The month of August boasts an incredible line-up of performing arts events, comedy, theatre and young people’s takeover stages across the borough of Kensington and Chelsea as part of the amazing summer long Kensington + Chelsea Festival. Highlights include comedy nights at Chelsea Theatre on a ‘pay what you can’ basis, thought-provoking theatre, educative performances for children, and the spotlight being shone on the wonderful talents of local youth.
With focus on recovery from the pandemic and on providing opportunities for performers to come back to work as we all emerge out of lockdown – the festival presents a perfect moment to get back into our theatres, parks, cities, streets, to see outdoor performances and reconnect with our communities through incredible collective experiences.
All programming is free or affordable, and the festival organisers want to encourage anyone to get involved, enjoy and find inspiration.
August Festival Highlights
Young People’s Takeover Stages
Finborough Theatre | Sunday 1 August | Chelsea Plaza, World’s End
New Youthquake and FerArts | Sunday 7 August | Location to be announced
Afternoon weekend stages will appear across the borough during July and August, presenting local young people’s creative works spanning spoken word, dance, theatre and music, in collaboration with professional arts organisations and young people’s programming groups.
Fringe Shows and Comedy Nights – over 18 shows staged from July to end of August
Chelsea Theatre and Kensington + Chelsea Festival ran an Open Call process offering the chance to stage fringe theatre in the iconic venue. A total of seventy-five applications by professional companies were received. Selections were made by a professional panel and a community panel, with details of the performances are listed here. Tickets will be available on a ‘pay what you want’ basis.
Comedy Night | Thursday 5 August |
Doors open 7pm for a 7.45pm start | Tickets for age 18+ only
Kensington + Chelsea Festival presents a top comedy line up from Upfront Comedy. Join Jeff Innocent, Sukh Kaur Ojla, Athena Kugblenu & Jenny Collier for a night of hilariousness and collective joy. Tickets offered on a ‘pay what you want’ basis – you can come for free or subsidise someone who would not normally be able to attend, by paying the usual ticket price of £20. All of the money raised from ticket sales goes towards paying the artists, the technicians and the venue costs, in line with Kensington and Chelsea being a not-for-profit organisation invested in community.
A Square World by Daryl Beeton | 3pm Sunday 22 August
A Square World is a story of friends who enjoy the same routine day after day, each day is the same until an unexpected change is forced upon just one of them. This accidental happening throws everyone into disarray, the friends are suddenly divided into those who can and the one who can’t. The friends realise their daily routine is no longer as enjoyable as it was and together decide they need to redefine the rules of the square world in which they live. By injecting a little fun and chaos they soon discover their lives won’t be square ever again! This endearing and funny performance looks at the unfairness of being left out in a world designed for everyone else but yourself.
An honest, touching and bizarrely quirky piece of theatre for young audiences. This non-verbal story, set to an original commissioned soundtrack uses clean-cut simple design, object manipulation and elements of surprise to create an ever evolving and imaginative world. A place where we discover anything can happen when we think differently and rip up the rule book. The performance is suitable for 3 – 6 year olds and tickets are offered on a pre-booking ‘pay what you want’ basis.
Chelsea Old Town Hall
Comedy Night | Wednesday 11 August
Doors open 7pm for a 7.45pm start | Tickets for age 18+ only
Another amazing comedy night by Upfront Comedy and Kensington and Chelsea Theatre, this time featuring Curtis Walker, Shazia Mirza, Terry Alderton, Gerry K with Susan Murray. Tickets offered on a ‘pay what you want’ basis – you can come for free or subsidise someone who would not normally be able to attend. All of the money raised from ticket sales goes towards paying the artists, the technicians and the venue costs, in line with Kensington and Chelsea being a not-for-profit organisation invested in community.
Eve Ferret in Cabaret | Thursday 12 August
West End Performer Eve Ferret will be singing and sprouting in an amazing Cabaret at Chelsea Old Town Hall. Born a mile away in Pimlico, Eve will bring her songs and stories of her life and adventures up and down the Kings Road in the 70’s & 80’s from ‘Hairdressing to Hollywood’. In conjunction with Chelsea Theatre this evening’s performance is at Chelsea Old Town Hall, and Eve will be joined by highly acclaimed pianist Simon Wallace. Tickets offered on a ‘pay what you want’ basis – you can come for free or subsidise someone who would not normally be able to attend. All of the money raised from ticket sales goes towards paying the artists, the technicians and the venue costs, in line with Kensington and Chelsea being a not-for-profit organisation invested in community.
BONDED by Alleyne Dance
Afternoons of 7 & 28 August | Outdoors + Free
Alleyne Dance is based in UK based and was founded in 2014 by twin sisters Kristina and Sadé Alleyne. BONDED explores the construct of human dependency – especially that of siblings – and how time and external conditions can affect the synergetic connection.
The choreographic aesthetic reflects the sisters’ diverse backgrounds in athletics and dance training. They blend African, Caribbean, Hip Hop, Kathak and Circus Skills, delivered as fast paced and dynamic movement. This beautiful piece will be a free and outdoor performance suitable for all ages.
Catch Me by Upswing
Afternoon of 14 & 15 August | Outdoors + Free
Many performances are held in parks across Kensington and Chelsea, in surprising locations. An outdoor arts piece by contemporary circus company Upswing, Catch Me is an intimate and surprising take on age, race and gender. An older woman and younger man dance together through a landscape of abandoned chairs, discovering joy, risk and unexpected connections in a poignant duet. A poetic mix of dance and acrobatics, Catch Me asks how we see each other and who we value. This performance is free and suitable for all ages, it doesn’t require pre-booking.
Lifted by Mimbre
Afternoon of 21 & 22 August | Outdoors + Free
All-female acrobatic company Mimbre is back on tour this year with an outdoor production. Lifted is a collection of funny, poetic and surprising moments, which explore in different ways what it means when one body is carried by another. The constant presence of physical contact and trust in Lifted is even more powerful post-pandemic. Our human need for touch, as well as our complex relationship to the safety of and consent to physical contact, are both addressed in playful and serious ways. Lifted mixes dance, theatre and circus to celebrate the expressions and impressions that appear when three strong women move, lift and balance each other. This performance is outdoor and doesn’t require pre-booking.