A national project will put a street arts and circus touring network at the heart of plans to revitalise the economies of England’s coastal towns.

Man and woman dancing on the beach
Lance moi en l'Air by Joli Vyann

Without Walls

England’s seaside towns are to benefit from a new national circus and street arts initiative aimed at increasing resident and visitor audiences.

The three-year project is being led by the Coasters Touring Network, a consortium of ten organisations led by Great Yarmouth-based SeaChange Arts.

As well as boosting the economy, the project aims to contribute to “the revitalisation and community spirit” of coastal and seaside towns. It will encourage more people to visit them by making them destinations for quality cultural activity. Local communities will be involved to “enhance the sense of pride and place of local people” and reflect the cultural diversity of resident populations.

Visitor numbers at traditional English seaside towns have been decreasing with the collapse of the British tourist industry and rise in unemployment. All of the localities served by the consortium members have areas of deprivation and wealth disparity.

Indoor and outdoor shows will tour the country, with events being organised in Blackpool and Wyre, Bournemouth and around Dorset, Great Yarmouth, Hastings and St Leonards, Hull, Tynemouth and Worthing, Weston Super Mare and Clevedon. Skegness and Margate are due to join in 2017, and more partners may join the network as it progresses.

SeaChange Arts Chief Executive Joe Mackintosh said: “The Coasters partners have varied areas of expertise and will use this knowledge to support each other, helping to reimagine these seaside locations and develop the cultural offer of them all. We’re seeking to increase traditional tourist and day tripper families, but also to attract young urban audiences fired-up by the resurgence in circus and street arts.”

Liz Hill