THE seventh Arts By The Sea Festival looks set to make a big splash with more than 70 acts and events taking place at different venues across the town this weekend.

Visitors should watch out for some curious characters, installations and bespoke transformations, from wandering lionfish and fiery laboratories to a aquatic takeover of Bournemouth’s town hall to name a few.

While the core of the Arts by the Sea Festival programme takes place outdoors - in the gardens, at the pier, Bournemouth Square and the seafront - there is a wealth of talent on show at such renowned venues as the Shelley Theatre and Pavilion Dance, as well as more under the radar locations like St Peter’s Church and The Old Firestation.

A host of critically acclaimed shows are coming to the town over the eight-day event, which runs from October 14 to 21, including Joe Sellman-Leava’s Labels - a moving, forensically honest story about immigration; Luke Jermay’s incredible mind bending magic tricks in Sixth Sense and Medea, Written in Rage - a unique take on the classic story performed by vocalist and dancer extraordinaire, Francois Testory and co-presented with Pavilion Dance South West.

JOAN is a refreshing look at Joan of Arc, Livia Rita’s electronica Rewild album and performance is a natural explosion and heartfelt natural drug trip, while in The Dark Room, you can play the world’s first live-action text-based adventure game. Morgan & West’s Time-Travelling Magicians will amaze and astound you with their mind boggling tricks and sorcery!

Festival-goers can enjoy a free weekend at the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum or enjoy Suddenly Last Summer, a combined creative exhibition by the class of 2017 at Arts University Bournemouth’s galleries.

Local artist Harriet Muller explores this year’s Arts by the Sea theme, Plastic Beach, creating beautiful seascapes and creatures using recycled plastics in her exhibition Aquastic, running throughout the Festival at Pavilion Dance.

Cinema lovers will be entertained at The Ocean Film Short Sounds Film Festivals (part of The Fringe platform) and environmentally themed screenings, Bikes vs Cars and A Plastic Ocean at Shelley Theatre.

Party animals young and old alike also have somewhere to go - the award winning Big Fish Little Fish will be entertaining the under eights and their parents with Surf’s Up, Family Rave, while the grown ups can dance the night away at the Opening Party, Glitter not Litter!

To find out more about what’s on when, visit @artsbythesea