A WHALE of a time is promised at this year's Shipley Street Arts Festival which promises to be bigger and better than ever before with new and exciting performances from national and regional acts.

And top of the attractions on the weekend of June 26 to 28 is bound to be a life-size inflatable Sperm Whale - so big that would-be Jonahs are welcome to walk inside.

Street celebrities Circo Rum Ba Ba will invite folk to cast off their shoes and squeeze into its 50ft inflatable Sperm Whale

Enclosed in a lobster-net fence and guarded by a nosy Fish Wife, brave Ahabs will go deep into its belly, revealing a lavishly decorated seascape interior.

Inside they encounter a shipwrecked irate with a treasure tale to tell, a real live mermaid with a haunting siren's song and an intriguing secret.


Physical theatre group Pif-Paf will present Planetary, a stunning show mixing movement, aerial, acrobatics, theatre and Russian swing on spinning stage.

KAPOW is the title of a performance by from 2 Faced Dance, and is a new commission by Shipley Street Arts Festival and Saltaire Festival

The work takes a fun look at the meeting of three superheroes as they struggle to cope with the impact modern life has on their powers and mission to fight crime. Involving audience interaction, super costumes and phenomenal dance, KAPOW will appeal to audiences of all ages.

There will also be a pirate ship and theatre show, floor painting from Urban Canvas, Bollywood dancing, Dohl drummers, magicians and puppets.

Live bands including Twelve Bras from Mars, Hall Royd Band, Shep's banjo boys and other local groups.

Other events include dance groups, ‘Seven Bridges’ promenade performance, choirs, workshops, storytelling, circus acts, facepainting, canal boat trips, arts and crafts markets, food and drink sellers and BBQ’s.

Barry Cooper, chairman of Shipley Trade Centre Partnership, said precise details of the programme would be published soon and looked "fantastic".

"It's beyond what we could have imagined and we are expecting a very busy weekend," he said.

Bradford Council is one of the Festival's supporters and its executive member for culture, Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe said: "Shipley Street Arts Festival is quickly establishing itself as a fun, quirky and distinctive fixture on the district's arts calendar.

"The Whale is very much in keeping with this reputation, it captures the imagination.

"I'm pleased that Q20 was able to secure significant Arts Council funding to run the Festival this year which is a mark of quality for any arts organisation.

Organised by local events company Q20 Theatre, a spokesman said: "Our festival theme takes inspiration from our local community, celebrating the history surrounding Shipley’s rivers and canals.

"We are working closely with shops in the area to increase footfall and tourism to the town. We will have an additional market on over the three days in Shipley town as well as an arts trail around the local shops and in store demonstrations advertised in our programme."