A weird weekend at Yarmouth’s Out There

Out There Festival assembles a zany, worldwide cast of international streets artists, circus performers and assorted strange happenings in Great Yarmouth. EMMA KNIGHTS previews what promises to be a very weird weekend.

Weird and wonderful acts from across the globe will be entertaining the crowds in Great Yarmouth this weekend as the town hosts a theatrical spectacular.

Now in its fourth year, the Out There International Festival of Street Arts and Circus this Saturday and Sunday is at St George's Park and also in other parts of the town, including the Market Place and seafront.

The two-day event will be a kaleidoscope of colourful and creative shows with performers travelling from France, Belgium, Germany, New Zealand, the United States and many other countries to be part of the festival.

Artistic director Joe Mackintosh said: 'It is probably the biggest free festival in the region, it is certainly the biggest street festival in the region, and it is gaining a lot of respect at an international level too.

'There is a big mix of shows and very high quality, cutting edge acts, and the nice thing about street art is that it is all free and it gives people the chance to try out types of performances they may not have seen before.

'Last year we had about 60,000 people come to the festival and we are hoping for a similar amount of people or more to join in with the festival this year.

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'The programme is as big as last year, if not slightly bigger. It is two days of astounding performance, crazy happenings and amazing experiences and it is all for free.

'It is a festival that is also putting Great Yarmouth on the map at a national and international level.'

Daniel Andrieu, director of the French Street Arts Festival Viva Cite, which is one of the biggest in Europe, said: 'I will be going to Out There festival for the third time, and this rather new event has become a must-see street arts event in Europe. The quality of its programme, the risks taken by its artistic director Joe Mackintosh make it a powerful artistic experience, mixing work with the community and friendliness.'

Among the highlights will be a spectacular stage show called Barricade by the NoFit State Circus which starts at the seafront at 7pm on Saturday. Combining acrobatics, tightrope walking, aerial acts and imagery with live music, the show is a celebration of the mighty human effort needed to overcome obstacles we find or place in our path.

The show will be followed by a fireworks display.

Also on Saturday, starting at 6.15pm Marine Parade will be the venue for Fest Noz - a huge street party where people can join in with traditional Breton circle dancing, tuck into a crepe and listen to music from a French street band.

Throughout Saturday and Sunday people can also watch a huge range of acts. These include dance theatre involving 50 performers from Celtic dance group Eostiged Ar Stangala, the antics of Berlin clown Gregor Wollny, and the Hocus Pocus Theatre Company's Sideshow of Curiosities.

Belgium's Cirq'ulation Locale will be flying through the air in a show full of acrobatics and slapstick, while Les Trois Points De Suspension, from France, will be putting on a spellbinding show full of acrobatics, bouncy stilts and comedy characters.

Tilted Productions will perform their show Seasaw around Britannia Pier, and ingenious inventor and comedy entertainer Ulik will impress the crowds with his outlandish creations.

Among the Norfolk-based acts Stuff N Things are presenting a new show of bizarre hidden sound installations using trees, drains and lampposts at the festival.

People can also have a go at tightrope walking, riding a unicycle, acrobatic tricks and more in a range of workshops throughout the weekend.

Great Yarmouth charity SeaChange Arts is putting on the festival with the help of EU funding as part of its commitment to Zepa, a Europe-wide arts group putting on events across the EU.

Joe Mackintosh added: 'Our ambition is to make the festival more 'out there' every year. This year we are celebrating Great Yarmouth's seaside heritage and bygone entertainment era with acts, shows, workshops and perform-ances inspired by the Great British seaside. Watch out for the disaster prone puppet show as delivered by Bernard, giant deckchairs in the park and dancing sea creatures on Marine Parade.'

n Out There Festival runs from September 17-18, based mainly ion St George's Park, Yarmouth, admission free. For a full list of performers and times visit: www.outtherefestival.com


Out There Highlights

The Amazing Rubberband Boy

St George's Park, Sun 12pm

Part man, part monster and back by public demand, New Zealand comedy daredevil Shane Horay returns to Out There with his hilarious show crammed full of latex lunacy, acrobatics, escapology and a pogo stick.

Sideshow Of Curiosities

St George's Park, Sat 12.15pm/2.15pm/4.30pm

A wonderfuly immersive outdoor show from Norwich's Hocus Pocus Theatre. Once through the velvet curtain you'll not look back as you travel the hidden underbelly of the sideshow freaks. Meet the supernatural gypsy, the hirsute bearded lady, the fearless strongwoman, the madcap mermaid, the talented Tuttle twins, the astounding idiot and the terrifying beast.

The Small Time

St George's Park, Sat 12.15pm/2.15pm

Ramshacklicious Theatre Company present the 'greatest travelling vaudeville show in the world' featuring their absurd and somewhat bizarre array of variety acts. Marvel at Marcin the Miniature Magician, witness the brute strength of Mr Titanic and gasp at the beauty and grace of Half Lady, Half Bird.


St George's Park, Sat 7pm

This new show from the renowned No Fit State Circus is a maelstrom of spectacular circus, breathtaking aerial, stunning imagery, inspiring live music and theatrical chaos. People build a barricade to protect themselves from the storm. A handful of acrobats climb never ending ladders, aerialists swing from impossible heights in a turbu-lent world of tyres and ladders, smoke without fire, devilish newspapers and smashing doors.

Mario Queen of the Circus

St George's Park, Sat 12.15pm/5pm, Sun 12.30pm/3.30pm

Brimming with unbridled passion, Latin lothario Mario is a born showman, expert in both circus artistry and comedy. His irresistible act has wooed audiences across the world. Regular member of Olivier Award winning show La Clique, his unique mix of complex juggling tricks is performed to Queen anthems.


St George's Park, Sat 3pm/5.15pm, Sun 1.30pm

From Sweden, award-winning Magmanus, a small angry acrobat and a gigantic loveable juggler, collide in a circus show packed full of playful improvisation, jaw dropping skill and stomach-aching comedy. Bollywood juggling and a high flying grand finale performed in G-strings!


St George's Park, Sat 12.30pm/3.30pm

Visually striking and thought provoking, Tilted Productions' work redefines the crossover between dance, theatre and performance art. Constantly stretching the expectations of what dance and theatre can be, Seasaw is inventive, relevant and bittersweet - an unusual, contemporary take on the seaside fair.

Fest Noz

Marine Parade, Sat 6.15pm

Saturday night sees Marine Parade transformed into a street party. You'll be invited to join in with traditional Breton circle dancing, try out a cr�pe and listen to the exhilarating French street band who will accompany the 60 dancers of French dance group Eostiged ar Stangala.