Halifax Festival hoping its third year will be the best one ever

Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers who will perform at the Piece Hall on June 16 as part of the Halifax Festival
Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers who will perform at the Piece Hall on June 16 as part of the Halifax Festival

Get ready for a festival of the finest theatre, comedy, music, literature and much more right here on your doorstep.

More than 120 events are scheduled across 38 venues for the Halifax Festival.

These include outdoor performances of Shakespeare, historical talks and even the chance to meet some furry friends.

The 10 day festival kicks off with the Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers performing at Piece Hall on Friday July 6, 7.30pm.

You can expect thundering rhythms on huge taiko drums in a spellbinding display of fluid grace, precise choreography and sheer athleticism, brought to you by Europe’s foremost exponents of this ancient art-form.

To give you a sense of the varied nature of the festival as the pounding drums are ringing out from Halifax’s most iconic building Barrie Rutter is leading a 20th anniversary celebration of the Northern Broadsides theatre company as part of his One Night Stand with Barrie Rutter.

The show will be at the Crossley Gallery, Dean Clough, from 7.30pm.

Now in its third year, festival coordinator Lucy Burnett believes this will be the best Halifax Festival ever.

“We’ve got a bumper programme with over 120 events, a fantastic collaboration of theatre, arts, music and cultural events to help celebrate this special year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

“We hope that people will use this opportunity to try something new, see something out of the ordinary and meet some fantastic people along the way.”

One of the most anticipated events is an outdoor performance of Shakespeare’s play ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ on July 10.

Heartbreak Productions wowed crowds at last year’s festival with their al fresco performance of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and they hope the backdrop of Manor Heath Park will bring an extra dimension to their performance of the Shakespeare classic.

They will also take over the grounds of Eureka! to stage ‘The Railway Children’ on July 8.

Other highlights to look out for include The Ian McMillan Orchestra performing the new show ‘Homing In’ (Square Chapel, Friday July 13).

It promises to be a steaming, pulsing collection of songs and musically illuminated stories.

A Musical Heritage Trail, organised by Doghouse promotions, will show off the musical highlights of Halifax and showcase its surprising musical heritage (Sunday July 15).

Everyone is getting in the spirit of the festival with Harvey’s Restaurant opening up for a Saturday Serenade on July 7 and July 14 from 11am to 3pm both days.

Throughout the festival a rangeof the films of Halifax-born actor Eric Portman will be on at venues including Dean Clough and Square Chapel.

As well as the more active events there are ahost of exhibitions and installations to check out.

These will be spread across town with Dean Clough hosting several of them aas well as Piece Hall, Square Chapel and the King Cross Library.

Following on from the Olympic torch relay and Halifax Food and Drink Festival it is shaping up to be a standout ten days in a great summer for Calderdale.

The festival runs from July 6 to July 15. For more information, full listings and how to buy tickets for each event go to www.halifaxfestival.co.uk.