Hope Fest will bring a programme of arts and culture events to Electric Park in July

A festival? What's one of those? Oh yes, we remember now. It's all coming back to us. 

This year's festival season is shaping up nicely with Hope Mill Theatre’s Hope Fest the latest addition to the summer calendar. Set to take place between 16 July and 8 August, the festival will bring a programme of arts and cultural events to a 250 capacity theatre tent in Electric Park next to New Islington tram stop.  

This is an opportunity for us to bring together our audiences in a new and exciting way as well as engaging with a whole new audience

Reflecting Hope Mill Theatre’s emphasis on community arts and local talent, the Hope Fest line-up is set to mix genre-spanning music, exciting regional comedy, award-winning family theatre, as well as plenty of homegrown talent and one-off interactive community events aimed at getting local residents involved. 

The emphasis on community goes one step further with the upcoming launch of the FANCOATS scheme which in collaboration with the festival, will offer ticket discounts and an invitation to a one-off residents gathering.

With so much to choose from on the line-up, here’s a few worth checking out.

A Picture Of Jason Manford Who Will Be Bringing His Comedy Club To Hope Fest In Ancoats Manchester
Jason Manford will bring his Comedy Club to Hope Fest showcasing the region's most exciting comedy talent University of Salford Press Office

Matt and Phreds Music Sessions will be a chance to get your post-pandemic live music fix as it presents five of its favourite genre-spanning bands from Brazilian jazz to soul and hip-hop. Bringing those sweet, sweet Tib Street vibes outdoors, the sessions will be a pleasant way to spend an afternoon in Ancoats. 

Elsewhere on the music front that silent disco courtesy of self-described "22-legged Afro-party monster" - that’s Manchester Afrobeat band Agbeko to you and me - is not to be missed either.

Jason Manford’s comedy club tops the laughs bill as he invites the region’s best up-and-coming comedians to try and help us forget the horror of the pandemic. Elsewhere, Yes Queens, the West End’s first female-led improvised comedy night will bring a night of games, scenes, sketches and songs - all improvised from audience suggestions.

An Artists Impression Of The Hope Fest Festival Site Which Will Take Place In A Large Big Top Tent In Electric Park Ancoats Manchester
As well as a 250 capacity big top tent there will also be a food and drink area serving local beers and spirits

If you’re looking for a kid-friendly day out it doesn’t get more U-rated and award-winning than Stiles & Drewe’s Three Little Pigs The Musical. The team behind the musical come with plaudits galore via Honk! and Broadway’s Mary Poppins. One firmly aimed at the kids but with enough charm to win around the parents. A singalong (is there any other kind?) film showing of Frozen is also on the bill. 

The relaunch of the Manchester Culture: Manchester ADP scripts aloud evening, the previously postponed Industry Minds Awards and Grad Fest and the Through The Mill playwriting prize are just some of the community-minded creative events that will also take place at the festival with chances for audiences and local artists to get involved. 

Being an outdoor event there’ll also be an opportunity to parade your pooch with the inventively named Dog Fest. Think fancy dress competitions, treats and a doggy DJ. No confirmation yet as to whether it'll be David Grr-eta or Mr Woof on the decks. 

Illustrated Festival Map For Hope Mill Theatres Indie Arts Festival Hope Fest In Ancoats Manchester Body
The festival will run from 16 July to 18 August with plenty of opportunities for local residents to get involved

Executive Director at Hope Mill Theatre William Whelton on Hope Fest

"After a year of closure and uncertainty we have been working hard to bring together a festival of outdoor work in our local area. This is an opportunity for us to bring together our audiences in a new and exciting way as well as engaging with a whole new audience. The New Islington area and surrounding community has been our home for over 5 years now and has many diverse and creative residents.”

“With HOPE FEST we also have a varied and diverse lineup of arts and culture available, which offers a special opportunity for us to bring together the local community under one roof or tent! It is important to us that HOPE FEST has something for everyone, whether it be a Sing A Long Frozen for families, music from Matt & Phreds a celebration of Musical Theatre or a dog-friendly event, this is an incredible opportunity for our organisation, in a very exciting phase for the New Islington and Electric Park area."

For further information on Hope Fest and ticket information check out the Hope Mill Theatre website here.

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