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Déda, the lead partner behind the annual Derby Festé outdoor arts festival, has launched a new campaign to support and promote cultural and arts activities in and around Derby city centre.

Derby Well brings together key cultural partners to showcase the city’s arts, cultural calibre and vibrancy through a virtual and physical performance and events programme.

Derby Festé was due to be held at the end of September and has traditionally involved a weekend of high quality and cutting-edge outdoor entertainment featuring some of Europe’s top performance companies.

However, the Government guidance around mass gatherings due to the pandemic has forced organisers to reinvent this year’s Derby Festé.

Therefore, Derby Feste has re-emerged with the Derby Well initiative that will include an arts trail around the city launching on 26 September. The programme will support artists back into work, encourage people back into the city centre in a safe and socially distanced way and contribute to the wellbeing of city communities by engaging with wider audiences.

Déda and other cultural organisations are working on the delivery of the Derby Well Re-dressed trail which will consist of contemporary Well Dressings that will have been created by the public. These installations will embrace experiences, memories, hopes and ambitions – from individual lockdown journeys through to the new normal – will be sited across the city for visitors to enjoy in an appropriate and safe way.

Discussions are also underway to incorporate a Derby Well entertainment element to the al fresco dining which has recently been launched in the Market Place.

Derby Well will play an important role to help drive the social, cultural and economic re-development and growth in the city with a series of events that will take place from September.

The first element of the Derby Well Re-dressed programme will be to stage installations that are inspired by Derbyshire’s unique and ancient Well Dressing festivals which originated as indicators of the purity of clean water from as early as the 14th century.

Steve Slater, director of Déda, said: “Since 2007, Derby Festé has existed to bring surprise, enlightenment, entertainment and amusement to local communities and visitors alike.

“We obviously have to think differently this year and the idea behind Festé/Derby Well is to create a series of events that will celebrate our city and reunite our communities.

“The idea was originally born from a conversation about traditional Derbyshire Well Dressing festivals and our goal is for this to be the launch of the long-term programme which is very appropriate considering the county’s links to the Plague all those centuries ago.

“This will be the perfect way to proclaim the city’s strength and ability to overcome the pandemic with care and kindness, humanity, creativity and love.

“Moving forwards, we hope to broaden the Derby Well theme to showcase, celebrate and mark a wide range of milestones and landmarks in the city – working in partnership with partners from all walks of life from culture to business.

“Therefore, although it is disappointing that Derby Festé is not able to happen in its usual way this September, Derby Well gives us the opportunity to re-invent the way that we can come together to celebrate and enjoy our city in a positive and proactive way.

Festé weekend will also see Derby Creative Arts Network (Derby CAN) launch a new project called ‘Derby Rises’ which brings together communities across the city to celebrate easing out of lockdown, our hopes for the future and ambitions as a city. For more information contact Derby Theatre.



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