Initiative to use street art to boost visitors and civic pride

Compagnie Bilbobasso will perform on the Stade
Compagnie Bilbobasso will perform on the Stade

Hastings Borough Council is one of 12 partners who have banded together as The Coasters Touring Network – pooling resources, experience and expertise to create a national network that spans the UK coastline.

Coasters aims to support the cultural economies of English seaside towns, increasing resident and visitor audiences by touring world class circus and street arts shows. It is building on the traditional British seaside’s reputation as a location for relaxation and fun with a great tradition of family entertainment.

This year the Coasters partners have selected a top-notch line-up of spectacular circus and outdoor arts companies and for three weeks in August, Stade Saturdays free performances will all be Coasters supported shows. On August 12, 19 and 26, Sur Message from Belgium, Cirque du Platzak from Holland and French Compagnie Bilbobasso will be enthralling audiences at the Stade Open Space.

Fillage by Sur Mesure is a thrilling but gently surreal mix of southern swing and trampoline, while Cirque du Platzak’s Kermiz is a darkly-comic circus adventure for all the family, combining rousing eastern European folk music with traditional and contemporary circus technique. Compagnie Bilbobasso’s Polar brings a heady mix of dance and fire. Thriller meets silent film and street theatre in an emotional show that recreates the lively but sinister atmosphere of a Buenos Aires cabaret.

Councillor Kim Forward, Hastings Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Culture, said: “Coasters is very important in bringing street performance from all over the UK and Europe to Hastings, providing high quality entertainment for families and young people, and being part of the summer package which brings new and returning visitors to town.”

Initially a three-year project, led by Great Yarmouth’s SeaChange Arts and supported by Arts Council England, Coasters was set up to encourage more people to visit seaside towns and participate in shared cultural experiences.

Using high quality cultural activity and entertainment it seeks to attract visitors, enhance the sense of pride and place of local people and boost the local economy.

Each of the partners already run successful events and festivals in their regions and Coasters enhances those through the inclusion of jointly-selected touring shows inspired by coastal locations and relevant to local audiences.