FESTIVAL excitement springs into Exeter this weekend with the launch of a brand new event.
The city council's ground-breaking new festival takes art and performance out of traditional venues into unexpected indoor and outdoor locations.
The Unexpected 2013 programme features music, performance, dance, circus, digital work, visual arts and sport.
For starters, the free opening Family Funday on Sunday, September 15, has canoeing, rowing, biking and athletics during a day devoted to family fun on the quayside, with have-a-go sessions for anyone wanting to have a try.
Music, a salsa workshop and fireworks will all add to the mix to make this a fun-filled opening to the new festival – and there are plenty of surprises to look out for throughout the week.
The Last Supper on September 20 and 21, set in the ancient Exeter Guildhall, has been heavily praised by leading theatre critics for its subtle, atmospheric appeal, inviting a small audience to be regaled by tales of the famous and infamous during dinner with the performers.
Pyramids Leisure Centre is the Unexpected venue transformed by sound and light for Wet Sounds by New Toy on September 21, an underwater listening experience that requires its audience to jump in to experience a surreal soundscape.
A range of venues in the city centre will have their stories told through Theo Simpson's special exhibition, Lesser Known Architecture and the audience are invited to pick up a guide and follow the trail. From Monday, September 16, Princesshay Square is the place to head to for spectacular entertainment at lunchtime.
Visitors can enjoy everything from young musicians and street theatre companies like Tangled Feet.
On Friday, September 20, they will be making everyone laugh with 'Inflation' a show featuring music, drama and comedy on a bouncy castle.
The festival builds to climax with Circus Sunday (September 22), when four sites across the city will offer free family entertainment from noon to 4pm, promoting the best in contemporary circus and street theatre.
Whatever their age, the temptation for adults and children alike might be to take to the boards themselves, and Bristol's School of circus, Circomedia, and aerialists Above and Beyond are in town to provide just such an opportunity with an incredible set of 45-minute workshops for all ages followed by a professional aerial display.
Princesshay Square will also showcases the best in upcoming circus and acrobatics with companies such as Joli Vyann and Mattress Circus, opening with a stunning performance by Bicycle Ballet.
Fools Paradise, the Exeter-based street theatre agency, will run the Paradise Stage in the Exeter Guildhall with some of the popular street theatre acts on their books promising a show full of laughter and mayhem.
Devon Carousel in Rougemont Gardens and Ramm offer a range of circus-themed arts activities and a Museum of Circus for families and younger children to try out art and movement.
The festival finale by Extraordinary Bodies, on the Cathedral Green, will transport you to the skies with its flying dancers and singers on Sunday, September 22.
Their world premiere piece 'Weighting', has been especially commissioned by Unexpected with support from a prestigious Arts Council England grant.
Extraordinary Bodies is the UK's first fully integrated circus company and the performers come from the internationally-acclaimed Cirque Bijou and Diverse City and are backed by the harmonious sound of Exeter's finest community choirs.
Music is central to the performance and it brings together a diverse mix of singers of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. Up to 200 singers from local Exeter community and school choirs will be involved. Some will use voice, others sign language, while others work with the body in unison.
A number of choirs are on board but the search goes on for more and anyone interested in joining should contact Alice on email@example.com or tel: 07528 575907 .
Supported by Exeter City Council working in partnership across the city, this new Festival for Exeter has three purposes: taking art and performance out of traditional venues into thrilling, unexpected indoor and outdoor locations, nurturing exciting regional talent, and enhancing the city as the cultural hub for the South West.
Cllr Rosie Denham, Exeter City Council, said: "Running over eight packed days – Unexpected 2013 is a crucial incubator supporting emerging regional talent, that commissions dramatic new projects and brings artists of international acclaim to Exeter.
"The major aim is to enhance Exeter as the cultural hub for the South West, working in partnership to improve the quality of life for all people living, working in and visiting the city. Arts Council England data reveals that for every £1 invested in arts and culture up to £6 is generated for the local economy.
"Unexpected 2013 will build on the city's Olympic and cultural legacy, raising the profile of Exeter as the South West gateway for the arts and as a desirable destination for visitors of all types."
Whatever takes your fancy, Unexpected 2013 will end the summer in an electrifying, exciting way.
More details on: www.unexpectedexeter.co.uk
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