Monday, 3 August 2015

Round Our Way - SIRF 2015

This past weekend is my most favourite one in my little town. Street performers and performing theatre companies descend on Stockton from all around the world for SIRF- Stockton International Riverside Festival. From the sublime to the ridiculous, the weird to the wonderful, there are so many things to see and do, it's just brilliant. The last night finale is always a total show stopper and usually culminates in a massive firework display which showers the skies for all the town to see. Even though the brochure stated that it wouldn't be the usual firework display this year, for me, it was one of the most beautiful yet. 

The company, Cie Carabosse (from France) were given the Trinity Gardens as their space. For all the rest of the year this is basically a shell of a church surrounded by a big green space, but over the SIRF weekend it was a garden of fiery magical delights! All around the grass exterior of the church were huge installations that gently swirled in the wind and hung from the trees. 

There were so many things to look at we didn't know where to go first! There were bands and music surrounded by fire pits, bizarre creatures with clock pieces for heads who moved eerily in the dark, casting huge shadows against the side of the church, bowler hatted performers slowly turning wheels on machines that belched fire flares...even the church had been opened up to visitors where you could see what can only be described as vests lit by fire strung from window to window, and a musician at the end, once again surrounded by fire and playing haunting musical sounds as you wandered around. 

I was so excited to go into the church as I've always been dying to have a look inside! The musician at the end was so cool, it would be brilliant if they used the church for live music - I would totally pay to go and see a band in there! 

As the night drew to a close the audience were patiently moved behind barriers to clear the space ready for the finale. First came the music, and then boom, huge fireworks! So much for no fireworks this year! Ooooh ahhhh showering golds and purples and giant BANGS filled the sky as we all gazed upwards in sheer delight. After about ten minutes it was all over, but we're easily pleased in our little town and the massive crowd burst into applause and cheers. 

Even though the finale is always on a school night and you have to stay up way past beddy-bob time it's absolutely worth the trip. I can honestly say I have never been disappointed, and every year it feels like a little bit of magic comes to town. 

I already can't wait until next year! 

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