Packed programme being finalised for Festival of Thrift

Mufti Games Massive Battleships

With under a month to go until this year’s Festival of Thrift the organisers are putting the finishing touches to the programme.

This year’s festival, which takes place on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 September at Kirkleatham Museum and grounds near Redcar on the North East coast, has a packed schedule of activities designed to entertain, amaze and inform visitors.

Featuring everything from cutting-edge art installations and street theatre to a wide range of debates, talks and workshops where festival-goers can get hands-on and try something new, the programme has been carefully planned to offer something for everyone.

The Festival’s Director, Stella Hall, explained: “The Festival of Thrift isn’t a Festival to idly watch go by, though there are some very relaxing activities on site too!

“There are over 140 things to see and do at the event including the opportunity for visitors to make, learn and go away with something new to pass on; skills, knowledge, stories, thrifty purchases or even new friends! As ever, artists of all kinds  are at heart  of things, helping us see ourselves and our resources in a new way.”

Some of the highlights of the free to enter event include: 


1. Redcar – The Town is The Menu

A culinary experience like no other, unique to the Festival and this town. Lunch in the Walled Gardens at Kirkleatham where – the whole dining experience is inspired by the history, folklore, famous faces and tales of Redcar. Roseberry topping icecream, anyone? Book online at


2. OxGlam & Best in Show

On the catwalk with outfits inspired by Kirkleatham Museum and a Day at Redcar Races! The OxGlam team will be delving into Kirkleatham Museum’s collection, so expect to see something surprising, inspirational, thrifty and – of course – transferable to your own wardrobe. They will be joined by students from University of Teesside and the thriftiest Festival goers will be awarded Best in Show rosettes and invited onto the stage too.


3. Quarantine presents Between Us We Know Everything

Between Us We Know Everything seeks to capture what we know, everything we know, anything we know. It’s about all the useful and useless information we’ve acquired over the course of our lives. Pop in and be filmed telling us what you know – or choose what you don’t know and, well, learn it!


4. Fix it Cafe

Experts and a range of equipment will be on hand to help you find your own fix for your broken items. Recycling old items from electronic stuff like stylophones and computers, mobile phones and TVs to mechanical music boxes and faulty fishing rods! Just bring along something to fix, including out dated clothing to fix up!


5. People’s Encyclopedia on the Trolley Bus

We don’t know everything – even though some of us like to think we do – but there’s someone out there that does! Take a seat on our Trolley Bus with an expert of your choice and ask away. Anything from beekeeping to car maintenance. The Trolley Bus won’t be taking you anywhere but your conversation and knowledge certainly will! Delivered by Redcar & Cleveland Libraries and sponsored by UK Steel Enterprise.


6. Empathy Museum presents Walk a Mile in my Shoes

What is it like to have spent years in prison, or to be a child growing up in Tehran, or to have spent your life working  in Teesside’s steel industry.  Explore how empathy can have the power to transform our personal relationships and tackle global challenges. An interactive shoe shop, A Mile in My Shoes invites you to (literally) step into someone else’s shoes and embark on a mile-long journey to see the world through their eyes.


7. DJukebox

DJukebox is an interactive jukebox with a live DJ inside. You can choose from one of over 60 classic tracks and the join the DJ to spin your record. Everything from roots to reggae, from Mozart to metal or from bee bop to hip hop the DJukebox has it all. Converted from a good old British built portable site toilet the DJukebox is now at your convenience.


8. Graeme Miller presents Track

Take a journey through the Kirkleatham woodlands on Track and see the world differently. Track throws the landscape through 90 degrees and sets it in motion. Lie face-up and relax and gently take a journey along a 75 metre length of dolly track. Gaze upwards to the canopy of leaves the sky and contemplate our history at the beginning of rail travel. Time to slow down and just be.


9. Mufti Games presents Massive Battleships

A super-sized team version of the classic naval guessing game.

Join one of two crews and plot your opponents’ downfall. Using binoculars, with flags and flashcards signaling hits and misses hundreds of yards apart, it’s all hands on deck to try and sink the enemy’s fleet before they sink yours! Kids vs Grownups? You choose!


10. Stable

In the stables of Kirkleatham Hall at the centre of the site, Navigator North has commissioned five emerging artists from Teesside, working with lead artist Steve Messam, to create new work celebrating the region using recycled materials. See these historic buildings, rarely open to the public, in a new light.


11. Phoenix Voices

A 170-strong choir especially created for the Festival to celebrate 170 years of steel-making on Teesside.  Using forging, smelting and tempering as the starting point they will be mashing traditional and new tunes and making compelling melodies around the site.


12. Food & Drink

There’ll be a host of delicious dining, tasting and snacking opportunities curated by Food Guru Simon Preston. Including Jamalittle and Jamallot, the jam and chutney making factory, Bistro Du Van and of course Redcar – The Town is the Menu. Feel free to take time out and enjoy drinks at the bars, from the Mucky Hook a Duck to the Route Master Bus Bar with DJs playing from the top deck


13. The BIG Talks

Learn about working in the food industry, ethical fashion, regeneration and how to manage your money; our panel of experts will lead conversations to help you find your sustainable future. Hear from Safia Minney of People Tree in conversation with Wayne Hemingway on ethical routes to fashion and home grown Amy Kelly in How to be Hard Up and Happy.


14. Workshops

The Festival has free admission but you can purchase tickets for workshops. A bit of time to yourself perhaps to learn a new skill? With workshops starting for children as young as 4yrs from £4.50, there’s something for everyone. Book at or visit the info desk at the Festival for last minute tickets.


15. Thrifty Stalls and Demos

Over 100 stalls demonstrating skills and selling all sorts of recycled, upcycled and sustainably made produce as well as handmade and homemade tasty treats and healthy snacks and drinks.


Diary date listing and event details

Event: Festival of Thrift

Date: Saturday 17 & Sunday 18 September 2016

Place: Kirkleatham Museum and Grounds, Redcar, North East TS10 5NW

Time: 10am – 5pm

Cost: Free event. Parking £5 per car.

Details: , Twitter @Thriftfest , Facebook @festivalofthrift

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Media enquiries:

Rachel Smith, , 07905215712




The Festival of Thrift is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, and enabled through a a partnership with Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council,

It is sponsored by Northumbrian Water and University of Teesside and supported through an award from Tees Valley Community Foundation from the Tees Offshore Community Benefit fund.

Additional support in kind has been made available by PD Ports.

The Festival was born in Darlington in 2012 and is growing up across the Tees Valley region, with a move to Kirkleatham for its fourth event.

In 2015 the Festival won the Arts Award in the Observer Ethical Awards, which celebrate the people, organisations and campaigners who are leading the way to ensure we have an ethical future.

The Festival won gold for the North East Tourist Event of 2015.

2016 event

The Festival of Thrift takes place on Saturday September 17 and Sunday September 18 2016 10am – 5pm at Kirkleatham Museum and Grounds near Redcar on the north east coast.

It is located in the tranquil village of Kirkleatham, in and around Kirkleatham Museum and Grounds, a Grade II listed building which dates from 1709 and now houses Kirkleatham Museum.

Kirkleatham village has one of the best collections of Georgian-style buildings in England and the almshouses on the Festival site, which were were built in 1676, are architecturally and historically notable.

Sustainable transport options are available to help festival goers get to the site, Useful links:

About the festival

Footage of Festival of Thrift 2015

Festival team

Annual report 2015

Observer ethical award 2015


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