Stoke-on-Trent’s very own arts event The Big Feast is back.

Delivered by Appetite, the Creative People and Places programme led by the New Vic Theatre in partnership with Stoke-on-Trent City Centre BID, Stoke-on-Trent City Council, and Without Walls – a consortium of festivals and organisations dedicated to raising the profile of UK outdoor arts to reach diverse and new audiences across the country –  The Big Feast has a reputation for bringing world-class performances and arts to the streets of the city centre and this year boasts a spectacular line up.

The event, which is taking place on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 August, in Hanley will include dance, poetry, music, circus inspired shows, workshops, exhibitions and more. My House, a circus inspired show for younger audiences set in a House, to Handbag, a dance performance by Stoke-on-Trent residents Forbidden Identity, combining dance and sign language, to Bangers & Mosh, an exhibition created in conjunction with the Sugarmill and made from Stokie music memories, The Big Feast is an event for all the community.  Returning for 2021, The Piccadilly stage is back with a line up featuring choirs, poets, bands and dancers, stretching into the night, with a new Big Feast Big Screen on Saturday.

The Big Feast this year has one ticketed event: the interactive gameshow sensation with cake, Disco Tea Party, which has a small charge with tickets bookable in advance, with everything else being absolutely free and no booking needed.

Appetite Director Gemma Thomas said “The Appetite team are so proud and incredibly excited to be able to bring The Big Feast back to the city centre for 2021. Due to COVID we were unable to deliver The Big Feast last year, instead choosing to present Seasonal Specials designed especially for the city centre and the restrictions that were in place, presenting installations as part of our October event, the Three Counties Cubes outdoor exhibition and Windows of Wonder, in business windows around Christmas time. So it’s with such joy and anticipation that this year we are delivering our loved event again.

“I love everything about The Big Feast, from how it’s created with our Supper Club, delivered with our volunteers and supported by our partners and local businesses. We just couldn’t do it without this network of collaboration. The Big Feast creates those wow moments for those that come to experience it. Those moments when people just stop, watch, laugh, cry, or cheer at what they have just witnessed. I just cannot wait for Friday 27 and Saturday 28 August to be here for us all, team and audience alike, to experience all that once again.”

Richard Buxton, Stoke-On-Trent City Centre BID Manager said: “We’ve truly missed the exhilaration and excitement that Appetite’s The Big Feast brings to Stoke-on-Trent City Centre, so the BID is more than delighted to be partnering to deliver 2021’s instalment which promises to be electrifying as ever.

“Large-scale arts events such as The Big Feast help city centres thrive and with no shortage of talented creatives in our midst, the exciting programme of outdoor arts events and cultural activities will once again celebrate the innovation and imagination for which Stoke-on-Trent is known for.

“We’re working closely with Appetite to more closely engage city centre businesses to ensure that by generating footfall into the city centre, businesses can also benefit from a boost in local spending.”

Councillor Lorraine Beardmore, Cabinet member for Culture, Leisure and Public Health, said: “I cannot wait to welcome back Appetite’s Big Feast to the city centre this year. It’s an absolutely fantastic event with something happening for everyone. 

Having to cancel the event in 2020 was obviously a huge disappointment to residents and the artists that take part in the event but it was absolutely the right thing to do for the safety of all.

The Big Feast has become a firm favourite in Stoke-on-Trent and is an amazing way of encouraging people to engage with art and culture in a way that they may not have experienced before and I cannot wait to see what incredible events, activities and installations they have in store for us this year, I’ll certainly be there with my family to experience it.

Cultural events like the Big Feast will play a really important role in powering up the city as we recover from the pandemic. We are a city packed with arts and creativity. We’re really lucky to have such a plethora of cultural venues and activities in Stoke-on-Trent that helps to bring together people and communities to create a real buzz and support our local economy. 

The Big Feast is exactly the kind of partnership working which will help our mighty city build back better over the coming months.”

Appetite are delivering the event in the safest way possible and ask those attending to help by sanitising or washing hands regularly, wearing a mask where applicable in the indoor activities or in crowded outdoor areas, continuing to keep the relevant distance and staying at home if COVID-symptoms are being experienced.

(Main image My-House-Apocalyptic-Circus-Freedom-Festival-2019).

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