North East Connected

Countdown to SIRF is on!

THE COUNTDOWN to Stockton International Riverside Festival’s 30th birthday festivities has begun with just a week to go to launch night.

From Thursday 3 until Sunday 6 August SIRF17 will present more than 100 shows, five UK premieres, daredevil flaming high wire acts, theatre, dance, circus and the biggest community carnival in the Tees Valley.

The festival celebrates its 30th birthday this year and begins on Thursday 3 August with Frameshift, a co-production between Australian physical theatre company, Stalker Theatre and Korean vertical performance group, Creative Dandi. The aerial show combines vertical performance, contemporary dance, b-boy dancing, video mapping and digital interactive technology.

There will be an abundance of family friendly shows throughout SIRF including festival favourites the Whalley Range Street All Stars, who return to bring a miniature town to life with the witty use of objects and sound effects placed inside buildings.

Spoken word artist Arji Manuelpillai presents one-minute raps on his three wheeled trike as The Merry Maker and there will also be oversized Bingo compered by Beryl and Cyril, who hope to make Bingo an official Paralympic sport.

Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Arts, Leisure and Culture, Councillor Norma Wilburn, said: “SIRF17 has an unmissable line-up to celebrate its milestone 30th birthday this year and a truly international programme packed with performances from Europe, the USA, Australia, South Korea and Japan.

“There will be four days of wonderful theatre, circus and dance for all ages and all members of the family to see for free – not forgetting our lively Community Carnival which is always a festival highlight. We are really looking forward to celebrating with residents and visitors so I hope that people will come along and enjoy everything this year’s SIRF has to offer.”

On Saturday 5 August the Fizz, Pop, Bang! Happy Birthday themed Community Carnival will see the streets of Stockton Town Centre lined with schools, young people, community groups, musicians, dancers and circus enthusiasts as they party through the town centre to entertain the crowds.

And this year’s finale is set to be one of the most breath-taking yet as inimitable British show makers Cirque Bijou take to the skies above Trinity Green with their groundbreaking, flaming high wire finale.

World renowned high wire artist, Jade Kindar Martin and some of the most exciting high wire and aerial artists performing today will join more than 100 volunteers from the local community for the unique and daring show.

To view the full festival programme and a taste of what to expect visit

There will be a number of road and car park closures throughout Stockton Town Centre while SIRF17 takes place.  For details visit

SIRF is supported by Arts Council England.

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