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SO Festival

Since 2018, Helsingør Teater has had the artistic direction of the English street theatre festival SO Festival in Skegness, East Lincolnshire. The festival is supported by Arts Council England and Helsingør Teater PASSAGE Festival is part of the artistic management in collaboration with the Magna Vitae Trust for Leisure and Culture, which organizes the SO Festival.

The seaside town of Skegness

is one of England’s hotspots for inland tourism, a tradition that goes back generations, to when the mines of The Midlands took turns to close down for a week, so the miners could fill their lungs with the fresh sea air. The mines have long since closed, but summer tourism continues and every year hundreds of thousands of low-income English families still plan their holidays in Skegness. 

National Portfolio Organisation*

SO Festival is one of Arts Council England‘s National Portfolio Organization, and Helsingør Teater’s artistic management of the festival revolves around the festival concept, Helsingør Teater has created around PASSAGE Festival in Helsingør: A concept that is based on a challenge of existing artistic formats, a strong international artistic program, international collaboration, a long-standing commitment to theatre in social housing areas and a real involvement of local citizens, even those who are not part of cultural life.

From 2023-2026, SO Festival has again been appointed as a National Portfolio Organisation, and was furthermore one of the very few NPOs to have their grant from ACE increased, indeed doubled. This intensifies Helsingør Teater’s efforts in the area. Skegness is a special focus area in ACE’s strategy, as it is an area in England that is not only challenged in terms of climate, but also has major social and health challenges. Helsingør Teater’s work with street theatre in social housing areas in Denmark has been an important experience to have in this collaboration.

“There has always been a great interest in Helsingør in England. Since the Arts Council England invests large sums in fringe areas in England, people have also opened their eyes to how cultural investments have changed a city like Helsingør”Theatre director  Jens Frimann Hansen

Helsingør Teater and Magna Vitae have expanded collaborations in the region around international street theatre, and an artistic program will also be presented in the cities of Gainsborough, Newark and Sleeford in 2023.


SO Festival 2020 - a special mention

In 2020, SO Festival was converted into a digital festival – SOfa Fest – which also contained streamed performances from PASSAGE Festival 2020. The programme included performances, talks and interactive activities live-streamed from the social media channels of both festivals.

The collaboration between SOfa Fest and PASSAGE contained, among other things;

WORKSHOP: Envelope/Brev
Vessel Projects (UK) invited residents of Helsingør, Helsingborg and Skegness to participate in an international exchange of letters and notes during the COVID lockdowns.

WEBINAR: SO Many Roads
A number of leading international festival managers around Europe presented the views of the various European countries on what the future street theatre festival will look like | Thursday 30 July 2020 – the webinar can be viewed here

WORKSHOP: The SOfa Choir
Every Monday and Wednesday evening during the summer, Helsingorans could go to an online choir with residents of Skegness, under the direction of Sinfonia Viva (UK) with a subsequent digital concert


A time-specific and immersive performance for one person at a time, created by 3 performers and one audience. Using voices, soundscapes and music, a story is improvised with the audience in response to the audience’s imagination. In the Remote Room, the performers sat in London and Singapore, and the audience in Helsingør and Skegness.