logo-landscapeA DRAMATIC, eclectic exploration of World War One is coming to Stockton-on-Tees as part of this year’s Stockton International Riverside Festival.

On Thursday 4 August, SIRF16 will launch with Furious Folly, a powerful and thought-provoking performance which explores a new perspective of World War One.

It is the first time since the festival began that SIRF’s spectacular opening show will be held in Preston Park Museum and Grounds.

Furious Folly will take place as night falls, in a no-man’s land on the battlefront between the two lines. Disorientated, the audience will find themselves immersed within an open-air collage of sound, light, pyrotechnics and performance.

Creator Mark Anderson leads a team of international artists who draw on the anti-war spirit of the 20th Century Dadaist movement. Against the futility of the Great War and the madness of the battlefield, Furious Folly challenges the inhumanity and senselessness of conflicts past and present.

The show has been selected to be part of 14-18 NOW, the UK’s official national arts programme marking the centenary of the First World War.

Councillor Norma Wilburn, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Arts, Leisure and Culture, said: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Furious Folly to SIRF and that it is part of the prestigious 14-18 NOW programme.

“We are always keen to bring something new to the festival year after year and I am sure our visitors will be amazed by the extraordinary storytelling and performance of all the artists involved. Furious Folly commemorates the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme,  a reminder of those who fought and died in the conflict, many of who were from Stockton-on-Tees and served in infantries including The Yorkshire Regiment and The Durham Light Infantry.

“Preston Hall Museum is home to a number of collections which capture the wartime contributions and stories of local people such as Colonel Spence so the beautiful, atmospheric surrounds of the museum will certainly make a very fitting backdrop on launch night.”

Furious Folly has been produced by Corn Exchange Newbury and Oxford Contemporary Music (OCM) in association with Birmingham Hippodrome, Oxford Playhouse, Oxford Festival of the Arts and Stockton International Riverside Festival.

The show is co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions and the town of Poperinge in Flanders, Belgium. It is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England, and by the Department for Culture Media and Sport.

SIRF is supported by Arts Council England.

The festival will continue in SIRF’s traditional home of Stockton Town Centre from Friday 5 August.

For more information and to keep up to date with SIRF16, visit www.sirf.co.uk

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