From intimate cloud gazing installations and illuminating dance pieces to outdoor physical theatre and walkabout entertainment on the beach, the 11th edition of Bournemouth’s free-to-attend Arts by the Sea is marked to be another intriguing celebration of art across many forms.
Over 20 more unique sound and art installations, musical performances, exhibitions and theatre are announced for the 2021 edition of Bournemouth’s must-visit arts and culture festival, Arts by the Sea. Taking place from Friday 1st October to Sunday 3rd October across Bournemouth’s beautiful town centre and seafront locations – with some programming extended beyond these dates – visitors of all ages can get lost in a world of creative experiences and accessible art across many forms. This latest announcement includes the intimate sound art experience, Cloudscapes by Gobbledegook Theatre; walkabout audacious singalong show The Lips by Puppets with Guts; illuminating dance piece Thrive by Grace Willows and Cirque Bijou; a packed Bandstand programme of Afro-Latin to party-starting DJ sets, and much more besides. What’s more, Arts by the Sea Festival is free to attend. Visit www.artsbythesea.co.uk for more information.
The artistic theme for Arts by the Sea 2021 is ‘Connect’, fittingly chosen now friends, families and loved ones can unite. As a strand running through the 2021 festival programme, the theme will explore the concept of the human being as a fundamentally social creature—a tribal animal—while highlighting the importance of celebration, festivity and connecting with others.
There are many must-see attractions just announced for this year’s festival. Intimate sound art experience Cloudscapes by Gobbledegook Theatre will welcome guests at Lower Gardens to lie back on giant beanbags, look up and contemplate the mutability of clouds, as well as the mutability of humanity. Through a set of headphones, the piece is guided by the soothing voice of Dorset performer, Lorna Rees who is also Gobbledegook co-founder and graduate of the Royal Central School Of Speech & Drama.
The Lips by Puppets with Guts is another unmissable attraction. A chorus of delightfully deviant divas take the form of luminous giant lips and can be spotted roaming across Bournemouth Beach and the Bandstand. Guests can singalong as The Lips reanimate the nation’s favourite pop songs in a spectacular, pop-puppetry lip sync performance.
Another highlight in this second wave of announcements is Thrive by choreographer Grace Willow (Joy In Dance) and internationally renowned circus production company, Cirque Bijou. Presented by Pavilion Dance South West at Lower Gardens, visitors can witness a dance performance with mesmerising LED light-up umbrellas as it celebrates light in the darkness, both physically and metaphorically.
Physical theatre fans are also catered for at this year’s Arts by the Sea. Commissioned by Without Walls and presented by Theatre Témoin in partnership with The B Collective and Horse and Bamboo; Routes promises audiences a visually compelling and socially relevant piece that amplifies the marginalised voices of humankind, set outdoors in the stunning Gardens.
Bournemouth’s historical Bandstand in the Gardens is always a focal point at Arts by the Sea. On Saturday and Sunday from midday until 7pm, a diverse lineup of musical performances await with highlights including, King Lagoon’s Flying Swordfish Soundsystem – an Afro-Latin-inspired band that will not only bring irresistible rhythms to make hips shake, but the addition of the ‘Aroma Wizard’ to create an evolving palette of exotic, uplifting scents to complete the experience. Fans of party-starting DJ sets should check out the empowered female collective FRAU DJs who’ll spin everything from Blondie and The Cure to Drake and Destiny’s Child. And for those that like to let loose, Remix Reeling is a must as they encourage audiences to get up and dance, barn dance style, to a unique mix of traditional reels and ceilidh with banging beats and basslines.
Further exhibitions and installations announced for 2021 come from the festival’s Open Call Artists. This funding scheme gives artists and creatives through an application process, the opportunity to have their ideas realised at Arts by the Sea. This year they include the enchanting light installation BMTHGLOW by Adrian Finn from Bournemouth-based architecture and design studio, The Guild, which aims to raise awareness of the plight of the glow-worm across the UK in a creative setting. The Journey of The Heart – an accessible and thought-provoking exhibition mixing art and opera at Russell-Cotes by holistic creative Chloe Sami. And the brightly coloured Enchanted Garden by Urban Furniture Perspective – a performance group of renegades from East Howe collected together through art and making. Here the Lower Gardens will be transformed into an enchanted plot using giant mushrooms and larger-than-life flowers made completely from recycled and repurposed materials to emphasise the need to protect our environment.
For all performance times, dates and locations, visitors should check out the Arts by the Sea website. It’s free to attend, but there is an entrance charge at Russell-Cotes as per the gallery’s standard admission process. For more info visit www.artsbythesea.co.uk and www.russellcotes.com
Arts by the Sea attracts tens of thousands of people each year to its lively and unique programme of accessible arts and culture. While this announcement includes entertainment for people of all ages to enjoy, Arts by the Sea is soon to announce its new for 2021 ‘Family Route’ which will highlight the numerous engaging workshops and experiences specially geared towards families, children and young people.
Now in its 11th year, Arts by the Sea is delivered by BCP Council in association with Arts Council England, and under the creative direction of From The Fields (Bluedot Festival / Kendall Calling). For more info visit www.artsbythesea.co.uk or follow @artsbythesea on social media: #Connect2021 / #artsbythesea.