From the heart of Kent, Gulbenkian Arts Centre present their eclectic 2022/23 season with some of the performing arts industries biggest names including Pussy Riot, The Foreign Office, 1927 and Improbable. Under the leadership of Artistic Director David Sefton, who joined the organisation last year after heading up the Adelaide Festival in Australia, UCLA Performing Arts in Los Angeles and creating the Meltdown Festival on the South Bank, this bold and ambitious multi-arts programme is making a serious bid to redefine the expectations of university-based arts centres.
Sefton comments, We were genuinely thrilled with how well our launch season went in the face of everything it was up against. Now we’re pushing the programme into new territory with a season of vital, timely and brilliant work. I am incredibly proud of this year and delighted at what we will bring to Kent in the coming year.
The theatre programme kicks off with the iconic Pussy Riot and the UK premiere of the new, updated version of their acclaimed gig theatre work Riot Days (14th - 17th & 22nd - 24th September). Newly announced Associate Artists 1927 will debut their brand new show Please Right Back (3rd - 6th May), featuring social realism, science fiction and dystopian mischief. From the minds of writer David Greig, composer John Browne and director Ramin Grey, The Foreign Office return with the UK premiere of the second in the trilogy adaptation of Aeschylus’ plays, Egyptians (22nd - 25th February), after the smash hit of The Suppliant Women which appeared at the Young Vic in 2017 and Gulbenkian Arts Centre in 2021. Two-time Fringe First winner Shôn Dale Jones brings STILL FLOATING (14th - 15th October), while Extraordinary Bodies perform the introspective and arresting Delicate (2nd - 3rd December).
Associate Artist Richard Layzell curates EVER:LAND at Night, a site-specific safe space for those who identify as women and non-binary people, and SHIFT: reframe, reshape reimagines the University campus as a playground of exchange and activity. Improbable bring the endlessly creative An Improbable Musical (13th - 16th April) to the Gulbenkian stage, alongside acclaimed choreographer Joseph Toonga’s heartfelt and arresting Born to Exist: the woman I know (25th March). Lyrici Arts returns with Homeward: Soul Food (10th October), spotlighting four local Black heritage artists working together to develop a performance with their lyrical talents, and James Wilton Dance perform their version of The Four Seasons (30th & 31st March), highlighting the company’s signature blend of capoeira, acrobatics, martial arts and classical dance,
There’s something for everyone’s music tastes across the programme, with musicians and singers from across the globe. Audiences can enjoy the genre-defying Penguin Cafe, the vocal powerhouse of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, cult legend Michael Gira of Swans, the brilliance of Roger Eno’s compositions, folk luminary Shirley Collins, an atmospheric evening with John Woolrich’s In Darkness Let Me Dwell and mesmerising music from superstar pianist Joanna MacGregor CBE. There’s also chance to experience An Evening with Cowboy Junkies, and the brilliant Bauhaus Band and Singers lead by John Harle, featuring a rare appearance from the legendary Marc Almond.
The comedy season features an extensive selection of UK comedy greats, including Gary Delaney (Mock the Week, BBC), Flo & Joan (Alive On Stage, Amazon Prime), Jason Byrne (The Jason Byrne Show, BBC Radio 2), Omid Djalili (His Dark Materials, BBC), Sofie Hagan (Bad People, BBC Radio 4), Mark Watson (Taskmaster, Channel 4), Chris McClausland (Would I Lie To You?, BBC), Lucy Porter (The News Quiz, BBC Radio 4), Jamali Maddix (Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Sky) and Jayde Adams (Snackmasters, Channel 4). The In Conversation series also returns with Lemn Sissay OBE (My Name Is Why), and the Linda Smith Lecture is given by Angela Barnes (Mock the Week, BBC).
For the full programme, including further music, community events, talks and shows for all the family, go to www.thegulbenkian.co.uk.
University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NB
Tickets are available from www.thegulbenkian.co.uk or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The closest train station is Canterbury West, a 50-minute journey from London St Pancras. From there, buses are available to the University’s campus. Free parking is available after 5pm on weekdays and all day at weekends in any University car park. If attending events between Monday and Friday 8am to 5pm, park in the Visitor Pay and Display car parks on campus, with the nearest being the Central Visitor Car Park. A regular bus service operates from Canterbury City centre to the University. Please see www.stagecoachbus.com.