black shuck festival

The Black Shuck Festival is on its way…

The Suffolk town of Bungay is all set to host the Black Shuck Festival this August – inspired by the legend of the ghostly black dog that haunts East Anglia.

With a host of spectacular entertainment and creative opportunities for the whole community, Bungay holds claim to Black Shuck more than any other location.

Legend has it that on 4th August 1577, a wild black dog burst through the doors of St Mary’s Church in the town killing two praying parishioners during a terrible storm.

black shuck festival

The popularity of the legend has seen the image of Black Shuck, or the Black Dog, incorporated into the town’s coat of arms, depicted on buildings and the beast’s name immortalised in the names of businesses and organisations throughout the community.

A visit to the town across the Festival weekend of 4th – 6th August will reveal cabaret, music, theatre, performance, a costume parade, storytelling, puppetry, re-enactments, spoken word, literature, installations, a Black Dog disco, a talk & tour and a themed arts exhibition.

Activities for all ages and abilities will be on offer, immersing visitors in the rich folklore of the region which has inspired artists for generations.

black shuck festival

Joint Artistic Director, artist Stuart Pearson Wright, said: “This year’s festival builds on the success of last year’s inaugural event.

“Over three days we have events encompassing performance, storytelling, music, puppetry, theatre and film. We also have art exhibitions and a pop-up Black Shuck Shop and have been working with the community to create participatory events and art projects.

“It is important to celebrate the legend because it’s an exciting and timeless story unique to the town.”

Leading up to and throughout the festival, the Bell Gallery and the Three Tuns Pub will co-host an exhibition of artwork by children and adults on the theme of local folklore stories.

In recent weeks, Black Shuck has been spotted at various events in Bungay and organisers have hinted that there may be further sightings as the festival nears.

black shuck festival

Visitors to the Festival will be able to shake off their own personal black dogs and ‘burn their demons’ together over a Black Shuck effigy on Saturday 5th August.

A Pop-Up shop featuring works by local artists and crafters with a folklore theme, as well as books, opens in the town on 22nd July and runs until 18th August. Open Tuesdays – Saturdays 11am – 3pm. Open during the Festival 10am – 6pm.

The Black Shuck Festival runs from Friday 4th until Sunday 6th August 2023.

For more information visit

black shuck festival

Black Shuck Festival 2023 Programme

PDF programme here…

Throughout the Festival

Art Exhibitions

Free entry – Find out more…
The Bell Gallery, Earsham Street
Adult’s Art Exhibition – Black Shuck & Friends
The Three Tuns (upstairs)
Children’s Art Exhibition – Black Shuck & Friends

The Black Shuck Shop
Market Place, Bungay

A pop-up shop featuring works by local artists and cratiers with a folklore theme.
Open 22nd July-18th August, Tuesdays-Saturdays, 11am-3pm. Open during the Festival 10am-6pm.

Friday 4th August

Drop-in Workshops
St. Mary’s Church, 11am-4pm
Drop-in workshops to celebrate the history of Bungay/the Church and its wall hangings and the Black Dog legend through creating pennants for bunting. Delivered by Churches Conservation Trust. Free entry.

Black Dog Running Club’s Fun Run
Blythburgh – Bungay, 5pm-7pm
A fun run retracing the Black Dog of Bungay’s journey in reverse. See the Black Shuck effigy carried back into Bungay, arriving at the Fisher Theatre where the runners will receive specially created medals.

Shuck Folk Cabaret
Fisher Theatre, 8pm-10:30pm
A multi-disciplinary review comprising of music, circus artistry, storytelling, short (scary!) films and an interview with Black Shuck himself! (Best to leave your under-14’s at home!) – Get tickets…

black shuck festival Fire Sprites

Saturday 5th August

William Fergusson, solo piano concert
St. Mary’s Church, 12pm-12:40pm
Will Fergusson kicks off events with a suitably brooding and dramatic solo piano concert. Programme to include Pinto’s rarely heard haunting Second Piano Sonata in Eb. Free entry, donations welcome.

Festival Parade
Cross St, Trinity St, Wharton St, St. Mary’s St, Castle Bailey, 2pm-2:30pm
A spectacular parade of costumed characters depicting all of our local legends, Tudors, Fire Sprites and of course Black Shuck himself. Spectators are asked to keep to the pavements please.

Carnival on the Bailey
The Castle Bailey, 1pm-5pm
A family-friendly afternoon celebrating Bungay’s folklore through storytelling, music and drama. The carnival is of the main festival event and a chance to come and enjoy our unique heritage and local folklore. And if you want to dress up as your favourite character from Bungay’s history – please do! Bring your demon cards with you so that you can banish all your fears and worries for another year, with the ritualistic and symbolic ‘burning’ of the Black Shuck effigy. There will be a bar, bbq, crepes and ice-cream – or bring a picnic! Free entry, donations welcome.

A Straunge & Terrible Wunder
St Mary’s Church, 7:30pm-9:30pm
The festival is delighted to welcome celebrated song writer, poet and author Martin Newell to perform his epic poems Black Shuck and The Green Children of Woolpit accompanied by the Hosepipe Band, a group of some of East Anglia’s finest folk musicians. The second half features performances from artists including exquisite trio Willpower, a dramatic retelling of A Straunge and Terrible Wunder and a spectacular light projection installation. Drinks available. Tickets £7.50. Get tickets here or on the door.

Black Dog Disco
The Three Tuns Cellar, 9:30pm-Midnight
A ‘let your hair down’ disco but with a Shuck-style twist. Booking essential. Tickets £10. Get tickets…

Sunday 6th August

Fisher Theatre (double bill for children age 3+)
Free entry, donations welcome. Book here…

Norwich Puppet Theatre presents The Pied Piper of Hamelin, 2:30pm-3:10pm
Norwich Puppet Theatre’s humorous and irresistible one person show combines a skilful mix of puppetry, foot-tapping music and storytelling and will have audiences young and old entranced.
“Fantastic” Lyn Gardner, The Guardian.

Artistic Fields present a dramatised children’s performance of Little Shuck & His Friends, 3:30pm-4:10pm
Performed by children for children, Black Shuck & His Friends has been especially written for the Festival by Victoria Panton-Bacon. Find out more…

The Three Tuns – one of Britain’s most haunted pubs! (double bill)
Tickets £7.50. Get tickets here or on the door.

Black Dog Myths and Legends, 7pm-7:40pm
Somerset based author, folklorist and story-teller Helen Bruce presents a talk on the folklore of black dogs.

Bungay’s Ghosts Talk, 8pm-8:40pm
Local historian Christopher Reeve tells tales of Bungay’s notorious characters from the past and those who haunt the town. 


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