Stockton Celebrates 30 Years Of SIRF


It’s hard to believe that Stockton International Riverside Festival is celebrating it’s 30th year. The first festival was held in 1988 and its showcased some spectcaular talent across those years and really put Stockton on the cultural map.

It’s known as SIRF for short and is organised by Stockton Borough Council with support from Arts Council England.

We attended the council’s launch event last night and let me tell you we are going to be in with a treat this weekend. The line up is the best yet.

The invitation advised us to be at The Georgian Theatre in Green Dragon Yard, Stockton for 7.30pm. For anyone who isn’t acquainted with the area it’s very Diagon Alley-esque. This particular area has seen some decent investment over the last few years. It’s becoming well known for some fantastic micro pubs, cocktail bars and splendid places to eat. I think I can feel a future ‘Stockton pub crawl’ feature coming up like the one we did at Ouseburn and Newcastle Quayside



I can remember when this place was very run down. Now, it’s like a phoenix from the ashes. It has a fascinating history too that goes right back to 1766. You can read more about it on Wiki.

One for the re-visit list.

Once inside we were treated to fizz, canapés and live music. There was also a SIRF intro from Richard McGurkin who is Director of Economic Growth and Decelopment for Stockton Council. Richard explained how far the festival has come since its inception and how it is now recognised as one of the highlights of the North of England’s cultural calendar each year.



Richard also  took the opportunity to introduce a brand new initiative from the council. The launch of a hashtag for social  media use — #MadeInStockton. I used it a lot last night like the hashtag queen I am! There is also a a Twitter page where you can find out more — check it out at @SBCforBusiness.

At around 9.40pm we were all escorted across the bridge to the riverside to watch the launch event.

There’s something about bright lights in the darkness that really gets me excited.

The dramatic music set the scene for ‘Frameshift’ — a performance showcasing a journey through time.


Look how agile and daring these performers were …


Before we knew it, it was 11pm and the show was over. It was a very enjoyable evening.

It looks like visitors to Stockton are in for a treat this weekend.

I’d recommend you pick up a programme or visit the SIRF website and plan out your weekend as there really is so much to do and see over the next 3 days. Almost all of it is free and it’s a real family friendly festival.


The grande finale takes place at 10pm on Sunday evening with a fire wire spectacle from Cirque Bijou.

It’s amazing to think all of this takes place in Teesside as it truly is a world class event.

Enjoy everyone!!



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