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Out There Festival draws records crowds to Great Yarmouth

  • Date: 16 October 2012
  • Area: South East
Bearded man

Makadam Kanibal, Le Cirque De Curiosities, Out There Festival, 2012. Credit: Andi Sapey

The 2012 Out There Festival in Great Yarmouth attracted huge crowds and has seen a dramatic rise in stature in its five years with it now ranked as one of the country's largest and most diverse festivals dedicated to street arts and circus.

Organised by SeaChange Arts, Out There took to the streets, parks and venues of Great Yarmouth for six days this year. The longer schedule, good weather and ambitious programming, which included Waterlitz, a show featuring a 65 foot high iron giant from iconic street arts company Générik Vapeur, helped attract an estimated 70,000 people.

"This year's programme was the biggest and most ambitious yet," says SeaChange Arts Chief Executive, Joe Mackintosh.  "With more than 140 performers and 100 performances, we hope Out There brought something exciting, enthralling and entertaining to the festival's visitors."

"Each year, we have listened to audiences and introduced new elements to the festival. 2012 saw a midweek programme for the first time and our first performance in Great Yarmouth's historic Hippodrome. With crowds increasing every year, we've also tried to stage more high wire and trapeze shows so audiences can see performances from further back."

Festival highlights included Compagnie Bam's Switch at the Hippodrome.  The hour-long show from one of France's most dynamic young circus companies played to packed audiences.

In St George's Park, crowds were treated to thrilling acrobatics on the 10m high Wheel of Death from France's Studio De Cirque, while giant insects from the Netherland's Close Act paraded through the crowds. Alongside them performers and companies from Latin America, the USA, Belgium, Ireland, Portugal and Spain entertained the crowds. 

The Saturday spectacular, Waterlitz by Générik Vapeur saw thousands pack St Nicholas Car Park and the seafront to witness a spectacular aerial ballet and light show set against the backdrop of the giant figure made from shipping containers. 

The organisers of the festival, SeaChange, received £180,000 of funding from the Arts Council through the Grants for the arts fund with the intention to develop Great Yarmouth as an international centre for circus and street arts.

Pasco Kevlin, Relationship Manager for Combined Arts and Touring, Arts Council, East, said: "Arts Council England is proud to support SeaChange Arts an exciting organisation presenting an amazing international festival."

SeaChange co-commissioned the project with Arts Council and their partners in the ZEPA partnership, a network of nine UK and French festivals, which has supported the development of Out There over the past five years.

"The ZEPA project comes to an end this year," explains Mr Mackintosh.  "It has been integral to the growth and success of Out There. The challenge now will be for us to sustain that growth, to continue to respond to audiences, and to bring exciting new work to Great Yarmouth."

Central to this will be SeaChange's work at the Drill House. The venue will be used to attract international companies to develop new work there alongside local people and artists. Much of that work will be showcased at Out There. 

"We've had around 40 acts using the Drill House as a base over the course of the festival. They've seen the facilities here and the response has been terrific. We look forward to working with many of them here in the future." 

For further information on SeaChange Arts, Out There and the Drill House, visit www.seachangearts.org.uk