Huge new live arts festival lined up for summer in Preston city centre

A new arts festival is coming to Preston this summer - thanks to a £841,000 grant to help the city bounce back from Covid.

Thursday, 15th April 2021, 7:00 am

The Preston Live Arts Festival will run in ‘landmark venues’ across the city from June 21-30, celebrating arts, culture and homegrown talent in Preston.

Discussions are currently underway with local groups about taking part, and people are being asked to submit their commissions for the festival.

Tim Joel, head of culture at Preston City Council, said it was “fantastic news”.

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He added: “This is a real opportunity to celebrate the rich talent across the city and it’s a great opportunity to support businesses hardest hit in the past year - particularly those in the food, beverage and hospitality sectors.”

The festival - which will be unique to Preston and shouldn’t be confused with the long-running Preston Arts Festival- has been made possible by a £841,647 grant from the DCMS Cultural Recovery fund, applied for by Preston City Council.

It will be produced by renowned theatre producers Selladoor Worldwide and will include a range of family entertainment, live theatre, dance, music, contemporary art and comedy suitable for a range of ages and tastes.

Mr Joel said talks were underway with a number of venues, but that street theatre productions would also be accommodated, if proposals are made.

Preston Live Arts Festival

He said: “It’s part of a co-ordinated plan to bring people back into the city centre, to build up business’ confidence, and there will be a real focus on delivering a well-managed, Covid-safe event.

“There will be a real emphasis on making sure people feel safe, and building things up for hopefully a more normal life in 2022.”

Adrian Phillips, chief executive of Preston City Council, added: “Receiving the DCMS Cultural Recovery Fund grant is fantastic news for Preston and will support the Covid recovery of the city and the journey towards re-opening and welcoming visitors back.

“This will be welcome news for the cultural sector and Preston’s artists and performers who have been greatly affected by the pandemic.

Adrian Phillips, chief executive of Preston Council

“The Preston Live programme will attract visitors to the city and build consumer confidence, having a positive impact on local businesses who have been hardest hit by the pandemic.

“We are pleased to be working with Selladoor Worldwide to rebuild a live performance programme and audience for Preston and position arts and culture as a key catalyst for the growth and development of the city.

“We are grateful to the DCMS and Arts Council England for the investment to deliver this exciting programme’.

David Hutchinson chief executive of Selladoor Worldwide said: “We couldn’t be happier to be working with Preston City Council to deliver an exciting programme of cultural events this summer to celebrate arts and culture in this fantastic city.”

Tim Joel

He added: “As we all know It has been an incredibly tough year across the creative industry and we hope this programme will help to kick start the re-emergence of the live arts as we move out of lockdown whilst also offering the people of Preston some exciting, imaginative and much-needed live entertainment.”

How to get involved

Selladoor are looking to collaborate with local creatives and will be commissioning work from artists across the spectrum of drama, dance and the spoken word with the aim of curating three Scratch Nights centred around the theme of ‘Lockdown Stories’, alongside work from local visual artists as part of their ‘Preston Awakens’ programme.

Submit a commission or to join the mailing list by visiting and follow at @PrestonArtsLive #PrestonLive.