This July, North Somerset enjoyed a fiesta of free, al fresco outdoor arts for all the family, as Theatre Orchard brought a vibrant, creative arts programme to the seaside.

As the heatwave hit, a series of shows in Clevedon and Portishead sizzled with fun, laughter and excitement, bringing people of all ages together in the great, sunny outdoors.

Groups gathered with their picnics for a sparkling circus double bill presented by Circus Around & About, as award-winning ‘Pirates of the Carabina’ told their story of running away to the circus with stunning aerial performances and Tilly Lee-Kronick performed her one-woman trapeze show, packed with laughter and wonder.

Audiences also got aboard for some high-seas drama with ‘Hero & Leander’ from Jack Dean & Company, a bittersweet outdoor ‘gig theatre’ show based on the ancient Greek myth with the epic seaside tale told through live music and songs, including a chorus of rousing sea shanties.

Young pulse rates soared at the salsa infused breakdancing workshops with Nestor Garcia Gonzalez of Amalgabreak, whose moves have wowed audiences from the West End to London Olympics, whilst the Flaming Feathers vintage dance show brought an afternoon of nostalgia to Clevedon bandstand. And regular dance walks by the sea exuded freestyle fun and energy for all.

Circus Around & About is a pilot rural touring project aimed at bringing high quality, small-scale, family friendly circus to village communities in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Somerset from July to September 2021. Funded by Arts Council England, the project is being delivered by a partnership between Somerset-based Take Art and London-based Crying Out Loud.

Fiona Matthews, creative director at Theatre Orchard, said: “Ten Fun Things was all about starting the summer in a joyful way and sharing high quality, free entertainment with people in North Somerset. It was brilliant to be back out in Portishead and Clevedon with live performance and especially to see the pleasure experienced by audiences in the local community.”

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