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Line up revealed for Salisbury International Arts Festival

Line up revealed for Salisbury International Arts Festival

Published by Henrietta Creasey at 12:46pm 26th February 2020. (Updated at 1:23pm 26th February 2020)

4 minute read

An athlete famous for one of the most iconic Olympic moments, a cardboard reconstruction of part of Salisbury Cathedral and plenty of FREE family fun.

The 47th Festival will celebrate "the beauty, courage and joy of human movement."

Over 16 days from 22nd May, more than 100 events with artists from countries including France, Spain, India and Australia.

One of the big names appearing is British athlete Derek Redmond.

He made headlines around the world at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 after pulling his hamstring in the 400 metre semi final.

Determined to finish the race his father helped him cross the line.

Derek will be in conversation with Festival Director Gareth Machin on the 27th May at Salisbury Playhouse.

Paralympian wheelchair basketball player and TV presenter Ade Adepitan will take part in a similar event at the same venue on the 26th May.


Two big names in the world of stand up will be performing.

Seann Walsh, who hit the headlines after appearing in Strictly in 2018 and becoming a "tabloid villain", will take to the stage at Salisbury Arts Centre.

seann-walsh-Salisbury International Arts Festival 2020
Seann Walsh will appear at Salisbury Arts Centre.

The famously left wing comedian Mark Steel is also on the bill, the first of two performances in our area, he will appear at the Larmer Tree Festival later in the summer.


The Festival will be a major part of Salisbury 2020: A city on the Move which celebrates the 800th anniversary of the founding of modern Salisbury.

A special event called Move it! will help mark the relocation of the Cathedral at Old Sarum to its current site in 1220.

The event is a day long  fiesta of FREE outdoor music, sport, theatre, circus, dance and craft involving professional artists and community groups as they animate the route taken hundreds of years ago.

The day will begin with a multi-faith morning service on the site of the original cathedral at Old Sarum.

Old Sarum credit English Heritage
Old Sarum where Salisbury Cathedral was first built.


The Move It! journey will culminate with the work of French artist Olivier GrossetĂȘte, who, with the public's help, will recreate the lost Bell Tower in the Cathedral Close in a stunning cardboard structure.

Olivier Grossetete Salisbury Festival 2020
Getting creative with cardboard - here's one Olivier made earlier in Budapest!

The Salisbury creation will later be 'demolished' and become a giant trampoline!!


You can see just how creative Olivier GrossetĂȘte is with cardboard and sticky tape in this video below.



They'll be two free Family Fiestas this year, one at Bemerton in Salisbury and for the first time one in Tidworth.

Full details of those will be announced shortly.

Free outdoor theatre, dance and circus will also feature in the popular City Encounters event in Salisbury city centre on Sunday 24 May and Bank Holiday Monday 25 May.

They'll also be performance of Dr Dolittle by Illyria Theatre in the garden at the Rifles Museum in the Cathedral Close.

Ilyria's Dr Dolittle
Illyria is delving back into Hugh Lofting's amazing stories !


Over the middle weekend of the Festival, the focus falls on the future of Salisbury with the highlight the European premiere of Congress, a co-production between Wiltshire Creative and Australian theatre makers All The Queen's Men. 

This citizens' assembly will pair local people with wordsmiths to make their maiden speeches in Salisbury Cathedral.

Wiltshire Creative Artistic Director Gareth Machin said: 

"There will be something for absolutely everyone in and around Salisbury to enjoy at this year's International Arts Festival, as we celebrate the beauty, courage and joy of human movement. We're excited to be bringing international artists to Salisbury this summer celebrating dance, sport and incredible journeys alongside incredible music and so much more."

Performance artist Chanje Kunda will perform Plant Fetish
Performance artist Chanje Kunda's Plant Fetish will encourage you to embrace foilage.


The festival runs from Friday 22nd May -Saturday 6th June.

Priority booking for Members opens on Friday 6 March

General booking opens Friday 13 March

The full programme can be found at

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