ARTS by the Sea Festival, the south coast’s annual celebration of arts and culture, is to resume this year.

Directors have said they preparing for another exciting instalment of inclusive art and performance over three days from Friday October 1 to Sunday October 3.

Festival organisers at BCP Council and From The Fields, in association with Arts Council England, have also revealed that the theme running throughout its 2021 programme will be one of ‘Connect’.

The eleventh edition of the free-to-attend festival follows a year of restricted social interaction and limited access to arts and entertainment events.

Arts by the Sea Creative Director Roxy Robinson said: “After such a trying year for all of us, we are thrilled to be bringing back the much-loved, live elements of Arts by the Sea that were delivered online last year.

“Although it is not a full return to ‘business as usual’ for the festival in 2021, we are excited to be presenting a full performance and live music programme, alongside a series of breath-taking installation and digital media artworks, for all ages to enjoy.”

Covid restrictions permitting, and with all events designed to be Covid-secure, the festival will take place in various outdoor spaces across Bournemouth’s town centre and seafront locations.

Arts by the Sea 2021 will showcase a diverse array of large-scale installations, music and performance, with particular emphasis on celebrating the work of the local artistic community as well as welcoming nationally acclaimed talent.

Organisers say the ‘Connect’ theme was naturally born out of the challenges experienced during the pandemic, with regards to maintaining social connections with others.

While this year’s programme is yet to be announced, audiences can expect to witness and participate in another intriguing, exciting, and unique celebration of art across many forms.

Against the odds, Arts by the Sea 2020 took place in a restructured, socially distanced fashion.

Highlights included the light display ‘Sea of Light’ by Ithaca Studio, the fiery night-time landscape ‘The Fire Garden’ created by outdoor arts experts Walk The Plank, and participatory events by local arts and wellbeing organisation CoCreate.

This year, the Arts by the Sea event has moved from the end of September to the beginning of October to extend the summer season and provide a spectacular finish to BCP Council’s June – September event programme – Festival Coast Live!

As part of the programme, Arts by the Sea will be presenting a range of pop-up outdoor performances across town centres in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole throughout the summer months, showcasing the best in local talent and community performers.

Festival Director Andrea Francis said: “Partnering up with Festival Coast Live! allows us to extend much further from our usual Bournemouth location, bringing a fantastic and diverse range of cultural performances to residents across the whole of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, and supporting local artists at the same time.”

The festival is keen to hear from contributors wishing to get involved, including musicians, circus performers, spoken word artists, dancers and installation artists.

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