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Festival of Thrift 2021

Advance highlights announced for this year’s national celebration of sustainable living
Phoenix Choir at the Festival of Thrift

A gyroscopic flying machine piloted by the Keeper of the Waterways, a parkour performance on a boat made of scaffolding, a pitch and putt course with a watering hole and talks about everything from Seaspiracy to our local fishing industry are just some of the highlights of the programme planned for this year’s Festival of Thrift.

On Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 September the P.E.A. Award-winning festival returns to transform the village of Kirkleatham, near Redcar into a packed celebration of sustainable living.

Every September since 2021, Festival of Thrift has provided an opportunity for people to discuss, learn, try out and enjoy every aspect of sustainability.

Visitors can swap clothes, cook up feasts and fix bikes, all alongside a fantastic programme of performances, live music, debates and ethical shopping.

Focus on water

After heading online last year due to the pandemic, the hugely popular large-scale event is back in style for 2021 with a weekend of thought-provoking performances along with Festival of Thrift’s unique mix of hands-on fun, food, music, dance, debating and song.

With each new year comes a fresh theme and #ThriftFest21 focuses on water, with inspiration flowing throughout the site.

‘During this first Year of the English Coast we thought we would turn our attention to the seas and that precious commodity. Alongside some special new events we have brought back old favourites too with a watery twist and look forward to welcoming audiences from coast to coast!’

Festival of Thrift’s creative director

Programme highlights

Early highlights of the programme for the weekend released by the festival organisers include: 

Cast-Away by Highly Sprung: a stunning outdoor performance that explores the impact of today’s throwaway society on our waterways, commissioned by Coventry City of culture 2021. Featuring a unique gyroscopic flying machine, it presents a brand-new approach to aerial theatre where performers dive, twist and float over 26 feet in the air to delight, inspire and captivate audiences of all ages. 

On the Strandline by Urban Playground:: to coincide with the installation of Redcar’s Time and Tide Bell, the team brings its distinctive performance-parkour language together with a vessel made of scaffold and a story told by a child to ask, in the face of rising sea levels, how do we avoid having to choose who gets on the boat? 

Phoenix Rising by Whippet Up: pulled by a mythical phoenix, the cart of curiosity emerges from the dust to seek out performance venues. Once it finds its space it rebuilds into a puppet theatre to tell tales of ecology and hope. Music for the show is by the Saltburn-based ‘Phoenix Voices’ Community Choir. 

Dandyism by Patrick Ziza: a dance piece inspired by the gentlemen of the Congo, exploring expression, energy and the expressive dynamism of dance originating in East Africa, and through clothing as a way of celebrating individuality humanism, gender and identity in our increasingly divided society. Sea shanties will form part of the repertoire of the inimitable Mike McGrother and the Haverton Hillbillies, while Backchat Brass will perform their own unique take on seafaring songs. 

Fixit Café: Fixit Cafe will be back to fix the world over a cup of tea (and all of the things you broke since last year). Bring along something to fix and our experienced fixers will help you ‘find your fix’ from Flymos to iPads and Teasmades to tape recorders. 

Discussion and debate: A series of thought-provoking talks on sustainability themes will take place over the weekend with something for everyone with serious stuff, fun stuff, looking deeply at sustainability issues but also dipping in and providing easy explainers and sensible solutions we can all understand. Guest speakers include Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway, Jade McSorley, international model and founder of the LOANHOOD fashion rental app, marine specialist Jean-Luc Solandt and Redcar fishing family-born artist and author Carmen Markus and Britain’s Coupon Kid Jordon Cox. 

The Town is the Menu: the festival’s unique al fresco community meal is back, this year of course it is inspired by one of our coastal towns, Marske-by-the-sea. Join the 36-metre-long communal table for an unforgettable three-course vegetarian lunch menu inspired by the people and the stories of Marske and created by cooking collective The Ugly Duckling. Tickets cost £7.00 and are available to buy now here.

Workshops: get hands on and learn some new skills at a range of workshops including old favourites campfire cooking, noisy toys and spoon carving to learning sea shanties, creating water bottle fish and submersible submarines! 

Traders: a bustling array of stalls selling sustainable goods from selected independent traders will run throughout the weekend. 

Entry to Festival of Thrift is free. Parking costs £6 per car. Click here for more.

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