Expect the unexpected thrills at the Out There festival

Hallali performing.

Hallali performing. - Credit: Archant

Out There Festival assembles a zany, worldwide cast of international street artists, circus performers and assorted strange happenings in Great Yarmouth. LUCY CLAPHAM previews what to expect in the first few days of a missed see event.

Silver Lining.

Silver Lining. - Credit: Archant

Breathtaking circus stunts, incredible acrobatic displays, glittering cabaret, a multicoloured dance spectacle and a mass public dance and paint carnivalesque parade will come together as part of the weird and wonderful Out There Festival.

The festival has been a high point on Great Yarmouth's entertainment calendar since 2007 and this year's line up promises to be the best yet with the largest roll call of acts to date.

The five-day circus and street art gala takes over the town from September 17 – 21, and organisers Seachange Arts have put together a jam-packed programme with 50 acts will put on 150 performances at outdoor spaces across the town including St George's Park, Regent Road and the Market Place.

Meanwhile indoors there are some special ticketed shows at St George's Theatre, Yarmouth Library, Stars Showbar and the Hippodrome.

Joe Mackintosh, Out There's artistic director, said: 'This year, we're just doing it on a grander scale. People can sing, dance, create and join in as part of some of the key shows, really making this year's festival their own.

'The programme this year is breathtaking. Bigger and broader than anything we've done to date.'

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Highlights of this year's line up — the bulk of which is free — include The Color of Time by French group Artonik, which sees artists and 500 members of the public combine to reinvent the traditional Indian Holi celebrations by performing in a choreographed carnival parade – complete with rainbow coloured Gulal powder.

Stars Showbar, the former Regent Theatre, is also joining the fun when it hosts a Saturday night programme of cabaret, performance and music which includes a crowd pleasing performance from Gandini Juggling, who will present their award-winning show Smashed.

And Compagnie Les Philébulistes, one of France's most exciting young circus companies, is bringing a massive ship-like rig to the seafront for their dizzying acrobatic spectacular, Hallali.

Meanwhile Great Yarmouth performer Tom Gaskin will be making a triumphant return to the resort when he performs at the Hippodrome on September 19 in Silver Lining, a high-flying showcase of some of the UK's brightest young artists.

Graduates from the National Centre for Circus Arts come together in this ensemble production which effortlessly blends youthful energy with truly disarming showmanship. Featuring jugglers, aerialists and acrobats singing, flying, spinning and throwing their way through a feel-good explosive show.

Tom was first taught the art of juggling by his uncle, a travelling circus clown. He began to perfect his act while at the Hippodrome where he worked in various roles including spotlight operator and stage manager before being bitten by the performing bug.

He said: 'Juggling was always what I enjoyed most, from when my uncle first taught me. I used to practise back stage. I would try and work myself into the show, in the background, stealing a little part of the show and making it bigger and bigger.'

After attending Lynn Grove High School and East Norfolk Sixth Form College, he won a place at the prestigious National Centre after under going a tough audition.

He has focussed on juggling and clowning but learnt some trapeze and acrobatics tricks as part of the course, and has since been dubbed the 'gentleman juggler' for a retro act with a young fogey vibe, which involves juggling a bowler hat, umbrella and cigar.

His skills have also led to him filming alongside Hollywood stars Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy in the new 20th Century Fox film Frankenstein, in which he plays a circus performer.

And when the curtain goes up on Silver Lining next month he will be fulfilling a long held wish to be the star in the spotlight on the Hippodrome stage.

Early Festival Highlights

• The Incredible Book Eating Boy Great Yarmouth Library, September 17, 3.30pm-6.30pm, main show 4pm-5.30pm, Book in person at Great Yarmouth Library in advance or on the day This exciting adaptation of Oliver Jeffers' award-winning children's book follows the story of a boy with a voracious appetite for books. And better still, he realises the more books he eats, the smarter he gets. But a book-eating diet isn't the healthiest of habits, as Henry soon finds out! And wrapped around this bite-sized show will be a trio of tasty treats for youngsters in our afternoon Cook-Up. Join Le Navet Bete for crazy clowning, roll-up for our circus skills workshop and 'say cheese' as Les Cubiténistes snap your best side, turning it into art for the festival site. Suitable ages 4+

• Once Upon A Time In A Western

St George's Theatre & Plaza, Great Yarmouth, September 18, 7.30pm (cook-up from 5.30pm), £6, £4 under-16s, £15 family, 01493 331484, www.stgeorgestheatre.com

Tumbleweed rolls across the dusty stage, the saloon door opens with a drawn-out creak, the Dutch piano player pauses and looks up as a short stranger enters the bar. An action packed comedy where idiocy is an art form from the acclaimed company Le Navet Bete. Four fools tell the story of hundreds of characters with live music, ridiculous line dancing and slapstick in a hilarious parody of the western film genre. The event features 'Cook-Up' with a programme of street entertainment, barbecue (included in ticket price) and the world's smallest venue in Folk in A Box.

• Middlegate Madness

Middlegate Hut, Tonwsend Close, Great Yarmouth, September 19, 4.30-6.30pm, free admission Southpaw Dance, one of the UK's finest hip hop theatre companies, create hard hitting, fizzing and energetic works, such as the acclaimed Faust. Here they will take to the streets of Yarmouth's Middlegate Estate with a special programme of street dance and hip hop demos and workshops. Watch or and join in!

• Faust Marine Parade, near Amazonas, September 19, 9pm, free admission

SouthPaw Dance Company's re-imagining of Goethe's Faust – drinking, gambling, and debauchery make the Speakeasy a perfect place for a man to lose his soul. Faust is manipulated into a duel with the devil where his very soul hangs in the balance in a unique fusion of break dancing, fire and big band music. Devilish good fun for all!

• Hallali Sealife Gardens, Great Yarmouth, September 19, 9.45pm/September 20, 8.40pm, free admisison UK premiere from French aerial acrobatics company Compagnie Les Philebulistes. Embedded in a gigantic ship-like structure, six trapeze artists prepare their show. The Hallali (bugle) sounds. It screams and soars, hailing whimsical fun and games - a dizzying and surreal, constantly accelerating experience. Providing a spectacular finale to Friday and Saturday night's outdoor programme.

• Silver Lining, Hippodrome, Great Yarmouth, September 19, 7.30pm, £10, 01493 844172, www.hippodromecircus.co.uk

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