hengistbury headlines

various artists (uk)

thur 22 – fri 23 sept, 12-4pm
sat 24 – sun 25 sept, 12-6pm
Location: hengistbury head, bournemouth
Free (part-ticketed)

Performance and installation mingle in eight exciting new commissions that are deeply rooted in this stunning location, responding to the theme of climate change.  Wander through the landscape and discover …

Wander through the landscape and discover:

the soaring sky


A coastal walk through a sung performance of birdsong created by local singers, responding to the calls of migratory and endangered birds on the site.

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remnant ecologies

jony easterby

A series of sound installations containing fragments of British bird song, triggered by algorithms, wind, sun and the birds themselves.

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ferdinando bernstein byrne

Look inside and around two bird hides that stand alone on the cliff and explore themes of migration, refuge and the need for shelter.

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gobbledegook theatre

Lie back for cloud gazing and a pithy prologue exploring the parallel between the ever-changing sky and humanity’s future – can our behaviour ultimately change the clouds? More suitable for older children and adults as you’ll lie still for some time!

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kate paxman

Scan the horizon for approaching storms in this sound installation outside a former coastguard hut that is re-imagined as a lookout post on the frontier of changing weather patterns.

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romantic botanic

the miraculous theatre company

Delve into the secret love life of plants in this eccentric promenade theatre piece for small groups, where poetry and science collide, with rather surprising results!

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you’re getting warmer

pebble gorge

A digital treasure hunt-style adventure for 7 to 11-year-olds and their families. Can you solve the clues in time to save the Marsh Warbler and stall the Three and a Half Degree gang?

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sweetshop revolution

Four very different male dancers lead us from the comfort of our own gardens to where the wilderness really lies, as they ask, deep down, do we really need nature? A humorous yet thought-provoking dance experience in the heart of the woods.

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venue choice
There were so many reasons to choose Hengistbury Head as a location for this new trail in the landscape. It is recognised internationally for its archaeology and geology and comprises a huge variety of habitats, being home to over 500 plant species and across the year 300 types of bird, as well as many different insects, reptiles and small mammals. Jutting out into the English Channel with views across Bournemouth to the Purbecks and East to the Isle of Wight, Hengistbury Head offers an accessible walking environment and a beautiful beach location, while its elemental atmosphere is a perfect setting to explore the effects of climate change.

RSPB big wild sleepouts
Join us on the nights of 22, 23, or 24 Sept for campfire cooking, nocturnal adventures and a memorable dawn experience as sounds of the harbour, sea and wind combine with the song of migrant birds. Book via RSPB at Arne on 01929 557828 – please note there is a charge for this event.

visitor information
Download a map guide (pdf) in advance below, along with a full schedule of performances (pdf), or collect them on the day from the festival information points. For detailed access information, please see the Hengistbury Headlines Access Guide (pdf).

Some events are ticketed in order to manage individual event capacities on this important conservation site. Tickets for each event will be available on the day (for that day only) from festival information points by the Hiker Café and the Ferry Pier on Mudeford Spit; and on a first come, first served basis. There will be two releases of tickets each day – 11.30am and 1.30pm from 22-23 sept; then 11.30am and 2.30pm from 24-25 sept.

Photos/images: Brendan Beusnel, Arbonauts, Jony Easterby, Hattie Bernstein-Dale, Lynsey Welstead Photography, The Miraculous Theatre Company, Ruler, Stephen Berkeley-White and Bournemouth Parks

Getting to the event

hengistbury head, bournemouth

Hengistbury Head can be easily accessed via foot, bicycle, car and even ferry. Parking is available at both Hengistbury Head and Solent Beach car parks and current charges can be found online. There are several bus services, with stops on Broadway, in Tuckton and in Christchurch – contact Yellow Buses on 01202 636000, or More Bus (Wilts & Dorset) on 0845 0727 093 for more information. Alternatively, don your sea-faring legs for ferry services that run from Tuckton and Mudeford to Mudeford Spit. For current ticket prices and timetables, please call Mudeford Ferry on 07968 334441, or Bournemouth Boating Services on 01202 429119. A new cycle path is being created this summer between the Stour Valley Nature Reserve and Hengistbury Head – the perfect excuse to dust off your bicycle – with plenty of bike racks when you arrive.

Get Involved

Open call out – be part of Hengistbury Headlines

Arbonauts are looking for singers to join them and be part of The Soaring Sky. You’ll have the chance to perform with the artists and meet other singers from the area. You do not need to be able to read music, but should be confident about performing in front of a large audience, be full of stamina and willing to embrace the unusual! Find out more from Arbonauts (pdf) and apply by Wed 7 Sept.

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Climate Change Talk with David Buckland of Cape Farewell

Cape Farewell brings together artists, scientists and informers from across the globe to communicate the urgency of the climate challenge, but on a human scale. Founder and International Director, David Buckland, will talk about recent work and why a cultural response is key to changing the way we all think – and ultimately act. There is no need to book for this event.

Photo: Another World is Possible by David Buckland, Cape Farewell.

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Fl-utter-ances Listening Walks

Tune in to the natural sounds of Hengistbury Head: call out for young people aged 18-25, but everyone is welcome.

Meet Sound artist Jane Pitt at 12pm on Saturday 24th September. ..join her for a “sonic” stroll…

Together we’ll walk and listen out for the different and distinctive animal, bird & natural sounds of Hengistbury.

We’ll ‘Fl-utter’ some of those sounds with our voices, using the phonetic method of description as found in Field Guides as our guide (i.e. Crow = kraaaaa).  Once we’ve got our voices limbered we’ll create a short original vocal group ‘Fl-utter-ance’ recording, which Jane will edit into a unique soundtrack which you can hear at Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre from October 20th. Wear stout shoes and be prepared for varied weather.

The event will last approximately 1 hour.

Contact Activate to be part of this event.

Find out more

Supported by:

Bournemouth BC Parks black
With thanks to the Arts Development Co, Dorset Arts Together and Dorset History Centre. Core funded by Dorset County Council and Borough of Poole.