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Encounter Festival Artist Series: Autin Dance Theatre

06 March 2024

Autin Dance Theatre graced the streets of Preston with PARADE - The Giant Wheel at Encounter Festival 2023.

We caught up with Kirsten from the AutinDT team to chat about their experience at Encounter Festival. Check out what she had to say...

Tell us a little bit about your group.

"We are Autin Dance Theatre, a professional dance theatre company based in Birmingham. Autin Dance Theatre is a collaborative ensemble of creatives who devise and produce aspirational, socially engaged and mass participatory movement projects regionally and internationally.

Autin Dance Theatre's distinctive artistic voice draws on contemporary social issues (environment, community, relationships and identities) to make engaging, accessible, relevant performance work.

We aim to inspire, educate and instigate positive social change through highly responsive, multi-disciplinary art in theatres, outdoors and non-traditional spaces".

How many times have you taken part in either the Torchlight Procession or Programme of Events? Do you have a favourite memory from when you participated?

"We have taken part twice in Encounter Festival. The first time in the Torchlight Procession/Parade in 2021 with Eko the Sea Giant and the second time with a preview of Parade - The Giant Wheel in 2023.

The Torchlight Procession was quite a memorable moment because it rained but we pushed through. It was quite an elated moment for the company, we were all soaked through but had the best time, so made it completely worth it".

A performer climbs on top of a giant wooden wheel in an art performance

Can you tell us about your performance at Encounter 2023? Did you enjoy performing for the people of Preston?

"We enjoyed returning to Preston in 2023 and love the festival!

It's always a joy to see the other artists being programmed. It's so reflective of the best of the outdoor arts sectors current touring productions.

It was particularly memorable for us to wheel our Giant Wheel down Fishergate at the corner of Winckley Street and Chapel Street and to see so many local families and residents join in the Parade and take part in our participatory performance project".

Why do you think people should attend Encounter Festival?

"It's a staple of the cultural events in Preston and it's representative of the communities that live and visit there. The programming is always on point!

It's a great opportunity to see and participate in lots of high-quality art activities and performances, with local, regional and artists from further afield. There is a real breadth of activity to explore for people of all ages and backgrounds and it's free!"

A look inside the wooden wheel where a performer is climbing in and out

Have you got anything exciting lined up for 2024?

"We will be touring both Parade - The Giant Wheel and Out of the Dee Blue nationally and internationally in 2024, alongside our outreach and education programmes. We also have a new giant puppet called Brimstone - The Dragon!"

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