The Big Feast returns to Stoke-on-Trent City Centre for a tasty treat of an August Bank Holiday weekend!

 It’s amazed, dazzled and wowed audiences since 2014 and now Stoke-on-Trent’s very own arts event The Big Feast is back! Delivered by Appetite, the Creative People and Places programme led by the New Vic Theatre in partnership with Stoke-on-Trent City Centre BID, Stoke-on-Trent City Council, and Without Walls – a consortium of festivals and organisations dedicated to raising the profile of UK outdoor arts to reach diverse and new audiences across the country –  The Big Feast has a reputation for bringing world-class performances and arts to the streets of the city centre and this year boasts a spectacular line up.


On Friday 27 and Saturday 28 August, the streets of Hanley will be packed full of entertainment to get those taste buds zinging with dance, poetry, music, circus inspired shows, workshops, exhibitions and more! From My House, a circus inspired show for younger audiences set in a House, to Handbag, a dance performance by Stoke-on-Trent residents Forbidden Identity, combining dance and sign language, to Bangers & Mosh, an exhibition created in conjunction with the Sugarmill and made from Stokie music memories, The Big Feast is an event put together for, and by, our local community.  Returning for 2021, The Piccadilly stage is back with a line up featuring choirs, poets, bands and dancers, stretching into the night, with our new Big Feast Big Screen running on Saturday.


The Big Feast takes place in the heart of the city centre on the streets, with a couple of performances taking place inside. It prides itself on offering something for everyone with a line-up bursting to the brim with shows, installations and exhibitions for the whole family to enjoy. The Big Feast this year has one ticketed event: the interactive gameshow sensation with cake, Disco Tea Party, which has a small charge with tickets bookable in advance, with everything else being absolutely free and no booking needed.


Appetite Director Gemma Thomas said The Appetite team are so proud and incredibly excited to be able to bring The Big Feast back to the city centre for 2021. Due to COVID we were unable to deliver The Big Feast last year, instead choosing to present Seasonal Specials designed especially for the city centre and the restrictions that were in place, presenting installations as part of our October event, the Three Counties Cubes outdoor exhibition and Windows of Wonder, in business windows around Christmas time. So it’s with such joy and anticipation that this year we are delivering our loved event again.

I love everything about The Big Feast, from how it’s created with our Supper Club, delivered with our volunteers and supported by our partners and local businesses. We just couldn’t do it without this network of collaboration. The Big Feast creates those wow moments for those that come to experience it. Those moments when people just stop, watch, laugh, cry, or cheer at what they have just witnessed. And I just cannot wait for Friday 27 and Saturday 28 August to be here for us all, team and audience alike, to experience all that once again.”


Richard Buxton, Stoke-On-Trent City Centre BID Manager said “We’ve truly missed the exhilaration and excitement that Appetite’s The Big Feast brings to Stoke-on-Trent City Centre, so the BID is more than delighted to be partnering to deliver 2021’s instalment which promises to be electrifying as ever.


“Large-scale arts events such as The Big Feast help city centres thrive and with no shortage of talented creatives in our midst, the exciting programme of outdoor arts events and cultural activities will once again celebrate the innovation and imagination for which Stoke-on-Trent is known for.


“We’re working closely with Appetite to more closely engage city centre businesses to ensure that by generating footfall into the city centre, businesses can also benefit from a boost in local spending.”


Councillor Lorraine Beardmore, Cabinet member for Culture, Leisure and Public Health, said “I cannot wait to welcome back Appetite’s Big Feast to the city centre this year. It’s an absolutely fantastic event with something happening for everyone. 


Having to cancel the event in 2020 was obviously a huge disappointment to residents and the artists that take part in the event but it was absolutely the right thing to do for the safety of all.


The Big Feast has become a firm favourite in Stoke-on-Trent and is an amazing way of encouraging people to engage with art and culture in a way that they may not have experienced before and I cannot wait to see what incredible events, activities and installations they have in store for us this year, I’ll certainly be there with my family to experience it.


Cultural events like the Big Feast will play a really important role in powering up the city as we recover from the pandemic. We are a city packed with arts and creativity. We’re really lucky to have such a plethora of cultural venues and activities in Stoke-on-Trent that helps to bring together people and communities to create a real buzz and support our local economy. 


The Big Feast is exactly the kind of partnership working which will help our mighty city build back better over the coming months.”


Appetite are delivering the event in the safest way possible and ask those attending to help by sanitising or washing hands regularly, wearing a mask where applicable in the indoor activities or in crowded outdoor areas, continuing to keep the relevant distance and staying at home if COVID-symptoms are being experienced.


The full line-up, details of the Piccadilly Stage and Big Screen programme can all be accessed at


Do you like to dance or move? Take part in HANDBAG!


Performers needed for HANDBAG

Remember those nights of dancing around your handbags with your friends?

Come and be part of HANDBAG; a day on the dance floor happening in Bethesda Gardens!

The Opportunity

Geraldine Pilgrim Performance Company is looking for male and female performers* to take part in Handbag, a performance for the Big Feast 2021 in Bethesda Gardens Hanley on Saturday 28 August 2021.

The performance lasts 12 minutes and will be performed 7 times over the course of the afternoon.

Please note that Male performers don’t dance during the performance.

*All are welcome female, male and non-binary




To take part you must be able to attend Rehearsals and Performances.


  • Saturday 21 August from 1.30pm – 5.00pm at Mitchell Arts Centre/Bethesda Gardens
  • Friday 27 August from 6.00pm – 9.00pm Rehearsal 2 at Mitchell Arts Centre/Bethesda Gardens

Performance Day:

  • Saturday 28 August from 9.30am (full dress rehearsal)
  • Performances: 3pm, 3.30pm, 4pm, 4.30, 5pm, 5.30pm, 6pm


A Handbag talk will take place on Sunday 1 August 1.30-2.30pm at New Vic Theatre and we’d encourage all participants to attend. This is your chance to meet Geraldine and find out more about the project.

Please note that all performers should be over the age of 16 and while it is not necessary to have any previous dance experience you will need to be able to follow instruction and take direction independently. If you have any access needs do get in touch and we can chat about how we may be able to accommodate you.

 How to get involved

If you would like to participate or find out more, please email

More information about Handbag can be found here.

You can also find out more on the Geraldine Pilgrim Performance Company’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

What previous participants say about HANDBAG

“It was fun and so uplifting. It’s the nearest I’ve felt to being my old self in ages. Me feet were a bit worse for wear, but the adrenaline was fantastic”
Participant and cancer survivor Shoreditch Town Hall

“It was lovely participating in Handbag and thank you for this opportunity. Meeting all the wonderful people that were part of it was the highlight of the experience for me. Handbag is a beautiful idea, and its simplicity makes it a brilliant piece. Congratulations “
Participant Open East Festival


Handbag was originally commissioned by Battersea Arts Centre