Exciting developments for the next phase of SO Festival

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Published 25 October 2018. In addition to recent confirmation from Arts Council England of funding through to 2022, Magna Vitae is delighted to announce the appointment of one of Europe's leading festival directors to steer SO Festival from 2018 onwards; we are also able to confirm that the festival will, from next year, be held over the first weekend in September.

Jens Frimann Hansen, who has seen unparalleled success as the Artistic Director of Helsingør Teater in Denmark and PASSAGE Festival in Denmark and Sweden, will now join SO Festival as the new Artistic Director.

Jens brings with him an impressive portfolio of previous appointments as well as a strong and varied list of contacts within the international and UK festival community, including highly sought-after artists. Over the next four years, Jens will continue his work as the Artistic Director at both Helsingør Teater and PASSAGE Festival, even as he joins the SO Festival, which will look to fully capitalise on the opportunities presented by Jens' appointment to the team.

Setting out the vision for SO Festival over the coming years, Jens and the festival team at Magna Vitae aim to significantly improve and increase community participation with the event, whilst also developing SO Festival - and Skegness - as a stage for the best outdoor artists in the world.

Jens explained how, over the next four years, he intends to"focus on participatory work and linking SO Festival to both a UK and a continental European festival context. I am conscious that a lot of artistic work is not designed for places like Skegness; artistically, socially, and site-wise. To improve this, I will introduce an exchange programme with young European artists to work in public spaces throughout Skegness. I am very keen to start conversations with artists and organisations about my vision and ideas".Jens invites those interested to contact him at jfh@helsingor-teater.dk

Doreen Stephenson, Chairman of Magna Vitae, said: "We are thrilled to be able to confirm SO Festival's continuation and development from 2018. As the event movesintoa new phase,we also planto move the event timetable. By holding the event on the first weekend in September, we know that more families will be able to stay for the impressive grand-finale shows, which often have to wait until darkness falls to have the desired impact. This move will support the popular coastal resort in extending the summer season, as it frequently attracts many visitors from across the midlands and further afield.

"Jens brings a wealth of experience and new ideas, and we are thrilled to have secured his services as Artistic Director. Not only does his appointment mark a new chapter in SO Festival's development, it also brings about the creation of a partnership between SO Festival and PASSAGE Festival that will see both organisations flourish".

Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England, also said: "We're delighted by the appointment of Jens Frimann as the new Artistic Director for SO Festival. With a range of first-class performance and arts events, SO Festival has become one of the best and most anticipated outdoor festivals in the region, and it'll be great to see the festival - under Jens' direction - continue to bring exciting new experiences and high-quality international performances to tourists, visitors, and communities in East Lindsey".

The festival will move to September, hoping to increase its appeal to the family audience. SO Festival's 2018 dates are confirmed as 31 August to 2 September inclusive; going forward, the festival will be held during the first week in September, through to and including 2021.

Image Credit © Ashley Bird Photography | SO Festival 2017