• Southend BID

Southend - a beacon of creative excellence!

Southend Arts Festival is thrilled to bring you a diverse programme of events over 17 full days of culture, talent and creativity! Bringing together artists from different art forms and backgrounds to create dynamic, innovative and forward-thinking new work, which will be staged in a rich tapestry of venues across Southend!


From September 3rd, the town will be buzzing with a varied and exciting programme of events; including comedy, art, music, film literature, kids’ events and more!


Southend on Sea is well known for its vibrant cultural tradition and the Arts’ Festival will be a fantastic celebration of this; highlighting all that is dynamic and remarkable about the Southend Arts’ scene.


With 17 days of jam-packed events, there will be something for everyone to enjoy! The festival also incorporates the hugely popular Southend Film Festival as well as Garden Gatherings hosted by the legendary Leigh Folk Festival. Also scheduled is an exclusive comedy show with Festival Patron and funny-man Russell Kane and an amazing art installation by the world-renowned street artist Dan Kitchener.


One of the many highlights will be the wealth of rich visual talent included in the Street Theatre Programme - brought to you by Southend BID. Tons of amazing acts will dazzle and entertain – from giant puppets, to stilts, to theatre acts and story-telling.


The High Street will be brought to life - so charge your phones – there will be plenty of photo opportunities to be had! All processions start at The Royals Shopping centre and walk up and down the High Street at intervals throughout the day.


Mandinga Arts will begin proceedings in fabulous style on 4th and 5th from 12-4pm. Their distinctive style brings together live music, carnival, street costume, puppetry and dance, drawing on diverse influences from Europe, Latin America and Africa.


11th September brings 6FootStories, a band of theatrical vagabonds, purveyors of fine festival entertainments, interactive experiences, and touring productions of excellence! The 11th also brings jumbo stilt walkers so prepare to be astonished – things will definitely be ‘looking up’!


The 12th from 12-3pm brings Hodman Sally and The Flying Buttresses – who bring their love of improvised comedy and artistic spectacle! They exploded onto the scene at Glastonbury Festival 2002 where their unique illusion and heart-warming characters won them a huge following. It is incredibly exciting to have them come to our town. Their newest show ‘What the Tortoise Taught Us’ is revolutionary for the world of street theatre, and features an incredible giant walking robot Tortoise named Zelva. A beautiful, realistic, animatronic creature, currently taking the world by storm. Expect the unexpected!


The 18th hosts Circus Rambaba at several intervals throughout the day, including the crazy Pirates on Stilts and Jolly Roger’s Pram, a totally nutty and hilarious spectacle of ‘plunderful’ and truly ‘oar-inspiring’ wobbly comedy!


On the 19th from 12 – 4pm the festival presents to you Acrojou – an acrobatic promenade show. Their flagship show, The Wheel House, has been touring worldwide since 2008 and includes stunning design and theatrical acrobatics, housed in an exquisite, hand-built rolling theatre set. The Wheel House is a unique performance that has captured the hearts and imaginations of audiences around the world. Described as a ‘tender, post-apocalyptic love story’, this intriguing piece of street theatre promises to delight Highstreet audiences and bring some magical sparkle to the festival’s street theatre programme.


Visit Southendartsfestival.co.uk for more information


The festival runs from 3rd – 19th September.