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Stockton International Riverside Festival 2019: Five highlights to enjoy

04 July 2019

Heart-stopping acrobatics, playful family shows and a Community Carnival parade: the countdown to Stockton International Riverside Festival (SIRF) has begun.

Image of Stockton riverside international festival

SIRF19 takes place from Thursday 1 - Sunday 4 August with over 150 performances throughout to entertain, intrigue and excite residents and visitors.

Councillor Jim Beall, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Health, Leisure and Culture, said: "SIRF is one of the biggest street art festivals in the UK and it's always a major highlight on our events calendar.

"There is something for everybody over the four days of this free major event, and with over 40 theatre companies performing at this year's festival, there will be a wide variety of street theatre, dance, music, digital arts and circus, as well as acrobatics acts, to make your SIRF experience really special. I always look forward to the Community Carnival which provides an opportunity for lots of local voluntary and community organisations to be directly involved in the artistry and fun of the festival.

"Keep an eye on and look out for the printed programme over the next few weeks to help you plan your visit."

LAUNCH NIGHT: Drôles d'oiseaux et Art Blaxon Thursday 1 August, 6pm
Stockton High Street

With 27 years' experience creating epic outdoor spectacles French company Générik Vapeur are heading to town with a show to remember.

A troop of 20 performers will accompany seven white cars as they ramble along the High Street. Join the hubbub as the music gets in full swing and the cars are transformed into a painted sea of colour.

The hullaballoo builds to a spectacular full throttle creation of a giant sized rainbow as we welcome the start of SIRF19. 

Community Carnival
Saturday 3 August, 12noon
Stockton High Street and Riverside

Over 1,000 participants from schools and community groups across the Tees Valley will form a colourful costumed parade down the High Street.

This year's theme of Tales of the Tees Valley celebrates all that is unique and wonderful about our region's towns and communities. Come along to hear the story of Stockton-on-Tees told in new ways!

Family-friendly performances
Friday 2 August - Sunday 4 August, various times
Parish Gardens

Children of all ages can enjoy an exciting range of family performances at the Parish Gardens.

Peer through 'My House', a playful circus theatre experience for little ones and their families, experience The Bonkers Balloon Show filled with comedy, music and magic, and follow the tale of Reynard the trickster fox through puppetry and live music. Shows also include Once Upon a Wall, a new interactive dance theatre show inspired by the classic story of Humpty Dumpty. Performances will take place throughout the festival.

Quest for the Tees Tusk
Friday 2 August - Sunday 4 August, various times
Parish Gardens

Quest for the Tees Tusk is Frolicked Theatre Company's newest puppet-filled, puzzle-fuelled adventure for the whole family.

Encounter a cast of colourful characters as you uncover a series of hidden locations whilst exploring familiar and not so well-known features of the town centre.

Complete the hunt to win a small prize and be in with a chance to win an original, framed illustration of the town's hidden (and not so hidden) wonders.

FINALE: Hotel Watercage (UK premiere)
Sunday 4 August - Stockton Riverside, 9.30pm

This year's finale will be a spectacular aerial performance set on Stockton's Riverside portraying the battle between the head and the heart.

The audience will be wowed with the powerful story as the characters firstly lose each other and then themselves.

The performance will take the crowd on an emotional journey exploring themes of power, joy and freedom before the characters are reunited. This tale is a being performed by Belgian company, Theater Tol, and is a UK Premiere.

Visit for the latest SIRF news.