Three Weeks Until Centenary Festival

On Saturday 15th June Bradford Cathedral is opening its doors to welcome in people from all over the city and the wider area to its first annual – and free – festival. Beginning at 11am the day will include events, activities, talks and performances until late in the evening.

The festival, part of our Centenary events line-up, will celebrate everything that the Cathedral and its community does, from craft groups to family activities, music performances to history, and everything in between!

There will be thought-provoking lectures on a range of subjects; the opportunity to go to the ringing room in the tower; and musical showcases.

The day of live music, talks, craft sessions, family activities and Shakespeare performances will conclude with a huge street party down the Cathedral’s nave, timed at 19:19 in tribute to the 100th birthday of the Parish Church of St. Peter becoming Bradford Cathedral.

The day will begin with an opening by the Very Revd. Jerry Lepine, Dean of Bradford, at 11am which will include a poetry reading by Diane Pacitti, the Cathedral’s Centenary poet in residence, and music from the cathedral choir.

The festival will then be marked at 11:45am with a very special Centenary-themed photograph and an official opening.

The main activities are scheduled to begin just after noon and will include a wide range of events and activities that people can enjoy until 6pm.

These will include family activities including trails, quizzes and craft activities, as well as face painting from ‘Happy Faces Bingley’. There will be the chance to look around the Cathedral’s special Centenary exhibition with photos from the building’s history, examples of school work created this year, photo highlights of 2019 and a timeline where you can leave your own memories of your time at the Cathedral, which will be collated at the end of the festival. There will also be displays from the flower arrangers.

During the day there will be plenty of give-it-a-go activities, including stitching, crafts, trips to the ringing room, and a historical tent explaining all about Bradford’s involvement in the Civil War and the famous Battle of the Steeple.

Throughout the day there will also be pop-up Shakespeare performances from ACT (Actor’s Community Theatre), who will be performing ‘Romeo and Juliet’ at the Cathedral later on this summer, as well as talks on a range of subjects including poetry, the Cathedral’s commitment to the environment, Fairtrade and more. There will also be more in-depth conversations with some very special guests.

The music department will be running performances throughout the day including an organ recital, a piano performance and a choral evensong.

A free afternoon tea of a scone with jam and cream, with refreshments, will be served from 2:30pm, which can be booked online now, before a range of evening events bring the day to a close, with a sneak-peak into the secrets of the sacristy, the launch of the trailer for the upcoming ‘Bradford on Film’ archive film night, run in conjunction with the Yorkshire Film Archive, and an interactive talk about the famous ‘Battle of the Steeple’.

The festival will end with a huge indoor street party just after 7pm ahead of a performance from the Salvation Army’s brass band and a night prayer at 9pm.

Throughout the day there will also be spot-prizes for some of the activities as well as a best dressed prize for the 1910s / 1920s theme, alongside refreshments.

The Very Revd. Jerry Lepine, Dean of Bradford, says of the event:

“This is the first festival that Bradford Cathedral has run and its aim is to reach out to a wider audience and share with this city the significance of the Cathedral. I am delighted that we’re offering such a broad range of events for all ages and we’d like to extend an invitation for you to come along with your families to get a taste of what our Cathedral has to offer.”

Bradford Cathedral is easy to get to on the day, located just next to the Broadway shopping centre, and within walking distance of both train stations and the bus station. Parking is available at the Broadway for just £1.50 for the whole day.

You can find out more about the Centenary Festival at where a full schedule is available, alongside details on how to book for the free sessions.

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