Newport's free family street theatre festival Big Splash returns for 2022!

Join us on Saturday 23 & Sunday 24 July for a weekend jam-packed with free activity for all ages including theatre, music, workshops and arts and crafts.

Watch in amazement as the familiar city centre streets are transformed into a huge outdoor stage with dare-devil performances, immersive experiences and plenty of laughs popping up where you least expect them!

For all the latest updates, and to share your Big Splash stories and memories with us, check out our Facebook and Twitter pages. We will also be posting lots of exciting content on The Riverfront’s Instagram.

 

Interested in volunteering at Big Splash? Find out more!

 

 

2022 Acts

We are thrilled to announce that the following acts will be joining us for Big Splash 2022! We will be updating this list frequently so please keep checking back.

Able Mable

Lady in orange sequin outfit with yellow feathered  headress

Able Mable is a showgirl with a flare for the dramatic and the ridiculous. Mable attempts to escape from handcuffs and looses half her costume in the process. She wields a whip wildly as she attempts to pop a balloon, accidentally magics things away and uses tape to fix her props whilst tangling herself and her volunteer up in it.   

Barracwda

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Barracwda samba percussion is a powerhouse of rhythm and pulsating beats, delivered with playful energy and their unique brand of sparkle.  Be ready to be hit by a wall of sound; funk, D&B and samba reggae, it’s hard not to move along in time!

Books!

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Books! is a high energy show featuring acrobatics, fire-juggling, eccentric absurdity, terrible puns and, of course, books. 

Books! revels in a weird and wonderful celebration of stories; inviting audiences to become protagonists, or perhaps even authors, of their own narratives.

Presented by four bedraggled book enthusiasts, traveling from town to town – forced between the margins – on a mission to protect literature. Sadly, their strange little book club is down to its last four members (largely due to their dangerously immersive reading habits) and it is vital for them to recruit more radical reading enthusiasts to support their wordy worthy cause.

Without new members, the book club might close for good! Libraries, along with their precious volumes, may disappear forever! These hardback heroes can’t let such a tragic epilogue come to pass. But they need help.

Ceri-Ann Arian!

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Presented by Kitsch & Sync Collective and Teifi

Introducing ‘Ceri-Ann Arian’ our outrageous TV host! 

Welcome to the world of tacky shopping channels, gameshows and overpriced products… move over Dale Winton, there’s a new Discount Queen in town!

A highly interactive, comedy, musical theatre extravaganza performed in Welsh and BSL, exploring the Pink Tax ’phenomenon’, Consumerism and Gender in true Musical Theatre fashion!

A collaboration between Kitsch & Sync Collective and bilingual singer-songwriter, music producer and theatre performer Teifi.

An ‘OpenOut2022’ commission by Wales Outdoor Arts Commissioning Consortium and Articulture. Supported by the Arts Council of Wales, Welsh Government and the National Lottery.

Dandyism

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Choreographer Patrick Ziza’s dance explores African Dandyism as a celebration of style and cool as well as a concern for humanism, gender and identity in our increasingly divided society.

Dandyism is centuries old.  For the original African Dandies, it represented male empowerment and post-colonial freedom.

African Dandies appropriated the flamboyance of the 18th Century English & French gentlemen in defiance against slavery, referred to by some as a resistance movement.  By the 1960s it had become a phenomenon, a way to preserve a legacy of African culture. In “Dandyism” Patrick Ziza reminds us of the influence African culture continues to have, and encourages us all to dress sharp and present our best selves.

Dave's Cone Show

Man in overalls balancing traffic cones on his chin

You're in safe hands! Our very own handyman Dave will be on hand to keep things running smoothly. He'll find squeeks in the floor & cone them off safely, maybe do a magic trick while he waits, Juggle plungers, Balance traffic cones on his face. But after all this he should probably get some actual work done...or maybe it's time for a tea break?"    

Defying Gravity Academy

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Students from Defying Gravity Academy will be performing fun, family friendly entertainment, expect to see performances from our 3 year olds to our teenagers. 

There will be lyrical and Jazz dances as well as impressive cheerleading and tumbling routines.

Dwndwr y Dŵr

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Presented by BACA & Rhiannon Mair

BACA (Butetown Arts & Culture Association) are inviting the whole of Wales to take part in the iconic Butetown Carnival!

A short performance leading into a Carnival procession.

Drawing on magical motifs and folk memories from Wales and around the world to bring you a story about desires, choices and consequences. With Carnival costume, music and dance, BACA explores themes around migration and displacement, those left at home and those in limbo.

Made by June Campbell-Davies and Keith Murrell of BACA, in collaboration with Rhiannon Mair.

An ‘OpenOut2022’ commission by Wales Outdoor Arts Consortium (WOAC) and Articulture. Supported by the Arts Council of Wales, Welsh Government and the National Lottery.

Falconry Dismay

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Showcasing the extraordinary talents of three majestic birds of prey and their expert handler, you will belly laugh through the raucous ride that is Falconry Dismay. Anarchic, wild and….educational? 

From Class to Glass: Matt Barnard

Man in red top hat

Matt Barnard has performed across the world as a compere, actor, musician, singer and in his unique one man show.

Matt has appeared on TV shows, at comedy clubs, variety cabarets and at street theatre festivals across Europe. Thousands have watched his shows across Canada, Australia and the UK.

Matt Barnard was the resident compere of the cult Sensation Seekers Stage at the Glastonbury Festival and in one of London’s oldest variety shows in the West End. As well as this, he has performed his unique act at the famous London Palladium. He also appeared in the Hollywood movie Mrs Henderson Presents in which he performed the famous sand-dance.

He has won awards for his solo show including Best Solo Act at the Feldkircher Gaukler Theatre Festival in Austria. Additionally, he has also won UK Street Performer of the Year!

G-Expressions

G-Expressions young people dancing

G-Expressions will be dancing in the streets at this years Big Splash 2022. As they have a line up of entertainment from their Cast of "Urban School of Arts", an original theatre production which will take to the stage for the first time in February 2023. 

Urban School of Arts follows the journey of a group of young people who attend a performing arts school to chase their dreams whilst overcoming obstacles. 

At Big Splash you will get to see some of the main Cast perform some sketches, dance routines and sing some songs.

We also have our GX Mentors showcasing how they have developed through the organisation by gaining their dance leaders level 1& 2 qualifications and teaching within their communities, we will have demonstrations from the young people they have been teaching. 

Including a group from the Roma community who have been involved with both GX and Operasonic and our dance tutors have been delivering dance sessions to help them gain confidence and upkill. Gypsy Stars Choir is a music project celebrating Roma culture in Newport. It brings together Roma children and families from across Newport to sing and dance, and is a collaboration between Operasonic, Maindee Primary School, Lliswerry High School and G-Expressions.

Finally as part of GX's partnership with their brother organisation Urban Circle we will be promoting the Reggae & Riddim Festival which takes place at Tredegar House Newport, July 30th and 31st 2022. 

In amongst all the creativity we have our GX members displaying their talents and joining in the fun! 

Great Insect Games

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Flex your muscles and practise your lunges, it's time for the Great Insect Games!  

Hosted by our gym junkie grasshoppers you can take part in the hare brained events. Who will win at synchronised swimming, the spider or the slug?! And how will the butterfly fare at weightlifting?! How does a snail wear boxing gloves?  

Join us for the gloriously bug infested opening ceremony and sing along to the Insect National Anthem at this fun packed show for all the family.

Grumpy Unicorns

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Presented by Hijinx Theatre.

As beautiful as moonlight, Unicorns hold a special place in our collective imaginations. And it turns out they are real! But they’ve got beef.  

“We’re Unicorns, get over it. We know what you want: to pet us and take pictures and use our magic. But we have had enough! Just leave us alone.”  

Grumpy Unicorns is what it says on the tin; the magic of discovering unicorns are in fact real (!), and humanity’s consequence for failing to take them seriously. 

HATCH Youth Theatre: The Spontaneousness

The Spontaneousness is a show know one will know is happening!

Taking inspiration from Flash Mobbing, Tin Shed’s Youth Theatre HATCH have created a spontaneous burst of performance energy that will appear across the Big Splash festival site as a moment of dance, comedy, physical theatre and song!

The young people are using their mad capped imaginations to create a brand new bit of work with one aim in mind; to create confusion and joy.

Hippochondriac

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Part animal and part mechanical, Hieronymus the hippo is feeling under the weather. Fortunately, his companion doctor/mechanic is only too eager to show you what’s under the bonnet to diagnose the problem. What follows is an array of puppet shows built into the troubled creature revealing the origin of his malaise.

Honeymoon Balloon

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Gary and Pel have two tickets to paradise and are about to embark on their first ever luxury hot air balloon vacation. What could possibly go wrong for the King and Queen of the skies? Binoculars at the ready as this cartoon couple take fiasco to a whole new height.

A 20 minute live-action cartoon escapade for all ages to enjoy; featuring bear traps, sandbags and red carpet reveals plus our very own 12ft hot air balloon, A jam packed slapstick circus comedy adventure for all . 

HOOF

three people dressed as deer

Presented by Theatr Iolo.

Three little deer make an unexpected discovery when they stumble across an old, abandoned theatre in the woods. Investigating their new find, this cheeky trio quickly find themselves in the spotlight and treading the boards for the very first time!

Will the toe-tapping friends be able to bring the long-forgotten theatre back to life? Or will the lights be turned off forever? 

How to Defeat Monsters (and Get Away With It)

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Presented by Flossy & Boo.

When you hear a creaking from the attic stair. And something stirs in corners unlit. When an old battered sign says ‘turn back, beware!’ Its time to learn How to Defeat Monsters (and Get Away With It).

Inviting The Neighbours Around To Paint

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Presented by Das Clark's.

Das Clark’s 'Inviting The Neighbours Around To Paint' brings people together through the simple task of drawing, mark making and painting.

It is a liberating space to simply indulge in a spot of creative doodling or profound painting. The blank walls are a sounding board for ideas, shapes, colour, discussion, and most importantly- expression. It is a way of framing our collective creativity in a simple and bold way. Inviting The Neighbours Around To Paint is an open invitation to everyone to be creative. Put down your shopping bags, let go of those everyday stresses and make a mark to create an ever-growing piece of unique artwork.

Ladies of Rage Takeover

Lady DJing

Ladies Of Rage are champions of black, electronic and under-represented music in Cardiff and beyond, with a collective of over 500 members LOR have performed as part of 6 Music Festival, Focus Wales, Green Man Festival and more.

For the last four years LOR have supported and elevated women and marginalised genders in a male dominated industry. They encourage all genres from DJs to MCs, vocalists and singer-songwriters, spoken word artists and everything that fits in-between to come along to their safeguarded jams, events and workshops.

LOR is a network on a mission to create safe and equal spaces for women and marginalised genders.

The LOR stage at The Big Splash will do just that by programming some incredible music artists for their stage takeover - the first they have done in Newport! And they’ll raise the roof too. Expect multiple performances and music genres.

This event will be family friendly until 9pm.

Loudest Silent Show Ever!

Man on unicycle juggling

The loudest silent show you may ever see. A delightful mix of high energy, cartoon-esque physical comedy and circus stunts. All set to a jazzy electro swing sound track! Using his amazing hand and eye coordination and over the top facials, Corey takes you on a not-so-silent journey with slick skills and sensational silliness, finishing on top of a giant unicycle.

Pete Anderson's Unstable Acts

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Pete Anderson is a 'Danger Comedian' and juggler, one of Covent Garden's finest street performers. His signature move is scaling a 10ft freestanding ladder, backwards, in a kilt.

Roo'd

Two people dressed as giant kangaroos

Giant kangaroos on amazing bouncing stilts? That’s Roo’d! Jumping a metre off the ground and 2 metres in a bound, they’re a phenomenal sight with their cheeky blend of outback macho and inner city punk savvy — always Roo'd but never offensive.

Seed

Man in dungarees fighting giant slug

A surprising and inspiring hitch-hike on the journey from small acorns to great oaks with a rockabilly tree-planting anarcho-nomad.  Join Wilford, planting trees where he shouldn’t, living in his shed and on the run from his past and his arch-enemies, SLUGS, who are out to get him for his contraband seeds.

Speed Painter

Man sitting covered in paint

High Skill Speed Painting, Deadpan Silent Comedy, Ramshackle Chain Reaction Machines... Jon has many sides, most of them unspoken.

Still.. Just the warm up

Jugglers on a stage

Still... Just the warm up stars Natasha McGhie and Corey Pickett. Jugglers from other sides of the world, coming together to create a circus street show full of silly banter and spectacular tricks. Passing 6 clubs around 4 volunteers is just the beginning of a finale that you will never see again. Passing on top of a giant trapeze rig held up by the volunteer’s and a giant unicycle that just wont stay still. But first, this dynamic duo is going show off their dexterity and silliness with acrobatics and synchronised Dancing.

The Curious Case of Aberlliw

black and white photo of 5 people in hats and trench coats

Presented by Taking Flight Theatre Co.

The Department of Strange Events: The Curious Case of Aberlliw 

Calling all detectives, discoverers and those who dare to dream!   

Welcome to the Department of Strange Events. As a new recruit, you are thrown in the deep end with the troubling news that a small town in Wales is suffering from a catastrophic, complete loss of colour! One year ago something stole all the colour and nothing has been the same since. Can you help us solve the Curious Case of Aberlliw? 

If you can help the townsfolk bring the colours back to Aberlliw, promotion and a permanent position within the Department are on the cards for sure! 

You will receive live updates from Aberlliw and tasks to complete via an app as you journey around the park. You can complete your trail in English or Welsh. 

Good luck Agent – and remember the world is watching. 

The Felicity Footloose Show

Lady in red hanging from tightrope

The Felicity Footloose Show is full of fun frolics and daredevil antics! 

Felicity footloose lives in the 80’s and just wants to dance. Watch as she juggles, dances and performs daredevil acrobatics to try and impress her hero Johny. She’ll even go as far as to hang from her toes and juggle knives hanging upside down.

It is a fun 35 minute street show wrapped up in a comedy package and all of that to a fabulous 80’s sound track!

The Pigeons

Two people dressed as giant pigeons

Eternally curious, Mr & Mrs Pigeon investigate everything they come across by pecking and scratching. They also express their love for each other in true pigeon style with much strutting and feather ruffling.

These great big puppets have captured the comedy of our most common city birds in wonderful detail.  Watch out though, the Pigeons have been known to leave a little 'gift' behind them.  They are especially popular with children who will happily follow them wherever they go, whilst the adults cannot fail to laugh at their outrageous behaviour.

Travellers Delight

A couple carrying suitcases next to an escalator

Have you seen a Hot Air Balloon? Are we in Costa Rica? Help The lost duo find their Honeymoon Balloon in this interactive snapshot travellers guide.

What Happens Next?

Presented by Justin Teddy Cliffe.

What Happens Next is a weird, wonderful and wild improvised theatre show for kids!

Taking on the audiences ideas the actors create a brand new fairy tale story that uses live-drawing, music, action, dance, puppetry, and story telling to craft a 40min unexpected story for young people!

It’s something like a theatre show, mixed with a workshop, mixed with a party, that creates a joy ride through chaos in search of the perfect story!

Why Are Pirates Called Pirates?

Presented by Justin Teddy Cliffe.

Look out… there’s PIRATES about! The Captain and his right hand man Muggsley have lost their ship somewhere in the Usk! As the sun is setting it’s looking less and less like they’ll find it.

However, you can help! Guide the Captain and his crew (including Polly The Puppet Parrot) back to the wreck of their ship in the hopes they may sail the seven seas again, or otherwise stay here in Newport.

 

2022 Zones

Explore what is taking place at each of our zones over the Big Splash weekend.

The Riverfront Zone

Find out More

The River Walkway Zone

Find out More

University of South Wales Zone

Find out More

John Frost Square & Usk Plaza Zone

Find out More

Commercial Street Zone

Find out More

Accessibility

  • All areas of the festival and performances are accessible to wheelchair users.
  • Disabled parking is available at Friar’s Walk and Kingway car parks
  • An audio programme for the festival weekend will be available soon
  • The festival includes BSL interpreted performances. The information point will also be manned by our British Sign Language interpreter at certain times.
  • Large print timetables will be available at The Riverfront Box Office and at the Information Point.
  • The Riverfront Box Office has a hearing loop for use by people with hearing aids.
  • The Riverfront Theatre will include a Calm Area; a quiet space you can retreat to if you need some time for a moment of calm. For people on the autism spectrum or anyone who may need a break away from the festival.
  • If you want to discuss anything else about your visit please contact the team on 01633 656679 or email [email protected].

 

2022 Funders, Sponsors & Partners

A huge thank you to our funders, sponsors and partners for helping make Big Splash 2022 possible:

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