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SIAF 2022
02 March 2022


Let Your Island Adventure Begin….


After an enforced hiatus due to global pandemic, Wiltshire Creative announces the return of the Salisbury International Arts Festival – now in its 47th year. Bigger than ever before, the Festival runs from 27 May to 18 June. Set at the heart of Wiltshire Creative’s new season, the festival is the jewel in the crown of the company’s programming – bringing a daring, diverse, and highly entertaining feast of music, theatre, film, dance, spoken word, visual arts, family and free events across multiple venues throughout the city. Lucy Babb, Festival Producer, said today, “After a two-year hiatus we can’t wait to bring together communities to share in the wonder of the arts once again. 2022 will see the return of the Salisbury International Arts Festival back to the venues, churches, countryside and streets of Wiltshire.”

This year’s festival takes islands as its inspiration, drawing not only from our only experiences and attitudes as island dwellers, but inspired by the drama, opportunity and danger of islands, and the wide variety of emotions they evoke, delving into the mysterious allure of remote locations. Gareth Machin, Artistic Director of Wiltshire Creative, said today, “Fascination, fear and love of islands has long fired our collective imagination. After 300 years we are still reading Robinson Crusoe and, after 75 years and over 2,000 episodes, Desert Island Discs is still going strong. However, our interest in islands runs much deeper than their dramatic potential. In our highly connected world, we are increasingly craving the isolation and tranquillity that islands can offer. Even with modern amenities, islands consistently draw us in as holiday locations and meccas of fun and leisure.”

The festival opens on 27 May with the world première of Stone Songs composed by, and under the musical direction, of Howard Moody, which includes the return of the Festival Chorus comprised of local residents, joining La Folia musicians in a celebration of the illustrious history of Salisbury Cathedral. Originally intended to open the 2020 Salisbury International Arts Festival, Stone Songs is a new choral work inspired by the Medieval chants that have resonated from the Cathedral’s stones since the 13th century. The piece will feature a large community chorus, five soloists, brass musicians, a percussionist, violinist, an organ, and even a working stone mason.

Joining the team behind this year’s line-up, led by Machin, Babb and their fellow associate curators, is acclaimed violinist Harriet Mackenzie who becomes an Associate Artist. She performs throughout the Festival, including the world première of a new violin concerto from Julian Joseph, especially commissioned by Wiltshire Creative. She also performs with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra who return to Salisbury Cathedral with a concert celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The Prelude, created by Machin and Mackenzie, is a musical film which sets the scene for the summer’s events can be enjoyed via the company’s website.

Other highlights of the Jubilee weekend will see the city come alive with original street theatre, dance and spectacle that will delight all ages. This free event is set to fill the city streets with life, colour and culture in every corner bringing the community together in celebration.

Events for families and young people feature throughout the line up with Bemerton Beach Party (28 May), Tidworth Family Fiesta (31 May) and Treasure Hunt (12 June); as well as a half term crammed with special events. As part of the offering for young people, SHIFT newly appointed Associate Artists for 2022 Roisin McCay-Hines and Edward Scott have specially curated elements of the Festival including SHIFT: Live on 10 June, and Kitchen Island Conversations on 11 June. SHIFT is a commitment from Wiltshire Creative - a commitment to engage, to listen and to respond to the voices of young people in our region. SHIFT provides a unique view of the arts and serves as a platform for exciting, fresh and new ideas by placing young people as drivers of the decision making process.

As part of a new collaboration with Canadian theatre company Mammalian Diving Reflex, the festival hosts a social-specific performance Nightwalks with Teenagers - that invites adults to enter a world where the tables are turned and the teens are in charge. Mammalian Diving Reflex will work with a group of local teenagers to create performances presented on 10 and 11 June. Teenagers plan, design and lead public walks through the city at night, exploring the neighbourhood with members of the community. They focus on the power of walking together, bringing teens and adults together to have a unique social experience in a shared place and time, where everyone can let loose, and where silences offer moments for contemplation.

Other highlights include Complicite’s critically acclaimed Can I Live? filmed performance written and performed by Fehinti Balogun tackling the urgent questions around the climate crisis (11 June); throughout the festival there is a recording of Simon Butteriss reading Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis in its entirety in daily episodes – Wilde’s astonishing book-length love letter to the young man who had destroyed his life; and dance from Hofesh Shechter Company’s Contemporary Dance 2.0 (9 June).

And to see the Festival out in exuberant island style, they will be taking inspiration from a traditional Greek island Panigiri festival - there will be food, live music, dancing, local craft stalls and demonstrations.

Tickets for the festival go on sale to Wiltshire Creative members on Tuesday 8 March, with public on sale on Tuesday 15 March.