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Your guide to SIRF19: All you need to know

29 July 2019

Stockton's world class international outdoor art festival is back later this week and we're bringing you the key information to help you make the most of it.

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What is SIRF?

Stockton International Riverside Festival (SIRF) attracts thousands of spectators to enjoy a packed programme of street theatre, dance, circus and music.

SIRF19 offers lasting memories to be made from experiencing the heart-stopping acrobatics, playful family shows and spectacular performances.

When is it on?

SIRF19 kicks off on Thursday (1 August) and runs through to Sunday (4 August).

What type of things can I see?

A remarkable launch show, Générik Vapeur's Drôles d'oiseaux et Art Blaxon, gets the festival under way on Thursday at 6.30pm.

20 performers will take seven cars on a full throttle musical journey along Stockton High Street, transforming them into a painted sea of colour to launch the festival in style.

There's a whole host of fun, family-friendly and quirky performances throughout Friday, Saturday and Sunday with the action starting around 1pm each day.

SIRF19 will go out with a fitting finale on Sunday night (9.30pm) as Theater Tol give a remarkable aerial performance, Hotel Watercage, on Stockton's Riverside which portrays the battle between head and heart.

And don't forget, as always, we've got the amazing Community Carnival at noon on Saturday bringing together the best of our area for this year's Tales of the Tees Valley theme.

To get a sneak peek of what you can expect, check out the video trailer highlighting just a few of the acts that are ready to bewilder and thrill!

You can also check out the full festival programme online.

Anything happening on the evenings?

Yes! SIRF gets even more intriguing after dark as the excitement continues throughout each day.

From The Sporthorses bringing their thrilling DIY concert Rock The Box (Friday and Saturday, 9.45-10.45pm) to Elephants Laugh's heart-stopping, water show MULJIL (Friday and Saturday, 10-11pm) -  there's plenty more for you to marvel at before the sun goes down completely.

The Riverside plays host to three stunning shows: Mosh Split by Sisus Sirkus (Friday and Saturday, 8.30-9.15pm) features high-level circus skills, Origami (Friday and Saturday, 9.30-10pm) turns a 40-foot shipping container into a shifting performance space and Human Brush by Vincent Glowinski (Friday and Saturday, 10.15-10.45pm) sees a living paintbrush use his body to create stunning patterns and images.

Is it free?

All but one of the SIRF19 shows are free and for most of them you can simply turn up and enjoy!

There are a few shows that are free but have limited capacity and require tickets - Frolicked, Ray Lee and The Other Way Works.

Tickets will be available from SIRF Central on Stockton High Street on the day of the shows.

See the programme for more details on ticketed performances.

What's the best way to get there?

We would encourage visitors to choose the healthy option and walk into town or use public transport for those coming from further afield.

Visit Connect Tees Valley to help you find the best options for your journey.

If you are visiting by car please note the Riverside, High Street, Bishop Street, Shambles, Parliament Street and Municipal car parks are closed during the festival.

There are still many parking options with hundreds of spaces available within a short walking distance of the town centre and Riverside.

Head to the official festival website for the full information.

Is SIRF accessible?

SIRF has a proud history of supporting disabled and disabled-friendly artists and there's a range of services on offer to help people with disabilities access performance sites and accessible viewing areas.

These include a 'buddy service' to provide visitors with a guide to escort them around key performance sites, wristbands to enter accessible viewing areas and pre-show 'touch tours' so you can get familiar with the sets and props used in selected shows.

Early booking is strongly recommended. Check out the Accessible SIRF page, call 01642 528130 or visit SIRF Central at the Rediscover Stockton shop on the High Street for more information.

How I can keep in touch and up to speed during SIRF?

Be sure to follow the festival's social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you don't miss a thing!

Use the #SIRF19 hashtag on your posts from the festival and you could see them featured online.

I need more information...

If we've not satisfied your curiosity in this handy little guide, head over to or call 01642 528130 for everything else you'll need to enjoy an outstanding weekend of entertainment.