The Postcards Festival at Jacksons Lane, now in its third year, offers a huge range of circus and cabaret work. Artistic Director Adrian Berry and performer John van der Put (a.k.a Piff the Magic Dragon!) tell AYT what’s getting them excited…

Postcards 2013 (credit Ludo des Cognets)

How are you preparing for the Postcards Festival? How intense are your rehearsals?

John van der Put: We’re doing a mix of old and new for the show on Saturday, so rehearsals are nice and relaxed for a change. Mr Piffles is currently brushing up on his lines, and I’m dusting off the Chihuahua Cannon of Certain Doom.

What’s it like directing/curating such a disparate and exciting festival of work?

Adrian Berry: Hard work but huge fun. It’s different in so many ways to other times of the year. It’s not something we could sustain across a whole year so for that reason I have to be very careful about what makes it into the festival. Even the approach to circus is different – this is so much more about experimentation. It’s also a chance to work with some artists out of my own comfort zone and I love that sense of danger the festival brings.

How’s it all going? Is it coming together?

JvdP: It’s going very well. There’s nothing we love more than doing shows, so very happy to be showing the audience some Magic Dragon vs Chihuahua action come Saturday night! I’ve also been working with Marawa the Amazing to curate an evening of our favourite acts of all time. That is one show you definitely don’t want to miss.

AB: We open this week so now it’s over to the rest of London to make their mind up. The thing I love about Postcards is that the whole team at Jacksons Lane gets behind it; last year so many of them saw so much and that means a lot too. Tickets are selling, people are creating a buzz about it, the artists are getting excited. Yeah, it’s going well.

What can audiences expect from the festival?

AB: The unknown. Something like Lab:time you’d think will only attract your seasoned circus geek, but it seems that there is a genuine curiosity for the weird and the untested, and it’s a thrill to know audiences are making that leap. And Marcus Reeves presenting a glam-operatic-spectacular for the first time, or Piff and Marawa mixing it up and curating their own night. That’s what gets my juices flowing and hopefully everyone else too.

JvdP: The opportunity to see performers having a bit of fun with what they do. Marawa and I have worked alongside each other for years, but we hardly ever get the chance to collaborate.

Piff the Magic Dragon Show

What’s been the biggest challenge? And the most exciting thing?

JvdP: Time. Time is always very short. But the most exciting thing is being able to work for the love of it, rather than anything else.

AB: For the festival? Making it feel like a festival. I get very weary of programmes of work that could exist anywhere and at any time where a ‘festival’ umbrella is created. Postcards is genuinely something new every night, and we want to translate that and articulate it in a festival format. The most exciting thing is always the audiences. And that’s not a glib answer. I never get bored of curating and programming, and I never fail to be excited by seeing that work come to fruition and people getting animated about it in the bar afterwards.

What are your plans for the future?

JvdP: I’m going back to Edinburgh this year with a new show, and then taking it to Soho Theatre for a couple of weeks in October. I’m also currently creating the magic for Punchdrunk’s latest show, A Drowned Man, which opens very soon. Busy busy busy.

AB: I’ve been at Jacksons Lane for five years now and I genuinely feel we’re just getting started. The biggest ambition for us is to genuinely produce. We co-produce and support so much work but it’s the next natural step to find the resources to generate, create and tour our own work. You see Jacksons Lane around on so much new work and we want that to increase nationally and internationally. We never stand still. We’re always learning and growing.

The Postcards Festival is at Jacksons Lane until 29 June. For more information and tickets, visit Jacksons Lane’s website.
AYT readers can get two tickets to anything in the festival for just £15 – this offer is valid for two tickets to the same show, or two different shows. It can be claimed online, over the phone or at the Box Office, just use the promotion code CABARET. Tickets booked online are subject to booking fees. 

Photo (c) Ludo des Cognets.