Portsmouth Festivities programme unveiled

The parade at last year's Portsmouth Festivities''Picture: Samantha Worsey
The parade at last year's Portsmouth Festivities''Picture: Samantha Worsey
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MORE than 90 events including music, plays, dance, art and much more have been unveiled today, as the Portsmouth Festivities launches the programme for its 15th year.

Dozens of diverse cultural activities will be taking place across the city for 10 days from Friday, June 20, to Sunday, June 29.

The city’s flagship arts festival will feature everything from internationally acclaimed artists to the cream of local talent, with many activities and events taking place for free.

And opening the city’s flagship arts festival will be poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, who will be joined by Portsmouth’s own poet laureate Sam Cox, in a recital, question and answer session and book signing.

James Priory, the festivities chairman, said: ‘We’re delighted with how things are shaping up.

‘We’re building on such strong foundations – we had our busiest year ever last year in terms of audience numbers, and this year we’ve got some 90 events.

‘We’ve set up a creative hub with all of the partners getting involved, and they have been much more involved in shaping the programme.

‘We are seeing the city taking ownership of its festivities, and that’s great.’

It will also host the world premiere of Faces at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard on June 20. Commissioned by Portsmouth Festivities with the National Museum of Royal Navy, and created by the artists Kye Wilson and Helena Eflerova, this open-air performance will tell the story of Portsmouth in the lead-up to the First World War, as told by local people and presented as a talking-heads sound-video installation.

The gala opening concert for the festival, also on June 20 is War and Peace – a special programme, exclusive to the festivities and presented by one of the world’s most celebrated ensembles, The Tallis Scholars.

Other highlights include the Spice Island Art Trail on June 23, local young musicians presenting a reimagining of Mozart through the lens of dubstep dance music on June 24 and double Mobo award-winning saxophonist Yolanda Brown at the Wedgewood Rooms on June 26.

Children’s theatre company Squashbox Theatre will also bring the magical puppetry of The Sea Show to the David Russell Theatre on June 28.

For more information go to portsmouthfestivities.co.uk.

Sing us a song in our top competition

As part of the festivities, The News is on the hunt for the region’s best new singing and songwriting talent in the All About the Song competition.

Heats will run throughout June at The Cellars in Eastney, where a panel of expert judges will select six acts to perform in the live final at The Wedgewood Rooms in Southsea on June 22. The prize is a top package to help develop the artist’s career.

For more information or to enter email outsiderartistsinc@gmail.com by Friday, May 9.