The Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre were delighted to welcome thousands of people through their doors and into the city centre over Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 July as people from Newport and the surrounding areas came along for the 9th annual Big Splash. The city centre came alive with colour, music and laughter as some of the most exciting performers and groups from across the UK transformed Newport into one giant outdoor stage.
Saturday highlights included the opportunity to paint with Newport’s very own Mr & Mrs Clark, with the giant masterpiece created staying on display in Kingsway Centre throughout the summer holidays. Over in the Friars Walk Zone we saw Dizzy O’Dare bounce about inside a giant lime green balloon, and met a very friendly giant tortoise called Zelda. Usk Plaza also hosted Whimsy, a beautiful dance piece and a hilarious performance of The Last Post.
The Band at the End of the World were a big hit on Saturday afternoon as they performed an energetic, lively and at times poignant set at The Red Wave complete with smoke and firecrackers. The inclusion of Cross Keys Brass Band during the second part of their set really tied into Big Splash’s community feel.
Local young people from Newport Youth Service’s group NP20 showcased their talents in the University of South Wales zone supported by Age Cymru and Sports Wales. There was rapping, dance routines, a beautiful rendition of ‘Shallows’ from A Star is Born, not to mention some beautiful graffiti work. On Sunday, this zone became home to a giant spinning platform and a very talented juggling duo.
Commercial Street became home to the very first Big Splash Busk Zone on Saturday presented by Le Pub, sponsored by Newport NOW in partnership with Horizons / Gorwelion and Forte Project. From a giant golden disco truck, to local band Codewalkers, the acts had people dancing in the street and singing along to the music.
The Riverfront AKA Splashtonbury sponsored by Western Power Distribution was invaded by a giant swarm of happy bees on Saturday, who took great pleasure in meeting the Mayor! The Indonesian Multicultural Zone provided beautiful dancing and Gamalan curated by Jera Creative Agency, and the buzzing Splashtonbury Stage was home to beautiful music and instrumental sounds carrying down the river walkway. On Sunday The Sparklettes kicked things off with their Sister Act inspired hula hooping spectacle Sunday Service, before children from Ringland Primary school paraded through the building showcasing the outfits they had created out of recycled materials. There was also so much to do and make at The Riverfront thanks to workshops, arts and crafts, Active Tots, Flying Start and Baby Rave.
‘The Riverfront, and the Big Splash team would like to thank our funders and supporters, without whom Big Splash wouldn’t be possible. We had an absolutely fantastic weekend, one which we believe was our biggest and best yet! Thank you very much to Newport Live, the Arts Council of Wales, Newport City Council, Friars Walk, Kingsway Centre, Newport NOW, Western Power Distribution, Horizons / Gorwelion, Le Pub, Forte Project, Age Cymru and Sports Wales for your continued support.’ Olivia Harris, Creative Producer.