What's On 2022

Tandem Outdoor Arena

A host of spectacular, world-class entertainment comes to the Tandem Outdoor Arena – the main stage at this year's festival. Read on to find out more about the headline programme.

Comedy At The Festival: Phil Wang

Mon 27 June | 8pm | £12 – £30

The festival's hotly anticipated al fresco comedy evening returns, with a headline set from stand-up sensation Phil Wang.

Phil Wang is one of the UK’s most exciting stand-up comedians, who recently recorded his first Netflix special at the London Palladium.

Horrible Histories Live:

Terrible Tudors

Wed 29 June | 6pm

£18 (£16) | Family £60

We all want to meet people from history. The trouble is everyone is dead! Prepare yourselves for Terrible Tudors live on stage!

From the horrible Henries to the end of evil Elizabeth, hear the legends (and the lies!) about the torturing Tudors. Find out the fate of Henry's headless wives and his punch up with the Pope. Meet Bloody Mary and see Ed fall dead in his bed. Survive the Spanish Armada as they launch their attack!

Spontaneous Potter:

The Unofficial Improvised Parody

Wed 29 June | 8pm | £12 – £20

Grab your wands, don your house robes, and apparate yourselves to the box office! A very magical improv show awaits…

The smash hit Spontaneous Potter is an entirely improvised wizarding comedy play, based on an audience suggestion of a fanfiction title. Hilarity ensues as an entirely new Potter adventure is magically improvised on the spot – with live musical accompaniment!

Michael Rosen: Lunchtime Poetry Recital

Thu 30 Jun | 1.15pm | Free

Join the legendary poet Michael Rosen for a special lunchtime recital of some of his best-loved poems.

Michael Rosen Narrates Peter And The Wolf With English Symphony Orchestra

Thu 30 Jun | 6pm | £6 – £15

A musical event for all the family!

Beloved children's author Michael Rosen narrates Prokofiev's Peter & The Wolf, played by English Symphony Orchestra.

ABBA Revival: The Tribute

Thu 30 Jun | 8pm | £6 – £15

Let ABBA Revival take you on a musical journey back to those heady pop-tastic disco days when ABBA ruled the dance floor!

Expect faithful choreography, spectacular authentic costumes, stunning production and excellent musicianship.

Award winning ABBA Tribute Band 'Revival' have recently been voted as the UK's Official No.1 ABBA tribute act.

Elsewhere At The Festival

Alongside the main stage programme, events take place at other atmospheric venues across the historic Rugby School campus.

United Strings Of Europe

Mon 27 Jun | 6pm | £10

Venue: OBS, Rugby School

The United Strings of Europe creates profound musical experiences that celebrate diversity and bridge cultural divides. Praised for its original programming and ‘virtuosically expressive’ playing (★★★★ The Times), the London-based ensemble commissions and arranges music from a variety of musical cultures and backgrounds.

Casson And Friends:


Tue 28 Jun | 4.45pm & 6pm | £5

Venue: Outdoors, Rugby School

Documentary meets dance in this thought provoking, timely and intimate new duet performance. Preppers is a new piece of verbatim documentary dance theatre from Casson and Friends, that asks: are we truly prepared?

Einstein: Creative Genius

Tue 28 Jun | 4.45pm | Free

Venue: Foxcroft Lecture Theatre, Rugby School

Join Nick Fisher for a fascinating, free talk, illustrating the creativity of Einstein’s genius and show how we can see the world differently through the lenses of art and science.

Craig Ogden:

Classical Guitar Recital

Tue 28 Jun | 6pm | £10 (£8)

Venue: NMR, Rugby School

Internationally acclaimed classical guitarist Craig Ogden performs an intricate guitar recital in this special festival event in NMR.

Described by BBC Music Magazine as "A worthy successor to Julian Bream", Australian born guitarist Craig Ogden is one of the most exciting artists of his generation.

Craig has performed concertos with many of the world’s leading orchestras. He regularly appears as soloist and chamber musician at major venues and collaborates with the UK’s top artists and ensembles.

Folk At The Festival:

Josh Okeefe

Tue 28 Jun | 8pm | £8 (£6)

Venue: Macready Theatre

A rebel artist, a protest singer, the heir to Bob Dylan… With raw, topical storytelling and a voice that crackles with authentic folk tradition, Josh Okeefe is all of those and more.

Nosferatu With Live Organ Accompaniment

Tue 28 Jun | 10pm | £10 (£8)

Venue: Chapel, Rugby School

Expect spine-tingling chills from the original Dracula film; an undeniable masterpiece of German Expressionist cinema.

This special screening of the classic gothic horror Nosferatu will take place in the atmospheric setting of Rugby School's Chapel, with live organ accompaniment from renowned organist Richard Hills.

Dance Showcase With Motionhouse

Wed 29 June | 4.45pm | Free

Venue: Macready Theatre

A special showcase performance sees students perform alongside world-class dance company, Motionhouse. 

Rugby School's Performing Arts Scholars and students from surrounding schools have been working with artists from Motionhouse throughout the year to learn how to use dance as a storytelling tool. This performance is

a culmination of this work, showcasing their new movement skills and what they

have learnt from this award-winning company.

The award-winning Motionhouse will also take to the floor, presenting two beautiful duets including the female duet Knot, and a second duet piece, Lost


By Steven Berkoff

Performed by Threedumb Theatre

Wed 29 Jun | 6pm | £5

Venue: Macready Theatre

The Noise Next Door:

In Charge

Wed 29 Jun | 8pm | £8 (£6)

Venue: Macready Theatre

Sketch comedy at its finest! The quickest wits in comedy are charging in with a spectacular new show that will trample your expectations.

The charismatic quartet have always astonished with their ability to spin audience suggestions into comedy gold, but for this show they’re putting you, the audience, in charge in brilliant and bombastic new ways.

The Menopause Revolution

Wed 29 Jun | 8pm | £5

Venue: Temple Speech Room

Join Dr Louise Newson and Kate Muir for a frank, informative talk about the menopause.

Dr Louise Newson is a GP and Menopause Specialist who works to increase awareness and knowledge of the perimenopause and menopause, and campaigns for better menopause care for all women.

Kate Muir is the author of Everything You Need To Know About The Menopause – the thinking woman’s guide to the menopause, questioning misplaced shame, bad science and centuries of patriarchy.

Student Performances At The Festival

The Festival On The Close is proud to give students an opportunity to perform alongside world-class artists. The programme of student performances and student-led work will be announced soon.

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