put participants through their paces with Samba dancing being the focus and all participants then having the opportunity to try on their costumes and practice manipulating the ‘Mandinga Arts’ puppets.

All in all, a great weekend of fun!

Two Local Poets to Join Tongue Fu in Slough!

Posted 13 May 14

The brilliantly creative Tongue Fu will be joined by South West’s Vanessa Woolf and Robin Vaughan-Williams as part of the final performance in the City Arts Dome for Night of Festivals Touring in Slough.

Created by BBC Radio’s Chris Redmond, Tongue Fu is one of London’s liveliest and best attended spoken word nights. An innovative experiment in live literature, music, film and improvisation which is frequently surprising, hilarious and often poignant. During Night of Festivals Touring, Tongue Fu and a selection of the UK’s finest local poets, spoken-word artists, storytellers and comedians have performed with improvised soundtracks from the genre hopping Tongue Fu Band.

Joining them in Slough will be Vanessa Woolf, a professional story-teller who tells tales of folklore of London. Described as brilliant, riveting and enchanting, we are delighted to welcome her to Night of Festivals and simply cannot wait for her wonderful stories.

As well as Vanessa, Robin Vaughan-Williams will also be on hand to deliver his fantastic style of modern life poetry. Originally from London, Robin has been as far and wide as Iceland to tell his tales before returning to familiar shores and he will no doubt light up the Dome with his fascinating and imaginative performance.

Don’t miss Vanessa, Robin and Tongue Fu in the City Arts Dome at Night of Festivals Touring in Slough on 31st May 2014!

  • Latest News/Blog

    Browse all news »
  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Tag Cloud