Sacre BLUE! French street act to open festival

A performance by Bivouac, which is coming to Blackpool's Showzam! festival
A performance by Bivouac, which is coming to Blackpool's Showzam! festival

Blue-faced Frenchmen and a fire-breathing dog are set to invade the streets of Blackpool in a blaze of light, sound and smoke.

The performance will roam through the town to launch this year’s Showzam! festival on Saturday, February 13, taking in landmarks such as the Winter Gardens, Blackpool Tower and the Promenade.

A performance by Bivouac, which is coming to Blackpool's Showzam! festival

A performance by Bivouac, which is coming to Blackpool's Showzam! festival

Bivouac, hailed as one of Europe’s most legendary and talked about outdoor performances, will create a ‘jaw-dropping’ piece of theatre, to transform the town centre - using buildings and structures en-route - as the performance stage.

Produced by French artists Générik Vapeur the show will feature pyrotechnics, a rock soundtrack and a weird and wonderful cast of blue figures, in a street procession which will include 102 oil drums, a flame-breathing mechanical pooch, abseiling and a suitably surreal storyline.

Michael Trainor, artistic director of LeftCoast which is organising Showzam!, said: “Bivouac is a legendary street show that has lit up cities across Europe over the past 20 years.

“It will take over the town centre in a huge piece of nomadic theatre which will see 30 blue figures turn streets and buildings into a stage of smoke and flame.

“It is fully interactive, indeed the audience is very much part of the show as all manner of unusual and out of this world sights and sounds go on around them.

“Blackpool has seen nothing like this before and Bivouac will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of both Showzam! and 2016.”

The 90-minute show – which will feature students from Blackpool and The Fylde College in a specially-commissioned section unique to Blackpool – will travel from St John’s Square, through Birley Street, Corporation Street and Church Street to the Promenade, to stop in front of the Tower, before returning to St John’s Square, via Adelaide Street West, Bank Hey Street, Corporation Street and Birley Street.

The audience will be able to follow the show along the route before a ‘spectacular musical and theatrical climax’ takes place in St John’s Square.

Michael added: “This is going to be an event that will live long in the memory.

“Générik Vapeur are renowned as one of the finest street arts organisations in Europe so this really is a massive coup for Blackpool and Showzam! We can’t wait for the big night.”

Blackpool’s annual celebration of circus and cabaret returns on Saturday, February 13, for a week of performances during the half term, with highlights including the Carnival Ball at Blackpool Tower Ballroom, and the UK debut of Akoreacro at the Tower Circus, as well as street theatre all week at Showzam! Central in the Winter Gardens - the programme for which will be revealed tomorrow.

Last year’s festival attracted more than 25,000 visitors, boosting the town’s economy by an estimated £2m.