Theatre & Circus Walkabouts at this year's Festival

June 24, 2024

Glastonbury’s famous walkabout theatre acts come in all shapes, colours and sizes and will be roaming the Theatre and Circus fields day and night. Amongst the hundreds of walkabouts this year are crowd favourites drawn back to Worthy Farm to create more nonsense, as well as new acts making their debut, including what might be the world’s smallest escape room game.

Wander through Glebeland, the Circus Field and Bella’s Field and you might catch the eye of the dodgy-looking fishmonger and his tray of animated seafood or two antiquated polar explorers trapped in their frozen world. Maybe you’ll be snapped by the paparazzi, amazed by a magician, meet bounding kangaroos or come across some very naughty sheep. Some will be trying to create their version of order, such as The Wardens with their keenness to write out tickets, the Girl Guides making sure you’re prepared or the Midwives who are always ready to assist if called upon. Have a chat with Tommy Cooper or the Brooklyn Healer, or let Banksy’s mum do a portrait of the real you! This year’s highlights include the world-travelling Show Globes, returning to their Glastonbury roots with their enchanted flower world by day and the illuminated mystical mirror globe by night.

1200 performers will be roaming the fields from 11.00 until 03.00, providing what Theatre and Circus area organiser Haggis McLeod has planned as an extraordinary gathering of walkabouts. He’s looking for a collective noun for a lot of walkabouts if anyone has any suggestions. Perhaps it’s ‘a world of walkabouts’ with performers coming from theatre groups all over the UK and international acts including crowd favourite The Giant Seagulls from Australia – watch out for your chips!

“Join in, be enticed into the character’s reality, pose for a selfie or simply relax and watch it all pass by,” says Haggis. “I love walking through the fields and seeing people stopped in their tracks by a walkabout act. They’re talking to their mates on the phone saying ‘come and see this, I’ve never seen anything like it.’ That’s the magic.”

Random things happen when you encounter walkabout characters and many of them involve music. You’ll spot a drumming puppet, jukeboxes will come alive, and you might be serenaded by an acappella choir or a string quartet in full evening dress. Everyone’s invited to join the Masters of the Kazooniverse band (hum, don’t blow) or travel with the Magical Musical Time Machine, powered by bubbles and dance hits from past decades. Ever wanted a chance to say you’ve played at Glastonbury? Spot the Ukelele Thrash Mob in the fields, learn a few chords and you’re in the band.

Take a moment to boogie with the Disco Robot Girlz, dance through the fields following the Disco Turtle or the Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band with its exciting, hypnotic mix of Bollywood hits and Bhangra beats. Late at night you may witness the king and queen of lipsync, Wayne and Wanda, in a boat that appears from under Bella’s bridge to bring you songs of love and passion.

Two Glastonbury Arts Commissions (GAC) are among this year’s walkabout premieres. Neuronexus: The Suitcase Escape Game is a challenging escape room-style puzzle that comes in a briefcase. Solve fun puzzles, work as a team and get everything unlocked in order to save the world before the time runs out. Another commission is Fortuni and Fae, a journey through untold realms where you can partake in a sacred ritual blessing and allow the golden dust of dreams to transcend your very thoughts.

The Glastonbury Arts Commissions began in 2012 as a project inspired by Glastonbury festival co-founder Arabella Churchill, who wanted to encourage and support artists developing new works. Arabella introduced walkabouts to the festival and developed the Theatre and Circus fields over many years, helping to make Glastonbury the largest performing arts festival in the world.



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