HULL is no stranger to arts and culture and this summer, the annual Freedom Festival will use the city as its stage once again, in a way it has never done before. Today, the festival programme has been revealed and tickets for the five incredible indoor shows are available to buy now.

From Wednesday 28 August, Hull will see artists from across the world converge in the maritime city to delight, challenge and mystify audiences with jaw-dropping circus, weird and wonderful street theatre, thought-provoking performances and talks, music from all over the world, and mischievous projects that engage all ages. However, a different layer has been added to this year’s festival, offering a new rhythm for the weekend.

With an expanded indoor programme following on from the huge success and feedback from last year’s ticketed programme of events, audiences will be able to begin their Freedom journey earlier, with additional shows starting earlier in the week to allow audiences greater time and opportunity to see extraordinary performances by award-winning international artists, then spend the weekend enjoying the incredible programme of free performances.

While the vast majority of Freedom Festival is free, there will be five indoor ticketed shows at this year’s festival: breathtaking Humans by Circa, the unique UduL by Los Galindos, the hilarious Un Poyo Rojo, and Fidelis Fortibus by award-winning Circus Ronaldo, which sees the return of Danny Ronaldo to Hull. With the festival extended to five nights, audiences will have a greater chance to see these world-class shows, with both intimate moments and epic performances.

These shows will begin on Wednesday 28 August, as the festival builds on Hull’s rich circus history and the insatiable appetite for acrobatic feats following the much-celebrated performance of Gravity & Other Myths in the Festival Gardens big top in 2018. Tickets are on sale from today and an early bird discount of 10% is available for the first two weeks of sales.

This year will see a thrilling, breathtaking and heart-stopping performance from Circa, the most in-demand contemporary circus company in the world, who will open the festival with the incredible show, Humans.

Described by ArtsHub, Australia as, “Courageous, ground-breaking, risk-taking – these are artists/athletes of the highest order,” 10 of the world’s finest acrobats will take audiences on a stirring journey of what it means to be human and how our bodies, connections and aspirations all form part of who we are.

UduL by Los Galindos is a unique visceral circus performance full of understanding and misunderstanding, false politeness, egos, cruelty and fear delivered with wonderful Catalan humour.

Kitsch, camp and hilarious, Un Poyo Rojo fuses acrobatics, dance and physical performance to explore masculinity and bravado in a contemporary, Argentinian physical theatre performance.

Audiences will be delighted to see the return of award-winning circus legend Danny Ronaldo, who will be back in Hull following his performance at Freedom Festival 2012. This year will see Circus Ronaldo return with Fidelis Fortibusa highly unusual, comical and poetic solo performance which celebrates the grandeur of the circus.

East is an ambitious new project by Martin and Eliza Carthy; a collection of musical and poetical works from the East of England, from the furthest north of Northumberland, through Hull, right down to Suffolk. Expect a connection to the land and the coast, great stories and a real sense of what the history and traditions of the east have to offer performed in the beautiful surroundings of Hull Minster.

Mikey Martins, Artistic Director and Joint CEO of Freedom Festival Arts Trust, said: “Creating intimate to epic moments where audiences and artists meet, Freedom Festival is mischievous and joyful, a celebration of hope, humanity and the power of people. It is as unique as the city to which it is anchored, occupying streets and transforming unusual spaces, this year’s weekend programme will once again play out in the city’s streets, squares and public spaces as it celebrates Hull’s rich heritage, encouraging visitors to discover and rediscover a city of unparalleled potential, fuelled by hope and humanity.  Everyone is invited to explore the programme and the city and be a part of the change.”


Taking audiences into the weekend, Freedom Festival Friday will see more happening during the afternoon in the lead up to the evening’s performance, when the party will really get started.

Lighting up cities across Europe for the past 30 years, French street art titans, Générik Vapeur will bring their legendary show Bivouac to Hull city centre, with a loud and punky performance on Friday night. Watch in awe as blue men and women and a cast of community participants take over the streets with a pyrotechnic extravaganza, transporting the city into a daydream.


Audiences can expect a musical journey throughout the festival, politics in public space and performances around every corner, including a new place, with Broken Orchestra’s River Walk.

The city centre will be alive once again throughout the weekend with multiple commissions and events that will explore themes relating to human rights as Freedom Festival 2019 affirms its position as one of the UK’s and Europe’s finest and most distinctive arts festivals.

Freedom Festival is a festival for all, a festival of hope in a city of creation. Its ambitious programme cultivates conversations and debate and this year’s festival will give voice to the young and the old in a playful and challenging programme as art fuses with activism, championing and challenging themes that explore loneliness and isolation in the modern age, the power of people, change and youth activism. It will explore intergenerational relationships and empowerment while giving voice to the city’s unique identity and pride.

French theatre and dance company, Adhok return to the festival with The Great Escape, as they explore what it means to grow old in a fun promenade performance which challenges our perception of old age, the fears it carries and the treasures it hides.

Following Haircuts by Children in 2017, Freedom favourites Mammalian Diving Reflex will be back to work with a group of local teenagers to create a series of performances, events and interventions that will positively disrupt this year’s festival. Teentalitarianism creates teen-infused environments where the youth rule the roost – with the teens in charge of Freedom Festival, what will happen?

Expect wierd and wonderful street performances and pop up installations, create your own party in a playful interactive installation by Superhallo, go on a secret journey with mysterious silver spheres with Ray Lee, to powerful and gripping stories about modern slavery within the construction industry told through physical parkour and compelling theatre with Justice in Motion.

As we celebrate 40 years since the birth of ska music, with its civil rights roots and 40 years since the Hull’s partnership with Freetown was established, expect non-stop dancing and a whole load of wild energy and soul power from the likes of Natty Bo and The Top Cats, alongside a host of others as the music stage returns to Zebedees Yard.


The music doesn’t stop there. Sunday will see an international carnival take over the city, as bands from Freetown and the Rio samba master himself, celebrate the communities of Hull and the joyfulness they create, with carnival at its finest.

Artistic Director and Joint CEO of Freedom Festival Arts Trust, Mikey Martins, said: “Freedom Festival is a festival powered by people. At what other festival are themes of youth empowerment, activism and the potential of people of all ages artistically woven together with world-class street theatre, visual arts, participatory installations, dance, circus, live music and a programme of exhibitions and debates? Our audience has an incredible appetite and we want to do justice to that.

“Freedom is an international gateway to exceptional artists and makers, we believe bold, artistic experiences and festivals are fundamental and a necessary part of our modern society, the kind of artists we work with are brave, innovative and hugely talented.

“As part of our partnership in the In SITU and Without Walls network, we’re proud to have commissioned a number of ground-breaking performances that will visit Freedom Festival alongside other festivals this year, as we combine epic to intimate moments in public spaces where artists and audiences meet. It’s going to be an incredible week, we can’t wait.”

Freedom Festival and the year-long programme of the Freedom Festival Arts Trust would not be possible without the support of its sponsors and partners. This year’s festival is supported by Funders Hull City Council and Arts Council England; Business Partners Cranswick, Hull College, The University of Hull and Wykeland; Sponsors Keepmoat, ABP, Coletta & Tyson, RSM, CHCP and the Ron Dearing UTC; as well of hundreds of individuals and companies in the Freedom 100 Club.

Executive Director and Joint CEO of Freedom Festival Arts Trust, Jenny Howard-Coombes, said: “We’re really proud of the work we do and the quality of the festival we deliver year on year and this year is no exception. We’re a small team and recognise that none of this would be possible without the unwavering commitment of the Trust but also those who support us.

“We’re really thankful to have such great organisations as our sponsors and partners, and both our returning and new audiences for being part of this exciting journey and for helping to make this extraordinary celebration of art, community and humanity in our city possible.”

Early bird tickets for the four ticketed shows are on sale now from Hull Truck Theatre Box Office, the rest of the Freedom Festival programme is free to access.

Freedom Festival 2019 takes place from 28 August until 1 September 2019 in Hull city centre. Early bird tickets are on sale now available from the Hull Truck Box Office on (01482) 323638 or visit