20 June 2024

What’s not to be missed at this year’s Salisbury International Arts Festival

The Salisbury International Arts Festival returns on the 27th of May as music, theatre, film, dance, spoken word and visual arts take over multiple venues across the city.

Now in its 47th year, the festival returns bigger than ever before running from 27th May to 18th June. This year’s festival revolves around the theme of ‘islands’, inspired by the drama, opportunity, danger and mystery that they can evoke.

Here’s what’s not to be missed at this year’s International Arts Festival. To view the full programme, including free family events, and purchase tickets, click here.

Wiltshire Creative in Partnership with La Folia presents Stone Songs
By Howard Moody
Salisbury Cathedral
27th May 7pm and 9pm

“We, like living stones, will make it sound again”
Over 800 years after the laying of the Cathedral’s foundation stone, Howard Moody’s Stone Songs reflects on the skill and dedication that it took to raise such a magnificent building, inspired by the ancient chants that have resonated from the stones since the 13th century.

Underpinned by the power of the newly refurbished Cathedral organ, the voices of Salisbury Festival Chorus and La Folia musicians and soloists explore the acoustic possibilities of the building and reflect on the incredible vision that created it. This will be a promenade performance and the audience will at times move around the space following the performers. Seats will be provided on request for those who need them.

Wiltshire Creative Presents Nightwalks with teenagers with Mammalian Fiving Reflex
Across the city Friday 10th – Saturday 11th June, 8.30pm
Tickets from £10

A social-specific performance that invites adults to enter a world where the tables are turned, and the teens are in charge. Canadian theatre company Mammalian Diving Reflex work with a group of local teenagers to create a series of performances.

Participants plan, design and lead public walks through the city at night, exploring the neighbourhood with members of the community. They focus on the power of walking together, bringing teens and adults together to have a unique social experience in a shared place and time, where everyone can let loose, and where silences offer moments for contemplation.

Age Guidance: 14+

Photography by Ash Mills

The Jubilee Concert: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Conductor Mark Wigglesworth
Saturday 28th May 7pm
Salisbury Cathedral
Tickets from £26

A roof-raising concert to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Under the baton of Principal Guest Conductor Mark Wigglesworth, the BSO performs a programme inspired by the music played in Westminster Abbey at the Coronation, including William Walton, Handel and Elgar.

From the much-loved orchestral march by William Walton, Handel’s baroque fireworks, the glorious melodies of Butterworth and Holst to Elgar’s timeless Enigma Variations with ‘Nimrod’ at its heart. The concert introduces the Festival’s Associate Artist, violinist Harriet Mackenzie, who performs throughout the Festival. Harriet plays Beethoven and the world première of a work for strings and solo violin by British composer Christopher Gunning.

Wiltshire Creative Presents City Encounters -Free theatre, dance and circus across the city
Across the city 2nd-3rd June

A special Jubilee Bank Holiday treat for all the family. The city will be alive with original street theatre, dance and spectacle that will delight all ages. This free event has been a Festival staple for many years and this year it is set to fill the city streets with life, colour and culture once more.

Full details of the entertainment will be released in May 2022. Supported by Without Walls.

Photography by Ash Mills

Screening: Lord of The Flies
Wednesday 15 June 2022 at 7.30pm

William Golding’s tale of schoolboys stranded on a Pacific island who regress into increasingly savage behaviour began life in Salisbury.

Golding taught at Bishop Wordsworth’s School, and it was while observing pupils that the idea for the novel took form.

This unique screening in the school’s historical Chapel, will begin with a conversation between Judy Carver, Golding’s daughter and John Cox, retired head of English at Bishops, discussing the famous story and the link it has with Salisbury.

Following the screening, Salisbury International Arts Festival’s Film Programmer Patrick Bliss, will be hosting a rare gathering of cast members both in person and remotely. Where are the boys now? How has being in the film impacted their lives? Have they been to an island since? Who will have the conch…?

Wiltshire Creative’s SHIFT initiative: Wiltshire Creative Presents Shift Live Amplifying Young Voices

SHIFT proudly presents a spectacular night of live music and multimedia arts. A fun, festival-style extravaganza to kick off a full weekend of exceptional artistry. Experience the talent of young local artists alongside the drinks available at our bar; a night of summer entertainment not to be missed. SHIFT works to give young people a platform to be seen and heard.

Wiltshire Creative presents – Shift: Kitchen Island Conversations
Salisbury Arts Centre Saturday 11th June 1pm–6pm

In 2021, Wiltshire Creative handed over the reins to young artists, to shift the way we work, produce and operate. Where do you have the important conversations, the ones that really get you thinking? Salisbury’s young people are proud to be hosting this discussion-based event with a range of exciting guest speakers, charities and artists. We’ll debate and create responsive art to the urgency of the climate crisis… all hosted around our very own, portable kitchen island.

Wiltshire Creative Presents Shift: On Stage Amplifying Young Voices
Salisbury Arts Centre, Main Space 12th June 7pm
Tickets from £5

Indulge in a plethora of live theatre performances from the perspectives of Wiltshire’s very own young people and join their creative dialogue. Featuring responsive performances written, directed and performed within 24 hours of the event; brand new work by Stage 65 Young Company, developed from previous SHIFT Off Your Chest Project; and extracts from Woke Songs, the recipients of the SHIFT Development Fund

Wiltshire Creative Presents: FLARE! With Bath Philharmonia
Salisbury Cathedral 11th June 7.30pm
Tickets from £22

Join Bath Philharmonia for a unique orchestral concert full of perilous exploration, blissful escapism and positive energy. From the rugged adventure of Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture to the magical encounters of Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, the orchestra perform classical delights including Vaughan Williams’ Tallis Fantasia.

Superstar saxophone soloist Jess Gillam performs John Harle’s Flare and mesmerizing highlights from her album Time (no. 1 in the official UK Classical Charts) and Harriet Mackenzie (violin) introduces Rebecca Dale’s sumptuous Soay. Wiltshire Young Carers and community participants join the stage in a celebration of connectivity and discovery through music.

A Wiltshire Creative Commission – Vivaldi’s Four Seasons & A New Island Adventure With Harriet Mackenzie and 12 Ensemble
St Thomas’s Church Tuesday 14th June 8pm.
Tickets from £26

The world première of jazz legend Julian Joseph’s violin concerto – commissioned by Salisbury International Arts Festival – marries perfectly with Vivaldi’s Four Seasons masterpiece in this fresh, exciting programme. Vivaldi’s nature and birdsong inspiration complements Joseph’s vision for his new piece which also celebrates the Festival’s island theme – the richness of the history of an island in the Grenadines.

Harriet Mackenzie (Associate Artist) and 12 Ensemble join forces for the first time.

“Islands are precious places of family, history and geography but even more importantly of mind, heart, spirit, soul and human connection,” says Julian Joseph.

To view the full programme and purchase tickets, click here.

Written by
Beth Doherty
View all articles
Written by Beth Doherty