Last year The Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre’s 10th Anniversary BIG SPLASH was such a big hit, they’ve brought it back last weekend – bigger and better than ever.

It’s actually the largest free outdoor arts festival in Wales attracting something like 20,000 plus visitors to the city. The Riverfront Theatre is over-joyed to be welcoming the return of the festival and can’t wait to welcome visitors from throughout South Wales and beyond.

You can take a look back at last years event in our review feature HERE.

Before we bring you this years event, we’ve just heard that NEWPORT BUS are offering a discounted family ticket through till 3rd September. They are offering a £5 family day ticket for up to 2 adults and 3 children.

Brilliant news Newport Bus…….

The Big Splash planning was perfect, just one hitch, it rained for pretty much all of the first day, bringing true meaning to the event name. The organisers however, put plan B into operation and the festival went ahead with a few changes to the schedule.

We went along to meet the team, see some of the vents and catch up with the Mayor and Mayoress of Newport……


Despite the weather, the city was alive as the festival once again amazed, amused and entertained locals and visitors of all ages with street theatre, live music, workshops and arts and craft activities, all of which was free of charge. Performances popped up in several zones across the city centre including the river walkway, John Frost Square and Commercial Street as Newport is transformed into a large outdoor stage. 

When the weather finally improved yesterday, there was a pop-up circus theatre in every corner with The Man on The Moon, The Super Hooper Hula Hooping Street Show and Richard Garagthy Extranvagana!! Based in Usk Plaza. Fit Up Productions are returning to Big Splash bringing a party of daring acts with jaw-dropping stunts and nimble tricks. Out of the Box were also roaming the streets of Newport on a mission to defy gravity and deliver a world class juggling show.

It was day 79 of the 80-day race to circumnavigate the world when Phileas Fogg and his valet Passepartout arrived at Big Splash. They were just hours away from the finish line of their spectacular adventure. Having crossed five continents, 24 time zones and now down to their last pair of clean underpants, the competitors will be trying their best to control their hot air balloons and steer clear of any obstacles. If you happen to see them, make sure to send them in the right direction!  

Hot off the success of their co-production with The Riverfront Theatre & Arts Centre, How To Defeat Monsters (and get away with it), the popular duo, Flossy and Boo were back with! They returned with their two adventurous botanists, for an exciting and enchanting walkabout theatre experience titled, The Botanist.

They may not be the best baton twirlers or marching band members but what they lack in skill they make up with enthusiasm! Ready for their celebratory debut at the Big Splash festival are The Little Miss Majorettes from Kitsch & Sinc Collective. They gave a comedic display of anti-climactic tricks, false starts, fumbling formations and an (almost) extravagant ending!

Another act from Kitsch & Sinc Collective and bringing a splash of nostalgia and nautical naughtiness to Newport were Hello Buoys! Follow the three dinghy-less damsels as they dip their toes and cause a splash on their seafaring voyage. They wandered around the city centre looking for a captain to guide them to sun kissed beaches. 

The Little Miss Majorettes

This year’s literary stage was curated by associate artist and Children’s Laureate Wales 2021-2023, Connor Allen. This embraced performances from a variety of spoken word artists, designed to showcase the power of stripped back story telling. 

The Riverfront Theatre confirmed the reappearance of their community stage, which became known as the Celebrate stage. This stage will featured lots of local talent, from live music to dance performances and continued to be a place within the festival that celebrates the local community.

Connor Allen

The event was the perfect day out for family and friends to watch, laugh, take part and be immersed within the entertainment. All activities and shows were free to attend.

Prior to the weekend, Newport Live’s Director of Business Development, Andrea Ovey told us……

“We’re delighted to see the welcome return of the Big Splash for 2023, the team across the Riverfront and Newport Live continue to develop the festival, now the biggest of its kind in Wales, it’s a wonderful start to the official Summer Holiday period, and importantly has an immensely positive impact on the city and its communities, making theatre, arts and culture accessible and enjoyable for all.

There is also a hugely positive impact for city centre businesses across the weekend through the increased footfall the festival generates. A heartfelt thank you once again to the Arts Council of Wales for making the event possible, along with our commercial sponsors who provide much needed additional support.” 

The Riverfront Theatre have fantastic support from the Arts Council Wales, Newport Bus, Friars Walk, Newport BID who have all made the festival possible. They have also thanked Newport City Council, the Mercure Hotel and event partners, Le Pub, for their continued support.