Here’s our top ten unmissable shows.


Just one day to go until the city of Hull undergoes it’s annual metamorphosis, as Freedom Festival 2019 inhabits every staith and snicket and artists and audiences from across the globe converge for the region’s most celebrated annual cultural feast!

As ever, the programme is a vibrant and eclectic mix of the extraordinary, a beautiful kaleidoscope of world class art. Everything from circus, visual art, debates, theatre, dance and music; blending epic experiences with small, intimate and thought provoking moments.

Thousands of people will take back the streets during the festival, coming together to experience and participate in a festival that is a part of the DNA of Hull.

Joyous, magnificent, fun and as distinctive as the city in which it is anchored!  Are you ready for the most inspiring and powerhouse Freedom Festival programme yet?

If you need a hand navigating the programme, here’s a list of ten must see shows from this year’s programme.

But of course the joy of Freedom Festival is the pop up performances, the weird and wonderful undefinable shows that you stumble upon as you’re exploring the city.

The Festival Gardens in Queens Gardens will come alive from 3pm on Friday, so you can enjoy your Freedom experience even earlier this year, ahead of the Freedom Friday spectacular when French street arts titans Générik Vapeur transform the city into a punk infused daydream….

Humans, Circa

If you loved Gravity & Other Myth’s A Simple Space, last year then you must see Humans.

Ten acrobats, from the most in demand contemporary circus company in the world, take us 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.

This is an indoor ticketed performance. Book tickets online.

The Great Escape, Adhok 

Adhok return to Freedom Festival, as seven actors aged between 60 and 75 offer a poetic and fun promenade performance of theatre and dance, challenging our perception of old age, the fears it carries and the treasures it hides.

Follow the escapees on their journey as they reconnect with the world around them and put the spotlight on ageing in our modern society.

Fairwinds and Following Seas, The Broken Orchestra featuring Vicky Foster 

An exciting new commision for Freedom Festival 2019, embark on a journey along the River Hull with a personal soundscape created by The Broken Orchestra and poetry from Vicky Foster exploring a historically rich yet seemingly forgotten area of the city.

This is a free outdoor performance. Reserve your place online.

Un Poyo Rojo

It’s kitsch, camp and hilarious, an extraordinary show of the array of man’s physical and emotional possibilities. Poyo Rojo uses the language of acrobatics, dance and physical performance to explore masculinity and bravado in this contemporary, Argentinian physical theatre performance.

This is an indoor ticketed show. Book tickets online.

Session, Still House, Empire Sounds, Steppaz

Dance party, gig and social rolled into one, the show is led by an ensemble of young dancers who move across hip hop, contemporary folk and Afrobeats, as they celebrate community, youth and belonging.


A series of social-specific performances that invites adults to enter a very different world where the tables are turned and the teens are in charge. Returning to Freedom Festival following Haircuts by Children in 2017, Freedom favourites Mammalian Diving Reflex have been working with a group of local teenagers to create a series of performances, events and interventions that will positively disrupt this year’s festival, creating teen-infused environments where the youth rule the roost.

Natty Bo & The Top Cats

This nine-piece band has been tearing up festival dancefloors since the 90s. Playing authentic Jamaican ska, rocksteady and reggae, expect non-stop dancing, a whole load of wild energy and soul power.

Hull International Carnival

Hull’s International Carnival returns for its third year. A firm Freedom fixture as part of Sunday’s celebrations, step onto the streets of Hull city centre for a homegrown party parade. Follow this colourful extravaganza into Zebedee’s Yard where the carnival atmosphere will continue with community music, DJs and fantastic live bands.

Freedom Talks

An accessible yet challenging talks, debates and participatory discussion programme.

The Freedom Talks programme explores current challenges to human and civil rights with national and international artists and academics from the University of Hull. This year’s programme explores topics such as Ages of Isolation, Artificial Intelligence and Modern Day Slavery. 

Gregarious, Cie SOON

Told through circus, acrobatics and comedy, watch as two performers wrestle with their relationship as they flit from collaboration to conflict. A unique, jaw-dropping show suitable for all audiences.

Freedom Festival takes place from Wednesday 28 August until Sunday 1 September. For the full programme click here. 

Tickets for ticketed shows are available in advance from Hull Truck Theatre Box Office or from the Box Office in Festival Gardens during the Festival weekend.