Derby Festé Returns

Family-friendly Derby Festé has been a key feature in the Derby festivals calendar for the past 13 years and returns to the city streets this on Friday September 27 and Saturday September 28.


Festé attracts more than 30,000 visitors to the city centre over the two-day festival which features performers from across Europe in a celebration of street entertainment including dance, contemporary circus, music and comedy.


Derby Festé will kick off at 4.30pm on Friday September 27 with a high-energy aerial performance of ‘Splash’ by integrated circus company Extraordinary Bodies on Cathedral Green.


The company is the UK’s leading company that brings together deaf, disabled and non-disabled artists to create bold and radical performances that focus on individual’s abilities and strengths.


Following the performance, at 5.15pm everyone will be invited into Derby Cathedral for a special viewing of ‘Museum of the Moon’.


Marking the 50th anniversary this year of the Apollo 11 moon landings and coinciding with a new moon on the 28th, the installation is a key element of the Festé theme this year - ‘Space, Moon & Tides’.


The installation is a touring artwork by UK artist Luke Jerram and is a fusion of lunar imagery, moonlight and surround sound composition created by BAFTA and Ivor Novello award-winning composer Dan Jones.

Measuring seven metres in diameter, the moon features 120dpi detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface. At an approximate scale of 1:500,000, each centimetre of the internally lit spherical sculpture represents 5km of the moon’s surface.


Visitors will then watch as around 200 young people from local Special Educational Needs (SEND) schools come together to create a choreographed ‘Human Link’ between the Cathedral and the banks of the River Derwent and highlighting the diversity of the city.


The young people are working with artistic director Jen Sumner from inclusive physical theatre company Hubbub to create ‘Human Link’.  It builds on the work underway with young people with learning and physical disabilities which is already taking place in city SEND schools as part of This is Derby essential life skills programme.


The finale of Friday evening will feature Dutch company, Close-Act who will parade their giant futuristic silver creatures through the St Peters Quarter and Cathedral Quarter – finishing in the Market Place at 9pm.


The procession will be a taster of Close Act’s Saturday night showcase performance of Close Act’s performance of ‘Malaya’ at Bass’ Recreation Ground which will take the audience through a journey in time moving from dream-like tranquility to explosive nightmares.


‘Malaya’ originates from the language of the Inca’s which means 'destination'. Silver creatures guide the audience into a mythical dream world of grotesque images, fire, light and sounds. Huge birds fly around and where stilt- walkers chase each other with fire surrounded by giant metal carts with an imposing helium balloon looming overhead.


The other ticketed performance is by award-winning Catalan circus company Los Galindos who will perform ‘UduL’ in a small yurt erected on Cathedral Green with four one-hour shows – afternoon and early evening - across both days.


The four-strong cast portray a range of emotional and physical confrontations through circus-style acrobatics, trapeze and contemporary dance with the 90-strong audience seated around the centre stage.


Saturday daytime will see the return of a wide range of free street entertainment which is always popular with visitors as the city centre streets take on a vibrancy akin to Covent Garden.


Visitors will be treated to an array of entertainment from acrobatics to dance as innovative street theatre and comedy.


Derby Festé is produced and presented by Déda, Derby LIVE, QUAD and Derby Theatre in association with the Without Walls Touring Network Partnership – a project that takes world-class UK outdoor arts to parks, square and high streets across England.


It is funded by Arts Council England and Derby City Council with sponsorship from Derby Cathedral, University of Derby, Cathedral Quarter and Intu Derby.


Stephen Munn is the Artistic Lead of Derby Festé and Artistic Director of Déda in Derby which is a nationally-renowned centre for dance, contemporary circus and outdoor performance.


He said: “We are particular excited to announce the two showcase productions.  Although the majority of the festival is free of charge, I know that audiences appreciate that we need to ticket some performances to ensure the long-term future of Derby Festé.


“Close-Act have been a favourite with Derby Festé audiences over the years and ‘Malaya’ is equally breathtaking and spectacular as their previous productions.


“By contrast, ‘UduL’ is an intimate performance space that goes back to the roots of travelling circus with a small company telling a story through emotive movement.”


He continued: “The ‘Museum of the Moon’ has been met with rave reviews wherever it has toured and we are delighted that this breathtaking and magical installation will be a key focus of this year’s Derby Festé to set the scene for this year’s theme of ‘Space, Moon & Tides’.


“I guarantee that, once seen, visitors will want to return to the Cathedral several times to immerse themselves in the simple wonderment of the moon’s surface which has been captured in amazing detail by artist Luke Jerram.”


Tickets for both ‘Malaya’ and UduL’ are available now online at the Déda Box Office 01332 370911;  and for information about all the performances at Derby Festé please visit and follow on social media.

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