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SIAF 2020
24 February 2020

Friday 22 May – Saturday 6 June 2020
Priority booking for Members from Friday 6 March
General booking from Friday 13 March


  • Paralympian Ade Adepitan and world champion athlete Derek Redmond
  • Dance from Hofesh Shechter Company and Ballet Central
  • Music from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, jazz legend Jacqui Dankworth and Paraorchestra
  • The international premiere of Congress at Salisbury Cathedral – a citizens’ assembly of people from Salisbury making their maiden speeches
  • Comedy from big names in stand-up Mark Steel and Seann Walsh
  • Move It! A day long fiesta of free performances, sport and activities along the route from Old Sarum to Salisbury
  • Monumental cardboard reconstruction of the lost Bell Tower in the Cathedral Close from French artist Olivier Grossetête
  • Free Family Fiestas at Bemerton Heath and Tidworth


Athletes, dancers, musicians and international artists will be part of the 2020 Salisbury International Arts Festival, announced today by Wiltshire Creative. Over 16 days from 22 May, more than 100 events with artists from countries including France, Spain, India and Australia will celebrate the beauty, courage and joy of human movement. The Festival will be a major part of Salisbury 2020: A City on the Move, marking the 800th anniversary of the founding of modern Salisbury.

Artistic Director Gareth Machin, Associate Artist violinist Harriet Mackenzie and a team of curators, have put together a diverse programme of music, theatre, film, dance, spoken word, visual arts, family and free events.

Harriet will perform Bach’s incomparable solo violin Partita in D minor alongside ballet dancers in the premiere of a new piece of choreography, Bach and Ballet, which is a co-production between Wiltshire Creative and the Liberation International Music Festival in Jersey.

Harriet will also perform as part of a performance of Cecilia’s McDowall’s Everyday Wonders: The Girl from Aleppo – an extraordinary cantata for children’s voices that tells the story of Nujeen Mustafa, the young wheelchair-bound Kurdish refugee, and her remarkable journey across Europe.

The Festival will open on 22 May with Stone Songs composed by Howard Moody and featuring the Festival Chorus and La Folia musicians in a performance inspired by the Medieval chants that have resonated from the Cathedral’s stones since the 13th century.

Other musical performances include the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performing Dvorak’s ‘New World’ Symphony in the grandeur of Salisbury Cathedral; jazz from Jacqui Dankworth and trio; and intimate acoustic arrangements from Mike Peters of the 1980s band The Alarm in Wilton Church. Paraorchestra, the world’s only integrated ensemble for virtuoso disabled and non-disabled musicians, will perform in Salisbury Cathedral, conducted by Charles Hazlewood.

Over the middle weekend of the Festival, the focus falls on the future of Salisbury through a series of fascinating events including the European premiere of Congress, a co-production between Wiltshire Creative and Australian theatre makers All The Queen’s Men. This remarkable citizens’ assembly will pair local people with wordsmiths to make their maiden speeches in Salisbury Cathedral.

The Festival will feature stunning dance performances from the acclaimed Hofesh Shechter Company, Ballet Central and Mapdance, which performs repertoire by renowned and upcoming contemporary choreographers including Noa Shadur and Ceyda Tanc.

Comedy comes from Mark Steel, with a new show guaranteed to make the world appear more strange than it is, and from Seann Walsh with a fresh show that mixes his best-loved routines with new, candid stories.

Familiar faces will feature in the spoken word programme, including Paralympian and TV documentary maker Ade Adepitan, long-serving Radio 4 Today presenter John Humphrys, explorer Sir Robin-Knox Johnston and author and foreign correspondent Christina Lamb.

Move It! on Sunday 24 May will be 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 from Old Sarum to Salisbury Cathedral, retracing the movement of the relocation of the Cathedral to its current site. The day will begin with a multi-faith morning service on the site of the original cathedral at Old Sarum.

The Move It! journey will culminate with the amazing work of French artist Olivier Grossetête, who, with the public’s help, will recreate the lost Bell Tower in the Cathedral Close in a stunning cardboard structure. He has recreated architectural sculptures across the world including China, New Zealand, France and Spain.

Family events will include free Family Fiestas in Tidworth and Bemerton, and  performances of Dr Dolittle by Ilyria Theatre in the garden at the Rifles Museum in the Cathedral Close.

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.

Visual arts exhibitions include The Makers’ Tale at Salisbury Arts Centre examining craft in contemporary life and Flow State by ceramicist Jo Taylor at Arundells in the Cathedral Close.

Theatre performances will include Macbeth presented by The Lord Chamberlain’s Men in the open air in Rack Close, part of the Cathedral Close.

A full film programme follows the Festival themes of human movement and epic journeys, including screenings of The Grapes of Wrath, Ai Weiwei’s Human Flow and March of the Penguins 2.

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.”

The Festival runs from 22 May to 6 June 2020. General booking opens on Friday 13 March. Priority booking for Wiltshire Creative Members opens on Friday 6 March. The full programme can be found at

Salisbury Festival has been enabled through wide charitable support, including major sponsorship from Wilsons Solicitors and event sponsorship from Parker Bullen Solicitors, Smith & Williamson and I N Newman Funeral Directors. The Festival is also supported by Sarum College, The Red Lion, Wadworth Brewery, Salisbury Reds, Salisbury Journal, Byron and The Dancing Moose and generous donations from private patrons.

Click on the image below to download the full programme.


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For press enquiries please contact Lucy Rouse, PR & Communications Officer, on 01722 345166 or

Notes to Editors:

Salisbury International Arts Festival blazed into life in 1973 with a thrilling artistic programme that captured the hearts and minds of Salisbury. Since then, successive inspirational Festival Directors have built upon that original offer ensuring that, for two weeks every year, the buildings, streets and open spaces of the city have been alive with creativity and artistic excellence. Salisbury International Arts Festival became part of Wiltshire Creative in 2018.

Wiltshire Creative brings together Salisbury Arts Centre, Salisbury International Arts Festival and Salisbury Playhouse. It is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation and also receives funding from Wiltshire Council and Salisbury City Council.