Guilford Performing Arts Festival | Inspired by William Boughton

A small sampling of the range of 2017 participants (Clockwise from top left): The Racket Downstairs rock band; Composer, Stephen Roberts; Violinist, Katherine Arndt; Tenor, Mark Deaton in the Benjamin, Britten opera Peter Grimes; Trombonist Connor Backes of the jazz/funk-influenced band Pinstripe; a ballet performance; and Violinist Ariel Horowitz.

Guilford Performing Arts Festival (GPAF) is the embodiment of William Boughton’s vision of just how organic a performing arts festival can be. Based in Guilford, CT (USA), GPAF engages the surrounding Connecticut Shoreline community while demonstrating its founder’s vision and passion for innovative, American performing arts—and the potential for becoming a destination for much larger audiences.

A biennial, multi-venue event, GPAF encompasses a broad spectrum of performing arts—ranging from a diverse sampling of musical genres including classical, rock, jazz, swing, choral, big band, folk & roots music to ballet, modern dance, poetry, theater, cabaret, Broadway and more—as well as performing and song writing workshops.

GPAF’s premier event spanned four days in October of 2017 and included more than 40 events, held in every conceivable type of venue—from schools, theaters, churches, libraries and community centers to area businesses—in Guilford as well as in neighboring shoreline towns. The Festival also received a groundswell of participation and support from the entire, surrounding community including individuals, businesses, nonprofits, town departments and the Yale School of Music.

If standing ovations from wildly appreciative, capacity crowds are any indication, Boughton’s goal of attracting ever wider, more diverse audiences may well be achieved in 2019 and subsequent seasons.