St Leonards Festival is set to delight crowds again in 2017

St Leonards Festival 2016. Photo by Sid Saunders.
St Leonards Festival 2016. Photo by Sid Saunders.

St Leonards Festival returns this summer, as Hastings Borough Council collaborates with London-based creatives 111 Collectiff, for the second year running, to bring the town an electrifying mix of art, theatre, music and community events.

This year’s festival will take place on Friday, June 30 (evening only) and Saturday July 1 (all day), with activity taking place all over town, to ensure wide reach and a boost for local communities and businesses.

This year’s theme of ‘Invention/REInvention’ asks the town to think outside of the box and celebrate its unique assets. This year will see an innovative and exciting festival, with art at the heart of the community, showcasing local talent and nurturing new performers and artists.

The community strong festival will embed street arts and spread activity around town, moving the performers and audiences away from the “big stage” approach that may deter some fledgling performers from participating.

Now with art literally on the doorstep and professionals Cheek By Jowl with amateur performers, the team hope to promote and facilitate increased participation, inspiring creative interpretation of the town’s heritage and celebrate its diverse communities.

Last year provided a catalyst for embedding accessible art in non-art spaces; this year aims to continue with a more diverse programme that offers something for everyone.

Building on feedback from 2016, the theme ‘Invention/REInvention’ unites artists and communities, with a platform for sharing culture, art and ideas. New street theatre and arts will engage hard-to- reach audiences:

• The Inventor’s Handbook, a major participatory arts project for young people, distributing more than 700 blank sketchbooks to schools and young people, gathering and exhibiting responses in a library of ideas, inventions and art books;

• The Aunties are back by popular demand to re-think ‘Wellbeing’, providing uplifting, feel-good comical interaction, using art as a healer;

• Marinade of the Ancient Rhymers will offer spoken word like never before;

• Dizzy O’Dare will reinvent your world using nothing but the humble balloon;

• In Our Hands will use puppetry crafted from recycled materials;

• HeadFirst Acrobats will join all the way from Australia to showcase their unique blend of virtuoso acrobatics.

A major highlight promises to be the new ‘Beach Zone’, offering children’s activities, entertainment and music on the promenade and beach below Warrior Square.

St Leonards Dog Show, a major hit last year, will also return to the Lower Gardens.

A bigger than ever Kings Road market will this year feature the community stage, boasting local musical talent throughout the day on Saturday.

111 Collectiff are a team of artists and professional consultants, with a diverse background in the arts and charity sectors.

James Hodgson, festival director, said: “111 Collectiff are excited to be bringing something totally different to the town this year, wherever you are there will be something to see or hear, and we hope to see everyone there.”

St Leonards Festival will take place on Friday, June 30 (evening only) and Saturday, July 1, 2017.

Information and schedules of events will be announced closer to the date.

Look out for further information and announcements on Facebook and Twitter, and through the festival website at

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