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Wiltshire Creative reinvigorate Salisbury City Centre with exhilarating FREE performances from some of the UK’s most innovative outdoor companies

City Encounters slide 2021
26 April 2021

Wiltshire Creative reinvigorate Salisbury City Centre with exhilarating FREE performances from some of the UK’s most innovative outdoor companies

Saturday 29 – Monday 31 May
Booking Opens Tuesday 27 April

Celebrate the return of live performance from hip-hop to playful puppetry in the beautiful surroundings of Salisbury and Salisbury Cathedral Close during Wiltshire Creative’s City Encounters May Bank holiday weekend. 


  • FREE Family activities at Bemerton Heath and Salisbury Arts Centre
  • FREE live performances across the City over May Bank holiday weekend
  • FREE exhibition and Café at Salisbury Arts Centre

In the time of Covid-19, Outdoor Arts provide important opportunities to reinvigorate our cultural lives whilst supporting the creative economy. To lead the way, Wiltshire Creative is delighted to be able to offer FREE outdoor theatre, dance and circus to entertain families with the return of the popular City Encounters weekend. Bringing Salisbury’s City Centre, Arts Centre and in the beautiful surroundings of Salisbury Cathedral alive on Sunday 30 May and Bank Holiday Monday 31 May. Plus experience City Encounters at Bemerton Heath on Saturday 29 May, for one day only of live performance and disco.

This ambitious and exciting programme from Wiltshire Creative and supported by Without Walls brings together up-and-coming companies, established street artists and those making their first foray into creating work for the public space. Bringing audiences together in a safe way to share moments of global empathy and joy. 

From the epic and spectacular, to the intimate and emotional this year’s City Encounters offers a timely moment to explore social justice, family relationships, environmentalism, identity, and much more. 


Physical theatre and dance have a strong presence in the programme this year as artists explore ideas of connection and support. Bonded is Alleyne Dance’s ambitious new dance production exploring the construct of human dependency. Performed by twin sisters, Kristina and Sade, the work uses abstract narrative, West African dance aesthetics and language, as well as circus skills and impressive athleticism. 

Dance with a dramatic backdrop can be enjoyed on the lush Salisbury Cathedral Lawns, with performances of Black Victorians, a dynamic dance piece inspired by the discovery of hundreds of portraits of Black people from Victorian England, now given voice and body to the characters in the portraits. Continuing the theme of ‘invisible people’, Altered States’ The Invisible Man takes inspiration from H. G. Wells’ famous novel to raise awareness of issues including d/Deafness, homelessness and ageing. This past year many of us have an increased focus on healthy eating after so much time at home and food is an important way to bring communities together. TOAST is Pif-Paf’s ambitious beautiful, growing, communal celebration of food, song, story, dance and fire performed on, and around, their ever-moving mobile kitchen cart. It includes a mixture of songs, stories and recipes from musicians and cooks all around the world, and strangely no toast!

Strong Enough from Strong Lady Productions uses circus to create a powerfully optimistic show. Circus physicality, comedy and feats-of strength combine to celebrates stories of finding strength in unexpected places. In these difficult times, it is a powerful declaration that we are ‘strong enough’. Simple Cypher, an exciting young company featuring graduates from the National Centre for Circus Arts bring their new show Roll Play. Three performers bluring the boundaries between hip-hop and circus, by using intricate moves and agility to give a captivating, cheeky and effortlessly cool performance. Breaking the boundaries of physicality, What Happened to You? uses three raggedy puppets and real-life stories to highlight the importance of access and inclusion. Nikki Charlesworth explores our preconceptions about disability in a playful way that is fun for the whole family. 

FREE Family activities at Bemerton Heath include live performances from Strong Lady productions and an Outdoor Silent Disco, which will also be at Salisbury Arts Centre on the Sunday and Monday.

Salisbury Arts Centre reopens with a Visual Arts exhibition from 25 May – 3 July by artist Mahlia Amatina. In this Alternative Perceptions exhibition, Mahlia invites the audience into a multi-sensory experience of colour, line, shape and form through tactile art exploring the creative side of neurodiversity. Part of this exhibition will include the SHIFT hub which will showcase the work from young people in the community.

If that isn’t enough we are delighted to offer more theatre performances in June which will include Macbeth presented by The Lord Chamberlain’s Men in the open air in Rack Close, part of the Cathedral Close.

Wiltshire Creative Festival Producer Fiona Curtis said: City Encounters returns to the city as a well-known and much-loved part of the calendar. A weekend of free events that is suitable for all.”

Wiltshire Creative Artistic Director Gareth Machin said“There will be something for everyone in and around Salisbury to enjoy this May Bank Holiday weekend as we celebrate the return of outdoor theatre, dance, circus and so much more.” 


We are delighted to be able to offer performances again and have been awarded the See it Safely and Good to Go Certificate ensuring we are keeping audiences, performers and staff safe. With social distancing, the capacity of our outdoor events has been restricted to 150 tickets, with audiences in their bubbles. 


With limited tickets we encourage you to book early to avoid disappointment as there really is something for everyone.  

City Encounters runs from 30 – 31 May 2021. Tickets are FREE but must be booked in advance. Booking opens online Tuesday 27 April at 10am at




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