If you take a look at who’s performing this weekend at The Whirligig Festival of Outdoor Arts 2023 then you’ll understand why there is so much excitement!  There’s an amazing line-up of international and local outdoor arts performances, parades, workshops and installations on Saturday and Sunday, from 11.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. at The Italian Gardens, Marine Lake and the High Street. For exact timings please check out the Super Culture website:

The Festival marks the launch of Super Culture, which is the merging of two North Somerset-based arts flagships – award-winning Theatre Orchard and Weston facing programme Culture Weston.  

The idea behind the fusion of these two groups is to come together with the shared vision to grow an ambitious, playful and inclusive creative culture in North Somerset.

This will be represented through world-class festivals, events and live performances, creative talent development and a year-round participation programme that enables local communities to connect, get creative and take a lead in shaping their local cultural provision. 

The new name – Super Culture – recognises the organisation’s wider remit to promote and support all that is best in creativity and culture across North Somerset while remaining rooted in Weston-super-Mare.

Super Culture will specialise in creative placemaking and community participation – producing ambitious, diverse work with, for and by the people of North Somerset. A renewed focus on wider North Somerset will also help to supercharge existing creative provision in rural areas and neighbouring coastal towns.

Super Culture will continue, both online and in person, to help weave the cultural fabric of Weston-super-Mare and North Somerset, focusing on inclusion and working collaboratively with a wide range of partners. Everything is accessibly priced or free of charge, bringing the extraordinary into the everyday.

The free, two day event kicks off on Saturday, from The Tropicana, with Weston’s very own Climate-Carnival shining a light on climate justice, looking at ways that we can positively impact our world. The procession through the town centre will feature a wild array of inspiring community projects, culminating in the Italian Gardens as the rest of the Whirligig Festival unfolds. Photo credit: Paul Blakemore Photography

On Sunday, proceedings start on the sea front with SMOOSH, a rip-roaring music parade from PARAORCHESTRA who bring a high-energy wind and brass band and a troupe of dancers to the streets of Weston-super-Mare for an on-the-move performance of kaleidoscopic pop-karaoke classics – think Fatboy Slim meets Kate Bush meets Basement Jaxx.

In SMOOSH!, a core of Paraorchestra musicians, plus an array of local performers, including Weston and Wind Worle Band, performing arts students from Weston College and members of North Somerset Music Service, are joined by professional dancers to form a mobile human jukebox.

You’re invited out onto Weston Promenade and High Street to dance and sing along in a magnificent, cacophonous, communal karaoke – a ‘massaoke’!

Following celebrated outings in Bristol, Plaistow, Glastonbury Festival, and at London’s Southbank Centre, SMOOSH! is free, inclusive, and family-friendly. No booking required – just turn up and get involved!

The line-up is sensational and includes some of my favourite acts:



The Spurting Man is described as ‘One of the classic street theatre shows of the last twenty years” and consists of a silent performance show featuring 200 litres of water in 3 minutes, performed to Ravel’s Bolero!

The show dissects the unequal relationship between the famous speciality performer, ‘The Spurting Man’, and his downtrodden assistant, leading to a series of hilarious comic interactions and displays of squirting water. Finally crowned and on top of his pedestal, the grand finale takes place and ‘The Spurting Man’ cascades fountains of water from his body. Since this classic European street theatre show was first created in 1995, Avanti Display has presented ‘The Spurting Man’ on four continents and in nineteen different countries and can now add Weston to the list!


The Giant Balloon Show will have the audience in stitches and in awe simultaneously, with its hilarious one-man show pushing balloons to their extreme. Expect feverous balloon sculptures, high-energy comic performance and, of course, the all-important giant balloon as the ever-popular Dizzy O’Dare returns to Weston! Take everything you know about balloons, add an award-winning entertainer andan 80s soundtrack, and twist that into a highly entertaining show for the whole family.


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. Look out for Hieronymus in this irresistible walkabout show on the High Street and help him to feel better! Banner phot credit: Thingumajig Theatre.


Franco-Belgian contemporary circus company Collectif Malunés, explore the utopian idea of democracy in this participative show where the audience has its say. Step into their territory and become actors in this interactive circus experience. You may even have the chance to become a figurehead! But be careful not to get locked up in prison. Can we find a way, on this great human adventure, to live equally and in harmony?

High-flying subversive thrills along the way are guaranteed.


Performed by twin sisters Kristina and Sadé Alleyne, BONDED, explores the construct of human dependency – especially that of siblings – and how time and external conditions can affect the synergetic connection.

The work takes the audience through a transitional journey of inter-and-independency through an abstract dance narrative.

Alleyne Dance (AD) is a UK-based company with an international reach, founded in 2014 by award-winning dancers and twin sisters Kristina and Sadé Alleyne. The choreographic aesthetic reflects the sisters’ diverse backgrounds in athleticism and dance training. Within their abstract contemporary construct, Alleyne Dance blends West African, Caribbean, Hip Hop, Kathak and Circus Skills, delivered as fast-paced and dynamic movement. They infuse lyrical and fluid motion, layered with rhythm and textures in physically powerful yet graceful performances.

Alleyne Dance strives for high quality and excellence as the Company delivers its three main objectives: performance, participation and development.


The Company returns to Weston by popular demand following their performance of ‘Wild’ in 2021, which captivated Whirligig audiences.

Four dancers perform this exciting blend of dance, acrobatics and aerial work inside a large cage. Disorientated and shaken, the performers use their skill and instinct to survive in this emotionally charged and athletic piece. Inspired by Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem The Panther, this extraordinary outdoor show explores notions of captivity. Extremely physical, Captive is a thrilling blend of dance and acrobatics with a dynamic narrative exploring human relationships in captivity.


Wild has been a major hit with audiences of all ages since its premiere in 2019. It has been seen by tens of thousands of people and with its gravity-defying dance, acrobatics and circus, the show never fails to attract large audiences. Where the space allows, it has regularly been watched by 1,500 – 2,000 people at each performance, making it a thrilling festival highlight.

Wild, explores our relationship with the natural environment. In our modern lives, is the wild still shaping our behaviour?

Wild creates an urban forest in the every day of the city. Using the powerful physicality distinctive to Motion House, performers use dynamic choreography, acrobatic movement and hand-to-hand partnering to move through a forest of tall poles, which forms the striking set for WILD. From the top of the pole, life in the canopy looks down onto the forest floor – a dangerous world of unknown meetings.


Try your hands (or feet!) at an array of spectacular circus skills from aerial to acrobatics, juggling to balance as the circus professionals from Bristol-based, internationally-acclaimed Circomedia lead a series of playful, family workshops. The clip below will give you an idea of what you might see!


Artist and social maker Megan Clark-Bagnall salutes all things that POP in Weston, celebrating the people of Weston with a kaleidoscopic nod to the Beatles’ visit to the town 60 years ago. Join the Whirligig Beetles inside The Sovereign at the ‘You Shrine’ pop-up photo installation to capture your fabulous self.  Then out to the Italian Gardens to drink in a vibrant ‘Celebration of Life’ performance with Beetles of one kind or another.



Prepare to be amazed by the explosive tricks and artful dexterity of Simple Cypher’s newest outdoor production Roll Play. Three performers blur the boundaries between hip hop and circus, using intricate moves and virtuosic agility to give a captivating, cheeky and effortlessly cool performance.

A folding bench is the meeting point for three strangers from different walks of life; a park bench, a bus stop, a waiting room. What unfolds is a series of playful interactions challenging identity, status and societal roles. Divisions between class, race and education are shattered as the characters go on a journey of building trust, lending support and discovering connections between one another.


Award-winning Elvis impersonator Joe Reeve stars in his own version of the classic Elvis film “Blue Hawaii”. Assisted by over-enthusiastic Tour Manager Josephine Cunningham, this is a musical comedy that will leave you all shook up!

Highly visual with lots of audience interaction, plus all your favourite Elvis numbers, this is a show which all the family can enjoy.


A satirical exploration examining the eccentricities of the collective British character through the universal language of eccentric dance, circus skills, classic song and variety skill routines, entwined with an original funky soundtrack and intimate comedy.

This duo have a totally fresh approach to the presentation of comedy classics, combined with a sensitive use of volunteers to comedic effect making the audience part of, not apart from, the show.



Ten Stories about Boats, Birds, Sounds, the Sweet Potato, Plastic and especially, People

Take to a rowing boat on Weston’s Marine Lake and lap up the amazing stories within artist Luke Jerram’s thought-provoking and immersive artwork, Crossings in this stunning, seaside setting.

Crossings is a new installation created by multidisciplinary artist Luke Jerram and BBC Radio 4 producer Julian May, which was commissioned by Compton Verney for its first presentation during summer 2022.

Part art installation and visitor attraction, Crossings consists of brightly decorated rowing boats, each fitted with speakers that play recorded audio of stories from around the world. In choosing a story and rowing onto the lake, participants are taken on an audio journey, transported to another life and circumstance as they listen to stories about people’s different life experiences and personal testimonies.

Each boat trip is designed to last around 30 minutes with the real-time sounds and experience of rowing blending evocatively with the recordings.

This is the only event you have to book and amazingly there are just a few slots left. You can book here:

I don’t think you’ll be disappointed if you attend Whirligig! Enjoy everyone!

More about Super Culture

Arts Council England awarded Theatre Orchard £1,024,968 in November 2022 as part of its National Portfolio for 2023 – 2026. This represented an uplift of £750,000 to the previous NPO funding received by Theatre Orchard in 2018, when it became the first organisation in North Somerset to join Arts Council England’s National Portfolio. Whilst Super Culture is the new brand identity, Theatre Orchard will remain the charity and legal entity for the time being.

In 2018, Weston-super-Mare was identified as an ACE Area Plan Priority. ACE committed £50k Investment Funds to develop a cultural development company for the town. In 2020, Culture Weston was launched as a partnership programme placing people, creativity and culture at the heart of Weston’s daily life and placemaking ambitions, hosted by Theatre Orchard.

Super Culture will continue, both online and in person, to help weave the cultural fabric of Weston-super-Mare and North Somerset, focusing on inclusion and working collaboratively with a wide range of partners. Everything is accessibly priced or free of charge, bringing the extraordinary into the every day.

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