Freedom reigns once more in Hull

Hull’s flagship cultural event, the Freedom Festival, will return to the city’s streets this summer with an extended 16-day programme.

After going virtual in 2020, Hull will come alive with events and shows for the whole family, weaving together theatre, music, and dance – plus a chance to see a giant Earth surrounded by trees, all under the roof of Hull Minster.

Back for its 14th year, this year’s Freedom Festival will run from Friday 20 August until Sunday 5 September and take place in galleries, museums, theatres, empty shops, and public spaces across the city.

While the full line-up is yet to be revealed, organisers are promising a full programme of music, performance, visual arts, and talks, including special commissions and events.

And among highlights already announced is the return of international artist, Luke Jerram, who was at Freedom Festival with the hugely popular Museum of the Moon in 2018.

This year he is back with another of his acclaimed installations, GAIA, a stunning replica of the planet, created using 120dpi detailed NASA imagery of the Earth’s surface. Showcasing at Hull Minster, GAIA will be surrounded by trees (thanks to The Woodland Trust) and have a bespoke soundscape.

During the Festival there will be a series of special events underneath GAIA including an especially commissioned performance by The Broken Orchestra, and a project based around climate change in association with a local school.

Fresh from sell-out performances in Paris and London, ‘C-O-N-T-A-C-T’, from Aria Entertainment and WEF Productions, brings a new kind of theatre to the streets, offering a chance to walk the path with the performers and share their sensations and thoughts, as the action unfolds before your eyes.

Billed as a ground-breaking Immersive live theatre experience like no other, audiences download the audio from an app, which is a completely new piece of technology synchronizing the spectators and actors.

Live performances will be back too, at Stage@TheDock, an amphitheatre-style multi-purpose venue built in an old dry dock overlooking the River Hull, with views across the Humber Estuary and of the city’s iconic aquarium, The Deep.

It will host ‘15ft6 – League & Legend’, a circus skills-based show from a Belgian company, and ‘Rise – Tribe’, a powerful female-led dance piece, with details of more performances set to be unveiled in the coming weeks.

More drama will unfold at the Hull New Theatre, with ‘Passagers’, from The 7 Fingers (Les 7 Doigts de la Main), one of the world’s most exciting and inventive contemporary circus companies. The show combines choreography and dance with physical theatre, dazzling acrobatic skills with multi-media and music.

For the latest updates on this year’s Festival, visit or follow @FreedomFestHull (Twitter and Instagram).

For places to stay and visitor information,

Photo: GAIA, Luke Jerram