A Shopping Trip Like No Other…

Over the weekend of Saturday 20 & Sunday 21 July Newport’s The Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre will transform your city centre shopping destinations! Kingsway Centre will be the place to be for fun, laughter and free street entertainment thanks to their continued support and sponsorship of Big Splash as several pop-up and roving performances appear across the Centre over the weekend.

On Saturday, Newport favourites Mr & Mrs Clark will be taking residence in an empty shop unit with their painting and art extravaganza Inviting the Neighbours Around to Paint which was hugely popular at Big Splash 2018. Join them and take part 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. Inviting The Neighbours Around To Paint is an open invitation to everyone to be creative, so put down your shopping bags and make a mark to create an ever-growing piece of unique artwork.

Other acts dropping into Kingsway on Saturday to take your mind off your shopping list will be the Egg People with their Waggle Dance and Joy Magnet’s B-Boys. You might not expect to bump into a swarm of bees while going about your Saturday business, but that’s exactly what happens in Waggle Dance! Don’t worry, they are very friendly; Queen Beeatrix, The Beezey Rider, BayBee, Granny Bee, Scout Bee and Lord Bumbleton the third are just trying to adapt to life outside the hive. The B-Boys will appear to bring out the funk in you as you shop, complete with giant boombox sound system and massive high tops. If you are lucky you may even be let in on their secret handshake…

On Sunday 21, Kingsway will be invaded by a pair of ‘Krilliant pugilistic crustaceans’, Egg People’s the Boxing Crabs! They’ve got the eye of the tiger but are in a bit of a pinch… They’ve stretched their ‘mussels’ but their ‘crabby’ attitude might see one of them getting battered. Join the ‘shrimply crabtivating’ Boxing Crabs as they train for the biggest fight of their lives, being friends with your biggest rival. Also popping up at Kingsway Centre will be Joy Magnet’s Strong Men! These sporting stars with attitude on powerskip stilts will be bouncing around and reaching impressive heights 1m off the ground. Put down those shopping bags and test your endurance against the circus Strongmen.

‘The team at Kingsway Centre are excited for the return of the ever-popular Big Splash festival this year and we are delighted to be sponsors, hosting some amazing performances and acts over the two days. As a free family event the festival always draws a great crowd and our tenants can’t wait to welcome visitors and performers alike.’ Kingsway Centre’s Operations Manager, Colin Rees.

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Western Power Distribution sponsors Family Hub Splashtonbury at this year’s Big Splash!

Thanks to the generous sponsorship of electricity distribution business Western Power Distribution (WPD),  The Riverfront Theatre and Art’s Centre will be transformed into family hub Splashtonbury at the year’s Big Splash festival over the weekend of Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 July!

Considered as a festival-within-a-festival, Splashtonbury features activities for the whole family, from soft play and arts and crafts for the under 5’s with Flying Start and Active Tots, to workshops with Operasonic, to fantastic live music out on the terrace on the Splashtonbury stage. This year this outdoor stage will be taken over by local community artists and groups showcasing their talents in their hometown through the return of Sessions @ The Riverfront!

This year the front of the theatre will be taken over by Mufti Games and their brand new giant boardgame ROMANS! Challenge your inner centurion, play 3000-year-old boardgames and strive for victory in a gladiatorial bout of rock-paper-scissors. Percussion, games and interactive storytelling will be used to recreate the anticipation and excitement of ancient Rome in all its glory!

On Saturday 20, The Riverfront Foyer will become home to Lucie Sheridan and her Rubbish Portrait Booth. Sit in the booth for a maximum of 4 minutes and receive your very own limited edition signed painted portrait… it wont actually be rubbish! On Sunday 21 you will find a live and rolling performance – a current affairs cabaret from Mr & Mrs Clark and Dino Rovaretti as they present The News. The roving reporters will be seeking out any newsworthy stories to present in a way that will make you question whether you really want to know the truth.

The Riverfront Gallery will become home to Big Splash favourites Flossy & Boo for the weekend. You may remember them from last year and their piece Ned and the Whale. This year they bring The Ramshackle’s Brilliant Adventure, a whirlwind theatre adventure following a family of misfits like no other. They missed the talk on how to grow up, on how to sit still, or drink nicely from a cup. Their adventures took them to faraway places, with tangled hair and grubby faces. A trip to Egypt, a picnic on the moon… digging to Australia with a small wooden spoon!

If this wasn’t enough excitement, Splashtonbury sponsored by Western Power distribution will also be visited by a range of roving acts before they make their way into the city centre! Egg People bring a show that is sure to have everyone ‘buzzing’, Waggle Dance which follows a swarm of super friendly bees looking for a new home; a fast change hula hoop show from Interstellar where Wonder Woman attempts to save the world from evil; and Taking Flight’s Anti Fun Ministry will be patrolling and identifying all subcategories of amusement and happiness to stamp out! Deaf artist Jonny Cotsen will be at The Riverfront on Sunday 21 with ‘The Hearing Hearing Aid’ (HHA), which works with creative technology to create an empathetic new piece of work giving the user an opportunity to reflect on how they listen.

The Sparklettes return this year with Sunday Service as The Sisters of Saint Sparkles’ call to prayer, smashes irreverence and fabulous into one almighty hula hooping church service. The Riverfront are thrilled to once again be working with both The Sparklettes and Western Power, a year on from the Hoop Troupe project that resulted in the arts centre’s nomination for an Arts & Business Cymru Award.

WPD’s Karen Welch said: ‘We believe in playing an active role in the communities we serve.  The Big Splash is fine example of our commitment to that. We are delighted to be working in partnership with Newport Live and have been involved with festival for five years.  Each year it goes from strength to strength, it’s hugely successful and we’re more than happy to support it again this year.    

The festival appeals to all ages and initiatives like these are a great way of bringing people together in a fun way within our communities, and we hope everyone will enjoy the festival and have a great time.’

Dancing Dads, Giant Tortoises and The Last Post Letter on Earth: All Coming to Big Splash 2019!

As we enter July preparations are well and truly underway for The Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre’s Big Splash 2019 and the people of Newport are in for a treat! The free family festival will take over the streets of Newport on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 July with acts, groups and music curated exclusively for your enjoyment.

John Frost Square and Usk Plaza become a giant stage for the big, the bonkers and the brilliant as part of Friars Walk Zone sponsored by Newport shopping centre Friars Walk. Here is a sneak peek at some of the very exciting acts that will be entertaining you over the Big Splash weekend.

Whimsy by Krystal Lowe is a beautiful dance-theatre story piece about of a girl who sees beauty in everything around her from the shinning sun to the bright green moss but wonders how she can compare. Through an imaginative adventure she comes to see the beauty in herself.

Music fans won’t want to miss Bootworks Theatre’s The JukeBoxes! Two beautiful 1950’s Jukeboxes sit side-by-side spring to life to re-create classic pop music videos in a lip-syncing musical medley. Using props, masks, puppets and a terrible selection of wigs, the kitsch duo animate some of our favourite celebrity popstars from past and present. Come along and sing and dance along with the show!

What the Tortoise Taught Us by the Flying Buttresses brings the Big Splash life lessons from the wisest creature on the planet, a giant tortoise no less! Meet Zelva, the beautiful giant tortoise. Walk side by side with this awesome reptile, feed her, stroke her and be inspired by a close-up encounter with one of nature’s most shy creatures. Lettuce hope she comes out of her shell!

The Last Post is here! But who is it for? And what is inside? Find out in Kristoffer Hubball’s brand new piece, commissioned by The Riverfront especially for the festival, and be part of history as humanities last ever letter is delivered. Performed by two clowns, The Last Post is a surreal, playful, interactive theatrical experience, exploring what it means to communicate at a time when the world needs friendship the most. All ages will love it!

How about some terrible dancing? Dick Danger will be dancing like no-one is watching….and it’s possible that those who are actually watching may just wish they weren’t in Dad Dancing by Bongo Bolero. There will be juggling, cheesy gags and a precarious chair stack to be conquered!

Friars Walk Zone will also have giant balloon sculptures set to an 80s soundtrack from Dizzy O’Dare and The Giant Balloon Show, a quick change hula hooping extravaganza in Wonder Woman by Interstellar Productions, and youngsters from Newport’s very own cheerleading, dance and performance academy, Defying Gravity, will showcase their talents. This zone certainly has something for everyone!

Simon Pullen, centre director at Friars Walk, said: ‘It’s a real privilege to be working with The Riverfront and Newport Live and sponsoring this wonderful family-festival. Both here at Usk Plaza and up on John Frost Square, Big Splash will be returning even bigger and better to Friars Walk Zone to celebrate the best in art, dance, music and theatre.

The event brings an amazing energy to the city every year and we can’t wait for it to return later this month. Jam-packed full of free events and performances, it’s going to be a weekend to remember for our local community and a great way to kick-start the summer holidays.’

Witness Commercial Street transform into The Big Splash Busk!

There not long to wait now until the streets of Newport are transformed for The Riverfront Theatre & Arts Centre’s two-day extravaganza Big Splash. In an exciting development for 2019, on Saturday 20 July Commercial Street will come alive as musicians, performers and artists from across the city come together to perform as part of a giant busking festival.

The Big Splash Busk will be curated by Newport venue Le Pub and the zone is sponsored by the Newport Now Business Improvement District (BID) in partnership with Horizons / Gorwelion and Forté Project.

From family discos to ukulele bands to singer-songwriters, Commercial street is where the party will be at on Saturday from 12-5pm.  The bottom of Charles Street will be taken over by a truck-based disco, which is guaranteed to get the party started and get you dancing. Other acts not to be missed include Jon Francis Lloyd, Natty Paynter, Francesca’s World Salad, Ginger Mouche and of course the Le Pub Ukelele Band!

The party continues for grown-ups into the evening as Le Pub presents ‘Big Splash After Hours,’ headlined by Newport’s own The Nightmares, and featuring Chroma, Rosehip Teahouse and Codewalkers.

Kevin Ward, Manager of Newport Now BID, comments: ‘This is the third year of the Newport Now Zone, which is aimed at ensuring the Big Splash increases footfall in the traditional areas of the city centre. We work closely with Newport Live to produce something different every year and we’re really excited to be funding the busking festival this year. Le Pub is one of more than 400 BID members in the city centre and it’s great to have Sam and her team on board to curate what we are sure will be a fantastic day of music.’

Samantha Dabb, Venue Manager at Le Pub comments ‘We are absolutely delighted we have been chosen to curate a whole day and night of music for Big Splash. We’ve handpicked every artist and we can’t wait to share them with the people of Newport. We’ve worked closely with Forté Project and The Gorwellian Horizons Project on this and are very excited to showcase their amazing work and artists.’

A Taste of Indonesia Comes to Big Splash!

Over the weekend of the 20 & 21 July the city of Newport will come alive with music, theatre and laughs as The Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre’s Big Splash returns for its 9th year. Over the festival weekend The Riverfront is transformed into Splashtonbury Family Hub with workshops, performances, acoustic stage and make and take activities for all ages. Who needs Glastonbury when you’ve got Splashtonbury! 

To mark the 70th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between the Republic of Indonesia and the United Kingdom, this year The Riverfront will also be hosting an Indonesian Multicultural Zone.

This special event will bring enchanting sounds of the gamelans to The Riverfront with spectacular traditional dancing and the opportunity to learn to play traditional musical instruments. Traditional arts and crafts will be on display and visitors can take part in Batik workshops to create something very special to take home with them. There will be storytelling though puppetry, film and Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian language), and Indonesian food and coffee will be available.

Sally Evans, Arts Development Officer at The Riverfront commented ’This is such a fantastic addition to Big Splash. We are lucky to have been selected to host this international group, who are travelling especially from Indonesia to perform with us.  They will be here for the whole weekend and we are really excited to experience the various arts forms they have to offer.’

It’s been made possible thanks to Jera Creative Agency through the Indonesia Market Focus at the London Book Fair 2019 Fringe Event program, funded by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Indonesia and in collaboration with the Culture Caravan program of The Office of Education and Culture Attache, Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia, London and the Indonesian Student Communities in Bristol and Wales. 

Professor E. Aminudin Aziz from the Education and Culture Attache said ‘This is a great opportunity to strengthen the ties between Indonesia and Wales through educational and cultural activities. We present various kinds of performances to show the richness as well as the uniqueness of our cultures.’

Cynthia Langeveldt from Jera Creative Agency is also extremely pleased once again to curate and celebrate Indonesia’s multicultural creatives. “It has always been my dream to showcase the incredible collaborations we have developed with Indonesia to Wales and thanks to Newport Live, my dream has been realised. This will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of The Big Splash Event as we celebrate Wales and Indonesia’s multicultural wealth.”

Get involved in Big Splash through Festival Makers!

This summer, to get you all in the festival mood Newport’s The Riverfront are running a series of ‘Festival Makers’ workshops in collaboration with Citrus Arts, a South Wales based performance company founded by Welsh artists James and Bridie Doyle-Roberts. Festival Makers aims to get people of all ages into the festival spirit and teach them some fantastic new skills through a series of free workshops in the run up to the Big Splash festival.

The first of these workshops is a Circus Skills Workshop on Sunday 16 June from 10.30am-3.30pm (also Sunday 30 June, 1.30 – 3.30pm and Sunday 14 July, 1.30 – 3.30pm). This workshop enables participants try a range of circus skills from hula hooping to trapezing to tightwire walking. In the workshops there will also be the opportunity to learn some choreography and take part in a special routine over the Big Splash weekend!

There will be a Flag Making Workshop on Tuesday 18 June, 4.00-6.00pm to design and create colourful and vibrant flags inspired by nature that will be on display at The Riverfront over the Big Splash weekend. This workshop will cover basic skills in screen printing, stencil making and sewing.

For those who may be interested in a career in running events or event security there are the Stewarding Training and High Expectations to High Vis workshops.

Stewarding Training (Saturday 22nd June, 9.30am – 4.30pm) is an entry level accredited course which will give you all the skills you need to steward events. This qualification provides the knowledge of how to prepare for events, control entry and exit of customers, identify and deal with crowd problems and respond to emergencies and provide a good level of customer service. Subjects covered include preparation for spectator events, control of spectators at events, assessment of crowds and responses to potential crowd problems and response to injuries, illnesses and other emergencies.

High Expectations to High Vis (Tuesday 25 June from 5.00-8.00pm) is a workshop that looks at planning a public arts event, including the practicalities and possible pitfalls. This session covers case studies of arts festivals and gives understanding the of considerations for audience behaviour, audience expectation and experience, as well as considerations for Health & Safety and risk assessment.

Further Festival Makers workshops include a Willow Art Workshop (Sunday 30 June, 10.30am-12.30pm) allowing participants to create a shooting star or even a galaxy for display at the Big Splash festival, a Screen Printing Workshop (Sunday 14 July, 10.30am-12.30pm) where you can create your own design to be used as festival décor on flags, bunting and banners, and a Combined Willow Art & Screen Printing Workshop (Sunday 7 July, 10.30am-3.30pm).

All Festival Makers workshops will be held at The Riverfront in the run up to Big Splash, and have been made possible thanks to funding from Fusion and Resilient Communities

To book a place on any of the workshops, or for more information please email Sally-Anne Evans on sally-anne.evans@newportlive.co.uk.

Want to perform at Big Splash?

Image credit: Kirsten McTernan

We are currently on the look out for fantastic community groups to perform at Big Splash.

We want to showcase as many groups as possible, and give them the opportunity to perform at one of Wales’ biggest street theatre festivals.

Whether you are a busker, a breakdancer,  singer or stand up, solo performer or part of a group; we want you in our community zone Splashtonbury.

Get in touch with Sally-anne.evans@newportlive.co.uk to register your interest!

Slots go quickly so please get in touch by June 24th

Help us make a Big Splash in Newport this July!

Big Splash is one of Newport’s largest free, family events, run by The Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre thanks to the support of local sponsors and volunteers. This year the festival takes place on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 July and will be jam packed with performances and shows across the city centre, from Friars Walk to Commercial Street to The Riverfront.

In order to make the festival a success once again The Riverfront are looking to recruit a team of enthusiastic and dependable people who can support the festival by volunteering a few hours over the two days. Depending on experience, skills and interests, volunteers will get involved in assisting with performances and set up, stewarding, distributing programmes, collecting audience feedback, helping the public with any queries and making the festival accessible to all.

If you are aged 18 and over, enjoy meeting new people, are confident in talking to the public, are enthusiastic about Big Splash and the arts and are proud and positive about the city of Newport, you are just who The Riverfront are looking for!

If you are interested in donning a Big Splash yellow t-shirt this summer (that you can keep!) and being part of bringing this fun and exciting event to the streets of Newport, you can find more information and an application form on the Big Splash website https://bigsplashnewport.com/whats-on/volunteer/. Alternatively pop into The Riverfront for a chat with a member of the team. Applications must be submitted by Sunday 23 June. Full training will be provided for successful applicants prior to the festival.

Sblash Mawr yn dychwelyd i Gasnewydd dros yr haf!

Bydd yr ŵyl theatr stryd awyr agored boblogaidd i deuluoedd, Sblash Mawr, unwaith eto’n dychwelyd i strydoedd Casnewydd ym mis Gorffennaf i syfrdanu, difyrru a diddanu pobl leol ac ymwelwyr o’r cyffiniau! Yn un o’r gwyliau am ddim mwyaf o’i bath yng Nghymru, bydd y Sblash Mawr a drefnir gan Glan yr Afon yn meddiannu canol y ddinas o ddydd Sadwrn 20 tan dydd Sul 21 Gorffennaf 2019 ar gyfer penwythnos llawn digwyddiadau a pherfformiadau am ddim i deuluoedd a phlant mawr.

Gyda chymorth ariannol gan Casnewydd Fyw a Chyngor Celfyddydau Cymru yn ogystal â nawdd gan Friars Walk, Canolfan Ffordd y Brenin, Newport Now a Western Power Distribution, bydd y Sblash Mawr yn difyrru miloedd o bobl gyda theatr stryd a cherddoriaeth fyw yn ogystal â gweithgareddau i’r teulu cyfan, a’r cyfan am ddim.

Mae Ardal Gwella Busnes Newport Now yn noddi’r Sblash Mawr am y drydedd flwyddyn yn olynol gyda pharth yn Commercial Street a’r Stryd Fawr, gan sicrhau bod yr ŵyl yn cynnwys ardaloedd siopa traddodiadol  canol y ddinas.

Meddai Kevin Ward, rheolwr yr AGB, ‘Rydym wrth ein boddau o fod yn rhan o’r Sblash Mawr eto. Mae wedi dod yn un o’r prif ddigwyddiadau yng nghalendr canol y ddinas ac yn denu cwsmeriaid mawr eu hangen i’r Ardal Gwella Busnes i wylio’r perfformiadau stryd penigamp.’

Meddai Simon Pullen, Cyfarwyddwr Canolfan Friars Walk, ‘Rydym wrth ein boddau o fod yn rhan o’r Sblash Mawr unwaith eto – bydd Parth Friars Walk yn dychwelyd gyda theatr stryd fywiog a hwyl i’r teulu cyfan. Mae’n bleser mawr i fod yn rhan o ddigwyddiad mor arbennig sy’n ychwanegu egni rhyfeddol at ganol y ddinas.’

Bydd perfformiadau unwaith eto yn ymddangos mewn chwe pharth Sblash Mawr, gan droi canol y ddinas yn un llwyfan awyr agored fawr. Rhai uchafbwyntiau o’r ŵyl y llynedd oedd perfformiadau gan ffefrynnau Casnewydd, Mr a Mrs Clark, y perfformwyr theatr stryd Le Navet Bete, y band samba Barracwda a’r cwmni theatr Flossy and Boo. Mae’r fflachgriw cylchynnau hwla ‘Hoop Troop’, a gynhaliwyd ar ddydd Sadwrn yr ŵyl y llynedd ar y cyd â Western Power, ynghyd â The Sparklettes hefyd newydd eu henwebu ar gyfer Gwobr Celfyddydau a Busnes Cymru!

Disgwylir i Sblash Mawr 2019 fod yn fwy ac yn well nag erioed, gyda mwy o berfformwyr syrcas, comedi colbio, theatr stryd a pherfformiadau ar gerdded sy’n adloniant perffaith i deuluoedd! Y llynedd daeth mwy na 24,500 o ymwelwyr i’r ŵyl ac mae trefnwyr yr ŵyl yn hyderus y bydd rhaglen eleni yn denu, yn difyrru ac yn gwefreiddio hyd yn oed mwy o bobl yng nghanol Casnewydd.

 ‘Yng ngŵyl y Sblash Mawr y llynedd, meddiannwyd dinas Casnewydd am un penwythnos yn unig gan forfilod anferth, ungyrn ar feiciau un olwyn a changarŵs neidiol ymhlith rhyfeddodau eraill. Eleni gall pobl ddisgwyl i hyd yn oed mwy o gymeriadau anhygoel feddiannu strydoedd y ddinas, yn ogystal â rhai syrpeisys wrth gwrs!’ Olivia Harris, Cynhyrchydd Creadigol Theatr a Chanolfan Gelfyddydau Glan-yr-Afon a’r Sblash Mawr.

Gallwch gael yr wybodaeth ddiweddaraf am yr ŵyl ar y cyfryngau cymdeithasol – Twitter @BigSplashFest a Facebook,  facebook.com/bigsplashnewport – lle caiff y perfformwyr cyntaf eu cyhoeddi yn fuan iawn!

The Big Splash Returns!

Much-loved outdoor family street theatre festival Big Splash will once again return to the streets of Newport this July to amaze, amuse and entertain local people and visitors from the surrounding areas! As one of the biggest free festivals of its kind in Wales, Big Splash organised by The Riverfront will be taking over the city centre from Saturday 20 to Sunday 21 July 2019 for a weekend jam-packed with free events and performances for families and big kids.

Thanks to funding from Newport Live and the Arts Council of Wales as well as sponsorship from Friars Walk, Kingsway Centre, Newport Now and Western Power Distribution, Big Splash is set to entertain thousands of people with free live street theatre, music and activities for all the family.

The Newport Now Business Improvement District (BID) is sponsoring Big Splash for the third successive year with a zone in Commercial Street and High Street, ensuring the festival includes the traditional shopping areas of the city centre.

BID manager Kevin Ward said: ‘We’re delighted to be involved with the Big Splash again. It has become one of the key events in the city centre calendar and brings much-needed footfall into the BID area to watch the fantastic street performances.’

Friars Walk Centre Director, Simon Pullen, said: ‘We’re really pleased to be involved with Big Splash once again – the Friars Walk Zone will be returning featuring vibrant street theatre and hands-on fun for all the family. It’s a real pleasure to be involved in such an amazing event which adds a wonderful energy to the city centre.’

Performances will once again pop up in six Big Splash zones, turning the city centre into one large outdoor stage. Highlights from last year’s festival included performances from Newport favourites Mr & Mrs Clark, street theatre act Le Navet Bete, samba band Barracwda and theatre company Flossy and Boo. Hula Hoop flash mob ‘Hoop Troupe’ which took place on the Saturday of last year’s festival in collaboration with Western Power and The Sparklettes has also just been nominated for an Arts & Business Cymru Award!

Big Splash 2019 is expected to be bigger and better than ever, with more circus, slapstick, street theatre and walkabout performances perfect for family entertainment! Last year visitors to the festival exceeded 24,500, and the festival’s organisers are confident that this year’s programme will attract, entertain and delight even more people in the heart of Newport.

‘Last year’s Big Splash Festival saw the city of Newport taken over for one weekend only by giant whales, unicycling unicorns and bouncing kangaroos to name but a few. This year people can expect even more crazy characters taking over the streets of the city, and a few surprises of course!’ Olivia Harris, Creative Producer for The Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre and Big Splash.

To stay updated with Big Splash 2019, keep an eye on social media, Twitter @BigSplashFest and Facebook facebook.com/bigsplashnewport; the first act announcements will be made very soon!