An intriguing, lively and truly unique exploration of arts and culture awaits visitors to 2019's Arts by the Sea.

Bournemouth's must-visit arts and culture festival, which takes place in the town from Friday, September 27 to Sunday, September 29, is set to attract tens of thousands of people with a programme of more than a hundred performances, including mesmerising projection mapping on Bournemouth Town Hall, unforgettable fire shows, carnivalesque parades, and pop-up, walkabout theatre. Delivered by BCP Council and in association with Arts Council England, Arts by the Sea Festival is free-to-attend.

Now in its ninth year, Arts by the Sea remains one of the south coast’s most popular arts festivals. Each year, it wows audiences through an innovative programme of music, performance art, poetry, film and more.

Earlier this year organisers revealed the Mind Matter concept, exploring a plethora of mental health-related subjects in a carefully curated element within its wider programme.

In association with various partners, including local mental health charity Dorset Mind and academics from Bournemouth University, the Mind Matter Hub will provide hands-on-activities, installations and exhibitions to get people talking about, and practising, the Five Ways to Wellbeing.

Audiences will experience some outstanding spectacles throughout the rest of the festival.

Illuminos lead the way with a bespoke, site-specific commission for Bournemouth and Arts by the Sea. Mapping technology projected on the façade of Bournemouth’s Town Hall, will transport audiences back to the Victorian era. They will witness the Hôtel d’Illusions show featuring popular themes of the time like magic, science and hypnosis. Interspersed with this will be contemporary wonders and elements in partnership with Bournemouth University, as well as music specially composed by local musicians.

Another bespoke performance choreographed specifically for Arts by the Sea, comes from Belgium collective, Pyronix. The breath-taking, medieval show full of battling, juggling and fire manipulation, will push the boundaries of darkness and light as they dazzle audiences with an unforgettable and unique performance.

One of the most popular elements of the festival is the Shademakers UK Carnival-esque parade. They return with Submerge: Carnival SOS featuring a colourful and impressive eight-metre long whale shark, and many other sea and water creatures, with the aim to shine a spotlight on eco and sustainability messages to Save Our Seas.

ROUNDABOUT, the world’s first pop-up theatre also returns to Arts by the Sea, provided by festival partner, Lighthouse Poole. Guests will be seated in-the-round, close to the action, to enjoy theatre, live music and comedy in a unique and intimate setting.

Elsewhere, guests can be enveloped in an immersive and inimitable world of sound and light as they enter Cocoon, commissioned especially for the festival by its Associate Artists, Ithaca Studio. The Time Travel Treatment Room also features in the 2019 programme, where audiences will be astounded by past, peculiar mental health diagnoses and treatments, hosted by Victorian Doctor and Matron. Also look out for the giant, bioluminescent fungus installation of More Than A Mushroom presented in partnership with Kew Gardens.

The curious character walkabouts, which can be seen all over Bournemouth, capture the hearts and imagination. Same Difference, perform a gesture and mime comedy show exploring two sisters' memories, compete with rickshaw bike and music while, from the Bread and Butter Theatre, Leek FM’s expert gardeners, Pete and Ged Moss host a whimsical version of Gardeners’ Question Time.

Other street theatre includes characters from The Flying Buttresses, Hodman Dodmanott and Sally Forth, venturing out in search of fame, fortune and friendship after hundreds of years living in blissful ignorance of the changing world around them.

Elsewhere, Artemis Productions return to the festival presenting Bob and Gerry, a giant flower and his butterfly companion, who are in search of a sun-drenched spot whilst delivering horticultural one-liners to make guests smile.

Look out for The Fishko Disco underwater disco where giant, jazzy fish with illuminated opening mouths and fibreoptic articulating fins are operated by sequin clad puppeteers with disco dancing DJ chaperone.

Creative director Roxy Robinson said: “We're delighted to present the first wave of artists for Bournemouth's Arts by the Sea. From fiery performance art through to show-stopping digital projection displays and carnivalesque processions, our headline events can be enjoyed by all ages and are not to be missed."