Go with the artistic flow: Coastal Currents 2013 launches this weekend

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A WEEKEND of spectacular and surprising outdoor performances, exhibitions and events marks the beginning of this year’s Coastal Currents Arts Festival.

Organised by Creative Coast and Home Live Art on behalf of Hastings Borough Council, it all starts tomorrow (Saturday), and for the next two weeks, Hastings, St Leonards, Bexhill and surrounding areas will come alive with a dynamic, playful and interactive programme of art and performance.

As The World Tipped. Photograph by Mark Mcnulty

As The World Tipped. Photograph by Mark Mcnulty

Named one of the ‘Best art festivals in the UK’ by Artists and Illustrators Magazine 2013 alongside the Edinburgh Art Festival, Henley Festival and Brighton Fringe, Coastal Currents, now in its 14th year, has come a long way from small beginnings.

Jane Greenfield, one of the festival organisers, said: “This is the 14th year of the festival. Originally it started as a platform for local visual artists to present their work and open their studios.

“It has developed over the years and encompasses more outdoor work and live events.

“The festival still has a bedrock of open studios around the area but we have a number of events coming in across the festival and a curated programme with a more visual, live emphasis.

“It’s about trying to introduce new work into Hastings that people may not have seen before; something maybe a bit risky and experimental.

“But the big thing this year was we wanted it to be participatory and socially engaging.”

Find and interact with the charmingly quirky artist duo Hunt & Darton, in Hastings Old Town from 11am to 12.30pm or St Leonards from 1.30pm to 2.30pm, the festival’s very own public information service.

On both Saturday and Sunday (September 21 and 22) at noon and 4pm an outdoor performance Bodies in Urban Spaces by Austrian choreographer Willi Dorner will see 21 super-fit, super-flexible volunteers perform a moving, running, dancing, parkour spectacle, created especially for Hastings town centre.

Participants will be squeezed into the most unlikely nooks and crannies of urban and street architecture, creating a fast moving, sculptural trail of human bodies, starting at Priory Meadow Shopping Centre.

In what promises to be a breath-taking show of a scale rarely seen before at The Stade open Space, As The World Tipped is brought to town by Wired Aerial Theatre.

Part of the Coastal Currents and Stade Saturdays programmes, the performance on Saturday. September 21, at 7.30pm, is a coup for Hastings and tells a tale of ecological crisis using film, visuals, and epic aerial performances.

At the Secretariat of the Copenhagen Climate Change conference, harassed staff fail to notice as the world around them literally and metaphorically, slides toward disaster.

Written and directed by Nigel Jamieson one of the World’s leading creators of outdoor spectacle (Sydney Olympics, Liverpool Capital of Culture), the show promises a great view to audience members wherever they may be standing.

Admission is free.

The Coastal Currents shipping containers located at the Swan Boating Lake in the Old Town will be transformed into an intimate cinema space for the day on Sunday.

The Pop-Up Cinema Screening Day will feature short films by a wide range of film-makers including local talent Rebecca Marshall, Nichola Bruce, Ben Browton and Toby Tatum.

Kicking off at 2.30pm with the premiere of Charlotte Spencer’s Cycling Stories - The Documentary and running through to the last film at 7.15pm, Tereza Buskova’s Baked Woman of Doubice, visitors are encouraged to drop in throughout the day. Oliver Crowther’s exhibition Guardians of The Stade, will be at Stade Hall from today (Friday) until September 29.

Through his portraits of the Hastings fishermen, he aims to explore social groups and challenge stereotypes.

Lyndall Phelps’ exhibition Rope will be at the Coastal Currents shipping containers from Saturday until September 25.

Another highlight of the opening weekend of the festival is Hastings Hullabaloo at St Mary in the Castle, a free event from noon with music, storytelling, tours, and an evening barn dance, the largest happening ever to take place at the seafront venue.

The Open Studios return this weekend (September 22/23) and next (September 28/29).

Throughout the weekends, members of the public can visit artists’ workplaces across a wide area stretching from the east of Hastings including a shed at Fairlight and Tim Riddihough’s sculpture garden at Pett Level, to Caravan C26 at Rye Caravan Park right through Hastings and St Leonards to three studios in Bexhill.

Meet the artists and view, purchase or commission a range of original artworks.

Hub will be leading a free cycle tour of selected Open Studios on Sunday, September 22, meeting at Hastings Pier at noon to ride to the studios in Bexhill, returning via St Leonards. No booking necessary.

For full details pick up a programme or visit www.coastalcurrents.org.uk.