Great Yarmouth Out There Festival moves show dates to include schoolchildren

Circus act with people watching
The mostly-free circus festival in Great Yarmouth will take place in May instead of September from 2024

One of Europe's biggest outdoor circuses will be held in May instead of September to try to involve more schoolchildren.

Joe Mackintosh of the Out There Festival in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, said holding it at the end of May fitted in better with the school year.

He said 4,000 children took part in its circus projects and he wanted to include more in the shows.

He added they wanted to "engage with more young people".

The annual event, which started in 2007, saw 120 performances staged across the town's streets over the weekend.

Mr Mackintosh, creative director, said the Out There hoped to extend the two-day festival (with one event on Friday) to three or four days during the spring half-term week in 2024.

"We also think we can really boost visitor numbers following that [May] bank holiday, and actually have bigger audiences and spread the festival out," he said.

"Overall the impact of us moving it will be good for the town."

Coir performs at circus
Members of the African choir of Norfolk performed at the event

He said his year's Out There was more participatory and they hoped to increase that alongside the professional acts.

It was also more inclusive, with British Sign Language interpreters and audio description headsets available for some performances.

Mr Mackintosh said it was "extremely important to make the mostly-free festival more accessible".

Mr Mackintosh said putting on the circus was costly, which was why they had been forced to cancel this year's separate Fire on the Water show due to lack of funding, and it had to be abandoned on its second night in 2022 due to storms on the town's Central Beach between the Wellington and Britannia piers.

"We sold 30,000 tickets over six days [2021]... that was a huge success," he said.

"This is the sort of thing we might put on again, but that event in truth cost about £250,000.

"At the moment the sort of partnership funding on the table for that is next to nothing."

Trapeze act on wire
A trapeze artist at the 2023 Out There festival in Great Yarmouth

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