Tag Archive | "Festival"

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Feature: Fall for the arts this Valentine’s Day

Posted on 11 February 2014 by Caitlin Clark


If romantic candlelit dinners and soppy love letters aren’t your thing, or you are merely fed up of the over-commercialised holiday and looking for an activity somewhat nonconformist come Valentine’s Day, then head to Rich Mix, Bethnal Green for IdeasTap Takeover: Love, a free five-day festival celebrating the alternative, slightly quirky, side of romance. IdeasTap, the charitable organisation devoted to supporting young creatives, is hosting Takeover: Love from 12-16 February, taking over Rich Mix in its entirety. The multidisciplinary arts festival will host a delightfully eclectic range of performance, from rehearsed readings, theatre premieres and comic storytelling, to film screenings, live music and spoken word, all revolving around the theme of love. The motif might be clichéd and well-worn, but with this unconventional spin on it, IdeasTap is bringing us something new.

All events are free to attend, and an exciting performance, be it comic, poetic or even scientific, will be taking place almost constantly throughout. North London based theatre-maker Hannah Pierce is transforming her personal blog on her failures and successes of online dating into the one woman show Hannah27 – Valiant Adventures in Online Dating. Additionally, Invertigo theatre, the HighTide Takeover and Top Up Fund Festival winner and a hotly-tipped emerging company, is also bringing something inventive and original. Its one-on-one interactive speed-dating piece on love through the ages, Miscellany, will mean you could meet all sorts of characters, from different centuries, continents and cultures. These are just two examples of a vast range of performance, with something to interest everyone. After a chat with the festival’s producer, Ellie Browning, it is clear there’s the opportunity to see some very current and adventurous work.

So, Ellie, this is the first year of IdeasTap Takeover: Love, what are your ambitions for the future of the festival?
I’d love the Takeover to become an annual event, and I think if it’s a success then it will be. Some of our acts are referring to it as a mini-Edinburgh. It’s much more financially friendly than Edinburgh as all our artists are being paid a fee to present their work, and all events are free to attend. If it were to become an annual event we’d change the theme each time to shake it up a little.

What was your inspiration for producing this festival? How did the theme of love come about?
I am a member of IdeasTap, and have received funding and support through them over the years. I wanted to be a part of something that was showcasing the work they do. They offer an incredible service to young creatives, and this festival will show off the quality and diversity of the work they support. The theme of love was simply because we had programmed the event across Valentine’s weekend and we decided to give the festival a theme to unite all of the work, and to give the artists a mutual stimulus.

There is some very eclectic performance being showcased, all by those who have been supported by IdeasTap. How important was it for you to assist these companies, and to give them the platform to be so adventurous and innovative?
IdeasTap is excited by ideas – they are less interested in the individual’s background, education, experience – as a lot of opportunities are. In my opinion this is so important, and I wanted to make sure their commitment to this was reflected in the programming. Also, these are artists that know IdeasTap well, and therefore there is a mutual understanding of what is expected. We programmed acts that we know are top quality, and they are exploring work that they know we will be excited to represent.

What do you hope audiences will take away with them?
I mostly want them to be entertained – it’s Valentine’s weekend and we want everyone to have a nice time! I’d like audiences to experience an artform that they wouldn’t normally. For example, if they have come to see a theatre show, they may stay around and watch some short films and find a gem they weren’t necessarily looking for.

Rich Mix, much like IdeasTap, is a charitable organisation invested in the arts and young people’s engagement with performance. What elements of Rich Mix made it the right location for the festival?
The answer’s in the question! That’s a huge reason why Rich Mix is a good fit. The venue is also able to accommodate all art forms we want to represent – with the main space having the capacity for a large audience with cabaret style seating and a bar – perfect for our poetry, spoken word, and mass participation events. Also, the cinema for screenings, as well as the studios for theatre and readings.

Takeover’s programme looks extremely exciting! What are you looking forward to seeing in particular?
I can’t wait for Hannah Sullivan’s Echo Beach on Friday evening, where she “dances like everyone she knows”, Sabrina Mahfouz’s I Heart Poetry event on Friday and Scottee’s Fraff – A Night of Spoken Word for Drunk People. But that’s just a few highlights, having programmed the festival I’m excited about all of it. There’s a really eclectic mix, but what stands out for me is the quality of the artists across the four days. Overall, I’m really looking forward to just being in the venue, and soaking up the atmosphere of the festival.

So, why not fall in love with art this Valentine’s weekend and allow yourself to be thoroughly seduced by Takeover:Love?

IdeasTap Takeover: Love is at Rich Mix from 12-16 February. For more information and tickets, visit the Rich Mix website

Caitlin Clark

Caitlin Clark

Caitlin is a recent drama graduate currently working as a Marketing Intern for Lincoln Performing Arts Centre. One day she would love to move to London to be able to work within large scale theatres and theatre companies.

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Review: One Festival: Programme A, The Space

Posted on 26 January 2014 by Simon Holton

Solo performances can be like Marmite, but whether you love it or hate it a night of four solo performances is going to be full of variety. The opening night of One Festival 2014, The Space’s celebration of new writing and monologues in the solo form, is no exception.

The night began with a longer piece, The Unfortunates, written by Aoise Stratford and performed by Lucy Farrett. The period setting of the piece suits the converted church space well, and it is atmospheric. Farrett is well directed by Katherine Timms; she has a strong, consistent sense of space and uses it to her advantage. The fact that this piece is actually a duologue with an unknown, mute stranger in a pub adds a sense of mystery, filling the piece with pregnant pauses which will only ever be filled by the ‘unfortunate’ Farrett. Its subject matter of Jack the Ripper has of course been done before, but taken from the interesting perspective of a friend of one of the victims, and full, as it is, of authentic colour and detail, it is an impressive piece of writing and performance. The erratic, digressive style is perhaps a little too unstructured to maintain the energy and attention for the full length of the piece, but it is nevertheless wonderful to watch.

After the interval come three diverse shorter pieces. Sylvia, written by Steven Shawcroft, performed by Emma Rose, and directed by Damian Cooper, was certainly a powerful depiction of the difficulties of disability, and the struggle to come to terms with loss. Not knowing the motivations of those involved, it is difficult to pass judgement. Perhaps the piece was simply an attempt to portray an under-represented group of people. However there is no denying that watching an able-bodied actor perform disability, in a ten minute monologue which is bound to be somewhat simplistic, was uncomfortable viewing.

In stark contrast, the next piece, The Other Foot, written by Georgia Keighery, and directed by Amie Taylor, has the audience sitting comfortably from the beginning. Performer Emma Rose, frantically wide-eyed and grinning from ear-to-ear, stands transfixed by a sight directly across the stage: a single black stiletto. Her exaggerated clownish performance and struggle to be seen as ‘normal’ (patently extremely difficult for this particular character) generate a huge amount of humour. Whether a conscious decision from the programmers or not, its inclusion immediately after Sylvia raises an interesting point about what we are comfortable with on stage. Whilst distinctly uncomfortable when faced with disability, we seemed to have no problem laughing at someone who was at least bordering on mental illness.

The final piece of the night was the least problematic. The Horror of Economy Class, written and performed by Philip Doherty, is full of risqué, laddy humour combined with parodies of high drama, with effective lighting and sound effects. Doherty tells the story of two Irish men facing the consequences the morning after a whisky bender on board a cruise ship. He knows his story well, and performs it charismatically. It was, overall, an enjoyable, amusing and stimulating evening.

One Festival 2014 is playing The Space until the 2 February. For more information and tickets, see The Space website.

Simon Holton

Simon Holton

Since returning to the UK after sojourns in the German-speaking world, Simon has plunged himself headfirst into the world of theatre, as both a creator and consumer. Actor-in-training and self-confessed Germanophile, Simon is pursuing diverse interests in experimental and fringe theatre.

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Ticket Offer: £7 tickets to Don Quijote at Camden People’s Theatre

Posted on 06 January 2014 by A Younger Theatre

Don Quijote

Don Quijote
Camden People’s Theatre | 15 – 26 January
by Tom Frankland and Keir Cooper

“Do you could yourself among the contented or the afflicted?”

An exploration of Cervantes’ novel, combining incredible visual imagery, anarchic performance and original music.

The title role will be played by a secret guest performer, unique to each date.

Previous Don Quijote’s have included Victoria Melody (and Major Tom), Chris Thorpe, Tim Crouch, Pippa Bailey, Nigel Barrett, Greg McClaren, Jamie Wood and many more.

Don Quijote plays as part of Hard to Resist: A Short, Sharp Festival of Protest

More information on the Camden People’s Theatre website.

Claim the Ticket Offer:

£7 tickets (usually £10) can be claimed when booking online or in person when quoting CPT2014.

Tickets are subject to availability and may not be used with other ticket promotions.

A Younger Theatre

A Younger Theatre

A Younger Theatre (AYT) is a platform for young people to express their views on theatre and performance. The site is maintained, edited and published by under 26 year olds who all have a passion for theatre.

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Blog: Filskit Theatre – the Take Off Festival

Posted on 07 November 2013 by Filskit Theatre

55_Luna_1As an annual festival for children and young people, produced by Theatre Hullabaloo, Take Off promises to be “packed to the brim with fantastic shows from the UK and abroad to thrill and inspire the most importance audience of all”, and it certainly didn’t disappoint this year.

This year, we Filskit ladies made our merry way up to Durham for three days of back-to-back shows as enthusiastic delegates, ready to be inspired. For this year’s programme, the theme that underpinned the festival was ‘Playfulness’. Whilst it was a rich, diverse programme, there were a handful of shows that really stood out for us. Here is a brief overview of our favourites:

Mouth Open, Story Jump Out is a BAC Production, conceived and created by the hugely talented spoken word artist Polarbear (a.k.a. Steven Camden). Centred around the craft of storytelling, here was a piece that had everyone, young and old, completely hooked. Through constant interaction with the audience, we watched a story unfold that we as the audience felt that we’d had a hand in creating.

Another BAC commission, Mess, was a fantastic, unexpected piece. With the strapline “We’re putting on a play. It’s about anorexia. But don’t let that put you off”, you’re not quite sure what to expect. ‘Issue based’ theatre can risk being patronising or clumsily-handled, but instead this was a refreshing, humorous and poignant piece of theatre. The fact that it is both written and performed by Caroline Horton, and based on her own past experience with anorexia, makes it even more engaging – and something that schools should insist teenagers go and see.

After these dialogue-heavy performances, we then we had the ‘curve ball’, all the way from Italy. Pop Up (Teatro delle Briciole & I Sacchi di Sabbia) was deliciously eccentric and playful. Driven by two female performers, we saw pop-up books spring to life in a minimalistic and peculiar world of page turning. Unfortunately, at the time, it was a very delegate heavy show, so would be great to see how more children reacted to the piece, particularly as it was aimed at 3-6-year-olds. However, the few children that were present were totally absorbed, whilst the adults were left grinning.

A popular theme from the programme seemed to be around sleep and bedtime. Theatre Hullabaloo and Theatre Iolo’s Luna gave us a dreamy, delightful piece that had the children spellbound, whilst Travelling Light’s Boing really captured the excitement of going to bed on Christmas Eve – good to see a piece that young boys can really relate to. Teatr Baj brought us Sleep, another wordless piece for 0-3 years. Watching the little ones clamber over the large duvet clasping at colourful beanbags and crawling freely across the set was charming as they became the stars of the piece.

With Lyn Gardner’s recent speech on why children’s theatre matters still front of mind, it is great to see a festival that wholeheartedly embraces the importance of carving out a celebration specifically for it. As Gardner so beautifully puts it, “Theatre, particularly theatre for children, fires the imagination, it gives our children the skills and the creativity necessary to face the world, to understand it and perhaps to change it too”.

Filskit Theatre

Filskit Theatre

Filskit Theatre are an all-female ensemble with a passion for micro-projection. The company, Sarah Gee, Katy Costigan and Victoria Dyson, have been making work together since 2008. As graduates of the European Theatre Arts course at Rose Bruford they were brought together by their shared love of projection and cake.

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