Our Story

Exploding out of leading art institutions into streets, homes and public spaces, In Between Time has grown over two decades to become a critically acclaimed and globally respected producer of contemporary and live art.


One could say that we are all currently living through an ‘in between time’. A time of transition, change and uncertainty. It is at once an exciting and a nerve-wracking time.

Having launched our own transition journey a few years ago in response to the urgent questions of our time, such as global inequity, social injustice and climate breakdown, we are now reimagining what being an international live art festival means at this point in time. We continue to adapt and evolve, exploring new models, such as a travel-free, flightless festival, ‘slow art’ and community-based co-creation.

Current projects include: working with disabled artists Kristina Veasey and Alejandro Ahmed to explore the experience of ‘forest’ in UK and Brazil; investigating the role of art and artist in the climate change agenda with partners in Denmark and the UK; shaping the next phase of our of Wild School of Live Art artists development programme; and disseminating the learnings from the 5-year We Are Bristol project.


As the dust finally seemed to settle in post-lockdown Britain we reflected on our connection with nature, something that had consistently called to us when confined to our brick homes in a built-up, city environment. We initiated connections with each other and nature through our Wildness programme in Bristol: inviting people to take part in Woods, a forest of human trunks and leg branches in the shopping centre; participate in a story as it unveils itself in real-time through Sylvia Rimat’s audio tour of Leigh Woods, Some People Climb Up; witness the lives of three local people translated into dance on the city streets in Instant Dissidence’s Slow Mo and create your own story in movement as part of their open workshop.

We also emerged from the extended delivery of the intensive 5-year We Are Bristol project, that twisted and turned, reshaping itself to the pandemic period and lockdown experience. We started evaluating our new methods of working, embedded within local communities, making new connections across common areas of interest, and being led by local people as collaborators and co-creators.


IBT21 The Rupture became an eight-month programme, created with brilliant people from Bristol and across the world, working together to make an international festival with no travel.

Together we learned, dreamed, cancelled, adapted. We created hybrid artworks, embraced digital, returned to theatres and remained vehemently LIVE.

Thank you to everyone who joined us on this journey.

You can read our full review of IBT21 here.


“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” ARUNDHATI ROY

A photo of a figure kneeling in a dark space lit by blue lights. Yellow text over the image reads 'IBT21, The Rupture, An arts festival for the future


In a year where we needed art and artists more than ever, we called out through Dear Artist, Love Audience and joined with millions of voices across the UK to celebrate artists’ innovation and resilience.

As we witnessed the upheavals across the globe, brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, and the toppling of the Colston statue in our home city of Bristol, we acknowledged our need to be part of the change required to realise a more equitable future. As such, we continue to collaborate with and support artists and communities to create radical work responding to our times.


The IBT19 Summit was our first step in radically reconsidering how to make an International Festival. From provocative panels and UK premieres of international performances, to lighting up caves, and motorcycle rides, we welcomed audiences across the city.

The Summit hosted our first Creative Exchange Lab, 13 exceptional UK artists explored their practice and created artworks and provocations through workshops led by international artists Kameelah RasheedDorothee Munyanaza and Cigdem Aydemir.

In the lead up to the festival, we collaborated with people from across the city through our We Are Bristol programme, connecting generations, creating artwork and exploring what we need to flourish in an uncertain future.


Over 4 days in July 100 people from across Bristol collaborated with world-renowned Back to Back Theatre to create THE DEMOCRATIC SET.

Helen Cole took Breathe to Brazil, to present her work at Junta – Festival Internacional de Dança in Teresina and Festival Panorama in Rio, Brazil.


IBT17 Festival took the theme Stand Up, Stand Up. With 40 bold artists across 10 locations and over 21,100 audiences experiences. Highlights include the UK Premiere of The Record by 600 HIGHWAYMEN, Playing Up for children and families by Live Art Development Agency and Instant Dissidence’s Dancing With Strangers: From Calais to England.

‘Bristol festival leaves its mark on audiences with personal, political shows.’  The Guardian

We launched the IBT International Showcase that presented 22 exceptional live artists to over 200 delegates from across the globe and 40 international delegates were subsidised by Arts Council England, Australia Council and British Council to develop new global markets for UK artists.



Helen Cole created Breathe – a gathering of hundreds of private dances – and took it to the Venice Biennial in 2016. These anonymous ‘ghost dances’ came together as an act of mass resistance emitting the tangible, poignant traces of bodies pushed to their limits to conjure the presence of those long since gone.


IBT15 Festival welcomed record audiences with over 100,000 people from 33 countries experiencing public artworks, performances and events. Highlights included Fujiko Nakaya’s Fog Bridge, Nightwalks with Teenagers by Mammalian Diving Reflex and The Storm, an immersive club event.


Night Songs was created in partnership with National Trust, featuring musician Patrick Wolf, a new song commission and a national tour across four National Trust properties.

“Night Songs was MY FAVOURITE THING I HAVE EVER SEEN AT THE NATIONAL TRUST. It had rave reviews across the board & I hope we can work together again.” Anna Russell, General Manager, National Trust 


IBT13 Festival featured 100 artists in sell-out shows. Over four days across Bristol, 30,000 people stepped out of the ordinary to witness a fake moon rising, a living room opera and much more.

If Fake Moon was In Between Time at its most open and accessible, Night Tripper – by the Norwegian trio Fiksdal/Langgård/Becker – exemplified its feeling of intimate community.” The Guardian


Up to Nature was a major collaboration with four European partners that enticed artists and audiences to leave the city and enter the forest.

A crowd of people sit in a woodland. A few are holding umbrellas, someone in performing in the centre of the space.


In Between Time became an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation, securing its future and programme.


IBT10 Festival took place over five days, across the streets and art spaces of Bristol, in over 75 events, with 130 artists from the UK and beyond.

A man in a suit stands at the top of a white staircase, his face is covered in white bread.


Helen Cole created We See Fireworks in which the voices of strangers gently unfolded in the darkness to reveal haunting, vivid memories of incredible performances.


The Paul Hamlyn Foundation awarded Helen Cole a prestigious Breakthrough Award. She left Arnolfini to establish In Between Time as an independent organisation.


The first In Between Time festival was established in Bristol as an international biennial of live art and future performance practices.

“Go to the brilliantly curated In Between Time Festival.”  Lyn Gardner, The Guardian


In Between Time emerged as part of the live programme at Arnolfini, produced by Helen Cole between 1997-2009.

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