Arts by the Sea Festival

An annual celebration of culture, people and place

Visit Arts by the Sea's website

The Arts by the Sea festival is an annual celebration of culture, people and place, bringing an intriguing, exciting and carnivalesque mix of the arts to the beautiful outdoor spaces of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. Arts by the Sea is managed and produced by BCP Council, and funded by BCP Council and Arts Council England. The festival is an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation and 2023 will be its 13th year.

The festival supports local talent development, celebrates our diverse communities, and promotes sustainability. BCP Council aims to increase opportunities for people to participate in the arts and enhance a sense of community while showcasing work which makes a real impact on the audience and on the area.

Arts by the Sea Festival team

Andrea Francis, Festival Director

Why we joined Without Walls

Arts by the Sea has been a member of the Without Walls TNP since 2018. The access to quality programming, programme subsidy, training, resources, and additional grant funding has been invaluable to the festival, enhancing the artistic programme and the festival’s reputation.

The available resources have allowed our team to develop, guided us in efforts to increase diversity and enhance environmental sustainability and have been instrumental in the development of our Audience Development project (now running for 4 years). We aim to replicate this project – a community party based in an under-served area – in additional locations across the conurbation.

The opportunity to network, and share challenges, experience and learnings with partners across the sector is a huge benefit that comes with being a member of the TNP.  


Arts by the Sea's logo

Impact to Local Communities

Arts by the Sea aims to support local artists at all stages of their career, and build skills in the local creative sector through artist commissions and mentoring, and partnerships with organisations like Bournemouth & Poole College.

The festival works to reflect and celebrate the diversity within its communities and integrate participatory opportunities within the programme, enabling a sense of ownership and pride. The audience development activities in West Howe – an underserved priority area – have gone from strength to strength over the last 4 years, building trust and attendance in a new audience. This event has been so successful that Arts by the Sea are looking to replicate the model in other underserved areas across the conurbation. Access and inclusion are embedded into what we do, from the choice of programming to the locations it is sited in.

A Black person in a white shirt and black trousers with long dreadlocks inside a giant hoop.

What's Happening at Arts by the Sea

Arts by the Sea is an annual celebration of culture, people and place, bringing an intriguing, exciting and carnivalesque mix of the arts to the beautiful outdoor spaces of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.  

The festival takes place over 2-10 days in September/ October. It supports local talent development, celebrates diverse communities, and promotes sustainability throughout their work. Arts by the Sea aims to increase opportunities for people to participate in the arts and enhance a sense of community while showcasing work which makes a real impact on their audience and on the area.  

Diverse music, art and dance, site-specific installations and large-scale spectaculars are all key to Arts by the Sea and most events are family friendly and free to attend.  

Arts by the Sea

Image credits:

Roll Play, Simple Cypher at Arts by the Sea Festival © Hotshot Creative