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; the first act announcements will be made very soon!

Theatr Glan yr Afon yn cael ei henwebu am wobr yn sgil ei gwaith gyda Gŵyl y Sblash Fawr.

Roedd Theatr a Chanolfan Celfyddydau Glan yr Afon wrth ei bodd o ddysgu yr wythnos diwethaf ei bod wedi cael ei henwebu ar gyfer Gwobr Celfyddydau, Busnes a Hunaniaeth Brand a noddir gan Hern & Crabtree yng Ngwobrau Celfyddydau a Busnes Cymru 2019. Mae’r Gwobrau hyn, sydd wedi cael eu cynnal am dros chwarter canrif, yn annog, yn cydnabod ac yn dathlu partneriaethau rhagorol rhwng y sector preifat a’r celfyddydau.

Cafodd Theatr Glan yr Afon ei henwebu yn sgil ei phartneriaeth â Western Power Distribution (WPD) ar gyfer Gŵyl y Sblash Fawr, sef gŵyl theatr stryd a chelfyddydau awyr agored am ddim boblogaidd iawn Casnewydd, a ddenodd tua 24,000 o bobl i’r ddinas yn 2018. Creodd y bartneriaeth ‘Hoop Troupe’ a roddodd gyfle i bobl hŷn ddod ynghyd i gymdeithasu, cael hwyl a dysgu sgiliau newydd drwy amrywiaeth o weithdai a gafodd eu cynnal yn Theatr Glan yr Afon cyn y Sblash Fawr.

Gweithiodd y project gyda grwpiau cymunedol i fenywod lleol, gan gynnwys Age Cymru Gwent, Age Alive a Coffee & Laughs, a gafodd ei arwain gan ymarferydd proffesiynol cylchau hwla a’r syrcas lleol. Arweiniodd hyn at ‘fflachdorf’ o gylchau hwla ar fore Sadwrn 21 Gorffennaf 2018, lle cafwyd arddangosiad o sgiliau newydd y grŵp.

Roedd y project hwn, a gychwynnodd i hyrwyddo cynhwysiant cymdeithasol drwy gymryd rhan mewn gweithgaredd cynhwysol llawn hwyl, yn llwyddiant ysgubol gyda thros 120 o bobl yn cymryd rhan yn y Hoop Troupe drwy gydol oes y project. Yn dilyn rhaglen o weithdai wythnosol llwyddiannus yn Theatr Glan yr Afon, cymerodd dros 50 o bobl ran yn fflachdorf y Sblash Fawr, cyn gwahodd pobl o bob oedran a oedd yn eu gwylio yn y dorf i ymuno â’r hwyl.

Ar ôl cael gwybod am yr enwebiad, dywedodd Olivia Harris, Cynhyrchydd Creadigol, ‘Rydym wrth ein bodd bod y project Hoop Troupe wedi cael ei gynnwys ar y rhestr fer am wobr Celfyddydau a Busnes, i gydnabod gwaith ein cymuned gyda WPD, sy’n gefnogwyr y Sblash Fawr ers tro ac yn gyfaill Casnewydd Fyw. Llwyddodd y project i ddod â phobl hŷn ynghyd o bob rhan o’r ddinas, a dysgu sgil corfforol newydd iddynt mewn modd hwyl a chymdeithasol, gan greu cyfle cyffrous i berfformio hefyd. Ni fyddai projectau fel hyn yn bosibl heb gymorth WPD, ac rydym yn falch iawn bod y bartneriaeth hon wedi cael ei chydnabod.’

Dywedodd Karen Welch, Swyddog Cyfathrebu Corfforaethol WPD, ‘Rydym yn credu ei bod hi’n gyfrifoldeb ar sefydliadau mawr fel ein sefydliad ni i chwarae rhan lawn a rhagweithiol yn y cymunedau maent yn eu gwasanaethu. Rydym wrth ein boddau o gael gweithio mewn partneriaeth â Chasnewydd Fyw.  Rydym yn ymrwymedig i gefnogi amrywiaeth o brojectau, yn enwedig y rhai sy’n ymwneud ag addysg, diogelwch a’r amgylchedd. Rydym yn falch iawn o gael ein henwebu, ac mae hi bob amser yn dda cael cydnabyddiaeth fel hyn.’

Bydd Glan yr Afon yn darganfod a ydyw wedi bod yn fuddugol mewn seremoni gwobrwyo yng Nghanolfan Mileniwm Cymru, ddydd Iau 11 Gorffennaf.

The Riverfront Receives Award Nomination for Big Splash Festival Work

The Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre were delighted to discover last week that they had been nominated for the Arts, Business & Brand Identity Award sponsored by Hern & Crabtree in the 2019 A&B Cymru Awards. The Awards, which have been running for over a quarter of a century, encourage, acknowledge and celebrate exemplary partnerships between the private sector and the arts.

The Riverfront received their nomination for their partnership with Western Power Distribution (WPD) for the Big Splash Festival, Newport’s much loved free outdoor arts and street theatre festival which in 2018 brought around 24,000 people into the city. The partnership created ‘Hoop Troupe,’ an opportunity for older people to come together to socialise, have fun and learn new skills through numerous workshops which took place at the Riverfront leading up to the Big Splash.

The project worked with local women’s community groups including Age Cymru Gwent, Age Alive and Coffee & Laughs, which was led by a local professional hula hoop and circus practitioner. This culminated in a hoop ‘flash mob’ on the morning of Saturday 21st July 2018 where the group showcased their new skills.

Started as a project to promote social inclusion through participation in a fun and inclusive activity, the project was a massive success with the Hoop Troupe seeing over 120 participate throughout the life of the project. Following a successful weekly workshop programme at The Riverfront, over 50 people took part in the Big Splash flash mob, before people of all ages watching in the crowd were invited to join them and join the fun.

After learning of the nomination, Olivia Harris, Creative Producersaid ‘We are delighted that the Hoop Troupe project has been shortlisted for an Arts & Business award, in recognition of our community work with WPD,  a long-standing supporter of The Big Splash and friend of Newport Live. The project successfully brought older people together from across the city, taught them a new physical skill in a fun and social way and created an exciting performance opportunity too. Projects like this couldn’t happen without the support of WPD, and we are thrilled that this collaboration has been recognised.’

WPD’s Corporate Communications Officer Karen Welch said ‘We believe it is the responsibility of large organisations like ours to play a full and active role in the communities they serve. We are delighted to be working in partnership with Newport Live.  We are committed to supporting a range of projects especially those that relate to education, safety and the environment. We are delighted to be nominated, and it is always good to receive recognition like this.’

The Riverfront will discover if they have won the award at a ceremony at the Wales Millennium Centre on Thursday 11 July.

Trampolines, telling stories and more…

This week’s Big Splash line-up announcement features acts to thrill, enthrall and terrify the young and young-at-heart alike.

Be thrilled by Max Calaf Seve – a trampolining superstar who will push the boundaries of circus theatre and will leave your spirits soaring in his performance, ‘Anyday’ – and Able Mable – a whip-wielding, magic-creating showgirl with a flair for the dramatic and ridiculous.

Be enthralled by storytelling with a difference inside Talking Birds’ The Whale – where there are plenty of surprises for intrepid sailors – and Kapow Dance’s Grow – a playful and touching celebration of the power of nature.

Lastly, be terrified by Dizzy O’Dare’s Baba Yaga’s House – a unique and bizarre walkabout act inspired by centuries-old Slavic fairytales.

Watch this space for your downloadable programme and map coming very soon!



Bingo, Barracwda and a bridezilla

Your next Big Splash line-up announcement is here! Join us at Newport’s free family street theatre festival for bingo with a difference, a Brazil-inspired carnival band, and a madcap street theatre performance revolving around a jilted bride.

Wild ‘n’ Beets presents Bingo Lingo, a re-invention of the great British tradition in which your comperes, Beryl and Cyril, play on oversized bingo cards and fuse disability politics with a cheeky end-of-the-pier humour.

Cardiff-based Barracwda have been lighting up festivals around the country with their unique brand of Afro-Brazilian percussion, and now they’re bringing their fresh beats to Big Splash.

Lastly, meet Honour and Cherish: Taking Flight‘s jilted bridezilla and her long-suffering mother, who will be roaming the streets of Newport looking for absolutely anyone to take her daughter’s hand in marriage.

More line-up announcements and a full timetable of when and where you can see all Big Splash 2018 acts will be coming soon. Watch this space!


Virtual reality, magical storytelling, and a very strong lady

What do these three things all have in common? They’re all now part of Big Splash 2018!


Come on an adventure through virtual reality with Thrill Laboratory’s VR Playground. In the latest ride experiment designed by aeronautical engineer Professor Brendan Walker, you’ll propel yourself through swirling metropolises, leap across skyscrapers and escape the deep abyss – all by playing on the swings!

Meanwhile, the world of the Strong Lady is filled with dazzling contrasts: muscle and grace, beauty and brute strength, lifting the hearts of the audience and… well… lifting the audiences themselves! A genuine strong woman, Betty Brawn will delight, impress and amaze.

Then, be spellbound by the mystical tale of Ned and the Whale, as told by Flossy and Boo. Encounter strange lands, soar the sky and help timid Ned find his courage, in this magical, musical journey of a boy and his whale.

More line-up announcements and a full timetable of when and where you can see all Big Splash 2018 acts will be coming soon. Watch this space!


Beth sydd gan y tri pheth hyn yn gyffredin? Maen nhw bellach i gyd yn rhan o Sblash Mawr 2018!

Dewch ar antur trwy realiti rhithwir gyda Man Chwarae Realiti Rhithwir Thrill Laboratory.  Yn yr arbrawf reid diweddaraf a ddyluniwyd gan y peiriannydd awyrennau, Yr Athro Brendan Walker, byddwch yn eich gwthio’ch hun drwy ddinasoedd enfawr sy’n chwyrlïo, neidio rhwng nendyrau a dianc rhag yr affwys dwfn – i gyd gan chwarae ar siglen!

Yn y cyfamser, mae byd y Fenyw Gref wedi’i lenwi gan wrthgyferbyniadau disglair: cyhyrau ac urddas, harddwch a bôn braich, yn codi calonnau’r gynulleidfa a…wel…codi’r cynulleidfaoedd eu hunain! A hithau’n fenyw gref go iawn, bydd Betty Brawn yn swyno, yn creu argraff ac yn eich syfrdanu.

Wedyn, cewch eich cyfareddu gan chwedl gyfriniol Ned a’r Morfil fel yr adroddir gan Flossy and Boo. Dewch o hyd i wledydd rhyfedd, esgynnwch i’r wybren a helpu Ned, sy’n swil, i fod yn ddewr ar daith swynol, gerddorol bachgen a’i forfil.

Bydd mwy o gyhoeddiadau am yr hyn fydd ar gael ac amserlen lawn o ble a phryd y gallwch weld holl berfformwyr Sblash Mawr 2018 maes o law.  Gwyliwch amdano!

First Acts Announced for Big Splash 2018

Featuring giant kangaroos, outdoor community art and Monty-Python-esque madcap mayhem, our first line-up announcement for Big Splash 2018 packs a punch.

Ever wanted to see giant kangaroos bouncing around Newport city centre? Who wouldn’t? Effortlessly bouncing on amazingly crafted stilts, Joy Magnet’s cheeky kangaroos will be a phenomenal sight to see; they’re always Roo’d but never offensive.

Meanwhile, the irreverent Le Navet Bête return to Newport with their downright bonkers Extravaganza. Rammed full of acrobatics, improvisation, live music, audience interaction, circus influences, and even a flaming unicycle, this ridiculous, madcap romp has entertained audiences of all ages all over the world.

There’ll be something fishy going on with Fair Play’s superbly silly Fairly Fresh Fish Co., which will give audiences the opportunity to see an octopus come to life, prawns dancing, and a worrying seafood smoothie.

Newport’s own Mr and Mrs Clark will be bringing art practice to street level with Inviting The Neighbours Around To Paint. Let the blank walls be a sounding board for your ideas; put down your shopping bags, let go of those everyday stresses, and come and make a mark on an ever-growing piece of unique artwork.

Lastly, Molly Orange presents a new circus sitcom set in a failing old-fashioned boozer, in which our PUB landlord and landlady have a big decision to make: go hipster or go hungry. Featuring acrobatics, juggling, the odd pint of Guinness and a fiery finale, PUB is a farcical look at how gentrification hits its communities hard.

More line-up announcements and a full timetable of when and where you can see all Big Splash 2018 acts will be coming soon. Watch this space!


Gyda changarŵs mawr, celf gymunedol awyr agored a chyffro fydd yn eich atgoffa o Monty Python, dyma ein cyhoeddiad cyntaf am bwy fydd yn perfformio yn Sblash Mawr 2018.

Ydych chi wedi bod eisiau gweld cangarŵs mawr yn neidio o amgylch canol dinas Casnewydd? Pam lai?! Yn neidio’n ddi-ymdrech ar stiltiau ardderchog, bydd cangarŵs direidus Joy Magnet werth eu gweld; maent yn Rŵ-d o hyd, ond byth yn sarhaus.

Yn y cyfamser, bydd Le Navet Bête yn dychwelyd i Gasnewydd gyda’i sioe sy’n hollol wyllt! Yn llawn campau acrobatig, celf fyrfyfyr, cerddoriaeth fyw, rhyngweithio â’r gynulleidfa, dylanwadau syrcas ac hyd yn oed beic un olwyn, mae’r wledd wyllt hon wedi diddanu cynulleidfaoedd o bob oedran ledled y byd i gyd.

Bydd rhywbeth rhyfedd yn mynd ymlaen gyda Fairly Fresh Fish Co. gwirion Fair Play, fydd yn rhoi cyfle i gynulleidfaoedd i weld octopws yn dod yn fyw, corgimychiaid yn dawnsio a smwddi bwyd môr diddorol…

Bydd Mr a Mrs Clark Casnewydd yn dod ag arferion celf i’r stryd gyda Inviting The Neighbours Around To Paint. Gadewch i’r waliau gwag ysgogi eich syniadau; felly rhowch y bagiau siopau i’r naill ochr, anghofiwch am bryderon bach bob dydd a dewch i wneud marc i greu darn o gelf unigryw sy’n tyfu’n fythol.

Yn olaf, bydd Molly Orange yn cyflwyno sitcom syrcas newydd mewn tafarn hen ffasiwn hwn, mae’r tafarnwr a’i wraig yn wynebu penderfyniad mawr: troi’n hipsters neu lwgu! Gyda champau acrobatig, jyglo, ambell beint o Guinness a ffeinal chyffrous, bydd PUB yn cymryd golwg gwirion ar sut mae boneddigeiddio yn effeithio ar gymunedau.

Bydd mwy o gyhoeddiadau am yr hyn fydd ar gael ac amserlen lawn o ble a phryd y gallwch weld holl berfformwyr Sblash Mawr 2018 maes o law. Gwyliwch amdano!



Come rain or shine the Big Splash still entertained!

Thousands of people joined in the fun of Big Splash 2017, dodging the showers with us to be entertained by over twenty top-class performing companies from across the UK and beyond, who brought over fifty free street theatre shows to the city centre. Saturday 22 July and Sunday 23 July saw the city centre transformed into one large outdoor stage, with loud, surprising, intriguing and wonderful live music and pop-up street theatre.

We have estimated over 10,000 people experienced some part of the festival during the two days. Most saw one of our many top-class performers, including Newport’s own Mr & Mrs Clark who took to the streets Electioneering, and Tin Shed Theatre who made it possible for festival goers to meet a real-life Yeti! The other highlights of the festival included Mr and Mr Burn, who one customer described as “Just witnessed a man in pants pass Tequila around and set fire to his stage. It was mad. Brilliant but mad!”. The Urban Astronaut by Highly Sprung also got people talking, as they took the audience on an adventure that was out of this world!

All in all, our motto for the weekend was ‘come rain or shine, the Big Splash will still entertain!’ and boy, did it! The staff and volunteers worked hard to adapt to the changing weather conditions to provide a top-quality experience for all. Zoe Hopkinson on Facebook commented, ‘We really enjoyed yesterday. There’s enough going on to keep you busy all day without being chaotic. It’s a real family day out with fun for the adults too.”

Gillian Mitchell, Head of Theatre, Arts & Culture for Newport Live said: “Once again thousands of people joined us in sampling a weather-busting weekend of outdoor arts in the heart of Newport.  We would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who came along to support the Big Splash festival, to our staff and volunteers and above all to our main funder Arts Council Wales and to our sponsors whose support enabled us to offer  hundreds of top-quality events, all for free.  Newport Live and The Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre are proud to bring the best street theatre from around the world to the city each year, making sure that families here don’t miss out on the mad and unmissable fun on offer, without having to pay a penny!”

The Big Splash team would like to thank our funders Newport Live and the Arts Council of Wales and sponsors Friars Walk, Kingsway Centre, Newport NOW and Western Power Distribution for making it happen.

Photographs and videos that were taken throughout the weekend, are all on our Facebook page at or Instagram @Riverfrontarts

Road Closure on 22nd July

As the festival will be taking place on Commercial Street, a temporary road closure is on place on Saturday 22nd July at the following locations and times:

Under the Town Police Clauses Act 1847- Section 21,  between the hours of 09.00 and 18.30 Commercial Street, Charles Street (from the bollards leading down onto Commercial Street) and Corn Street will be closed to traffic.

Thank you for your support and we hope that you enjoy the event!