News from Festival of Thrift

Countdown to Festival of Thrift’s return to Kirkleatham 

The team behind Festival of Thrift are gearing up to welcome back visitors when the popular, free outdoor event returns on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th September. 

Final preparations are underway to transform the village of Kirkleatham, near Redcar, into the venue for the UK’s national celebration of sustainable living. 

A packed programme is scheduled for the weekend. Visitors can enjoy a range of thought-provoking talks and performances, including a specially commissioned dance piece, the north east premier of an aerial theatre production and an architect-designed Welcome pavilion made using recycled and waste materials alongside a larger than life new Master of Ceremonies who loves a good fake tan and Festival of Thrift’s special mix of hands-on fun, food, music, dance and song. 

In this first Year of the English Coast Festival of Thrift organisers have put an extra focus on water in the programme with performances and activities that highlight links with water, including the sea, rivers, lakes, canals and streams, and how to combat the effects of climate change.  

The event will also showcase projects that the festival team has been working on with the local community in Redcar and Cleveland and wider Tees Valley throughout the year. A beautiful bamboo structure created as part of the ambitious Bridge2Bamboo public art project will be on display and festivalgoers can hear some powerful public speaking by young people from Redcar and Hartlepool who have been honing their presentation skills with the Young People’s Podium. 

Stella Hall, Festival of Thrift’s Creative Director said: “We are really looking forward to being back on the glorious Kirkleatham site after the year we’ve all had. We enjoyed meeting visitors virtually in 2020, but nothing beats being together in the outdoors and we can’t wait to welcome everybody. 

“We are also very excited to be showcasing projects that our team has been working on with members of the local community over the past year. Our roots are firmly in Redcar and it is wonderful to be able to keep the spirit of the festival going with our local community beyond the annual weekend event.” 

Festival of Thrift’s Executive Director, Emma Whitenstall added: “Over the last year, more than any, the issues of sustainability have risen up all our agendas, and we Thrifters have become more relevant than ever. It’s wonderful to be able to come together again and discover ways to change the way we live and to protect our planet.” 

The full programme for Festival of Thrift is available to view at here.

Highlights of the event include: 

  • Sea Saw, Carlos Ara and Company – Co-commissioned by Festival of Thrift and Dance City, Newcastle. The last two islanders in the world are adrift in a wide and lonely sea of plastic. ‘How did things come to this?’ they wonder, as they carry out their age-old daily routines, clinging determinedly to the last remnants of the life they once lived on land. One day, they are visited by a mysterious creature from the depths of the sea. Are they ready for the chaos that ensues? A show about two cultures coexisting in the same environment and the struggle to find a place of mutual understanding from which to move forward. 
  • Cyril the MC – Festival of Thrift’s new master of ceremonies is a larger than life ‘host with the most’. Cyril loves a good fake tan, entertaining audiences of all ages and has a fondness for Carry On films and 80s TV quiz shows! 
  • Welcome Pavilion RIBA Teesside have brought together a team of volunteer architects, engineers, students & contractors to produce a Welcome Pavilion which explores the use of recycled and waste materials. The Pavilion incorporates educational panels on the materials used as well as panels produced by various community groups. Utilising and sourcing recycled materials has posed challenges for the group however they have explored and engaged problem solving skills to work as a team to produce this meeting point for the festival site. 
  • ECOuture – Festival of Thrift’s Fashion Show is back, and with a new name. ECOuture is an eclectic fashion showcase created by some of the area’s upcoming designers in collaboration with the Teesside charity Daisy Chain and with support from Teesside University. Alongside an array of textiles used, a whole collection made from donated denim by Level 4 Teesside University Fashion degree students will be showcased. 
  • Bridge2bamboo – an ambitious public art project by Imagineer, in which Festival of Thrift is a partner. The project draws on engineering expertise across the globe, with particular focus on environmental, economic and community impact and the importance of Bamboo as a sustainable recourse in relation to the climate crisis. We have connected communities through a series of workshops to design, test and build a beautiful bamboo structure for the Festival. Project participants co-designed the structure to determine its function at the event and beyond, placing the possibilities in the hands of the community. In 2022 the participating groups will be invited to attend Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth games where Imagineer will host an impressive exhibition of the bamboo structures created as a result of this project. Thanks to Borderlands – Creative People & Places and Tees Valley Community Foundation. 
  • Young People’s Podium – Come and be blown away by our young speakers from across Hartlepool & Redcar. The project linked young people aged 12-20 with professional artists Umar Butt and Tahmina Ali to build confidence, learn writing skills and performance techniques to help deliver a powerful message – and they haven’t disappointed. Project inspired by Glimpse #Peoples Podium and funded by County Durham Community Foundation #iwill 
  • 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 bring their 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 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 tells 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 full schedule can be viewed at  
  • 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 at  
  • 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! Further details and tickets are available at  
  • Traders a bustling array of stalls selling sustainable goods from selected ethical independent traders will run throughout the weekend. The list of traders is available to view at: 

    Entry to Festival of Thrift is free. Parking costs £6 per car which includes a £1 carbon offset fee that will be donated to ecolibrium, a community of events, festivals, suppliers, artists and music companies taking action to reduce travel impacts and invest in climate solutions. Parking can be booked online at  

    Festival of Thrift is funded thanks to generous support from Arts Council England, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council and Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority. 

more you might find interesting...


Festival of thrift welcomes you

Login to your trader account