The fifth annual Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival returns today.

The 10 day event, which runs until Sunday October 18, will take place at various locations around the town, beaches and gardens.

The opening weekend will host more than 65 performances by 20 performers. 

A host of free entry events are lined-up as part of the festival, which is jointly funded by Bournemouth council and the Arts Council.

This year’s theme is light, taking the lead from the UNESCO International Year of Light. 

Here's a look at some of the free events you won't want to miss. 

For more information and for the full schedule of events, go to

1. A digital firework display on a 60ft screen 

Friday, October 9 – Saturday, October 10, 7.30pm, 8.15pm and 9pm

Award-winning digital artist Seb Lee-Delisle will be bringing his PixelPyros digital fireworks display to Pier Approach on a giant 60ft screen. The interactive show is choreographed entirely by members of the public and is coded completely in C++ and openFrameworks. 

Touch the bright orbs of light to fire an array of multi-coloured rockets which are projected onto the screen using state of the art projectors and lasers.  It’s up to the crowd to decide which fireworks are triggered when. No two firework displays are ever the same. 

2. See Bourne Stream transformed into a river of light

Sunday, October 11, Lower Gardens, 7pm

Internationally acclaimed lighting studio Creatmosphere will be transforming Bourne Stream into a river of light in what promises to be a unique public art experience.

A new light installation will be created especially for the Arts by the Sea Festival. Meet on the lawn outside the Bandstand in the Lower Gardens from 10am to create your own illuminated object ahead of the spectacular launch at 7pm.

Creatmosphere have previously created installations on the River Thames, Canada’s Bow River and on the River Arno for last year's Notte Bianca in Florence.

3. Create a piece of eco-graffiti using your finger 

Friday, October 9 – Sunday, October 11, 4pm – 8pm

French digital artist Antonin Fourneau will be bringing his interactive artwork to The Cloisters by Harry Ramsden’s on Undercliff Drive.

Use a paintbrush, water spray or even your finger to make contact with the thousands of LED lights embedded beneath a giant wall which light up to create a piece of unique eco-graffiti.

4. Witness silent storytelling at St Peter's Church 

Friday, October 9 - Sunday, October 18, 12.30pm - 4.30pm, Resurrection Chapel​, St Peter's Church

International artists Davy and Kristin McGuire use water as the actual canvas for the haunting hologram of Shakepeare's tragic character Ophelia for this unique art installation. 

Their hybrid art works are built with fragile materials that are momentarily brought to life through digital projections and silent storytelling. This is the first performance to be staged at St Peter's Church since its recent refurbishment. 

5. See an open-air pyrotechnic performance - in a car park 

Sunday, October 18, 7.30pm, Cotlands Road car park

Closing the event will be a spectacular open-air theatre performance of Ray Bradbury's thrilling novel, Fahrenheit 451, using pyrotechnics and surround sound to bring the story to life in the unusual setting of Cotlands Road car park. 

The event, presented by Periplum and Corn Exchange Newbury, is free to attend but tickets are required. This show is not suitable for children under the age of 12 years. To book your ticket, click here

6. Russell Cotes turns pink

The Russell-Cotes Museum will turn pink by Bournemouth-based lighting designer Michael Grubb for the opening weekend.

7. Pull an 'All Nighter' at St Peter's Church 

Saturday, October 17, 9pm - 4am 

St Peters Church will be transforming itself into a unique ambient chill out venue for its annual ‘All-Nighter’. 

8. Listen to a sonic phenomenon

Saturday, October 10 - Sunday, October 11, Lower Gardens, Free 

An underground sonic phenomenon is happening right here in Bournemouth – and it can only be heard with ear trumpets in the Lower Gardens. Join Gobbledegook Theatre and listen out for the sound that has become "harmonically trapped inside ancient rocks" beneath the surface. 

9. Help build a collection of water 

Wednesday, October 15 - Sunday, October 18, 10am - 6pm, The Bandstand, Free

A melted snowman, three types of wee and water from a bedside table said to be infused with dreams are just some of the 600 bottles of exhibits on display at the Museum of Water. Take along the water that's most precious to you in a bottle and help add to Amy Sharrocks' collection.