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2019 SO Festival - Mablethorpe & Skegness, Lincolnshire

SO Festival is a 3-day arts and culture festival bringing a fantastic display of outdoor, family-friendly art to the streets of Mablethorpe and Skegness, Lincolnshire.


The festival will run from 30th August to 1st September 2019.


A EUROPEAN philosopher will lead a Sunday morning conversation at the 2019 SO Festival as organisers look to explore the impact of the three-day extravaganza on life and culture in East Lindsey.
Meanwhile, crowds at the free event will enjoy 11 acts, which include Italian puppets, French clowns, a Danish performance of Shakespeare’s King Lear like you’ve never seen it before and UK circus mastery.
The full line-up has now been released for what has grown into one of the largest outdoor cultural events in the UK. Fantastic European acts, visiting the UK for the first time, will join local talent and national performers, topped off by Spitfire and Dakota flypasts (weather dependant), to entertain a crowd which is expected to top last year’s number of 40,000 over the three days.

Starting at Sherwood Fields in Mablethorpe on Friday, August 30, acts will fill the venue from 12 noon until 5pm, with local community groups also showcased. Then it’s onto Skegness for the Saturday and Sunday – August 31 and September 1 where activities will be centred in Tower Gardens.

The European flavour of this year’s SO Festival, an expansion of last year’s event, is once again influenced by Danish artistic director Jens Frimann Hansen and his colleagues at theatre company Helsingør Teater – renowned in Nordic Europe for their staging of the Passage Festival.

With funding in place from Arts Council England and East Lindsey District Council, SO Festival is being organised by the Magna Vitae Trust for Leisure and Culture and its growing relationship with Jens and the team will be further evident this year. This is demonstrated by the arrival of German-French philosopher Guillaume Paoli whose latest highly-acclaimed book “Die lange Nacht der Metamophose”, is an analysis of the improvements needed in our culture. He will be in Skegness to lead a discussion on the effect festivals like SO can have on life and culture and he will discuss peoples’ reflections of the resort.
“We are once again delighted to have Jens on board and are bringing something truly original to Mablethorpe and Skegness, which will delight the audiences. Last year our expectations were surpassed with around 40,000 visitors over the three days and we hope for the same again, if not more, this year,” said Mark Humphreys, the Chief Executive of Magna Vitae, whose community arm is gaining a national reputation for excellence in its delivery of arts and culture in East Lindsey.

Peter Knott, Area Director for Arts Council England, said: “We’re proud to have supported SO Festival for more than 10 years, and it’s great to see it continuing to showcase local talent alongside international performers, ranging from circus and Shakespeare, to puppetry and outer space.
“SO has become a key event in the cultural calendar, bringing work from across Europe to Mablethorpe and Skegness, creating a truly memorable experience for locals and holiday makers alike,” he added.

Artists performing are:
La Fabiola, from Italy bring two shows to both Mablethorpe and Skegness. Love + Metal and Pay Attention To Those Two both bring puppets to life to fantastic effect, to entertain and interact with a family audience.
Passepartout Theatre Productions from Denmark, also use puppets in a way the audience will have not witnessed before, presenting King Lear for all ages to enjoy. Having received rave reviews in Europe, the company is thrilled to be coming to the UK and will be in Mablethorpe and Skegness.
Super Super, from France, whose work uses humour to express sensitive subjects and emotions, silent clowns entertain the crowds with Splash, a synchronized swimming show in a miniature inflatable pool, will again be in both resorts over the three days.
Hikapee A UK-based company that tells stories of the world we live in. Look Up uses puppets and a trapeze show to ask the audience, ‘Why is everyone always looking down?’ This show is supported by the Without Walls Touring Network Partnership. Skegness only.
Max Calaf Sevé From the UK, Max Calaf Sevé is a contemporary company, performing the trampoline show, dip, Europe-wide. dip involves light-hearted, breathing-taking air twisting tricks and funky tunes. With a poetic touch the performance explores themes of co-operation, acceptance and serendipity. This show is supported by the Without Walls Touring Network Partnership. Skegness only.
Nakupelle Again, from the UK, this act brings two shows, Circus Bardo and The Trap, to Skegness. Nakupelle is in fact Joe Dieffenbacher - an actor, director and teacher whose work has included spells at Shakespeare’s Globe in London, as Circus Skills Director at the Scottish National Opera and six collaborations with British pop stars Take That.
Tout en Vrac This French artist has performed in their home nation and abroad, with a show called The Cook. The act probes the ‘breaking point between imagination and reality’ – and does so using a kitchen environment! Skegness only.
Woest Direct from the Netherlands, this group peforms Leaving Normal, which is the combined choreographic and performative powers of Manon Avermaete and Paulien Truijen. On this 1 mile walk, Woest promises to bring dance theatre, with a touch of absurdity into public space, giving the audience a fresh and new experience of their own environment. In Skegness only.
Humanhood From the UK – Orbis is a visually astonishing outdoor duet that explores the relationship between humankind and Earth’s permanent natural satellite: The Moon. Performed as a contemporary ritual, revisiting the mystical place the Moon holds in the history of human culture. This show is supported by the Without Walls Touring Network Partnership. Skegness only.
Helen Eastman Productions This talented award-winning British artist brings Bicycle Boy to Skegness. Perfect for children aged six to 10 and their families, the interactive theatre sees Helen collaborating with designer Anna Bruder and composer Alex Silverman and is a story about Sam, who has 24 hours to clear out his grandad’s old bike workshop. This show is supported by the Without Walls Touring Network Partnership. Skegness only.
Albedo 2,000 performances in almost 40 countries – and the talented Euro street theatre troupe are on their way to the UK and Skegness, bringing two shows – The BIGBRÔZEURS and The Tonys. The shows promise ‘spectacle’ with giant characters who surprise when they mingle with the crowd! Skegness only.
Performances and entertainment will take place from 12 noon until 5pm in Mablethorpe on the Friday, from 11 am until 9pm in Skegness on the Saturday and from 11am until 5.30pm on the Sunday. Meanwhile cultural discussion and networking events will be:
The SOcial Sunday September 1 from 10am until 11am at Upstairs at the Embassy, Skegness. Local artists are invited to start their Sunday with an informal networking SOcial event, giving them chance to catch up with old and new faces, to expand their network, gain friendships, and discuss new opportunities. Light refreshments will be provided.
Guillaume Paoli: Sunday September 1 from 11am until noon at Upstairs at the Embassy, Skegness. Conversations and self-critical reflections in Skegness. Are we giving YOU new perspectives on your life and culture through SO Festival?

Magna Vitae Trust for Leisure and Culture is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation and strategic partner to East Lindsey District Council. Other partners are Passage Festival, Helsingør Teater and Without Walls Touring Network Partnership.

For more information, go to or follow the festival on social media.



Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the


SO Festival is a partner in Without Walls, working with festivals and artists and bringing fantastic outdoor arts to people in towns and cities across the UK. Find out more on
Without Walls is a network of festivals that works with artists to bring fantastic outdoor arts to people in towns and cities across the UK. Since 2007, Without Walls has supported the development of over 140 shows, many of which have toured beyond our network of festivals to 22 countries worldwide.

Without Walls is supported by Arts Council England as a National Portfolio Organisation. | | @WWconsortium | @ace_national

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