Arts by the Sea 2020 Announces Online Festival Programme

Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival has announced an extensive online programme of engaging content, to complement the recently launched physical programme, as it revamps its offer for the new normal. From Friday 25th September to Sunday 4th October, guests can log onto the website at and access a specially curated digital programme, bringing the festival experience directly into the comfort of the home. The programme includes a colourful series of workshops spanning dance, musical improv and storytelling; music performances recorded exclusively at Key West on Bournemouth Pier, podcasts featuring local creatives from across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole; archive footage of standout performances from Arts by the Sea; circus-theatre experiences and so much more that people of all ages can enjoy. The festival also launches its Trainee Producers Scheme in partnership with Emergency Exit Arts to help budding creatives kickstart a career in the outdoors arts sector.

Festival Organisers at BCP Council and From the Fields have worked tirelessly to ensure that the 10th anniversary of Arts by the Sea would still go ahead in a revised, COVID-safe format. This latest announcement follows the launch of the festival’s live physical event programme which features a limited number of ticketed, restricted capacity events including largescale fire and light installations, thought provoking film screenings, interactive community projects, immersive sound experiences and more.

For those unable to get a ticket to the physical programme or to leave the safety of their home, the online programme provides an excellent opportunity to get creative and be inspired with a much-needed dose of cultural activity.

Seven different pre-recorded creative workshops will run for the duration of the festival and there’s lots on offer. Black Cherry Theatre will host a crash course in improvised musical theatre, Dance For All Studios will stage a hip hop dance inspired session, and Squidge & Pop will entertain kids and adults alike with an immersive bubble show.

The line-up for Sounds by the Sea – the online music programme – comes in association with Global Local and showcases seven acts and sounds from around the world. Recorded exclusively on Bournemouth Pier, it includes Mercury Prize nominated folk singer, Sam Lee; Europe’s only all-female mariachi band, Mariachi Las Adelitas; the pioneering UK-based Gambian kora player, Jally Kebba Susso; the eclectic musical melting pot, Rum Buffalo; festival favourites The Bomo Swing with their high energy blend of Balkan, Reggae, Cumbia and dance; plus Mother Ukers playing songs from throughout the ages on their Ukuleles. There’s also the added bonus of a party DJ set from Tor Da Force recorded at Russell Cotes.

Podcast fans can tune into music maker and writer, Timo Peach, as he speaks to eight artists living and working in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole about the places that helped shape their creative journeys and how the pandemic has affected it. Released every day around 11am, listeners can sit back with a coffee and enjoy a morning podcast to start their festival day.

Local Artist and Gobbledegook Theatre’s Artistic Director, Lorna Rees presents a bespoke digital version of the company’s outdoor artwork, Cloudscapes. The piece creates a personal cloud gazing moment for audiences with a focus on the role of clouds in climate change, featuring audio samples from the local area and new visual footage capturing images of Christchurch Harbour and the wider Bournemouth bay.

Can’t Sit Still Theatre will be a hit for 2-6-year olds and their families as they take part in Play-Along Plink and Boo – a digital and physical circus theatre experience where, before the show, simple props can be made and sourced from around the home which are then incorporated into the performance.

For the gallery of archive performances, Arts by the Sea has selected a handful of standout artists from previous years. Guests can revisit or experience for the first time the dynamic aerial bungee choreography from Wired Aerial Theatre, the gravity-defying flying machine of the Urban Astronaut, and the surreal characters and quirky choreography of Kitsch & Sync.

Also amongst this announcement is the launch of Arts by the Sea’s Trainee Producers Scheme in conjunction with Emergency Exit Arts. This opportunity gives aspiring young creatives the skills and knowledge to kickstart a career in the outdoor arts sector via a series of workshops, and with it the opportunity to help programme next year’s festival. Sign up information can be found at

2020 was set to be the most magical installation of Arts by the Sea as it marked 10 years of bringing art and culture to the south coast of England. Although in contrast to the regular crowds of over 100,000 people, Arts by the Sea remains set to welcome large audiences to its engaging online programme. Intriguing and entertaining, it remains a true and unique exploration of arts and culture.