Play Festival has been a prominent feature of the UK and Europe’s circus festival and convention map for well over a decade. After taking a hiatus in 2015, Play is back in 2016. It starts on 17th August, runs until 21st and there are still a few tickets left.
So what can you expect? This year’s site is even better than the previous venue. There’s a huge camping field and a large open space for workshops, playing and the big top. There’s a magical woodland area which even has a stage nestled in it. A converted barn provides a lovely indoor space with a bar and there won’t be a portaloo on site. Don’t worry, we won’t be doing as bears do! The facilities are all indoors, porcelain and flush.
There are already over 100 workshops lined up and more will be added in the run up to and as the festival starts. Expect workshops in poi, staff, contact staff, juggling, slackline, the aerial arts, contact juggling and many more for some of the UK, Europe and the world’s most skilled artists. In previous years, unusual workshops such as chocolate eating, hugs and Pimms drinking have been on offer.
Shows are also a big part of Play with at least one on every day. Wednesday’s Opening Show is presented by Play veteran Darragh McLoughlin. Thursday will feature the Open Stage where acts performed by Play’s talented attendees will be showcased. There will also be a kids’ show on Thursday. Friday is the Fire Gala which this year is the UK premier of a fire and light show from Berlin’s Entourage. Play will also be hosting its first ever Fight Night on Friday. No, that’s not some sort of MMA event, it’s a combat tournament for jugglers. Anyone can enter but it’s just as exciting to spectate.
As is traditional, Saturday afternoon will host the games. Expect lots of silliness as well as some more prestigious games like 5 ball endurance. Then in the evening is the climax of the festival – the Gala Show. Hosted by the inimitable Loz Because the show will feature Luke Burrage’s new juggling act, partner poi from Justin and Christina from the USA, ludicrous antics from Marky Jay and much, much more.
You can also look forward to live bands, DJs, the nicest people you could hope to meet and, of course, a Firetoys stall.
Still not convinced you need a ticket? Read our review of 2014’s event and watch the video of Play 2011: