Deaf and disabled children and young people and their families from County Durham are invited to attend IncludFEST, a FREE-TO-ATTEND outdoor accessible and inclusive arts festival taking place on the outskirts of Durham on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 August 2021.

Produced by Durham-based TIN Arts with support from Durham County Council, IncludFEST is a ticket-only covid-safe event with six performances spread throughout the weekend. Although the restrictions around the pandemic have largely lifted, IncludFEST has a large focus on ‘keeping people safe’ with limits on audience numbers, no physical contact between performers and audience with the performers at a safe distance, as well as dedicated stewards as socially distanced guides throughout the event.

The organisers have also come up with the innovative idea of hosting audiences in private theatre boxes (gazebos!) and groups are invited to attend in bubbles of up to 6 people.

Each family-friendly hour-long performance includes live music, dance, story-telling and street theatre. Artists performing include award winning singer-songwriter Katie Doherty, the ever-popular Bell and Bullock and Ruben Reuter, the actor best known for his role as Finn McLaine in The Dumping Ground.

Producer Martin Wilson said: “We are so delighted to able to run IncludFEST this year as in 2020 we had to move the event online due to the pandemic which was really frustrating for all concerned.

So, for 2021 we have put together the best IncludFEST line up ever and we are looking forward to delivering a fun, exciting and safe event for all with the wonderful support of Durham County Council through funding, advice and guidance alongside our regular funder Arts Council England and partners Ushaw: Historic House, Chapel & Gardens.

We want to create positive and happy memories and together move forwards beyond the recent grey and gloomy times so we really encourage people to sign up and join us in August but make sure they book as soon as possible as places are limited.”

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said:

“In County Durham, we are always striving to make our cultural venues and festivals as inclusive and accessible as possible as we believe everyone should have the opportunity to experience the uplifting power of the arts.

“We are incredibly proud to once again support IncludFEST, which will bring so much joy to children and families after the challenges of the last 18 months.

“We are also delighted TIN Arts is supporting County Durham’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2025. Festivals like IncludFEST are a key part of the county’s cultural programme and make such a positive difference to our communities.

Booking is now open for families with Deaf and disabled children and young people to attend as a group. Go to for more information or visit TIN Arts Facebook and Twitter pages (@includFEST)