The worlds of art and film will converge at this year’s St Ives September Festival — and the circus is coming to town!

Pirates of the Carabina are among the festival stars

Two iconic films focusing on the St Ives arts scene will have special screenings at St Ives Arts Club. The recently-released award-winning documentary, No Holds BarredThe Life and Art of Matthew Lanyon, will be screened at the Arts Club on both Mondays of the festival, 13th and 20th September, followed by question and answer sessions with Matthew’s widow Judith.

The Arts Club will also show An American Potter in St Ives on Wednesday 15th. The 2013 documentary, which tells the story of Warren Mackenzie, the celebrated American potter apprenticed to Bernard Leach, will be followed by a discussion hosted by the Leach Pottery’s lead potter Roelef Uys.

Completing a hat-trick of great Festival films, Bafta award-winner Mark Jenkin is bringing his highly-acclaimed Bait to the Arts Club on Monday 20th with a Q&A about the film, his current work, and film-making in Cornwall.

The 15-day extravaganza of music and arts also features Open Studios, when numerous artists open the doors to their workplaces, some of which are not normally accessible to the public.

Spot the Artist, which regularly raises more than £10,000 for local arts and Rotary charities, will again take place at Porthmeor Studios with two days of viewing, followed by the sale on Sunday 19th. Around 400 paintings signed only on the back are available for £50 each. The keenest bargain-hunters queue overnight for first choice from a talented array of local and national artists.

Exhibitions include And Another Three Artists Lockdown Edition, featuring the work of Sally Holman, Seona Myerscough, and Katrina Slack at Salthouse Gallery, in Norway Square, while, at Morvah, Yew Tree Gallery is holding Wonders Untold with the work of eight artists.

Barnoon Workshop is running a Drawn to Zennor Field Workshop Day, and Abstract Drawing with Peter Giles, plus four days of Your Face My Art, where artists will produce your portrait.

September Festival logo

Caroline Marwood and Martha Patrick will host tours, talks, and creative workshops with two days of Exploring Art in St Ia Church, while weaver Jo McIntosh is holding four participatory Craft Workshops at St John’s In The Fields Church hall.

And it is St John’s which will host the circus, featuring two spectacular acts Pirates of the Carabina and Simple Cypher. Pirate Taxi features Pirates of the Carabina’s trademark mechanically ingenious sets, extraordinary aerial circus, and live music performed in, on, and above an old-school London taxi. Simple Cypher’s premiere production, Roll Up, Roll Up, combines a passion for circus and hip hop culture through a mash-up of Cyr wheel and juggling with musicality, originality and innovative play.

Talking of music, the festival offers everything from folk and blues to choral singing, and Towednack Church’s Discover Church Bells day, and new additions to the programme since the last issue of St Ives Local are indie-folk duo Long For The Coast  Jamie and Sophie Gould with cellist Simon Walker at the Arts Club on 11th September, the festival’s opening night.

Following last year’s Covid-enforced cancellation, and the delayed lifting of restrictions, this year’s festival has been put together in a much shorter time by a smaller team than in ‘normal’ years. But they have created a varied and exciting programme.

“We would like to thank everyone who has pulled together to make it happen,” said a spokesman for the organising committee. “We hope residents and visitors will have an enjoyable and safe festival.”

• Festival tickets are available online at and from tourist information centres throughout Cornwall.