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Gulbenkian Arts Centre Announces Launch of 2021/22 Season


Gulbenkian Arts Centre is the prominent public face of the Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries at University of Kent.

Gulbenkian Arts Centre Announces Launch of 2021/22 Season

David Sefton, Director of Culture and Creative Projects at Gulbenkian Arts Centre said, "I'm proud and excited to bring you my first year's programme at the Gulbenkian. There are lots of changes and lots to get excited about. For the first time we are bringing the wonderful Colyer-Fergusson Building under the programming wing where we will be presenting a whole range of music and art, we also have a brand new purpose-built small space beside our bar where intimate work will now happen, as well as our much-loved theatre and cinema. In October we break out into the world too with the Canterbury chapter of the massive international project The Walk.

"After everything the world has gone through in the past eighteen months, I feel more than ever that there's an even greater need to come together an celebrate great art and shared experience of live performance. We look forward to welcoming you back to what promises to be a year to remember - for all the right reasons."

Gulbenkian Arts Centre is the prominent public face of the Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries (ICCI) at University of Kent which was established in 2020 to expand the University's commitment to furthering creativity and artistic ambition in Kent. David was appointed Director of Culture and Creative projects in October 2020, responsible for delivering an ambitious programme of creative activities and events at the University and across Kent.

Associate Artists

Newly-formed the Foreign Office (John Browne, Ramin Gray, and Sasha Milavic Davies), in association with Wild Yak, will recreate Aeschylus' lost sequence of plays, DANAIDS, over the next four years. They are working with playwright David Greig to realise the complete set of plays, starting this autumn with a revival of The Suppliant Women.

Using close textual analysis, incorporating extant fragments, new musicological research, academic support and informed guesswork around original practice, this is a bold attempt to restore Aeschylus' lost epic of 463BC to its original state.

AΦE's mission is to create high-quality productions that are not bound by a stage, working with technology to create new and incredible experiences for audience.

WHIST is their first major work, co-commissioned by Gulbenkian in 2017 and has since travelled the globe wowing audiences internationally. WHIST returns in 2022, and Aoi & Esteban are the Gulbenkian Arts Centre's Digital Artists in Residence, working closely with our team on the development of our Digital arts programming.

Internationally renowned and critically acclaimed dance theatre group, Jasmin Vardimon Company tours to high profile venues, performing to diverse audiences worldwide. Jasmin Vardimon has established a reputation as one of the world's leading female choreographers and is an associate artist at Sadler's Wells.

The company has well-established education and professional development programmes, as well as an exciting portfolio of innovative projects and public participation programmes. GAC is a commissioning partner on the company's new work Alice in both virtual reality and live stage versions.

John Woolrich's music has been performed throughout the world by leading orchestras and performers. The Philharmonia and the BBC Scottish Orchestras have devoted entire concerts to his music. As Gulbenkian Composer in Residence, John has been commissioned to write a new work for the Brodsky Quartet and will work with the Extra-Curricular Music Department. His work will feature several times in the programme in the coming years.

Conrad Murray is a multi award-winning theatre-maker, writer, director, rapper, beatboxer, live looper and singer. Based in Mitcham, south west London, he is passionate about making hip hop and beatbox theatre. Gulbenkian Arts Centre will remount the international smash hit inspired by the classic Frankenstein tale and will work on Conrad's new show next year.

Special Event

On Thursday 21 October Amal arrives in Canterbury. The Walk is a travelling festival of art and hope in support of refugees. Little Amal, a young refugee (made by the creators of War Horse) is undertaking an epic voyage from the Syria-Turkey border, across Turkey, across Europe to the UK. She'll walk from Canterbury city centre to the University of Kent campus and the public are invited to celebrate her progress, cheer her on her journey and help raise awareness of young refugees the world over. That evening there will be Refugee Tales in the Gulbenkian Café.


A massive music programme is set to put Gulbenkian Arts Centre on the map as one of the most diverse and exciting music offers in the South East. Some of the highlights are:

Rediscover the music of Cole Porter with Olivier Award-winning, cult cabaret band The Tiger Lillies. In this new show the Grammy nominees twisted, grimy cabaret uncovers the dark, despair and delirium that lies beneath the surface of Porter's more romantic and mysterious works in Love For Sale.

When the visual and sonic come together as atmosphere, it's hard not to think of the name: Eno. GAC hosts Roger Eno on Saturday 30 October. Roger's compositions envelop listeners through live performances. His discography spans over three decades and 25 albums of work, both solo and collaborative (involving John Cale and others) where minimal piano compositions evolve through chamber music, folk, the traditional and the neo-classical.

Gulbenkian Art Centre is excited to welcome Pere Ubu for a one-off incredible live set in the Colyer-Fergusson Hall. Founding member and the bands frontman David Thomas describes their sound as "avant-garage," inspired by sources such as musique concrète, 60s rock, performance art, and the industrial environments of the American Midwest.

Other artists include: Nitin Sawhney: Music & Me, a show delivered through Sawhney's unique prism, performance and perspective of music as a universal language; Grace Petrie's unique takes on life, love and politics; the contemporary composer and multi-instrumentalist Orcadian Erland Cooper; Mercury-nominated Welsh singer-songwriter Gruff Rhys, husband and wife musical duo and great ambassadors of Malian music Amadou & Mariam; multi-talented bass guitarist, singer, poet and composer Jah Wobble

On Wednesday 17 November GAC welcomes Yo La Tengo, one of the most beloved and respected bands in America who for over thirty years have enjoyed success entirely on their own terms - playing the world's best concert halls, museums, and dives with some of the most important musicians of our time.

Hot from the London Jazz Festival 2021, highly acclaimed folk musicians Alasdair Roberts and Emily Portman are joined by award winning multi-instrumentalist Orphy Robinson and world-renowned classic flautist Rowland Sutherland for A Nick Drake Celebration, 50 years after the original release of Bryter Layter, the classic folk album and one of Rolling Stone Magazine's Greatest Albums of All Time.

The Utopia Strong are a semi-modular trio, delivering medical grade music to the visionary music head. Kavus Torabi, Michael York and legendary snooker player Steve Davis have fused Modular Synthesisers with conventional and traditional instruments to create a weird and joyous celebration of all that is good about left field psychedelic music.

A series of music and cinema nights sees the screen come to life with live music bringing its energy and emotional impact to heighten the experience. A screening of Rubika Shah's acclaimed documentary White Riot, charting the Rock Against Racism movement of the 1970's culminating in 1978's huge antifascist carnival in Victoria Park, London, sees Tom Robinson, whose band were second on the bill that day join for a live gig with highlights from his 45-year career.

In Ghosts and Whispers, Clare Hammond combines incomplete movements by composers including Schubert, Mozart, Wagner, Janacek, Stravinsky, Jacquet de la Guerre and Schumann, interleaved with movements from John Woolrich's Pianobooks. The sound scape is accompanied by a specially conceived film from the Quay Brothers, composed of unused fragments from earlier works for a truly immersive experience.

Gulbenkian has been working with Folk in a Barn for a number of years now, to bring the very best on the Folk circuit to Canterbury. This season they welcome undoubtedly one of the finest guitarists the world has ever seen, Double Grammy Award Winner Albert Lee; the 5-times BBC Radio 2 Folk Award-winning outfit Oysterband; Thea Gilmore who is on the road for her first ever tour performing completely solo on guitar, keyboard and loop station;

Eddi Reader resumes her 2020 40th Years Live concert; and The Bar-Steward Sons of Val Doonican are on a mission to follow in their spiritual father's immortal footsteps and keep his legacy alive.

Theatre and Dance

The Suppliant Women and workshops for the next plays

Work begins this autumn to recreate the final three plays in the Danaid tetralogy, starting with the two remaining plays in The Suppliant Women trilogy - The Egyptians and Danaids. Since only fragments remain, the plays will be reconstructed through a workshop process supported by some of the world's leading classical scholars, arts organisations and practitioners 10 weeks of which takes place at GAC. Once the development process is complete, the team will rehearse and stage the entire trilogy, including a revival of The Suppliant Women, around the world before completing the tetralogy with the satyr play Amymone.

Part electrifying gig, part thrilling theatre, Frankenstein: How To Make A Monster from Battersea Arts Centre and BAC Beatbox Academy, is a powerful and poetic show that pushes the power of the human voice to its expressive, musical and rhythmic limits. Six performers with six microphones take apart Mary Shelley's original and reimagine a world of modern monsters - from our over stimulated digital age to the pressures to conform -while taking musical inspirations from Pachelbel to The Prodigy.

Critically renowned choreographer Didy Veldman and her dance company Humanoove

want to discover how we feel @Home. After a year when home is all that we've known, this incredibly poignant dance work looks at feelings around connection, self-worth and relationships in the place where we should feel most ourselves.

Can you remember your First Time? Nathaniel can't seem to forget his. To be fair, he has had it playing on repeat for the last 15 years. Award-winning HIV+ theatre-maker Nathaniel Hall (It's a Sin) and Dibby Theatre present their critically acclaimed 'hilarious' and 'heart breaking' hit autobiographical show about growing up positive in a negative world.

After the success of its critically acclaimed international hit The Nature of Forgetting, Theatre Re returns with a powerful, poignant and uplifting visual theatre piece Birth exploring the bond between three generations of women, their shared loss, and the strength they discover in each other.

Following an award-nominated run at Edinburgh Fringe, critically acclaimed shows in London and Oxford, and its sell-out Irish tour, Catch of the Day by Red Fox Theatre visits Canterbury for the first time.

A co-commission by Gulbenkian, Motionhouse returns with a brand-new dance-circus adventure Nobody. Fast-moving, highly physical and packed with visual magic, the world on stage is transformed before our eyes. Digital projections and the shape-shifting set create a constantly changing environment where nothing is quite what it seems.

Gone Gone Beyond is an immersive cinema work by People Like Us, knitting together a giant patchwork of movie and musical compositions using 10 screens and 8 speakers to create a seamless wrap of projection and sound around the audience, likened to a VR experience without the headsets. The works title and underlying concepts come from the Heart Sutra, a key Buddhist text, describing how all phenomena are empty in form yet ultimately interconnected.

AΦE return to Gulbenkian with their internationally renowned VR performance, WHIST. Through art and sound installation coupled with cinematic and interactive 360° film, you will be immersed in a world of unfolding dreams. Inspired by the work of Sigmund Freud, WHIST invites you on a journey into the unconscious mind, where your instincts will guide you through a narrative of sur-real dreams and fears.

Spoken Word

Linton Kwesi Johnson (aka LKJ), world-renowned reggae poet and recording artist comes to Gulbenkian. LKJ ran poetry groups for the Black Panther movement of the 60's, he was first published in 1974 and has been an important voice and creative force ever since. He has toured the world from Japan to the new South Africa, from Europe to Brazil. His recordings are amongst the top-selling reggae albums in the world and his work has been translated into Italian and German. Unsurprisingly, he is known and revered as the world's first reggae poet.

A return to the Gulbenkian for John Hegley with drawings and word playacting centring on family matters - some of them Kentish, with a supporting cast of the frenetic Frenchman with his dog Chirac, John Keats, two sticks of celery and American !9th Century geologist Florence Bascomb who was ordered to conduct her studies behind a screen, so as not to distract her male counterparts. With Eleanor Moreton on Springtime recorder and fiddle - includes a small amount of (basic) French baroque dance.


A fantastic programme of comedy stars touring the UK from Sara Pascoe, Jason Byrne, Jenny Éclair, Alasdair McGowan, Sindhu Vee and Iain Stirling to Austentatious, Scummy Mummies, Castival Live, School of Arts Comedy Shows and Brian Cox and Robin Ince alongside Gulbenkian's monthly comedy club - radical and exciting, but also warm and snuggly as a bunny rabbit with up-and-coming local comedy talent including Athena Kugblenu & Aaron Simmonds, Bilal Zafar & Sarah Iles among others.


Fantastic companies making work for children and young people bring everything from jazz and funk fuelled family adventures into the deep dark woods in Groove into the Woods, to Freckle Productions of Julia Donaldson favourite Stick Man, George Fellows and South East Dance bring It's Okay, Pins and Needles Productions brings Mr Popper's Penguins and Little Bulb brings Hibernation, Takeshi Matsumoto and South East Dance brings Club Origami, and Schlomo's Beatbox Adventure for Kids sees the sonic superhero recruiting sidekicks in the world of funny sounds and cool music.

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