How Great Yarmouth’s Out There festival has brought Gallic circus cornucopia to Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 09:55 22 August 2014 | UPDATED: 09:55 22 August 2014

Cranage Productions, The SWAT. Picture: submit

Cranage Productions, The SWAT. Picture: submit


Great Yarmouth’s traditional kiss-me-quick seaside image has received a Gallic overhaul in recent years with the cosmopolitan Out There Festival taking to its streets, parks and venues.

Over here for Out There - six of the best from France

■ Compagnie Les Philébulistes – Hallali. A fresh young company present a dizzying aerial show, set in a gigantic ship-like structure on the seafront. Friday 20, 9.45pm and Saturday 21, 8.40pm. Sealife Gardens

■ Les Fées Railleuses – The Polyamide Sisters. Guy-rope couture and backpack ballet in a show from this Lille based duo as the world of camping meets circus. Saturday 20, 1.10pm and Sunday 21, 1pm. St. George’s Park

■ Artonik – The Color of Time. The festival’s headline show sees a massive theatrical parade culminate in an explosion of colour. Saturday 20, 5pm. Marina Centre

■ Lézards Bleus – L’Aimant. A rooftop Romeo searches high and low for his Juliet above Yarmouth’s Regent Road. Sunday 21, 3.15pm. Regent Road

■ Les Festijeux – Les Passeurs de Patrimoine. A delightful collection of oversized traditional and unusual outdoor games. Saturday 20 and Sunday 21, 10am-4pm. St. George’s Park

■ CARNAGE Productions – The S.W.A.T. After 650 missions around the world, Avignon’s comedy commandos tackle Yarmouth’s streets. Saturday 20 and Sunday 21, 11.30am and 2.30pm. Yarmouth Market Place.

■ Want to join in with the French? Local people are invited to join in with this year’s festival on a massive scale thanks to the ZEPA partnership. It is supporting French fabricators, Les Cubiténistes run a number of workshops enabling residents to create fantastic festival décor.

The Color of Time is also recruiting up to 500 people to be a part of a massive colourful procession. To find out more, visit and follow the ‘Join In’ link.

The circus and street arts extravaganza has evolved a strong international reputation for its programme of performers from the continent, most notably from France.

And this year’s festival, the largest to date, will be bringing some of France’s brightest young talents to the seaside resort next month, with Gallic performers making up around a third of the bill.

Organisers Seachange Arts said the French connection was an important part of the festival’s growth thanks to its European partnerships, many of which have been centred around the EU programme, Interreg.

Financed through the European Regional Development Fund, Interreg encourages cooperation between European countries and one of its projects is Seachange’s long running ZEPA partnership.

Lezards Bleus, L'Aimant. Photo: Alexander Karelin Lezards Bleus, L'Aimant. Photo: Alexander Karelin

Focussed around street arts, the partnership sees Seachange working with six other festivals in France and the UK and is behind this year’s Out There headline show.

Joe Mackintosh, Seachange chief executive, said: “Many French companies produce work of a scope and scale not widely available in the UK, so projects like ZEPA have really helped raise the quality of the festival.”

The Anglo-French partnerships have not all been about importing talent though.

“It’s crucial to recognise the talent flows the other way too,” Mr Mackintosh added. “We recommend companies to our French partners, affording those companies valuable touring and performance opportunities in Europe.”

Les Fees Railleuses, The Polyamide Sisters. Picture: submit Les Fees Railleuses, The Polyamide Sisters. Picture: submit

The partnerships also work on aspects like outreach, training and youth talent. Seachange’s own circus school, who will be performing at the festival, have benefitted from top international tutors visiting Yarmouth to work with them.

Mathilde Vautier, coordinator of the ZEPA project, said: “Seachange have grasped the spirit of the ZEPA partnership. They have embraced the programme and celebrated the cross-channel links.”

The festival’s growth and Seachange’s growing reputation as a leading collaborator has seen the group recently recognised with the award of National Portfolio Organisation status, due in part to their international work.

And even though Seachange’s two current Anglo-French programmes are coming to a close this year, Yarmouth looks set to continue its strong continental connections.

“It’s likely that we will continue to have a strong French and international make-up to the festival,” Mr Mackintosh said.

“Our vision is to make Yarmouth a gateway to the continent, developing local talent, importing and exporting artists. We’ll be looking to draw on the wealth of experience from leading French organisations to build the local and national circus and street arts infrastructure.”

■ Out There runs from September 17 - 21 September. For more information visit

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