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Programme announced for inaugural FUSE International in Kingston

The festival runs from 1 to 10 July

Circus Abyssinia will appear at the Rose Theatre
© David Rubene

Exclusive: The line-up has been announced for the first FUSE International festival in Kingston-Upon-Thames.

Running from 1 to 10 July 2022, FUSE is the new name for the International Youth Arts Festival (IYAF), which was established in 2008. It takes place at venues across Kingston including the Rose Theatre, Kingston College and an outdoor stage in the Market Place.

The headline act at the Rose will be Ethiopia's Circus Abyssinia, whose show tells the story of Derartu Tulu, the first African to win Olympic gold.

Other highlights include This Is Not A Show About Hong Kong by Max Percy and Friends, looking at censorship in Hong Kong; Shenanigan's Wake, a "spoken word spectacle" from The Bobolyne Poets; and The Next Girl by acclaimed playwright Alex McSweeney, a series of short plays exploring the issues facing young women in society.

Of the 30 events in this year's programme, eight are by international companies or have international participants. These range from fringe theatre shows from Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands, to a choir festival where young people from Kenya will digitally join participants performing live in London.

The festival, which is administered by the charity Creative Youth, will be accompanied by a series of practical skills-based webinars and in person workshops for young artists and theatre makers called So You Wanna Change the Arts.

Petra Tauscher, festival director, said: "The festival has always been about making connections and the energy created by artistic encounters and exchange. FUSE International 2022 has an eclectic programme of fringe, children and family and digital work covering all artforms, created by young people under 27... This is a big moment as these spaces were impossible to programme the last two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, so we are so delighted to welcome these young performers and companies back."

Tickets for FUSE go on general sale on Thursday.