Bringing autumn nights alive ; THE MAIN EVENT Night of FestivalsExpect plenty of colour and excitement in the Old Market Square over the next two days as a newly launched touring art festival continues. Oonagh Robinson finds out more
IF you're looking to add a little colour to your life on these increasingly bleak autumnal days, head to the Old Market Square for one of the most spectacular events of the season.
The brand new Night of Festivals touring project launches today with an array of fabulous music, children's entertainment, dance and art installations - plus some amazing costumed characters to see up close and personal.
If you caught last year's popular Night of Festivals event in and around the city, you'll already have an idea of the kind of spectacle in store both today and tomorrow.
Organised by cultural development agency ArtReach, the innovative launch event aims to celebrate values such as freedom and independence through artistic installations - but most of all it will be a chance to take part in some good old-fashioned fun.
Ahead of the project's year long tour of the UK, visitors will be able to see an array of exciting stuff: Amazing new carnival costumes from Mandinga Arts, many with an Animal Farm theme. Look out for Napoleon's pigs, the cows and bulls and the ferocious Farmer Jones, complete with his pack of dogs.
Roving musicians. Samba dancing. Drumming workshops. Short films, street performances and puppet shows.
Incredible sights such as a giant Mexican skeleton and a magical Haitian voodoo statue called Queen Erzulie. A yurt in the middle of the Old Market Square, hosting regular storytelling fun for all the family.
Live performances in the City Arts Dome (see highlights).
Quirky art and films in the Nanoplex gallery (housed in a converted caravan).
ArtReach Director, David Hill says: Night of Festivals gives local audiences a fantastic opportunity to experience diverse, cutting edge arts from around the world. We hope that in September, people will be entertained, inspired and a little bit challenged.
Activities kick off today at 11am with shows and activities running right through until 10.30pm, while tomorrow, there will be entertainment from 11am until 5pm.
Most of the fun is free, with a small charge for some perfor mances.
CITY ARTS PERFORMANCE DOME: Friday highlights: 11am Gumboot dance workshops, suitable for all ages.
12.30pm Sura Susso (Gambian Kora player) 1.30pm and 2.30pm The Maid Of Mariposa shadow puppet show.
3.30pm Samy Bishai, Egyptian violinist. 6.30pm Rachael Young The Way I Wear My Hair. 7.30pm Tongue Fu improvisation (tickets for this show Pounds 5).
9.15pm Samba. 10.30pm Close.
Saturday highlights: 11am Gumboot dance workshops. 12.30pm Sandeep Raval, drum circle workshop and performance. 2pm Voice a capella trio (tickets Pounds 2). 3.45pm Romani Voice - music and dance. 4.45pm Close.
ADDITIONAL FESTIVAL INFORMATION: The storytelling yurt will be open from 11am to 6.45pm today and from 11am to 4.45pm on Saturday.
Film screenings take place in the ArtReach Nanoplex caravan from 11am to 9pm today and from 11am to 4.45pm on Saturday.
Don't forget, there will be a range of other activities and non- stop carnival characters to meet and greet on the main festival site throughout both days. Further details are available at www.nightoffestivals.com.
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