11 DAYS OF THE UNEXPECTED


SPILL Festival of Performance is an international festival of contemporary arts and activism. Created in 2007 by artist Robert Pacitti and produced by Pacitti Company, SPILL presents the work of exceptional artists from around the globe, featuring live performance, sound + music, film + video, plus projects exploring heritage + place. The festival is for anyone interested in the arts, people that might not think they are, and also kids + families.


During SPILL 2018 festival goers could experience over 100 different artworks, both indoors and out, many of them taking place multiple times. The festival included live performances, sound and music, film and video, plus projects exploring heritage and place, all made by some of the world’s most exciting contemporary artists.

About a third of the festival was totally free. A third of events were a fiver and our top price tickets were just £10. SPILL Passes offered great ways to save across the festival and with events for kids and families, plus a late‑night programme for adults, there really was something for everyone.

The theme of this year’s festival was Time and we honoured the past with a programme of artworks marking 100 years since the end of the First World War. Using audio technology originally employed in war and emergencies, and the voices of women and girls, Clarion Call rang out twice daily from Ipswich Waterfront and beyond.

Handmade banners, stitched by women across the UK for Artichoke’s wonderful Processions project, marking 100 years since some women got the vote, formed an exhibition trail across the town. Turned Red Earth paired nature writing contained in letters and diaries of WW1 servicemen with photographs of uprooted flower specimens, creating disarmingly moving images.

Looking even further back with Forced Entertainment, Complete Works performed daily across the festival, bringing condensed contemporary versions of all 36 Shakespeare plays to Ipswich Town Hall. Comically and intimately retold using everyday objects as characters on an ordinary table top, this huge performance undertaking by one of the UK’s foremost theatre companies was popular with folk of all ages.

Imagined Touch, a multi‑sensory Australian live art project, explored the world of Deafblind culture. And the kids told us what play structures to build in Block Magic.

The SPILL OPEN presented 20 works by early makers with something meaningful to say. Supported by the Jerwood Charitable Foundation and selected from 688 international applications, the OPEN was a chance to check out the future, now.

SPILL Central was a special festival takeover of the former Wharf next to Ipswich Town Hall. This was our festival info point, box office, café bar and place to catch the very best alternative music, cabaret, gigs and parties SPILL had to offer.

Across the festival people were invited to make an offering of written bad news to our Pyre Parade icon, housed in La Tour Cycle Café at Ipswich Waterfront. Then on Saturday 3 November we had The Pyre Parade, as our icon made its way noisily through town to Christchurch Park where – full of everyone’s bad news – it was engulfed in flames, burning up the darkness and clearing space before winter. We hope it brang us all peace and wellbeing. Our time is most certainly now.

Until SPILL 2020…

Robert Pacitti

Artistic Director & Curator