Portsmouth Festivities unveil ‘Play’ theme for 2017 programme

Portsmouth Festivities announced their 2017 events programme and theme through a launch evening at The Square Tower in Old Portsmouth on Thursday 16th March.

This year’s schedule comprises over 100 dazzling and diverse events taking place across the city from Friday 16th to Sunday 25th June, including features by internationally-acclaimed artists, local talent, plenty of free activities, and commemorative events, spanning all ages and interests.

Portsmouth Festivities is Portsmouth’s flagship multi-disciplinary arts festival. Now in its 18th year, the programme continues to develop and grow, with a fantastic mix of concerts, art, exhibitions, plays, and outdoor events planned for 10 days during June.

The theme for 2017’s Festivities is ‘PLAY’. The idea of the theme is promote the idea that we should all make more time in our lives for play.


Play Code City

Prepare for a new and exciting form of eventing across Portsmouth, as Portsmouth Festivities collaborate with Torchlight Heritage and the University of Portsmouth’s School of Creative Technologies. Play Code City is a new interactive game app which will see players looking for and collecting codes hidden at events and happenings throughout Portsmouth.

Over the ten days of Portsmouth Festivities 2017, players must uncover interactions with characters and performers at unusual installations around the city. Keep a keen eye!

We worked with Portsmouth Festivities to create a video showcasing Play Code City, shot with a parkour artist at Southsea Skatepark:


Programme highlights

Portsmouth Festivities 2017 opens with one of Britain’s finest string quartets, The Maggini Quartet. Their acclaimed recordings have won international awards, and they’ve been nominated for Grammys twice.

Festivities’ opening gala concert will also feature world-renowned pianist Peter Donohoe, whose recent performances include appearances with the Dresden Staatskapelle, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, and Gurzenich Orchestra.

Infant audiences will be treated to ‘Babigloo’ — non-verbal sessions led purely by the use of classical music, vocal sounds, and rhythms, mixed with theatre props and visual elements, exclusively for babies aged zero to 12 months.

On Saturday 17th June, No. 6 Cinema emerge from behind the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard wall and taking their screenings on the road! ‘The Incredible Moving Picturehouse’ will be parking up on Southsea Common and showing TronTheir FinestLife Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and Jaws. Pie & Vinyl will be there, providing sustenance.

3RUN is one of the most recognised free-running and parkour teams on the planet, and hold of 15 Guinness World Records. On Saturday 17th June, they’ll showcase the skill with which they traverse urban spaces and move through obstacles by jumping, climbing, and running.

Thursday 22nd June will see the excellent emerging artist Savitri Grier perform. She made her debut at Carnegie’s Weill Hall, and has appeared as a soloist with the Bournemouth Symphony, English Chamber, Welsh National Opera, and Birmingham Sinfonia Orchestras. Savitri will be performing works by Mozart, Brahms, Benjamin, and Enesco.

For one night only on Friday 23rd June, Martha & The Vandellas will be performing with Mary Wilson of The Supremes at Portsmouth Guildhall. Mary Wilson is a founding member of The Specials, the world’s most famous female trio, who recorded 12 #1 singles between 1964 and 1969.

Portsmouth Festivities will also be welcoming British organist Wayne Marshall on Saturday 25th June, the celebrated and award-winning interpreter of Gershwin, Bernstein, and other 20th century American composers. As an organ recitalist, Marshall draws a varied repertoire, and performs worldwide. Recent seasons have included performances at the Notre Dame in Paris, the Royal Festival Hall, Symphony Hall in Birmingham, and Westminster Abbey.

Saturday 25th June also sees Talisk, winners of the 2015 BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award, create a captivating, energetic, and dynamic soundscape at St. George’s Church.

James Priory, Chairman of Portsmouth Festivities, said: “It promises to be a great summer for the Portsmouth Festivities in June, with even more events and opportunities on offer for everyone to get involved.

“We have taken the idea of ‘PLAY’ as our theme for 2017, and are particularly excited to be launching Play Code City — an online interactive game in which members of the public track down codes through a series of cultural happenings in Portsmouth.

“With our usual mix of music, talks, art, and drama, it’s going to be a lot of fun!”

Erica Smith, the programme’s director, added: “This year sees some great collaborations for Festivities which I have enjoyed working on immensely.

“For me, it’s always about people discovering new things and there is plenty to choose from in this year’s diverse programme so be sure to make time to explore and PLAY.”

Find out more about Portsmouth Festivities 2017 and download this year’s programme over on their website »