Funding boost for arts festival

Plans for a major international arts festival in Yarmouth are set to rapidly take shape after the securing of more than £150,000 of funding for its first year.

Plans for a major international arts festival in Yarmouth are set to rapidly take shape after the securing of more than £150,000 of funding for its first year.

The first Out There festival - running from October 25 to November 2 - will bring street artists, musicians, comedians, poets and a range of other performers to Yarmouth from countries as far afield as Brazil, Finland, Portugal, France and Belgium.

A tented festival village in the Market Place will provide covered space for performers and evening cabaret and will include a range of workshops, including one by a group of blacksmith artists producing creative ironwork.

As well as diverse street art around the town, there will also be shows in the Hippodrome Circus, including a performance by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra which gave a successful concert there last year.

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One highlight of the festival will be a Brazilian-style carnival parade, and £68,000 of Arts Council funding has secured the services of the London-based Brazilian arts group the Dende Collective, members of which will arrive in Yarmouth later this month to begin developing work with the local community.

Another eye-catching performance will come from Didier Pasquette, the world-renowned French tightrope walker, who has previously walked over the River Thames in London.

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SeaChange chief executive Joe Macintosh said they were considering a number of venues for the walk, but one over the River Yare was a possibility.

He said many acts - including a circus school troupe from Amiens in France - would be coming through Yarmouth's links to Zepa, an EU-funded arts partnership.

A creative workshop in Portugal in August would bring together European artists to work on new material to perform in Yarmouth.

Mr Macintosh said the festival would also see the UK premiere of a major French comic street artists' act which he was travelling to see at Viva Cite, a top festival in Rouen, France.

It was hoped to attract between 50,000 and 100,000 people to the festival which he said would be “a melting pot of UK and international artists”.

“Historically, Yarmouth has been an exciting creative place and we must start to believe things are possible here again,” he said.

Mr Macintosh stressed the important role of local performers, including those from the Portuguese and East European communities, and said they were keen to hear from all sorts of acts that might be out there.

SeaChange is also keen to make contact with companies interested in sponsoring aspects of the festival, and volunteers to help with the organisation.

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