Kettering student helps arrange cultural festival

Kettering student Emily Gill
Kettering student Emily Gill

A Kettering student has helped gather a host of internationally-renowned figures to take part in a week of cultural events at her university.

Former Brooke Weston Academy pupil Emily Gill, 21, is part of the team behind the Cultural Exchanges festival at Leicester’s De Montfort University.

Headlining guests at the festival, which starts today (Monday, February 25) and runs until Friday, include iconic fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, stand up comic Jasper Carrott, revered fantasy novelist Alan Garner and internationally acclaimed choreographer Matthew Bourne.

The festival features lectures, talks, debates and performances and gives dedicated final year BA (Hons) Arts and Festival Management students the chance to plan and run a real life festival.

This year the festival has been organised by 18 students, working together to bring events that suit all tastes to the heart of the UK’s largest growing cultural city.

Emily said: “It’s been an amazing experience working with people and as part of a team.

“Getting the hands on experience, and to be given the reins of a prestigious festival in the cultural calendar, is an honour.

“Meeting and networking with new and exciting professionals in the arts sector is an experience which I wouldn’t receive every day and I am very thankful for this.”

Highlights will include Zandra Rhodes, whose collections have clothed the likes of Princess Diana, Freddie Mercury and Kylie Minogue, who will be ‘In Conversation’ from 6pm tonight (Monday, February 25).

Tomorrow (Tuesday, February 26), Jasper Carrott will be chatting about his illustrious career from 7pm, while on Wednesday, novelist Alan Garner, whose bestsellers include The Owl Service, Elidor, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and The Moon of Gomrath, will be the star attraction from 6pm.

Thursday will see Matthew Bourne (4pm), the recipient of numerous Tony and Olivier Awards for his work in performances such as Edward Scissorhands, Swan Lake and, most recently, Sleeping Beauty. He has also featured on two channel 4 programmes - one dance series and a documentary entitled Bourne To Dance, as well as his Swan Lake production featuring Billy Elliot.

About 4,000 people are expected to attend over 50 events this year.

The full festival programme can be viewed at

Most events are free to attend but reserving seats is recommended.

There may be a small entrance fee for events with headlining guests. Tickets can be booked online or through the Cultural Exchanges team on 0116 250 6229.