Ripon festival’s extended programme offers a feast for theatre lovers
Last updated Mar 27, 2024

George Egg’s culinary comedy act literally gave a tantalising taste of what’s to come at the 2024 Ripon Theatre Festival.

Before the performer served up the main course at Ripon Arts Hub, director Katie Scott and her colleagues revealed the full, mouth-watering festival menu to a packed audience at Thursday night’s launch.

Mr Egg used equipment ranging from a steam device for wallpaper stripping to a George Foreman grill disguised as a laptop, for an unconventional means of creating cuisine that was later consumed by some attendees.

George Egg got the 2024 festival off to a frying start

The full festival menu

What is set to follow the festival starter had many members of the audience licking their lips as they looked in the 28-page guide and listened to Ms Scott and her team of volunteers talk through the coming events.

The growing festival now in its third year and with the Stray Ferret as its media sponsor, stretches to six nights and five days packed with professional touring shows alongside colourful community performances.

Taking place from Tuesday, July 2 to Sunday, July 7, the festival promises an extensive and varied programme of drama, family entertainment, dance, circus, comedy, cabaret and spoken word events.

Theatre and fun will be popping up in unexpected places and making the most of the city’s attractive venues and open-air spaces.

Outdoor theatre fans can enjoy shows at Newby Hall and in the elegant gardens of The Old Deanery, or spend a leisurely Sunday in Ripon at the family day where puppet shows, street entertainment, music and dance run alongside visits from Wrongsemble and Rhubarb theatre companies.

Festival Saturday ( July 6) will see another whole day of pop-up shows, walkabout acts and street performers, kicking off with story-telling for breakfast, Morris dancing and fire-juggling.

Among the festival’s many free-to-watch street entertainers will be The Tea Cosies – Dorothy Dunker, Tippy Teapot and Barbara Bourbon.

Visiting acts will arrive in the city from across the four countries of the UK to join regionally-based theatre companies and performers.

The extended programme for 2024 includes a daytime Julie Andrews musical tribute, A Spoonful of Julie, a stand-up comedy-meets-storytelling event in the Storehouse Bar, an Opera Brunch at Valentino’s Ristorante and a digital theatre experience from Pilot Theatre Company taking place daily in Ripon Cathedral.

The 2024 festival also boasts its first storyteller-in-residence with Ilaria Passeri spending time in the city performing and running creative workshops for both adults and children.

As part of its developing outreach programme, the festival will also be taking theatre and music into care settings. Older people and those living with dementia will be able to enjoy non-verbal puppet theatre and mini concerts from specialist companies and practitioners.

Ms Scott said:

“We believe that theatre should be for everyone. Our varied and accessible programme of events provides real theatrical treats for seasoned theatre-goes, but also lively and low-cost opportunities for first-timers and families.

“We love bringing events to non-theatre spaces and working with local businesses and other partner organisations to create a buzz in the city which all can enjoy.”

Tickets are already selling fast for the hottest shows, including Red Ladder Theatre’s touching musical We’re Not Going Back which remembers the miners’ strike 40 years on.

Also much in demand is Barrie Rutter’s Shakespeare’s Royals in Ripon Cathedral and the music of Victoria Wood celebrated cabaret-style in Looking for Me Friend.

All ticketed events are now on sale and full details of the free shows and outdoor programme can be found here.

Main Image: As You Like it, Shakespeare’s comedy of love and disguise will be performed outdoors at the Old Deanery on Sunday July 7; All pictures Ripon Theatre Festival

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