Last weekend, Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival returned for a fifth year of entertainment throughout the town centre, gardens and seafront.
With a renewed focus on light, in honour of UNESCO’s International Year of Light, the festival hosted a variety of entertainment to light up the festival site.
Russell-Cotes Museum donned the festival colours over the weekend as acclaimed lighting experts, Michael Grubb Studios, lit it pink in their latest commission after lighting up Durdle Door earlier this month.
During the daytime on Friday 9th October, High Street Odyssey kicked off proceedings on Bournemouth’s Commercial Road with a roaming theatre performance complete with dancing street cleaners and buskers in disguise. Award-winning artists, Davy and Kristin McGuire launched Ophelia’s Ghost; their latest installation at St Peter’s Church Resurrection Chapel. Later in the afternoon eco-graffiti artist, Antonin Fourneau, brought Waterlight Graffiti to the seafront, allowing spectators to create their own light-up art using a paint brush, a water spray can or the touch of a finger.
On Friday evening, PixelPyros descended onto Pier Approach with their giant sixty foot screen, giving people the chance to make their own digital fireworks displays and watch their creations play out.
Saturday saw the town come alive with a mix of outdoor theatre in the Lower Gardens. Wet Picnic had crowds in cahoots with their latest comedy show, Suitcases. The Gobbledegook Theatre puzzled people with a range of sounds hidden under the ground, only audible with the use of ear trumpets. Sand-sculpting experts, Sandscape, encouraged children and adults to create a sand town complete with sand sky-scrapers and dry ice! Further up the beach, crowds took part in a game of Massive Battleship, a supersized version of the children’s classic naval game. The soundtrack to the opening weekend came from nine-piece samba troupe, Perhaps Contraption, who got people in the festival spirit throughout the Lower Gardens.
On Sunday, the sun shone through the town and crowds peaked. More open-air theatre was provided by returning festival-favourites, Ramshacklicious, who had crowds chuckling at their latest walkabout show. Children helped create hundreds of light up balloons in the bandstand which were then launched into the River Bourne at dusk to create a beautiful lighting effect for spectators.
Councillor Lawrence Williams, Portfolio Holder for Tourism, Leisure and Arts says: “It was fantastic to see so many out enjoying the festivities during the opening weekend. Bournemouth had a great buzz throughout the festival site and offered so many unique activities for all to enjoy. The response seems to be hugely positive!”
12th and 13th October (Shelley Theatre): Presented by SoundStorm and Arts Bournemouth, Freedom, Bread and Peace is a multi-media opera exploring the rise and fall of communism, timed to mark the seventieth anniversary of the division of Europe at the end of World War II. Tickets cost £12/ £10 concessions book online at artsbythesea.co.uk.
13th October (Bournemouth Natural Science Society): Sunspots mixes fact, fiction, poetry and humour. Let Simon Barraclough take you on a discussion of solar science through the eyes of a poet. Tickets cost £8/ £6 concessions book online at artsbythesea.co.uk.
16th October (Pavilion Dance): The Red Chair tells the fabulous story of a man who cannot stop eating, the woman doomed to cook his meals and their one invisible child. Tickets cost £12/ £10 concessions, book online at artsbythesea.co.uk.
17th October (Pavilion Dance): Blending words, dance and theatre, Paradise Lost re-tells the story of the beginning of everything, inspired by Milton’s epic poem of the same name. Tickets cost £12/ £10 concessions book online at artsbythesea.co.uk.
17th October (The Life Centre, Winton): Don’t miss A Special by the Sea Mini BSO Family Concert! Seventeen BSO players will create a special family concert featuring music inspired by Yellow Submarine, Sailing By, Handel’s Water Music and A Life on the Ocean Wave, bringing together adults and children. Tickets cost £8/ £6 concessions, book online at artsbythesea.co.uk.
17th and 18th October (Lower Gardens): Recruiting new agents will be Spy School, presented by immersive theatre group, Goat and Monkey. In a forty minute long mission, children between the ages of 7-12 are asked to help crack digital codes, solve Victorian riddles and secretly track down a rogue spy hiding in the nearby vicinity! Sign up on the day by joining the troops in the spy tent, located within Bournemouth’s Lower Gardens. Remember, silence is golden! Tickets cost £3.
18th October (Cotlands Road car park): An open-air theatre performance of Ray Bradbury’s thrilling novel, Fahrenheit 451, will bring the festival to a close. 451 gives an open air pyrotechnical performance from innovative theatre company, Periplum. Using surround sound and a stunning set design, 451 tells the story of a society in which books are banned and firemen are employed to burn them. Tickets are FREE but must be pre-booked by visiting artsbythesea.co.uk.