New festival will be a brief encounter

A snapshot of Ali Matthews' performance, SERVUS! Credit: Carl Newland @ Arnolfini.
A snapshot of Ali Matthews' performance, SERVUS! Credit: Carl Newland @ Arnolfini.

When was the last time you saw something beautiful, entertaining or even a little strange as you were walking around Lancaster?

Well, you might be in for a bit of a surpise later this month when the Encounters Festival comes to town.

Organised by LEAP (Lancaster Emerging Arts Programme) and funded by 02 Think Big, LEAP, The Yard and Enchanted Kids, the festival invites visitors to the city centre between 11am and 5pm on Saturday, February 22 to keep their eyes peeled, expect the unexpected and be prepared to be surprised.

Spread across various locations of Lancaster’s historic city centre, a number of Encounters will be waiting to be discovered.

Encounters is one day micro-festival of public interventions taking place outdoors as well as within the premises of partner businesses.

Artists will be based on street corners, market stalls, Enchanted Kids, The Yard and Arteria.

The project will seek to animate various city centre locations with performance pieces that use the concepts of generosity, gift giving, conversations and exchanges as tools for exploring social change and alternative economies.

It is hoped that Encounters will also create an accessible, friendly and playful environment within which conversations might take place between artists, passers-by and the partners involved in making the project happen, around the various topics the performance works may explore.

In addition to this, Encounters will attempt to disrupt the daily flow of residents, commuters and visitors in an enjoyable way through the artists interacting with people in busy city centre locations normally mostly used as rush hour thoroughfares.

A spokesman for the event said: “It will be a great way to bring a smile to people’s days and also a chance for people to engage with the arts without having to sit in a theatre space.”