bOing! is a brilliant weekend of performance and creativity for all ages run by Gulbenkian, Canterbury every August bank holiday weekend.
Performers and artists come from across the world, creating unforgettable festival experiences for over 10,000 people each year. Art forms include, circus, theatre, comedy, live music and film.
bOing! is led by Gulbenkian, the arts centre part of the University of Kent which prides itself in being the UK’s European University. This supports our commitment to developing creative relationships and partnerships in Europe. We position the festival as an international platform for sharing practice, and igniting debate and discussion.
The festival plays an important role for the University of Kent, opening up the campus to thousands of local residents. Each year, we also programme elements of bOing! offsite, e.g. in Canterbury city centre, reaching thousands more people and promoting the main festival content to new audiences.
Having the EFFE label would recognise and support us in our ambitions, especially in the Brexit year, when we want to emphasise and celebrate artistic togetherness across the continent.
bOing! is for all ages
bOing! aims to offer something for all ages to be inspired by and enjoy together. We include work not only created for young audiences but plenty of outdoor work that is engaging for all ages creating a real family festival, including in recent years Circus Katoen (The Netherlands), Superhallo (The Netherlands), Cirque du Platzak (The Netherlands), Race Horse Company (Finland), Cie Dyptik (France), Cia de Teatre Anna Roca (Spain) and Sienta la Cabeza (Spain).
bOing! brings high quality artists to Kent
We aim to present international work of the highest quality alongside the best UK companies and artists, including commissioning new work.
In 2015 we commissioned a large scale outdoor show with Motionhouse – FRAGILE, which attracted 4,500 people to 4 free performances. In 2016 we commissioned Jasmin Vardimon Company to create their first ever work for young audiences – Pinocchio. In 2019-20 we are working again with Motionhouse to produce a spectacular outdoor work for all ages, WILD and their first indoor show for children Nobody.
“bOing! has inspired and supported our artistic adventure and importantly influenced our decision to create our first children’s show in 2019” Louise Richards, Motionhouse
bOing! is inclusive
We want everyone in our community to be able to enjoy bOing! We have a pricing structure of free entry to the festival site, and plenty of free outdoor performances, with indoor performances ticketed at £6 maximum. As a result, we know that the festival attracts audiences who do not, or cannot usually attend theatre and is the first experience of theatre, dance or circus for many children.
We are committed to inclusivity and present work for children and young people with complex needs from companies such as Oily Cart and Frozen Light.
“It is wonderful that Gulbenkian programmes work for audiences with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD) at bOing! It is also a fantastic experience for us as it enables our work to be showcased at a high quality international festival” Amber Gregory, Artistic Director, Frozen Light Theatre
The festival has had impact internationally:
“Compared with a lot of other festivals in Norway and Europe we find bOing! very special. The artistic programme is of high quality, the hospitality is great. The most important observation we did under our visit, was about how the festival managed to create a total experience for the whole family. Our producer became so inspired after this visit that she has applied for funding in Norway to make something similar happen in Stavanger. bOing! Festival is very important. I give this festival my best recommendation” Professor Siri Dybwik, Artistic Director, Dybwikdans (Norway)
We support local artists and give young people a voice:
We include Kent based companies in all our festivals, providing a platform for new and existing local talent.
We deliver targeted lead-in activity with local partners, using bOing! to promote arts across Kent to new and diverse audiences. Previous years have seen partnerships with a local museum responding to local and global issues around displacement, a photography project with Kent Refugee Action Network giving young refugees the opportunity to share their impressions of Kent, and our pioneering youth leadership project, ART31, gives young people a central role in planning, promoting and delivering key elements of the festival.
We also give the local community the chance to engage and co-construct work with international and local artists through workshops and participatory interactions. At bOing! 2018 this included developing skills in animation, puppetry, music and dance.