bOing! is an international family festival for all ages which brings families together with artists and companies from across the UK and Europe. The festival is funded by Arts Council England, University of Kent and Kent County Council and led by the University of Kent’s Arts Centre- Gulbenkian.
The first bOIng! was in 2014 engaging with 2500 audience members rising to 6000 in 2015 and 11,000 in 2016. The festival includes over 70 performances (indoor and outdoor) , films and workshops in a packed 2 days across campus taking place in a range of indoor and outdoor venues on the University campus. bOing! also travels “off-site” in the week leading up to bOing! with companies such as Urban Playground and Protein Dance with Invisible Dancing . The festival has featured companies from the Netherlands, Finland, Spain, France, Norway, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, Austria as well as the UK.
We select not only work created with young audiences in mind but also work that is just good work, there is a particular emphasis on dance but does include all other art forms.
Commissioning of new work is an important element of the festival including a in 2015 a large scale outdoor show Fragile from Motionhouse and in 2016 Jasmin Vardimon Dance Company’s first show for families – Pinocchio and a small scale-piece from Cie Akslere (France)
In 2016 we offered a delegate programme for the first time which included a debate and discussion featuring an international panel to consider whether we are too protective of what we show/don’t show to children in the UK and who decides age suitability ? In 2017 this will be further developed with a focus on the creation of work for early years.
Hedley Swain, Area Director, Arts Council England, said: “bOing! is a great festival for all the family, providing a fun opportunity for children and young people – and their parents – to engage with high quality arts and culture. Led by Gulbenkian, which is run by the University of Kent, bOing! has an important role in establishing Canterbury – and more widely Kent – as a cultural destination that attracts some of the world’s leading artists.”