The growing success of Great Yarmouth’s Out There Festival as town gears up for 2015 programme
- Credit: David Street
The Out There festival annually brings huge crowds, ground breaking performances and new talent to Great Yarmouth for a weekend of circus and street art delights.
In seven years it has grown from a multi-arts event that just filled the Market Place to a three-day spectacular of dazzling displays that takes over half the town.
It has also become a much-anticipated event in the arts world that has put Yarmouth on the international map and cemented its reputation as the UK's centre for circus and street arts.
And as they prepare to host the festival's eighth outing, organisers Sea Change have said they are keen to grow its success.
Laurie Miller-Zutshi, creative director and co-director of the festival, has been involved with Out There since it first started in 2008, beginning as a volunteer and going on to become a full time member of staff with Sea Change.
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She said the turning point for the festival came in 2009 after organisers had a chance to assess what worked well the previous year.
'We realised the outdoor stuff and street arts and circus was engaging with the most audiences and really had captured people's attention and imagination, and had changed the way people think about the public spaces in Yarmouth and what can take place in them,' she added.
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'We knew that's where our focus needed to be.'
The festival was also given a boost after it secured funding to coordinate with a European project, which saw Sea Change work with five French festivals and other UK events.
From this they 'learnt a lot' about running a festival Miss Miller-Zutshi said, and the partnership also allowed the team to bring more high-calibre international acts over for Out There 2009.
This in turn also upped public participation - a key element of the festival - with masterclasses and workshops run by the visiting troupes for local emerging acts, young people and the community.
Miss Miller-Zutshi added: 'We have always used Out There as a platform to showcase community work but on the same level as the professional work, we don't try and distinguish the two.'
Since then the festival's reputation has rocketed and it is now the UK's top contemporary circus festival and within the top four in street arts.
Performers from across Europe and further afield are keen to appear on the Yarmouth stage and audiences from across the country flock to the east coast to catch the action, with B&Bs being booked up especially for the festival weekend.
And 2015's programme is set to be the biggest and best yet building on the huge success of 2014, which attracted more than 206 acts.
Miss Miller-Zutshi said: 'People want to come to Yarmouth and find out what's going on here. It's always our ambition to make it bigger and better and more out there.'
Out There runs from September 18 - 20. For more details visit www.seachangearts.org.uk/out-there