GRAVITY defying aerial stunts performed from a 15m high bamboo scaffold in Poole Park made for a spectacular launch of the Inside Out Dorset Festival last night.

See all the pictures of Inside Out Dorset festival in a gallery

Billed as “jaw dropping and mesmerising” the sensational act by French Trapeze artists “CirkVOST” could not have failed to impress if their dress rehearsal, seen by the Echo on Wednesday, was anything to go by.

Video from the dress rehearsal on Wednesday

The visual feast featured music, lights and of course the acrobatic stunts of performers leaping, climbing, swinging and being thrown about the structure – eliciting gasps of delight and amazement from those watching.

The free 50 minute show in Poole Park at 8pm last night was expected to draw big crowds, as is the repeat performance at the same time tonight.

Swanage and Wareham Voice: CirkVOST performing in Poole Park as part of the Inside Out Festival on September 12, 2014. Photo by Sam Sheldon.

It is the first time CirkVOST, one of the world’s leading circus companies, have performed their new show BOO! There will be a chance to find out more about their inspiration by joining Inside Out Dorset artistic directors Bill Gee and Simon Chatterton for a conversation with CirkVOST company at The Ark in Poole Park tonight at 9.30pm.

Last night’s spectacular marks the beginning of the Inside Out Dorset festival, the biggest festival of free outdoor performance art in the south. Produced by Dorchester-based Activate Performing Arts it set out to transform the county's landscape with large-scale outdoor theatre, dance, circus and visual arts.

It continues with Up In the Air on today and tomorrow, featuring Anglo French circus performers with high wires, dance, acrobatics and humour at locations around Studland village from 12noon to 6pm.

With action on stilts, dramatic pyrotechnics and soaring music, outdoor theatre company Periplum take over Blandford town centre on September 18 for a performance of its sensory extravaganza, The Bell, from 8.30pm.

Other highlights include new commissioned works from nine artists interpreting the landscape of the South Dorset Ridgeway Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in an interactive artwork trail in and around the village of Littebredy.

And, running from September 25 to 28, the festival's final show, The Roof, which promises a “breathless mix of three-dimensional sound and the hair trigger movement of free running”, within a purpose built auditorium at the former IMAX site on Bournemouth Seafront.

With the exception of The Roof all performances are free. More details are available at www.activateperformingarts.org.uk/inside-out/ or 01305 260954.