Welcome to A Future Fantastic Festival in Sheffield. Imagine your future - and how you will get there - this July

Festivals are on the frontline of opening up mental and social spaces, so that citizens can imagine their future and thus act differently (we’ve explored this here on the D.A.). So we’re delighted to find a festival aiming straight at the heart of this agenda - Sheffield’s A Future Fantastic Festival, stretching from the 4th to the 20th of July.

According to their own blurb, they are:

a festival of protest, performance and utopia-building…The festival takes inspiration from John Ruskin’s political writings: namely around environmentalism, economics and the utopian projects he inspired. The programme will include performances, installations, workshops and discussion events: aiming to blur the boundaries between disciplines and approaches to these themes.

And indeed they do. There is circus trapeze and socio-political dance, there is Shakespeare on a bicycle and stand-up about the cosmos, as well as urban growing workshops and serious speakers on post-polarised politics, Tim Jackson on a new story of work, and what a Green New Deal for Sheffield might mean.

And before you enter any of this, you have to negotiate The People’s Palace of Possibility:

Discover distant utopias, cast off your fears for the future, and begin to create a better one.

In the Palace, you’ll meet devil’s advocates, dusty bureaucrats, concerned citizens, and find policies which require your immediate attention.  There are nooks and crannies to be explored, ideas to inspire, and myths to be created.

This participatory installation experience is built in collaboration with audiences or ‘Palace Citizens’ each night. It combines performance, conversation and soundscapes made up of interviews with dozens of academics, friends, children and past citizens to create a truly utopian evening.

The festival is an interesting partnership between Sheffield “theatremakers and philosophers” The Bare Project, and Ruskin in Sheffield, Centre for Understanding Sustainable Prosperity (a sustainable think-tank) Theatre Deli and The Guild of St  George (John Ruskin’s “utopian” society).

More of this, everywhere!