This year (2023) marks Canterbury Christ Church University’s 13th year as Partner and Principal Sponsor of Canterbury Festival. This long-running partnership has enabled a close-knit bond that celebrates, showcases and champions arts and culture in the city.

In 2010 Canterbury Christ Church moved from sponsoring various aspects of the programme to fully endorsing the Festival by becoming its Partner and Principal Sponsor. With shared values and a passion for the creative industries, this partnership acts as a catalyst for the development of creatives at the start of their careers - whether performers, writers, artists, producers, technicians, journalists, graphic designers or arts professionals.

The collaboration provides students with experience of working in a professional creative environment. Each year Performing Arts students join the Festival’s events team to help deliver live shows across multiple venues, acting as stage managers, technical assistants and as part of the front of house team. Film, Photography and Journalism students have the opportunity to build up their portfolio and cut their teeth by documenting an array of events in the programme. The University’s Events Management students have also supported numerous Festival productions and activities, gaining valuable industry experience and supporting fellow creative professionals.

Students and faculty members present a series of free lunchtime concerts and performances that demonstrate the wealth and breadth of the University’s talent and knowledge. Over the years the Festival has worked with departments across academia to present events ranging from expos that champion the work of the Games Design department to Visual Arts exhibitions in Canterbury Cathedral.

University's orchestra and choir taking part in Canterbury Festival's concerts
Free lunchtime concerts, part of Canterbury Festival's programme, at the University's St Gregory's Centre for Music.

This year they look forward to presenting a series of collaborative events and engaging students directly in the delivery of Kent’s International Arts Festival.

On the partnership Professor Rama Thirunamachandran, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Canterbury Christ Church University said:

“Canterbury Festival is a vital part of the city’s cultural landscape, bringing together the most talented UK and international artists for an exciting, eclectic showcase of the arts. The Festival locates Canterbury as a celebrated centre for creativity, and provides a prestigious platform for a diverse cast of artists, both established and emerging. In 2023, this continues with a rich, inclusive programme, with new discoveries for everyone.

“Working with the Festival, we are delighted for the opportunity to once again explore our shared commitment to creativity, culture and community. Canterbury Christ Church University is a strong contributor to the region’s creative arts and industries, and we will host a range of campus events across the Festival, with many of our students actively engaged in the programme. We look forward to enjoying the Festival alongside you, and welcoming you to our campus.”

Festival Director Rosie Turner, who will be stepping down at the end of this year, adds:

“Canterbury Christ Church University took a major step in signing a sponsorship contract with Canterbury Festival. At that time, this was a bold and pioneering arrangement which brought the organisations together at all levels – student and staff engagement, governance and in the public’s eye. The relationship has been fruitful for us both – students have had “hands-on” work experience; developed their performance and technical skills; and several have joined the Festival team full time. Audiences have benefited from access to events on campus – particularly in the impressive Augustine Hall and the acoustically perfect St Gregory’s Centre for Music; academics have demonstrated their research in practice; and together the University and the Festival have trumpeted the fact that Canterbury is a marvellous city in which to study and live. I hope that Canterbury Christ Church will continue as Partner and Principal Sponsor in the coming years when a new Festival Director will bring even more exciting projects to the City.”

This year’s Festival will run from 26 September – 4 November with the full programme announced on Monday 17 July. Find out more about the festival via their website -