The countdown has begun for this year’s Out There Festival, Great Yarmouth’s annual international feast of all things circus and street arts. This year it’s part of Circus250, celebrating the 250th anniversary of the first ever circus which was staged in 1768 in London by showman Philip Astley. In September the national spotlight falls on Great Yarmouth, which together with Norwich, has been designated as one of six UK Cities of Circus by Circus250 bosses.
The Out There International Festival of Circus & Street Arts takes place all over the town centre and seafront from 14-16 September – and it’s completely free! Now in its 11th year, this popular festival is a spectacular riot of colour, thrills, spills and fun to delight and entertain all the family.
This year’s big headline event comes from French street arts titans, Générik Vapeur, who will be returning to Great Yarmouth to collaborate with Gorilla Circus. Together they will create a special Circus250 version of their legendary loud and anarchic street show Bivouac, featuring 250 local people.
First seen in Great Yarmouth in 2010, Bivouac is still imprinted on the minds of everyone that saw it. Blue men and women marched, ran and danced through the streets in a pyrotechnic extravaganza, banging oil drums and accompanied by fire, smoke loud music and general mayhem, leading to a spectacular, anarchic crashing finale.
The festival attracts more than 50,000 people to the town from all over the eastern region and beyond, making it one of the biggest weekend events in the region and boosting the local economy. Over the last decade Out There has built a reputation for presenting the weird and wonderful, the outrageous and outstanding, featuring an incredibly cosmopolitan line up of acts from the across the globe.
This year is no exception with around 30 companies from countries including France, Spain and New Zealand. These include a tranche of Catalonian and Balearic acts including Barcelona’s amazing teeterboard and trampoline exponents, inTarsi. There’s also offbeat mayhem from France’s Tout en Vrac while Globus Hystericus from Slovenia take us on a thrilling journey through the town’s streets in search of lost treasure. New Zealand’s knockout performer Fraser Hooper brings his comic boxing challenge to take on all comers.
‘The international flavour is part of what makes Out There so vibrant,’ says Chief Executive of SeaChange Arts Joe Mackintosh. ‘The name Out There refers to our geographic location, out on the edge of the east coast,’ he continues, ‘but it is also about the approach we take to programming. We always aim to leave audiences with their mouths agape. The memory of something weird and wonderful lingering long after.’
From closer to home Dizzy O’Dare’s Phileas Fogg Day 79 is an hilarious roam-about, fusing modern technology with Jules Verne’s classic adventure. Great Yarmouth born and bred Tom Gaskin has previously starred in Hippodrome shows and is now making a big name for himself as one of London’s leading young circus performers and models. He is creating his first-ever solo show for Out There 2018 before touring it extensively.
Many of the international companies will be creating new shows in the town, featuring exciting new international collaborations that will go on to tour the world after being seen in Great Yarmouth first – as well as collaborating with local people. Keep an eye on http://seachangearts.org.uk/out-there-festival/ for your chance to get involved.
With so much free activity, if you can only visit this Norfolk seaside gem once this year this is definitely the weekend for it!