Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Theatre festival to celebrate life of murdered MP Jo Cox

Jo Cox was murdered in June 2016. Photo: Jane Campbell/Shutterstock Jo Cox was murdered in June 2016. Photo: Jane Campbell/Shutterstock
by -

A performing arts festival has been set up to celebrate the life of politician Jo Cox, who was murdered in June last year.

The Change of Art Festival has been established by a group of theatre practitioners and artists who met through the anti-fascism advocacy organisation Hope Not Hate.

It will take place in London on the first anniversary of Cox’s death as part of the Weekend of Action, a nationwide series of events organised by Hope Not Hate.

One of the festival’s founders, writer and producer Sarah Sigal, told The Stage: “We were trying to find ways to bring different communities together, get people engaged in more dialogue and get people with different backgrounds and different opinions talking to each other rather than just being steered by the press.

“We all worked in theatre and we thought we could use the skills we have as artists and producers and programmes to try to create a festival. We thought, well we can bring people together in the way we know how: through the performing arts.”

After meeting at a grassroots Hope Not Hate group called More in Common, Sigal and co-founder Amy Clare Tasker took to Facebook to ask for co-organisers.

Sigal said: “We already do so much unpaid work in the theatre industry, but there’s something about doing it for a good cause that really energises people.”

Comedian Bridget Christie will perform at the festival, and the group is currently accepting submissions for 10-minute acts from all performing arts disciplines.

Sigal explained that this year’s festival will be a pilot, and the founders hope to make it an annual event. The group also aims to use Change of Art as a model for other groups to adopt across the country.

Tickets for the festival are free, with a ‘pay what you decide’ option, and the full line-up will be announced in May. It will take place on June 17 at the Amnesty International Human Rights Action Centre.

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.