Skip to content


International Festival of Outdoor Arts
streetdiversions Festival 10th Anniversary

Diverting Audiences for 10 Years

The year that the Streetdiversions ended, on it’s 10th anniversary, was also the year that Chelmsford was announced as England’s newest city as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

It has been said that our impressive cultural events programme (of which this festival was one element) played a significant part in winning Chelmsford it’s prestigious city status.

The Streetdiversions Festival (also known by other names), the free festival of international outdoor performance, is unique to the city.

“It provides an excellent visitor attraction for everyone because it’s socially and culturally inclusive. Each show is like being slapped in the face and tickled in the tummy at the same time, often with moments of embarrassing enlightenment.”

Mick McDonagh, High Chelmer Shopping Centre and festival sponsor

Over ten years the festival developed both artistically and in scale bringing some of the best outdoor performance from the UK and across the world right to our doorstep – over 550 shows were programmed overall.

The festival animated multiple public spaces, helping people see their city anew and it has also toured the county presenting magnificent daylight shows and stunning Twilight Spectacles – see the relevant page on this website for those events.

“Created a brilliant atmosphere in the city”

Local Resident

During the Streetdiversions Festival, the atmosphere on the streets was very special, with a fantastic sense of community spirit. Fans of the festival had favourite shows and memories from the past, as popular performers returned and new and upcoming acts were programmed alongside.

“I’m always impressed by the diversity of the acts. It’s great seeing the look on faces when dustbins talk and a giant lobster appears.”

Ian Wyatt, BBC and festival media partner

To our surprise, the Coneheads by the Natural Theatre Company – spreading delight and bemusement wherever they went – became like celebrities and the demand to have them return each year was phenomenal. They literally became the face/s of the event even though they were just one act in a cast of dozens each year.

“We were so impressed by the quality of the acts and the obvious enjoyment of the public that we look forward to it every year and are so pleased we can help.”

Paula Cochrane, Woodland Group Ltd and festival sponsor
Les Cupidon by the consistently excellent Les Goulus theatre company
Whalley Range Allstars present The Pig. Looks great from the outside and if you adorn a tail and sit alongside, like a suckling piglet, you can watch the show unfold inside too.
Not a real litter picker – but many would miss what he got up to as it’s such an understated show. Frank by Department of Correction.

“It is my absolute belief, that any event that reaches out to and brings complete strangers and folks of all ages together through laughter and bizarre antics, just has to be good and uplifting. The festival has achieved this brilliantly each year!”

Barry Scarborough, The Printing Place Ltd and festival sponsor
One of my personal favourites for it’s simple, balletic beauty – Mister Culbuto by Dynamogène. A living toy waiting for someone to play with him.
Not a familiar sight for anyone present. Teatro Pavana from Holland presents Giraffes.
Avanti Display and their epic show The Spurting Man
The brilliant Peter & Jane street show by Dot Comedy theatre company
The massive catapillar from Neighbourhood Watch
Le Sapeur Sangles by Les Sangles
Les Moutons by the Corpus company from Canada

streetdiversions Festival 9th year
streetdiversions Festival 8th year
streetdiversions Festival 7th year
streetdiversions Festival 6th year
streetdiversions Festival 5th year
streetdiversions Festival 4th year
The world famous Spark! drummers
Spark! performed at the local university as part of the festival in one year