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Festival faces issue of death
COME to Oxford in the autumn and you will find it a very grave place indeed.
That’s because the city is hosting a two-week festival of death.
Kicking the Bucket, which runs from October 15, will feature deathly dance, sinister story telling and morbid music.
There will also be lectures and debates about euthanasia and near death experiences.
Festival organiser, actress and playwright Liz Rothschild, from Watchfield, believes that by engaging with death we can revitalise our lives.
She said: “The festival will be all about vitality through the expression of music, dance, theatre, art, debate, exhibitions and the pleasure of food.
“If you are in Oxford during the festival, it will be difficult to escape this celebration of life.
“I wanted to make this festival happen because I see so much distress caused by people not able to access information or find ways to talk about death, dying and loss.
The Old Fire Station in George Street will be hosting performances by Oxfordshire folk band Kismet and founding director of Oxford Youth Dance, Cecilia Macfarlane.
Director Jeremy Spafford said: “The thing that excites me about it is that we have lost a lot of the rituals from the past about how we react to death.
“There can be shared ways of dealing with death.
“It’s something everyone feels awkward about, but the two most important things that happen in life are birth and death.
“It’s not about being miserable or maudlin, it will be a celebration of life.”
The traditional Mexican Day of the Dead is on October 30, and on the 26th, international stars Mariachi Mexteca will be throwing a Mexican fiesta at the Four Pillars Hotel in Sandford-on-Thames with dancers, violins, trumpets and song.
National experts who will be speaking at the festival include Rosie Inman-Cook, manager of the Natural Death Centre and Dr Penny Sartori, an expert on near death experiences.
Storyteller Jackie Singer will work with primary schools explore living and dying through stories and art.
The festival will incorporate fundraising for charities including Oxford’s Sobell House hospice.